Opinion

Euro snobs, take off blinkers

by
May 18, 2017

Sydney's Alex Brosque holds the winners trophy as he celebrates with team mates after winning the A-League Grand Final.

Chelsea's manager Antonio Conte is thrown into the air by players after the side clinched the English Premier League title.

Blue is the colour, football is the game, we’re all together and winning is our aim.

So cheer us on through the sun and rain, ’cause Chelsea, Chelsea is our name.

Having jumped on the Chelsea bandwagon in 2006 when German Michael Ballack signed for the Blues, it is fair to say I have had a great decade and, more recently, a great week.

It was a long time coming but the perennial champions were finally awarded the right to celebrate when Michy Batshuayi tapped home to clinch Chelsea its fifth title in the past 12 years, giving owner Roman Abramovich $57million reasons to smile — well, that is how much he paid for the Belgian.

Across the years I have seen Chelsea win quite a few trophies: a Champions League, a handful of Premier League titles, five FA Cups, a Community Shield and also a Europa League title to name a few — but right now, I’d much rather be a Sydney FC fan.

I am not a Eurosnob and unfortunately there are too many of those getting around at the moment, they are dangerous people.

To put it simply, a Eurosnob is a person who’ll proudly wear their big brand Premier League, La Liga or Serie-A replica shirt while (figuratively) spitting on the A-League badges of their fellow football fans and countrymen.

Eurosnobs have sheer ignorance towards the A-League because they are under the false impression anything to do with Australian soccer is bad.

There are plenty of Aussies who rarely miss a game played by their beloved club, despite waking up at 3am to watch the games on dodgy internet streams.

They read news and blogs about Chelsea, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Barcelona or Bayern Munich as a part of their day’s schedule.

And yet, they have never been to an A-League game, and I could count on one hand the number of games they have seen on television.

Anyway, as much as it pains me to say it, it would be awesome to be supporting Sydney.

Why?

Because living in Australia and seeing your own local team thrive is exceptional.

I follow one of the Melbourne-based teams and I’ve been paying my membership fees since its inception, but it has brought me nothing but despair.

Over the years it has promised plenty, but delivered little.

To be frank, it has probably brought more heartache than happiness, and now I know what it feels like to support Richmond or maybe even Liverpool.

You probably guessed it, I go for Melbourne City and during the past few years I have gone into each season with optimism, expectation and hope, but more often than not I am let down.

But gee, how good would it be to call ourselves the best team in the country.

Sydney has that luxury and all its supporters have been able to lap it up in the past week or two.

The Sydney faithful have a vested interest in the club. Like every other A-League supporter, we are able to go and watch our favourite sides play on a weekly basis.

And those who say the quality of the football is terrible will not help the game evolve.

Bums on seats and increased interest in the game will inevitably see the standard of football increase on the pitch.

We all know the A-League cannot match the high-profile European competitions in terms of attendance, revenue or prestige but I am starting to suspect the gap might be closing quicker than most Eurosnobs believe.

Nobody should knock the local product until they’ve seen it for themselves.

Because to my mind, snobbery is something that the game in this country at all levels could well do without.

The standard of the A-League has steadily risen with the continued influx of skilful recruits and the games are generally entertaining.

The battle at the top of the table was engrossing until Sydney ran away with it.

The season’s storylines such as the Sky Blues’ regeneration, Adelaide’s demise and the impact of the fabulously entertaining Tim Cahill was compelling.

Yes, a couple of uncompetitive teams and occasionally drab tactics mean not every game is as exhilarating as a Movie World ride.

Whether it be the Socceroos, Melbourne City, the Goulburn Valley Suns, Shepparton South or any other code, go out and support it, because that is the only way it is going to grow.

Too often the only place you do realise how good the A-League can be is at the game.

And those inside the turnstiles have already got the message.

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