The World Game’s a Riot

The number of people who attended AFL matches in 2012 was 6,778,824 according to the AFL.

The number of riots in that time, let alone riots that resulted in tens of thousands of dollars of damaged property, was zero.

Right around the world, tens of millions of people attend matches from various sports without feeling the need to destroy property. The MCG survived the Boxing Day test without incident. Rod Laver arena is still in good nick after the Australian Open. New Orleans will most likely have a riot-free Super Bowl XLVII. And Augusta’s trees, fairways and greens will go unscathed in the upcoming US Masters.

Whether it’s baseball, basketball, wrestling or caber tossing, crowds come together peacefully and for the most part, leave the same way.

But when it comes to the “World Game”, there seems to be a problem in that regard.

It is quite likely that the vast majority of “soccer” games are played without incident between rival spectators. It is also likely that the trouble is caused by a minority of thugs.

But there must be ‘thuggy’ types who follow AFL, or NFL, or NBA, or even tennis. Why are they not causing riots from time to time, and smashing property in the process? And what’s with the flares!?

It seems to me that often, the trouble is caused by racial tension that dates back centuries, and the behavior is more in keeping with rioting that comes from political or religious unrest. But is that all it is?

It seems to me that when it comes to world sports, rioting, violence and thuggery on a consistent basis (even if on a small scale) is unique to soccer culture. So what is it about soccer that creates conflict?

And how can it be addressed?


  1. “It seems to me that often, the trouble is caused by racial tension that dates back centuries,”

    Could you provide evidence to back this statement up? Not sure that seats being smashed at Etihad Stadium has much to do with Serbs vs Croats, Greeks vs Macedonians or Japanese vs Koreans.

    Of all the most heated, and yes often violent, rivalries in the world no more than a handful have anything to do with religion let alone race – and almost every single one of those involves people from the same ethnic group, same country and same city. Take this article for example – – other than Rangers/Celtic and Barca/Madrid there is not a scrap of ‘ethnic’ rivalry involved. This is the sort of lazy stereotyping which adds nothing to the debate.

    Anybody who smashes a seat at a sporting event deserves to be banned and banned for a long time and anyone who involves themselves in a brawl should be held to account but the “my sport is better than your sport” finger pointing just divides people more and instead of debating what we’re going to do to kick a bunch of 15-year-old heroes out of our sporting arenas for good is hijacked by the two camps arguing with each other about trivial rubbish.

    It’s the same line of thinking that holds the NSL as the worst thing ever, where the Balkan Wars played out on a weekly basis, whereas by the time it folded the NSL had six ‘ethnic’ teams (none of whom came from groups who had any traditional ‘rivalries’ with each other and one who were from New Zealand) and seven ‘broad based’ teams that had no affiliations.

    There’s no doubt internationally that soccer in some countries (hello Eastern Europe) has issues with violence and racism, but if you look at the countries where the most trouble is (and compared to them what happened in that A-League game was like a kid’s picnic) then you’ll see that they have issues with violence and racism in not only soccer/football but in other sports and in their society in general. To pretend that the game is somehow responsible is comic.

  2. Couldn’t agree more cobber. This is the way I see things:
    And I quote:
    “Footy is a violent game, but one where all the violence happens on the field; spectators co-mingle in sweetness and light sharing sandwiches and thermoses of tea. Soccer is a game where so little happens on the field that the passions erupt off it. Given that the game is largely supported by wogs then it’s no surprise that violence occurs. The only surprise is that there aren’t more knives being used.”

  3. Well said Ian, well said.

    I suggest you have a really good read of those links Pete….

  4. When was the last time a riot occurred during an A-League match? Once you find a a genuine example, please link me to an unbiased source. Good luck.

  5. Soccer supporters come from all backgrounds. I guess AFL doesn’t have to worry about that because its only played in one country and only played by white Anglos

  6. Ripsnorter says


    Best way to address the issue is to get everyone to sit together as they do at other sports events – you will find that most of these guys are tough at taunting the opposition when there is a big fence and some police in between but arent as brave sitting next to someone from the opposition.

    I think that Football teams generally used to be all home supporters but this changed when transport became easier to attend away fixtures and because they were not used to having away supporters at the ground then trouble erupted.

    Most AFL supporters have grown up with a culture of opposing teams being seated together so they have a culture of co-existence at the game and therefore trouble does not start as often.

