Football Alive

Safe smoke bays: Yes Music during the game: Cringe

The A-League shot itself in the head when it started handing out bans back in 2015 on the back of what it termed antisocial behaviour, the issues of flares and swearing have since plagued the national competition and yesterdays announcement that safe smoke bays will be trialed is both pragmatic and welcome.

However, the idea to play music when teams have corner or goal kicks is cringeworthy, it is a reaction to the initiatives that have been seen with Cricket in the Big Bash. Music during stoppages itself has been apropriated from the American sports where music is common in the frequent breaks. 

Football thankfully doesn’t have timeouts, nor do wickets fall or balls need to be thrown in from the boundary, the game flows and with the exception of the much-maligned VAR, happens in real time. Music during the game is both an unwanted distraction and a cheap gimmick.

When a corner is taken, especially when the attacking team has their supporters at that end, Active Supporters take it as a queue not to sing along with the PA system but to up their voices or if they have been quiet to get up and give the lads a lift.

Head of the A-League Greg O’Rourke gave an interview to AAP where he seemed to contradict the effect that these songs will have.

“We want to see the return and growth of active fans that have a large boisterous entertaining, standing, singing, chanting culture,” 

“We’ve been doing a significant amount of work with the clubs, the police and also the active fan representatives about what would be important to them to attract them back and to allow them to grow.”

If this statement stood alone then it would be fantastic news, it is something that the A-League certainly enjoyed marketing itself with. Supporters who are boisterous, standing, singing and chanting are a culture, one which was indeed large before the FFA attacked it unnecessarily.

The A-League apparently conducted a review and it would be interesting see from where their sample was drawn from.

“The plan is based on what fans felt was missing out of an end of season review,” 

“Fans wanted more pre-game entertainment, more in-game entertainment and more at halftime.

Pre-game entertainment is fine, if families want to see musicians, dancers or my personal favourite, ball jugglers showing off their bag of tricks then fantastic, the same goes for half time, but if you want entertainment during the game then look at the pitch.

I find the following statistic hard to believe, maybe it is true of the Rugby codes and AFL but there is no way a third of the game is played with the ball not in play, imagine the amount of injury time if this were true.

“Football globally has about 30 minutes when the ball is stopped or out of play. Some of those gaps can be filled.

Luckily we won’t be seeing this at the derbies, the need to engender a sports carnival lets go……., lets go” atmosphere or to listen to Eminem or Justin Bieber only for the 6 year olds to get upset that a short corner was taken and the music was turned off before the chorus could be played is truly cringeworthy.

“But not in the big derbies when you’ve got big active fans because the natural rhythm of the supporters is the strength of the game.

Anything that brings the crowds in is a positive, however, Football itself as O’Rourke identified, is a Culture and music from the stands should come from the voices of the fans, not from a PA system. The FFA is to be commended for opening up a pragmatic channel whereby pyro can be safely and legally used.

The fear campaign that has surrounded it and the demonisation of those who love to see it has been ridiculous, hopefully, this will lead to autonomy for Active Supporters to represent their teams with their colours in beautiful pyro, both at matches and in marches to stadiums. 

It is a start to get Active Supporters back in the gate, if the A-League needs music during corners and goal kicks, Active can provide that for them free of charge. Being active is what defines these Supporters after all.

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