What an amazing 3 weeks it has been down here in the garden state. As any football fan, racing enthusiast or all-around sports lover will tell you, there is only one place to be in the spring time – Melbourne.
The people of Melbourne turn out in their thousands to watch whatever’s on offer proving time and again they are the nation’s true sporting heroes. Sometimes you forget how good it is to live in this town. Within the space of 3 weeks we have had two grand finals and the first ever A-League Melbourne derby, each week in front of a sell-out crowd. There has been more celebration at obtaining a ticket than there has been after the game.
Working in the CBD, the buzz around town has been palpable, particularly on Friday nights before game-time and the excitement and passion of the fans is everywhere to be seen from the 6 year old with a Victory scarf to the 85 year old covered in St Kilda badges. We love our football, we love our sport. It’s plain to see.
So why doesn’t the national football community recognise we are number one? We may be an AFL town but we are also a football town. Our world-renowed reputation as the multi-cultural capital of Australia only lends itself to this truth. The tireless work of Melbourne’s ethnic-Australians grew football in this town like no other city. But instead of trying to protect their code and the expense of another, they embraced AFL and football together. The fans of Melbourne have shown that AFL and football are not mutually exclusive. It’s a pity the hierarchy of the AFL and FFA disagree.
While the AFL continues to take potshots at the FFA in an attempt to protect ‘their turf’, they are forgetting that the vast majority of football fans do not consider the two codes to be rivals. They like football and AFL, just like they enjoy cricket and tennis. So while the AFL and FFA continue their public stoush and the blind-Freddy media outlets like the Herald-Sun and Daily Telegraph continue to foster the disharmony, the FFA will stay well away from Melbourne. They’d prefer to be where its warmer outside, but cooler in the boardroom.
Who knows, maybe Lez and Fozz really do prefer their harbour views and sipping lattes in Darlinghurst. But we all know nothing beats waxing football lyric over a frappe in the café strips of South Melbourne, Carlton or Oakleigh. You’re missing out boys.
So well-done people of Melbourne for again proving that we are the football hearbeat of this country. One day our recognition will come. Maybe some in the media don’t’ appreciate your efforts, but your friends at the Neos Kosmos – the home of Melbourne football – certainly do.