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The Voices Within

by Adam Peacock on May 20, 2011

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If you believe what you read in some parts, Australian football is about to jump. Without the parachute. It’s all too hard. We tried, but it’s all too hard.

Some want the old days back, others want the present gone. The Socceroos are too old. The ruling body have earmuffs and blindfolds on. Money is being lost. Crowds are down.

Australian football is hearing voices, and inside its head there’s a deep and meaningful going on right now between the pessimist and the optimist.

This is an extract of their conversation.

OPT: It can’t be that bad. Too many hundreds of thousands play the game. Too many millions watch it. Too many billionaires want to invest in it.

PESS: That’s living in a fairytale-land, oblivious to wrongs, distracted by the scent of roses, sent by Ben Buckley.

OPT: They’re not roses. They’re tulips.

PESS: Of course they are. Those billionaires just want to do is look good to their friends, and use it as a tax write-off. Plus, what’s a few million to them?

OPT: Nathan Tinkler wants to pour a reported $25 million into the game, not a club, the game, just because he feels like it? No, it’s because he’s like any other businessman – always looking for the next big thing. And this is what he sees as the next big thing. Not now, in the future, hence the 10-year license at the Jets.

PESS: Yeah well glad it’s with his money. He’s got to get people caring about it. It’s laughable that a city like Sydney, of over 5 million people, a city that struggles to find enough parks for people to play on in winter, get 6-7000 to a game.

OPT: They’re working on it. The penny has dropped. OK, results are what count – win, and people will come. But they’re out in the community all the time, visiting schools, clubs, local associations.

PESS: Yeah, the FFA’s really encouraging that grass roots engagement, like banning Melbourne Victory and Heart from playing against Victorian clubs in the FFV Cup.

OPT: OK, give you that, they should just play the Youth teams in that, and save the first XI’s for the FFA Cup, which will be great.

PESS: When? When will it be great? When will it happen! When Qatar’s done with the World Cup? Maybe we can get one of their stadiums sent to us to play the final in. We’ll be a third-world football country by then.

OPT: Rubbish. It’ll happen season after next, and shorter term, I’m confident the back to basics A-League will be much better when it starts in October. Later start, fresh air from the other codes, and a further improvement in standard. Like how good was the grand final! Not that you would know. When did you leave again?

PESS: Knew you’d bring that up… 0-0, after the 90min. Wanted to beat the traffic. Anyway, didn’t know most of the players anyway. What happened to the big names. The marquees. Some have been marquees – the size of one.

OPT: Who?!

PASS: Mario Jardel.

OPT: Allllways comes back to him. Get over it, you child. Didn’t the grand final prove the A-League doesn’t one big name to be great? The marquee system is has merit, but it should be about building a club. A tribal element, to support the shirt, not the player, like the national team.

PESS: Ah yes, the national team. That bastion of brilliance. Gee they were great in South Africa.

OPT: Um, Asian Cup? Germany? New attitude under the new man, Holger.

PESS: Who cares who the coach is. The squad is ageing. There is no-one coming through.

OPT: So what if we skip half a generation. Our top players aged 19, 20, 21 have a bit about them. And don’t underestimate our strongest asset – team spirit. It’s a really happy camp right now. They play for each other. Unlike others…even the world champions, Spain. How’s Sergio Ramos gunna sit next to Carlos Puyol at breakfast without wanting to punch his lights out? Won’t happen under Holger.

PESS: Yeah well, we got lucky at the Asian Cup. Easy draw. Poor opposition.

OPT: Um, do we now have to qualify through Europe? Did the descendants of Dirk Hartog just pass a resolution at The Hague that we now go through UEFA now, cos he bumped into WA in the 17th century? You halfwit, the teams we played at the Asian Cup, are the teams we’ll meet to get to Brazil.

PESS: Yeah well… well… well what about the TV rights.

OPT: What about them.

Break in transmission: this is where we’ll leave the conversation briefly, so the writer of this blog gets to keep his livelihood.

OPT: Don’t call me that.

PESS: Yeah well, if you got your head out of the clouds, maybe you’d realise the game is on life support. NRL and AFL are prospering. It riles me so much those egg-chasers are so dumb, play such dopey “handball” sports, yet so many people follow them. The papers have got it in for us, and love them.

OPT: Listen, we need to look in the mirror before we care about what other codes do. Plus, since the end of the season, there’s been a fair share of local football stories making news, which ain’t bad considering it’s out of the season. It will get better, you watch.

PESS: Not in my lifetime.

OPT: You weren’t hugged much as a child, were you?

PESS: Better than being hugged too much.

OPT: You’re an idiot.

PESS: Am not. Stop being negative.