  7. Very original piece. So, like, what are the ‘racial tensions’ between Victory and Heart fans? Isn’t that, like, a ‘colour’ issue or something?

  8. Where was this riot? According to the Herald-Sun today Insp. Paul Ross said an “idiot element” was the problem. “Generally, in relation to the game the vast majority of the crowd behaved well.” he said.

    No riots, no racial element or thuggery. There was some 20 y.o.’s who thought is was fun to be anti social and i hope they get fined and banned.

    Perhaps nothing ever happens at the summer cricket, at the AFL like the post above, or the Tennis Open a couple of years back?

    Considering the thousands and thousands of football games played every week all over the world from juniors right up to World Cups do you really believe the game is all about violence. With the millions who play it, and the millions more who go to watch it every year, the overwhelmingly vast majority go without incident making your article a self serving excercise as an AFL fan.

    Perhaps you should report facts not fiction next time.

  9. I started to engage this article, but seriously.. you’ve never seen thugs punch on at AFL.. NRL?.. google is your friend. How about suburban aussie rules riots.. plenty of them mate. Point is.. you have no point except that you think something but you haven’t researched it.
    But then again maybe you read another article like this from someone else who hadn’t done the work and called that research. Plenty of them in this country

  10. I read the report in the Weekend Australian about the massacre at the Egyptian Premier league game last year between the Port Said and Cairo teams, where 74 people were murdered.
    It made me sick. But I didn’t think it had anything to do with soccer and how the game is played.
    I thought about the Arab “Spring” trading authoritarian oppression for theocratic oppression. I thought about Lord of the Flies. I thought about base tribalism whether stemming from religion, location or masculine dominance. I thought about “in victory revenge and in defeat malice” – the reality of it rather than the pub ribbing.
    But I didn’t think about soccer.
    These problems are less common in wealthier, western, judeo-christian societies. But the example of Italian “ultras”; republican/nationalist enmity in Spain; and the last vestiges of Catholic/Protestant divisions (now much diminished in sport) shows that no culture can afford to be sanctimonious.
    The examples you cite of tennis, golf, AFL, cricket have much more to do with wealthy societies than the nature of the sports.
    English soccer seems to have diminished fan violence through security staff, surveillance; pre-sold tickets and tough legal and club penalties. As an outside observer that seems the way ahead for the A League. At least at Heart/Victory derbies.
    The on-field success of the revitalised A League of the last few years augurs well for the World Game in multicultural Australia.
    Lets not trash a great sport with not so subtle racism.

  11. Peteed’s original comments are pretty ignorant and Ian and the others are right to take exception to them. However Chris p gave a pretty good example of ignorance on the other side. “I guess AFL doesn’t have to worry about that because its……….. only played by white Anglos”

    That’s right Chris, they don’t come much whiter than Buddy Franklin, Cyril Rioli, Daniel Wells and various members of the Motlop, Bennell and Krakouer families, not to mention Nick Naitanui or Hertier (Harry) O’Brien. And of course all the great VFL/AFL players in the last 50 years have been Anglo-Celtic with classically British names like Barassi, Jesaulenko, Ditterich, Daicos, Jakovich, Liberatore etc. etc. And of course unlike Football Federation Australia (soccer) whose three CEOs have been named O’Neill, Buckley and Gallop the AFL is run by an impeccably Anglo-Aussie named Demetriou who was born in a part of Australia called Cyprus.

  12. Gee I hate when soccer fans bang on about how billions play their game the world over and aussie rules is only played here and that somehow means it’s a superior game. If you used that logic, you’d say that the rat is a superior mammal to the kangaroo. The rat is everywhere whereas the kangaroo is confined to these shores. The thing is, though, the rat just happens to be what it is and the kangaroo just happens to be what it is, just as soccer is what it is and aussie rules is what it is. Soccer fans really need to get their hand off it about being a world game and that means its better than all the other sports. It just happened to get everywhere before a lot of other sports. And try this on soccer fans: in the only place in the world where footy and soccer is played at a professional level, which sport has proved to be more appealing???????

  13. Dave Nadel

    Loved how you dismantled Chris P’s ignorance

  14. Seeing as Peter seems to have washed his hands now his trolling exercise has worked, perhaps he could ponder these points from the article I linked to

    1) how soccer rose to be seen as the code of spectator violence, even as more severe violence was occurring elsewhere

    and 2) how the real history of footy spectator violence faded into the mists of time as if it never, ever happened, thereby allowing present day footy spectator bashings to take on the character of isolated events without a pattern, a context or a history .

