Sunday, December 27, 2009

(The great part of yesterday) Hey Bulldog... some kind of innocence is measured out in years

Up until about the 45th minute of the match, Boxing Day was a great day.

'The atmosphere in the first half was the best I have even experienced at a match.'

I woke up to poring rain and my wife asking me whether I was 'really going down there in this?' Oh yes I was.

We went to catch the train and there were already other Roar fans on the platform. Got on the train. More orange. No seats. Changed trains. More and more orange. Soon it was full. Then chok-a-block. We stopped at stations and we could hear platform announcements 'in the interests of safety please wait for the next train. It will arrive in 5 minutes.'

It was packed and 95% orange. It was families and very passive. No singing or chanting. Just quiet conversation. Even deep into Gold Coast territory there was barely any yellow getting on the train. A young women near me said, 'all this orange, I'm loving it, oh there is a yellow' pointing to a small boy. 'He's English' said his mother. That explained it. His father was all decked out in Leeds United gear with sandals.

Someone was talking about Miller. He'll get a hat-trick today. We all agreed. (We didn't expect to win but we didn't expect surrender either).

We arrived and wound round like a giant orange snake to the stadium. I yelled at a shirt vendor 'You should be selling orange.' Hardly anyone was interested in his yellow. He gave me a foul look. There was a rock band which sounded great. But getting into the stadium was a drag, even though we had bought our tickets at Ticketec. I spoke to the yellow in front. They were Roar fans last year. They couldn't believe the crowd. They said they were going up the home end 'You'll hear us soon'. Yeh right I thought and I was right.

Inside it was clear that there were even less Gold Coast supporters than usual. But a sea of orange. And more vocal than at home. The stadium echoed the sound. There was pogo dancing and lots of singing and chanting.

Skilled is a very good stadium. Even with 10,000 it sounded great. The atmosphere in the first half was the best I have even experienced at a match.

Some yellow turkey let off a flame at the other end (the pebbly beach or whatever they call it).

In the first half it was all orange. When we scored it was incredible. We started to believe. And Miller kept miss-kicking the ball. (He's behind you someone shouted. He blew us a kiss. It was a home game for the Roar. Till Miron's left back did his knee. Then Anderson came on and the game changed. So did the mood. He is an expert diver and the ref was up for it. At half time Miron got Culina running against Zullo and he could keep up. But neither could Moore stay close to Smeltz. Two soft goals and it was all over. Our worst ever loss. As Fox Sports said 'You can loose a derby, but not 5-1.' Miller should have been on our side. We were clearly missing some talent.

On the train home it was, at first, crowded and quite. Except for a women singing to 'He's a jolly good fellow':

'At least we have never lost to the Phoenix,
At least we have never lost to the Phoenix,
At least we have never lost to the Phoenix,
A least we have never lost 6 nil.'

'Come on join in' she cried. 'Come on.' But nobody would.


Ed Vegas said...

I wanted to be there so badly but by about 60 minutes gone, Hanoi looked much more attractive. Good on the fans, this result will really test their loyalty. If most of them front up to the next home game there is hope, if not... well I just hope there is a club left to watch when I get home.

The only thing that can save the club is the fans, they must hold strong through this bad time and then they (we) will get the club we deserve in the end.

orangecrush said...

Do you think any football team in history has ever recorded more fans at an away game (100ks away) than at some home games in the same season???!!

john said...

Thanks Ed and Orangecrush
It was so great for a while. There was real panto stuff will people shouting out 'he's behind you' to and about Miller.

Fox said that Ange didn't 'feel comfortable' at the Roar. Interesting don't you think? Still I can understand I think his family is still in Melbourne and he probably now knows - but can't talk about - the real problems at the Roar. How can they keep Van Dijk if they have no money? Let's hope they are just waiting for the end of the season to announce the club ownership - but why wait?

It is the same old trouble for soccer in Australia. The governance is still not fixed.

I think you are right about the crowd Orangecrush. Maybe some English derbies the same but they are not 100 kms away.

You left feeling let down because we had made no difference to the team. They got smashed. And they team didn't even come over and thank us. has that ever happened before? Maybe they did later after most had gone?

There were some reminders of the celtic game when they out numbered us. But the result was worth it for them.

I read the comments over at 442. I was amazed that GC fans really thought they out numbered us. They really believed against the evidence of their eyes. the rose coloured glasses of victory.

Hamish said...

You're right John.

The fans know something, even if they haven't put the pieces together consciously.

The fans know that the Roar has been in trouble for years. The fans remember being encouraged to come because "we need 15,000 to break even" - and that was years ago, when we were getting close to 15,000. The fans were worried then, but full of hope.

The fans know that we haven't got close to that for ages, with rare exceptions.

The fans know, for a fact, that every week brings the Roar further from sustainability and closer to bankruptsy.

What the fans don't know is, "What's the plan?"

A team is a long term investment. Buying merchandise, or a season ticket, or even just talking about 'your team' with mates, is a long term investment. It is hard to be a fan of something that for all you know is going to die any time.

What's surprising is how many fans have stuck it out. Their loyalty is extraordinary, which should be a major asset to the Club.

The Club just doesn't know how to manage things. If they downsized they would have a very sustainable Club, with a healthy fan base and a view to build.

john said...

Thanks Hamish
Yes you are, as always, right.

The fans were the stars on Saturday. It was disappointing that the Press missed talking about it. The Den was bigger than at home. It is a better venue. Imagine us at a venue like that!

Come on Marco - we saw you there - write about the real story - the fans and their entertainment - we made the panto real.