A banner. An eviction. A walkout. A beer shower. An apology. It’s been a big 24 hours for Sydney FC and its supporters.
Banners are not heat-of-the-moment affairs. Bedsheets have to be misappropriated, for starters. Spelling needs to be checked. (Grammar too, but let’s not dwell on that.) There was a nervous energy among members of the Cove before kickoff.
“I was sitting at the back of the Cove, and it was tense from the outset. It was like a powder keg,” said Ben Clark, a Brisbane Roar supporter who has form for smuggling loaded air pistols into Sydney football stadiums.
“The Cove was in full voice. But you could cut the tension with a knife. There were fans questioning every level of the football club, because there hasn’t been an outlet for the fans to express frustration. They were asking, How has it come to this?
“Some fans were conflicted about the banner, they felt that they should be just supporting the club and not calling for anyone’s head. And this was before the banner went up.”
Two banners were unfurled during the first half, “WE WANT FARINA GONE” and one in cyrillic calling for change at executive level.
“When the banner went up, neighbouring bays gave it a mixed reaction. Bays 22 and 23 were in solidarity, but the bays outside of that not so much,” said Ben, his air pistols holstered.
The banners stayed up for a few minutes. The front cyrillic banner was taken down first, then the second. At this point, everything went a bit North Terrace.
Security evicted the capo’s wife.
“From there, once the capo’s wife had been kicked out, the secondary capo sent the call out and three quarters of bays 22 and 23 left. The other bays were abusing those who were leaving. It was very tense.”
So, after a kerfuffle involving security, the leaders of an active supporter group and a “non-approved” sign, a large mass of supporters left the stadium, leaving behind vacant bays. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, or something like that.
“Once they got outside they were chanting, We want our Sydney back. The supporters feel that the club has pushed the supporters too far.”
The goings-on in the Cove were almost overshadowed by some nitwit who threw his beer over Sydney’s coach, Frank Farina.
Sydney FC has today issued some sort of apology for the eviction. A fan forum will be held this month, which promises to be a fun affair.
But what voice do the fans have anyway? This profanity-laden tweet suggests fans have no voice at all.
“If club owners are smart, they’ll realise that the point of difference football has over other codes is active support. I know many many people who aren’t massive football fans who have gone to games and have loved the atmosphere, and that’s what keeps them coming to the games. Clubs have to make it as easy as possible for the active supporters to do what they do. It’s not even a supporter rights issue – it’s a commercial issue,” said Ben.
In case you missed the score, last night Sydney FC was thumped 3-0 by Adelaide United.