  15. For what it’s worth, I did edit the last 3 paragraphs of my article but my submission had already been posted before I could apply the amendment.

    I amended to read:

    “At times, the cause is racial tension. At other times not. But it seems to me that irrespective of the cause, soccer more often than any other sport offers a stage on which hooligans want to perform.

    Why is that and can it be addressed?”

    I was thinking specifically about Poland and Ukraine, and about how nervous everyone gets if certain EPL clubs visit certain cities in mainland Europe.

    I accept totally that the the violence at some soccer matches are actually a result of wider, non-soccer related issues. That could be all it is. I was just asking…

    As far as the referential articles I was pointed to go, to me its like an Armstrong supporter saying, “Yeah, we acknowledge that Lance is a cheat, a pathological liar, a narcisist, but read these articles about other people who have also done similar things.”

    Sometimes deflection is the only form of defence.

  16. Jeff Dowsing says

    Yes, there are incidents of violence and damage at AFL games – of course there is – but the fact is they are more organic in nature and more rare in their occurrence compared to A-League. Supporters just don’t mobilise with the intention of going down that path – I go to most Collingwood games with av 60K+ crowds and cannot remember the last time I saw a fight or wilful destruction before, during or after a game. And yet Magpie fans are stereotyped as being the bridge between Neanderthals and human beings!

    The nature of the Heart-Victory brouhaha is not race related. It’s related to the lack of brain cells residing in a small minority (mostly teenagers-early 20’s) for whom the game is secondary to a magnified sense of tribalism and obsession with the ‘atmosphere’ they create at the game. Some of them actually spend a majority of the time with their back to the game…

    The A-League and its clubs need to seriously nip this in the bud because it does detract from the great gains the game is making in Australia. Fact: there is wanton damage to a number of seats on a regular basis at AAMI Park which simply does not happen at Storm or Rebels matches. Fact: there are multiple flares lit at most games – including a rocket flare recently that could have killed two girls.

    Whilst actual riots or fights are not common, it may be shortly around the corner. The other night a bunch of supporters under police escort to the game sought to start something with opposition supporters who’d gathered at a nearby pub (the owner shut the doors). With fools like this auditioning for roles in the next British soccer hooligan movie there needs to be an acceptance of the emergent culture and discussion around how to knock it on the head before people do get hurt and parents stop taking their kids to games.

  17. “Sometimes deflection is the only form of defence.” A big admission Pete.

  18. Jeff, a much more knowledgeable and reasoned position. Yes, this stuff needs to be nipped in the bud.

    Re the Collingwood attendance. You might not see fights but they do occur. (Interesting use of the word ‘organic’ btw)

    I’ve been to countless NSL and A League and VPL matches and I’ve seen three moments of fighting — they were much like footy fights (limited to two to four people). Though I have seen dickheads doing the things dickheads do more often than I would like.

  19. Ian, I’m glad you picked up on my “admission”.

    I accept that my article was clumsily written.

  20. Barkly St End says

    Even in the old NSL, when only friends and family were in attendance, there were regular instances of crowd violence (more often than not with some sort of ethnic basis to it), and at least one example of players and refs having to rush off the field in hot pursuit of an angry mob.

    Now it’s true that I have heard of reports of angry grand mothers prodding umpires with their umbrellas back in the 1870s in the early years of the VFA – but I’m not really aware of too much else happening in the Australian game as far as crowd trouble goes.

    It’s odd that people would try and put AFL crowds in the same basket as soccer crowds as far as violence in the terraces goes.

    As if one example of a dust up per decade can somehow compare in any way, shape or form.

    And before anyone accuses me of being an Anglo, or a bogan or a skip – I’m actually a wog who grew up with both soccer and aussie rules and have followed both keenly for most of my life.

  21. I’m with you Barkly St end. Ian is kidding himself if he thinks the voilence in Aussie rules is on a par with soccer. Soccer raises the bar and then puts it all into hyperdrive. Flares, wanton destruction of stadium property, fans mobilizing with intent – that stuff happens only in soccer games and is a mile worse than anything that happens in the AFL

  22. Barkly St End says

    As one or two posters have already said, we are talking primarily about teens and young males in their early 20s who are actually more interested in mimicking their counterparts overseas than actually supporting the game, who see as their main role models the ultras of Southern and Eastern Europe and South America.

