Grand Final entertainment

Jason Derulo in his natural habitat: Parramatta Westfield

Jason Derulo in his natural habitat: Parramatta Westfield


Is there anything more Australian than terrible pre-match entertainment? The A-League has tapped into this sense of Australian-ness over the years, and this year we’ll be entertained/tortured (delete as appropriate) by Jason Derulo. Apparently young people know who he is. If I haven’t heard of him, though, how famous can he be? (More famous than me, I suppose.)

Kids today should be thankful that they didn’t have to endure the shambolic pre-match entertainment that we watched, in a numb stupor, during the Olympic Park era of Carlton Soccer Club.

Carlton SC was sponsored by Carryboy (makers of fibreglass canopies – they’re still about, look ’em up), so before the game the Carryboy mascot was carted around the largely empty Olympic Park in the back of a ute. The Carryboy mascot was a long-suffering drama graduate dressed up in some sort of mascot-style suit. No photos of the mascot are known to exist.

The mascot would wave at the fans that weren’t there at the northern and southern ends (although there was a beer garden at the northern end for some games) and in between suffer the jeers of the jaded fans in the eastern stand.

Once the Carrboy mascot and ute had disappeared (to the mutual relief of the crowd and the mascot) the teams would come out to the anthemic introduction from “Bittersweet Symphony”. As the strings blared over the PA, the crowd would do its best to roar, which was difficult when most of the crowd was on first-name terms.

Oh, the old NSL days. They truly are forgotten, as we saw this week when Thomas Broich won the Johnny Warren Medal as best player in the A-League. It’s his second win – he’s a fine player – but he’s not the first player to have won the medal twice, as some within the league hierarchy would like us to believe.

That honour belongs to Mark Viduka, an obscure player from the 1990s who played for Melbourne Knights.

Other dual winners include unknowns such as Damian Mori, Paul Trimboli and Scott Chipperfield.

Whoever it is at the A-League who wants us to forget our history needs to get in front of the mirror and take some viagra eye-drops. Or be forced to watch the Grand Final pre-match entertainment from years gone by.