by Ben de Buen
The beanie and especially the scarf have become important match day garments. This trend does not always relate to local climate, but scarves will usually become relevant when held forth for the musical ritual that precedes most football matches.
A banner in the Northern Terrace read The Colours of Champions as ninety-nine per cent of AAMI Park punters sang “Stand By Me”. Silver, blue and white, the colours of champions and the colours of a cold, scarf-worthy afternoon in Melbourne.
Celebrity chef, Heston Blumenthal appeared on-screen as the match between Victory and the more tropically dressed yellow and blue Mariners began. The crowd reacted with a mild meh, as you would when you see the face of a man, not only known for his televised science-like culinary experiments, such as edible walls, and exploding desserts, but also for charging more than 500 dollars for a meal at his exclusive Melbourne venue, The Fat Duck.
Alongside Blumenthal sat the chefs and food critics who have forever changed food in this country. Their occupation of Australia’s “cui-scene” has transformed the mashed potato into a tear-jerking psycho-thriller. But Melbourne doesn’t respond well to fame or authority (unless you’re Archie Thompson) and Australia’s food royalty were lucky to escape their AAMI Park cameo with only mild disdain from the crowd.
“I can’t believe Heston Blumenthal might be eating my chicken tenders,” an alleged teenager working the deep fryer at the concession stand reportedly stated, before nervously shaking extra chicken salt on everything, “just in case.”
Palpable frustration loitered around the stands until Melbourne finally took advantage of the Mariner’s many defensive concessions. The first half finished 2-1, after a Gui Finkler-like Daniel Georgievski finish and a header from Archie Thompson who sealed the deal with the corner flag as the ref and everybody else waited to restart the match.
The break came with a televised ad announcing $1 chips—not here but at KFC—and continued with a TAC competition that would send the lucky fan all-expenses paid to watch Chelsea-Liverpool alongside a companion. The winner was booed for openly supporting Chelsea.
“Have to take the wife,” he also said when asked who would be traveling with him.
After a relatively uneventful second half, Victory walked away with the expected win and secured the top of the A-League ladder. Players completed a vuelta olímpica as a way of sharing the Premier’s Plate with fans. Meanwhile, kitchen celebrities took to the pitch. Heston Blumenthal was wearing a Victory scarf, but the temperature truly warranted it.