    If anyone here thinks the AFL and NRL has anything remotely similar to these ultras then I urge them to do some research first.

    This mimicking of ultras is a train wreck waiting to happen for the A-League.


    The root cause is men. Where there is violence, whatever the scale, there’s men. The most violence I have ever witnessed on a sporting field was in my younger days playing Aussie Rules, when supporters would merge with players (all or mostly men) in a free for all punch on. Then there were punch-ons that regularly occurred watching the WAFL or VFL (on telly). Always to do with men.


  24. Barkly St End says

    No doubt you’ll find plenty of amateur footy leagues around the country where they will occasionally smack the living daylights out of each other (not so sure about the spectators joining in, but anyway…..)

    So yes, that happens.

    Then we have the professional leagues in Australia, and for the moment, only one of those leagues appears to have a problem with the fans deciding to smash up the stadium en masse.

    Now there might be some who feel that the latter is more sophisticated and cosmopolitan than rustic footballers smacking each other on the field on a weekend, afterall, there is a certain cachet to mimicking anything that smells of the Mediterranean.

    And I guess that’s a matter of debate.

    Personally, I’d prefer those young soccer fans to express their toughness by putting their head over the footy, than join up with other ultras and smash up public property.

    But that’s just me.

  25. T bone. How many soccer matches have you attended?

  26. Ian.

    None: I’m too scared too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. None. So you too get your opinions from the Herald Sun. Good work champ.

  28. Hi Ian

    Look mate, you’ve made some fair points about perception here, but again, you’re kidding yourself if you think the AFL has the same problems with crowd behavior that soccer has. Please name one time the AFL has had a problem with fans mobilizing before a game, or when a stadium was torn apart or flares were set off? Sure I don’t agree that the problem is as big as Pete made out, but there still is a problem. You’ve tried to bulldoze that this is all perception, and I somewhat agree with you, coz Aussie rules is not squeaky clean either, but nevertheless, soccer has bigger challenges with crowd behavior than the AFL. To think it doesn’t is having your head in the sand.

  29. Barkly St End says

    It’s a pretty big leap from not attending soccer matches to then concluding that same person gets his opinion from one media source.

  30. Got your back Barkley St end

  31. Jeff Dowsing says

    I’d also like to add that cricket does itself no favours either. When any sport desperately promotes peripheral attractions/distractions such as the ‘atmosphere’, fireworks, dress-up parties etc, then administrators shouldn’t be surprised when like-minded idiots attending with little understanding or interest in the game get bored and do silly things. The saving grace for the Big Bash is that no one cares enough about the teams and who wins for it to get dangerous, and there is no real culture of sneaking anything in but some bourbon in a Coke bottle, nor does wrecking seats occur to anyone as being fun.

    But getting back to soccer, really supporters shouldn’t need to be escorted in groups to games in Australian cities anyway. In itself that perpetuates a mindset that the fans are somehow part of the show, that they too are going into some kind of faux battle. If anyone doubts these kids/young adults’ warped views of what attending a football match is about, TWITter is an instructive barometer.

    As a side note, in recent years there have been occasional group marches to games by Collingwood supporters organised unofficially (from Cricketers Arms) and officially (2010GF, ANZAC Day) from Westpac Centre/Fed Sq. As far as I know there has been no problems, and no untoward intentions. But all the same, it’s a practice that I’m not comfortable with for it’s potential to spread and devolve.

  32. Just want to say that I don’t think it’s a big problem in terms of frequency in general, but relative to other sports, that behaviour happens more frequently.

    My submission was written quickly and clumsily, and my point was not well articulated.

    I merely wanted to promote a discussion on what the reasons might be for that type of behavior, not specifically to attack soccer. Of course, my assumption was that readers would agree that this “mob” behaviour was more prevalent (as infrequent as it may be) at soccer matches than other sports but you know what they say about “assumptions”.

  33. john weldon says

    I’m wondering how many who have commented on this piece, or even the guy who wrote the piece, actually attended the Heart Victory game.

    I did.

