The Roar
The Roar

Ian Syson

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Joined April 2011

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Interesting take on the discussion from the Footy Record in the 1950s

There is a certain publicity angle connected with our game that has for many years been a constant source of annoyance to officials of our national code; This is the use of the term “Rules” as applied to the Australian game of football. For some time the use of this opprobrious term was confined to the “rugby” States of N.S.W. and Queensland, but recently there has been a tendency — deplorable, in our opinion — to use the term here in some sections of the press. Why? Is it deliberately intended to belittle our game by implying that it’s riddled and overloaded with rules? It would seem so. What is the true position? The rugby code has just as many rules as our Australian game.

Soccer, rugby, gridiron — all these “ball” games have their particular names. Our game is FOOTBALL— and there seems no reason why all manner of peculiar names should be suggested for it. In no other “ball” sport is the ball kicked as much as in our game — nor as far, nor with such skill and control. And this statement is made advisedly, with soccer well in mind, be¬cause although the ball is not handled in soccer (except by the goalie), and must be kicked or “headed,” much of that kicking is only dribbling, and there is nothing approaching the glorious 60 yard punts and drops that are an outstanding feature of our game. Let us continue to call our game “football.” That’s the name by which it’s known to every fan from eight to eighty. We go to footy, we talk footy, we dream footy. We certainly don’t know what misguided press scribes mean when they refer to “Rules.” Whoever heard of a Melbourne man saying he was going to see a “Rules” match? It’s ridiculous.
The use of the term, as stated before originated in Sydney, where press ignorance of our game is understandable. It is not only a stupid term, it’s impertinent. It implies that the game is difficult to understand, interpret or follow. The reverse is actually the case.’ Newcomers to our footy soon pick up the basic idea, and certainly derive the maximum enjoyment after watching one or two games. The difficulty arises when a spectator, reared in the tradition of “offside,” with which soccer, rugby and gridiron are cluttered, cannot at first grasp the bewildering speed and lightning-like exchanges that send the ball flashing from end to end of the ground.

The use of the term “Rules” is clearly absurd. All sports and all forms of football are governed by rules. They are, naturally, essential to the con¬duct of the particular sport to which they refer. Some, in fact, have many more rules than our Australian game. Actually, the basic rules which govern our footy are few. It is the inter¬pretations of those rules which have created the impression of many rules. Perhaps that section of the press which has recently shown an inclination to employ the term “Rules” will this year relegate it to the rubbish heap, where it belongs.

Why it should be called soccer, not football

Supermac

Was the NSL better than the A-League?

just not true

Was the NSL better than the A-League?

Macca, I’m not a big footy fan and prefer RL but I agree absolutely with your first para. I know a few pathway footy kids and they must look on to F and H’s magic carpet ride with mixed feelings.

I don’t think they will go back to RL with much success by the way. They will have changed their bodies too much at a critical time in their development at the elite level to ever return to their former prowess.

Can code switching be a success for players and fans?

That’s fair enough Redb. But wouldn’t a serviceable player from the Ammos be able to do much the same job and have much the same chance of improving?

Can code switching be a success for players and fans?

HM, I guess one effect would be to lessen the importance of the various pathway programs into senior footy and ultimately the draft. Maybe if footy is gearing up for national domination and to achieve a situation analagous to the NFL in America then it will need far more elite athletes to be geared towards the game. But it will also change the structure and nature of the game at the community level and will most likely result in some fairly major rule changes as well (nothing new there I suppose).

If Hunt and Folau succeed (and don’t think they will to any great extent) they will be a living argument for a proposition that doesn’t seem true to me, that footy is an easy game to learn and play.

Surely footy is a very difficult game to play. On top of fitness, athleticism and skills a player also needs smarts developed over years and years of playing the game. I think the RL boys are having trouble with all aspects but most of all they are looking lost. Boys who grow up playing the game would have an intuitive sense of where to be and when to make a move that will always put them ahead of code-switchers.

Being involved in community sport (not footy) I can see what happens to a sport when it becomes disconnected from its grass roots. An vast increase of code switching would have a major impact at that level.

Can code switching be a success for players and fans?

I appreciate that it’s a re-hash. But I have tried to give it a new twist by looking at it from a historian’s perspective. I wonder how many people knew that soccer wasn’t called soccer in the eastern states until the 1920s. The Thirroul soccer club in 1908 for example made the ‘mistake’ of calling themselves a football club. (note TFC inscribed on the ball). http://illawarraimages.wollongong.nsw.gov.au/IllaIms/P10/P10449.jpg

When the soccer community decided officially to call the game soccer in the 1920s they did so for reasons — one of was to acknowledge the game as a domestic one and not a British import. We in the soccer community need to honour that decision.

Hopefully what also makes this argument different is that I come from a soccer fan’s point of view.

Why it should be called soccer, not football

Thanks Cattery. Footy in Maitland collapsed a year later. So it was a brief flowering. You might be interested in looking at a long match description I posted on the footy almanac site http://footyalmanac.com.au/?p=10851

Why it should be called soccer, not football

Futbanous, I do follow the game at VPL and state league, kids and futsal levels. I attend two or three local soccer games a week and the people I sit/stand with mostly call it soccer. I’m still looking for the part where I told others what to call the game. I’ve tried to explain why I prefer the term soccer.

Why it should be called soccer, not football

No joke intended. But I think you are correct about the use of the term football in Melbourne. When football is used it is more often used formally.

Why it should be called soccer, not football

Thanks for your comments. I think you have some good points — except the first one!!

As a ‘soccer’ fan who grew up playing ‘soccer’ in this country I am comfortable with the name soccer. I am also comfortable with the name football, especially when it is used in a context where the game under discussion is unambiguous. I reject the terms English/Scottish/Italian/German soccer though. It’s football in those countries.

As far as I see it, football is the name the culturally dominant code gives itself. It is the prize a code gets for being dominant. Therefore it can seem presumptuous of us to claim the term football in Victoria where a clearly dominant other code exists. Having said that I will also be happy for my game to be dominant if that ever eventuates. Then I will also be happy to call the game football.

Why it should be called soccer, not football