Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Fitting finale

Goal celebration
Usually I am more of an individual supporter, happy to sit in the stands and support my team. I'm not that vocal with the only time my vocal chords get a work out is when a goal is scored and I proceed to try and deafen my neighbouring supporters with my shout of joy.

But last Sunday was different as I went to my first game with the Melbourne Victory away supporters. I had been to away games before but usually amongst the home team supporters. And it was for a game against Sydney FC, the arch enemy, as we looked to deny them the chance of a minor premiership.

After two days of almost constant rain, Sydney finally produced some sunshine for game day and it was quite humid as my girlfriend, Caroline and I made our way to the pre-game pub. When we arrived at the pub it looked like most had been there for a few hours already and were clearly enjoying the beverages on offer behind the bar. The pub obviously hadn't expected the turn out and the the three bar staff were barely coping with wave after wave of Victory supporters that descended on the bar.

After us being there for just over an hour the bar emptied as we joined our fellwo supporters as we took to the streets not bothering to obey the traffic signals as the group made its way into Moore Park. Through the group's sheer numbers the traffic was powerless to do anything.

After a good twenty minutes of walking, chanting and two security checks we finally made it into the stadium. Those who had obviously done this before quickly took up their positions either in the stands or made their way to the nearby bar for another pre-game drink. The rest of us novices took up positions further back in the stands but not too distant as to create a separation in the mass of support.

As the first half kicked off so did our chanting, fearlessly lead by our capo and his lieutenants. It was not long before both the team and us as supporters were under pressure took an early lead. The noise of the home crowd descended on us like a massive wave and for a moment it felt quite suffocating. At that moment I knew what it felt like for away supporters at our home games when the Victory scored. However, amongst this noise our capo urged us on to continue our own noise and support. The team managed to hold on for the remainder of the half and were only a goal down at the break.

Not long into the second half we were back on level terms as a deflected cross found its way into the back of the net. We as one roared in celebration. A flare was lit and soon the smoke was burning our nostrils. We were ecstactic. We thought we had another shortly after but for an offside call. As luck would have it shortly have it we were again a goal down shortly after ours had been disallowed. Again that wave of noise hit us from the home fans - if anything it seemed a lot louder than for the first goal. Our capo, who looked totally spent, exhorted us again to respond. This time it was more difficult.

When we drew level again with fourteen minutes to go all you could hear was our roar as the home supporters went silent. The guys behind us had warned us that if we scored a goal his beer would go flying and true to his word we copped some beer spray during the goal celebrations. Both him and his mate then proceeded to knock me from where I was standing as they slipped on a combination of rain and beer. The remainder of the game was spent either holding our breath, mocking the opposition supporters and generally having a good time. When the final whistle came we celebrated like we had won and the players came over and showed their appreciation.

We thoroughly enjoyed our time with the active supporters. As I said in my introduction I'm usually not the vocal of supporters when by myself but when you are amongst a group you can't help be dragged along by their enthusiasm. It also helps when there is that "us" versus "them" vibe that being at an away game generates. I will be definitely be looking to become a more active supporter in the future. I won't be in the terrace every week as it will depend on the people with whom I go to games, but I will be there.

3 Comments:

Anonymous watt said...

You are likely to find that one the bugs bite its hard to go back to sitting and clapping.

I am glad you enjoyed it.

The North Terrace is an amazing place, when we manage to knock some sense into TD , the club and the and get them out of our way its going to be tremendous. As the Italian Autonomists put it it will be "In the world but not of it" :)

When you start getting involved you will find quite a involved structure and a real community, you will able to contribute as much as you want in any way you want (I'm not talking about money, I mean all types of contribution). Piano piano I am getting ahead of myself.

ACL and next season, come to visit whenever in the mood (TD may insist we distribute tickets for our area, but that's not a problem).

Watch out blogging world! the Melbourne bloggers (Cecilia and Neil) are going radical ;) :)

North Terrace ole!

23 January 2008 at 14:24  
Anonymous watt said...

A few word need to be added to my previous comment, perhaps you can just edit it.

"Once we knock some sense into TD the club and FFA's heads, and get them out of the way allowing us to support the team properly"

Or something like that, you can fix the grammar maybe you get what I'm trying to say, English is my third language and sometimes I struggle.

Thanks

23 January 2008 at 15:08  
Blogger Neil said...

Watt,

No need to edit. I think everyone understands where you are coming from. I think Cecilia is more likely to go radical than myself - she has that South American blood flowing through her veins. :)

23 January 2008 at 20:40  

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