    Never once did I feel threatened, nor did the two 8 year old boys I was there with. Yes there were idiots there -reminded me of the old Bay 13 at the cricket, or of the World cup final at the MCG in the mid 90s when the drunken behaviour of some fans had my girlfriend scared and in. tears, or of the 1980 grand final where I saw a bloke king hit another bloke, or of the time in the early 2000s when a beer bottle was thrown and hit my brother at Kardinia Park, or of the day at the MCG in the late 90s when Richmond fans sitting behind us said, ‘what’s that [email protected]@ken stink? Must be that [email protected]@ken wog shit those [email protected]@ts in front of us are eating’.

    There is no doubt there were some idiots at the game on the weekend, but THERE WAS NO RIOT.

    Soccer has its problems, agreed. And those idiots and idiots on all sports should be found and banned. But it’s also an easy target for a lazy media that knows how to press the stereotyped emotional buttons.

  34. Mark Doyle says

    This article and most of the comments are ignorant and naive and comments by Ian Syson that soccer is mainly supported by wogs with a penchant for violence is stupid along with some clown saying that aussie rules is only supported by white anglos. Ian Syson should have been in Germany in 2006 for the soccer world cup which was one of the greatest sports carnivals with great camaraderie between people from all parts of the world all having a great fun time in city squares and bars. I believe that the recent vandalising and lighting of flares at a Melbourne soccer game was nothing more than immature and irrational mob behavior by young men with a skin full of beer. As someone has mentioned, I too was reminded of William Golding’s ‘Lord of The Flies’. I believe that the reason for this behavior by these immature young men is that they feel alienated from mainstream society. This belief is based on a number of university sociological studies done in England 25-30 years ago about crowd violence at English soccer matches; these studies found that that the reason for this soccer violence was the frustation of young men who were alienated from mainstream society because of poor education and unemployment. The contemporary Australian society has a significant number of people who are unemployed and alienated from mainstream society; these people account for 20% of the population and number approximately four and a half million and were identified in an Access Economics report of a few years ago which found that most of these people lived in the outer suburbs of Melbourne and Sydney and were unemployable because of poor education. This Access Economics report found that the real level of unemployment in some outer suburbs of Melbourne and Sydney varied between 17% and 24% plus youth unemployment exceeding 30% in some suburbs and middle-aged male unemploymen texceeding 40% in some suburbs.

  35. JW
    Oh, so you have to time to criticize your mates in public forums but you can’t find the time to read their manuscripts. Well that’s just typical.

    PS. Yeah, I agree footy, cricket, badminton and all the other atypical sports you mentioned have had their own issues with crowd behavior, but c’mon mate, up there soccer? Let’s agree to disagree.

    Double PS I still luv ya

  36. Jeff Dowsing says

    Hilarious Mark Doyle! You may just want to recheck Ian Syson’s comments for I think you’ve pegged him for someone else’s ‘ignorant and naive’ posts.

  37. Lord Bogan says

    Has anyone actually learned anything new from this discussion? There just seems to be much immature banner waving and chest beating to defend one’s point of view. Does the airing of selective dirty laundry really enhance our appreciation of two great sports? I think not. It just intensifies the ignorance and resentment.

  38. Andrew Starkie says

    Bored, frustrated, alienated, just trying to impress their grandparents. Like Bagdatis’ tennis fans.

    Passion or love of the game have nothing to do with it. The terrace offers a location and opportunity to offend in large numbers.

  39. What the AFL wouldn’t give to be dealing with a few busted chairs right now…

  40. …actually, what ‘sport’ wouldn’t give to be dealing with a few busted chairs. Drugs, organised crime, match-fixing – this has all the makings of a sporting apocalypse.

  41. Litza is right. Imagine getting upset about busted chairs in an unloved stadium or defending Soccer’s honour by finding minor violence in other codes, while Soccer is facing charges of world-wide match fixing allegations and Aussie Rules (the code of Soccer’s critics on this thread) appears to have some of its key clubs involved in a doping scandal with underworld connotations!

  42. I was walking down a main street of Geelong at around 11pm a couple of Friday nights ago and I felt threatened and there was not a soccer ball, footy, or any sporting equipment of any nature in sight.

    I’ve been to sporting events of all types, including soccer, and not felt threatened. I’ve been to AFL matches where I have. The point of the article was not about violence itself, but a specific type of behavior that in my mind was more prevalent in one sport than in others.

