By Ben de Buen
“I’ve never made such a mistake in my life,” said a very drunk Melbourne Victory fan in the back halls of AAMI Park during the #MVCvCCM halftime. “Why weren’t they singing? I thought I was with the Northern Terrace, but they’re on the north side.”
I figured his big mistake was his latest beer, freshly poured and wavering in his hand, a high tide of fermented barley in a plastic cup. To the plain eye, the drink impaired this fellow’s sense of direction, but the Victory terraces do swap sides when the team plays at Docklands. There, the Northern Terrace sits in the south end. It can happen to any of us.
I try to mind my own business, but this was the second time my journey was interrupted in less than an hour. Earlier, as I rode around the MCG en route to AAMI Park, a friendly reporter from the Indian cricket media asked my opinion about the upcoming #CWC15 final between Australia and New Zealand. The resulting video received more than 100,000 visits on YouTube and my fifteen minutes of fame took place without me even knowing.
Halftime at AAMI Park is an ideal time to change seats. I stepped out to the concourse for a moment to witness the usual sight of kids kicking soccer balls around smoking adults, a trademark halftime event.
Squeezing tomato sauce on my hot chips I wondered about the correlation between the stadium’s condiment concessionary and the sponsor on the Mariner’s strip. Could it be that I was secretly chipping in to pay the rivals’ salaries?
Not minding my own business, I watched, grinning, as the two grown men in the next row admired a photo of a puppy on a smart phone while paramedics attended Gui Finkler on the pitch. The little grey dog was on his back, much like the Melbourne Victory midfielder. Gui Finkler would resurrect from temporary injury to score the winner for Victory with a very eye-pleasing shot into the right corner, his second goal for the night. How it pays to have Brazilians on your team.
Central Coast Mariners were in control for most of the remaining minutes. Their efforts weren’t enough to reward the dozen or so fans braving true minority status before a fifteen thousand strong Melbourne Victory crowd.