I used to live in Brisbane. Hardly newsworthy, but it is relevant to this article I assure you.
In the early 2000s, AFL fever gripped the city, solely due to the Brisbane Lions winning three on the trot.
Suddenly swarms of people were lining Queen Street Mall with their Lions jumpers, Jason Akermanis was celebrated as veritable deity and a key figure in the party scene, and on the most part, Queenslanders had thankfully stopped referring to it as ‘Gay-FL’.
I no longer live in Brisbane, but I would wager the Lions and Akermanis hardly have the same pull today. I would however have a cheeky punt that the streets are lined with orange this week – and not because the Dutch have extended their ‘Kings Day’ celebrations.
As the Brisbane Roar line up for their fourth grand final a bunch of their fair-weather fans will be dusting off the jerseys, rolling on down Caxton St. and proudly announcing they’ve been following them since their inception (not so hard, considering it’s been what, nine years?).
There was a time (the early 2000s in fact) when I would sneer at these people. They are not real supporters. Turn up to watch them in the pouring rain when you know they’re are going to get pumped by 100 points and then, and only then will I respect you. But now, as I pencil 4pm Sunday afternoon into my diary to watch a different code than usual at that sanctimonious hour, I must consider myself one of them.
It will be the fifth A-League game I have watched. Two of them Grand Finals, one of them live, and one actually this year when I thought I’d give Friday night A-League on SBS a go – I can’t even remember who they played, but I know the Roar won and I know the quality of football needs to improve quite a bit more before I do it again.
These are not the statistics of a die-hard fan. These are not even the statistics of a semi-interested fan. People have probably sat in front of more Roar games just by falling asleep on the couch!
Yet, there is still a little part of me that does actually care about the Brisbane Roar. I usually check their results each Monday morning, I admire Mike Mulvey for shaking off the Ange Postecoglou shadow and would argue he is in fact a better coach, and I like the fact that their star player would not look out of place in a German porno getting ‘pegged’ by a screaming, leather-bound Amazonian.
Doesn’t all this allow me at least some right to be on the bandwagon? To cash in on the one sporting team I vaguely support that actually has a chance of winning something this year? And in fact, now I think of it, the only one to have won anything in the last ten?! I should be right behind the Roar!
But sadly I’m not. I have watched more Tottenham Hotspur games recently and given they are usually on at 3am that says a lot (perhaps about my drinking more than anything).
Is it the product then? As I said, I watched one game this year and it was pretty bloody dull. I imagine the final will provide more excitement, but it will still go nowhere near the level of spectacle enjoyed in an EPL game.
Or am I shifting the blame? Do I need to, as they say, shit or get off the pot?
Well for now, this week at least, I am going to remain on the pot. Read the newspaper and think about Thomas Broich getting ‘pegged’ while cheering on the Brisbane Roar from my metaphorical Bandwagon Toilet.
By Alasdair McClintock