    It was not clear in my piece and I accept that but I thought the point was made clear in the ensuing discussion.

    It seems to me now thought hat there’s a touch of the “Armstrong” defence (what drugs?) aka the AFL defence (what tanking?) aka the Japanese defence (what dolphins) coming from those who I offended.

    And Litza and Dave N….really? The old “there’s starving kids in Africa” line when trying to get my kids to eat vegetables. Very Pollyanna-ish. Don’t get me wrong, I would love it if we could all apply that thinking all the time because then there would be world peace.

  43. Dave Nadel says

    No its not the kids are starving in Africa argument. It is more like politicians in Great Britain arguing over date of the King’s Garden Party in August 1914. The Report released yesterday alleges match fixing, drug use and involvement in organised crime against Australian Sport. Aussie Rules and Soccer are accused along with many other sports. In this context a discussion about minor violence and vandalism seems fairly irrelevant.

  44. T bone. Fans tearing a stadium apart: lights going out at Waverley. NRL: burning down the grandstand at Cumberland oval.

    Dave. It’s a bit much to raise a context that didn’t even exit when this article was written and the first responses were written.

    Oh and I went to the cricket on Sunday. Can someone clean that shit up? Must have been six evictions in my area before tea. Apparently bay 13 was a mess by 9pm.

  45. Ian – it’s why I haven’t been to the ODI cricket for nearly 30 years. Bay 13 long ago lost the ability to distinguish crowd involvement from mindless self-indulgence.

  46. FYI, from 1992

    Police ‘not Ready For Footy Brawls’
    Sue Hewitt
    26 July 1992
    Sunday Age

    POLICE yesterday admitted they were unprepared for the brawls at Friday night’s Collingwood-Essendon game that led to 180 people being evicted from the MCG and 11 arrests.

    The police field commander, Senior Sergeant John Fraser, said yesterday that it was the worst violence he had seen at a match this year.

    He said he would be seeking to double police strength at MCG matches and would discuss with his superiors further restrictions on alcohol sold at the ground.

    Fighting inside the ground started at 6.30 when four to five people brawled behind the eastern goals. Four police were injured.

    Police reported several other incidents, including a fight in the Keith Miller bar in the Great Southern Stand where, it was alleged, a broken glass was used.

    More than 88,000 fans, the biggest crowd for a home-and-away game this season, watched Collingwood defeat Essendon by 22 points.

    Senior Sergeant Fraser said there were times when he feared for the safety of the public and police. Twenty “mini-brawls” erupted around the ground in areas normally trouble-free.

    Seventy police were on duty to control a crowd that had been estimated would reach 70,000. They were unprepared for the 88,000 turnout, he said.

    Senior Sergeant Fraser said there had been a few fights at the Collingwood-Carlton centennial match and at the first night game between North Melbourne and Carlton on 10 April, but Friday night’s violence was worse.

    The Opposition spokesman on police matters, Mr Pat McNamara, yesterday blamed a statewide police shortage for the problems.

  47. Ian

    I was at that game. The report is a media beat up. Don’t reckon a punch was thrown. Must of been a time when the media villified the AFL the way it does the A league today. Continued good luck with your crusade.

  48. 26 July 1992

  49. I was at the game too and don’t recall any crowd incidents, though I do remember a superb goal by Daicos running with the flight of the ball towards the goal mouth, where he snatched the ball from the clutches of an Essendon defender, swerved away from him and kicked what appeared to the naked eye as the easiest of goal.

    But I can emphasise with what Ian is getting at – the stereotyping of soccer fans fullstop – when it’s just a very small minority offending. As a Collingwood fan, I am used to being stereotyped in the same way. But I can tell you that in 20 years of standing in the outer at Vic Park I never once saw a fight, or anything close. Not saying they wouldn’t have happened, but certainly not common.

  50. Phil Dimitriadis says


    I was also at that game and remember a number of incidents before and after the game behind the Ponsford Stand. Tempers were frayed because they didn’t anticipate the massive crowd. Me and my mate waited over an hour to get in.

    No fights in the outer at Vic Park? In the early 80s against Carlton, Richmond and Essendon I saw plenty and they weren’t pretty. Booze was always a factor.

  51. T Bone – a bit pejorative? No need for that is there? If you want to check out the media vilifying footy, have a look at this article and especially the links at the bottom Though I can’t imagine it’s *all* made up.

    Damo, Similarly I went to about 40 NSL games and saw just one fight (among Melbourne Knights supporters) in 5 years. Though that doesn’t mean I didn’t miss stuff that was happening elsewhere.

  52. Phil, I was in the Olympic Stand that night. The Ponsford was always last to fill up in those days, so that makes sense if the crowd was overflowing & late and the anger would have spilled over in that part of the ground.

    Honestly never saw anything at Vic Park – not to say the language wasn’t colourful (from supporters of both clubs). The only fights I’ve seen were the last round Geel v Coll clash at Kardinia Park in ’91 and the ’93 night grand final between Richmond and Essendon when a mad Tiger fan let loose after the game. Scary. Certainly saw plenty of action in day/night one day cricket games in the early to mid 90s too. Those crowds were a disgrace.

    Another incident for Ian worth seeking out is the Qualifying Final replay of 1990 where (apparently) a bunch of feral Collingwood supporters verbally and physically bombarded a bunch of supporters from other Melb. clubs who had formed a cheer squad to barrack specifically against Collingwood. I never saw it, but it was reported in the papers after the game (which would have been about Sept 15, 1990).

  53. Soccer is travelling just beautifully. Nothing to worry about.

  54. Ian

    Didn’t mean to offend you, but c’mon, dredging up something from 20 years ago???

    Again, I agree that soccer gets a raw deal from the media, but then you go and use that same media to make a case against Aussie rules … and a excerpt from ancient history, for that matter

    Found this similarly discriminatory piece against soccer from just the other day

    It reads:

    SOCCER thugs should be banned from the sport for life if they repeatedly misbehave, Ted Baillieu says.

    And recent violent outbreaks at soccer matches have been described by the Premier as “absolute acts of bastardry”.

    A police officer was punched during Saturday night’s match between Melbourne Victory and the Western Sydney Wanderers, which was also marred by dozens of hooligans and saw police use capsicum spray.

    Police have revealed that many trouble-makers are “known” to them and will be targeted in the future if they misbehave.

    Launching a new television advertisement to raise awareness of an anti-violence campaign, Mr Baillieu called for clubs to do as much as possible to crack down on hooligans.

    “To work with Victoria Police to identify anybody who commits these absolute acts of bastardry and thuggery and get them out of our grounds, get them out of our game, and restore sport in soccer fields to a level of dignity,” he said.

    “Any more that the clubs can do, should be done.”

    Clubs should act to ensure thugs acting in this way “do not get in the gate”, he said.
    Mr Baillieu, who is a Melbourne Victory member and a self-confessed sports fan, said: “I absolutely deplore what I have seen”.

    “They have demonstrated an ugly, ugly side, which we don’t want to have any part of in this country, and certainly not in this state,” he said.

    “It’s completely foreign to the basis… of sports culture in Victoria.

    “You probably have to be a psychiatrist to understand the motive of some of these people, but the anecdotal evidence I have seen myself is… there are some people who go to the game to do just that – they have precious little interest in the sport.”

    “It is just digraceful.”

    He said if this behaviour continues, “there’s a problem”.

    “These people have got to be out of the (grounds), never get in,” he said.

    “Not banned for six months, twelve months – never get in.

    “Keep them away from sport.

    “I think we need a lot more attention on who these people are.”

    Deputy Commissioner Graham Ashton said that Victoria Police was assessing plans to run targeted operations at soccer matches, using intelligence gathered in recent weeks from an “escalating series of violent actions”.

    “Those particular people of late, have been coming in, just as the premier said, not to actually watch the soccer but these are people who are known to us through other activities that are coming in to try to incite unlawful activity,” he said.

    “We do know a lot of these people and we have got to know them better in the last couple of weeks.”

    Some of the people that were known to police had disrupted other “public events”, he said.

    This morning, North West Metro region Inspector Geoff Colsell said a group of spectators who call themselves Horda were seemingly attempting to recreate the notorious soccer hooliganism of the 1980s with their latest behaviour.

    “It’s concerning for us but we’ve been working with all the stakeholders to try to resolve it, but as I say it’s just this one sub-group, this ultra group,” Inspector Colsell told 3AW.

    “It’s just not all the active Victory supporters, it’s just one sub-group really that’s a concern to us,” he said.

    “I’m just starting to understand soccer, but I think they’re trying to emulate some of the soccer antics of the ’80s with this sort of behaviour.”

    “That’s their clear intention. They just go out to cause trouble.”

    But it was Western Sydney supporters who were to blame for a number of flares being released throughout the game, Insp Colsell said.

    Two women were treated for smoke inhalation as a result.

    “The flares were set off in the Wester Sydney quadrant for active supporters down there.”

    Insp Colsell said things became ugly on Saturday night when police stepped in to help stadium security guards who were being targeted by supporters.

    “The crowd surged towards a security guard or some security personnel.”

    “Police intervened, obviously, to support the security and then the crowd then turned on the police and we had to deploy OC foam.”

    Insp Colsell said police were considering increasing fines for unruly behaviour at soccer matches in a bid to stamp it out.
    – See more at:

  55. T Bone. When does ancient history stop and relevant history start?

    I’m not making a case *against* Aussie rules. I’m merely pointing out that historically it has little grounds for the morally superior position that many of its supporters adopt. Maybe the point is that we cannot really trust the media for any of its reporting.

    But this caught my eye: ‘“It’s just not all the active Victory supporters, it’s just one sub-group really that’s a concern to us,” he said.’ There are dickheads in every crowd (a larger % at the cricket) in every sport.

    BTW the women supposedly treated for smoke inhalation weren’t. One of the women in question refuted that statement in a letter to the Herald Sun.

    As for dragging up something from 20 years ago. Nominate a more recent year and I’ll find something for you.

  56. Where the difference lays is the unfortunate soccer sub-culture of 1970’s & 1980’s England which imo has tainted the media and non-soccer enthusiasts’ opinion of the game. So any incidents of flares and busted chairs etc (and this year has been worse than I can recall) reinforces those still carrying that perception it’s a sport where delinquents gravitate.

    Whilst incidents do occur occasionally at AFL games there is not groups such as HORDA who appear to be attempting to emulate the many British football hooligan movies which glorify behaviour that has now been largely eliminated in the EPL (at least at the grounds).

    That is a major cause for concern and the fear the sport could regress back to something approaching that far overwhelms squabbling over media reportage. And given the way in which AFL is being hammered daily for it’s growing list of issues hardly speaks to favouritism.

  57. Jeff

    That’s a great wrap. You’ve covered every issue in this thread in an even way. Hope your voice has the last word on the matter.

  58. JD. I think you are on the money there. The thing is you know what you are talking about and your argument is not based on rumour. Aside fom the 170 chairs (which is a bizarre one-off, the events of which are still not clear), I don’t think there is much different going on this year. In past years flares have tended to be overlooked. The media has started to focus on them more this season. Admittedly I’ve only been to 10 games this A league season but I have seen nothing untoward in any of them, a couple of relatively harmless smoke flares aside.

    But yes there is a core group of wannabe eurohools who need to be weeded out and I wouldn’t like to be seen to be avoiding that problem.

    I agree the footy soccer titfortat-ism is not helpful ultimately but the comparison was framed in the opening ambit of the article to which we are responding. We are not going to find useful and workable solutions to the problem of sokkah riottzz while the problem is misdiagnosed as a systemic one and not the very particular one you’ve outlined here and above.

  59. Sorry to disappoint TB. But I don’t see that you really know enough about he problem to be making that call. Now lets catch up with gigs this Friday at some pub in carlton and argue in the privacy of our own beer haze.

  60. Ian.

    I knew I was wishing for the impossible when I hoped Jeff would get in the last word. You’ve got ‘I have to have the last word’ written all over you. Luv it all the same and happy to let you have it this time (can’t speak for the rest of the knackers though). Look forward to a beer with you down the track … this friday am otherwsie engaged. Cheers

  61. Ian Syson says:
    February 5, 2013 at 11:25 am
    Re the Collingwood attendance. You might not see fights but they do occur.

    Long time reader, big time Collingwood fan, but this is my first post.

    Hang on Ian, so no body sees the fights at Collingwood games, but yet you claim they do occur ?.

    Do you know something that thousands upon thousands of Collingwood fans do not know about.

    i have been to plenty of Collingwood games, and have never seen a fight.

    I actually find that comment offensive to Collingwood fans.

  62. Ian Syson says

    “I have been to plenty of Collingwood games and have never seen a fight”

    Just what is Caro going on about then?

Leave a Comment