by Ben de Buen
Melbourne City took the lead over Central Coast Mariners in the early minutes of play. They expanded the margin at the beginning of the second half. At this point, cups of beer crossed the border between the away support in the northwest corner of the stands and a group of fans located in a corporate box behind them.
“Why would you throw beer? It’s too expensive,” said one of the corporate box occupants.
While AAMI Park offers great views – you can judge for yourself when players dive, and you can hear footballers spray linesmen with affection – visiting supporters are allocated the worst seats in the stadium.
With the match stuck in a swamp of despair (normal for Melbourne City in the second half), the visiting corner of the stadium became active.
The message Report Anti-Social Behaviour accompanied by a mobile number is written all around the balconies of AAMI Park. Somebody must have finally used this number to dob in a young chap who had taken exception to the away support pointing out his resemblance to Ed Sheeran . . . albeit from a very safe distance. Police also removed someone from the Central Coast support.
“What about the d–che who threw the beer? He’s in a box,” a member of the visitors complained.
By then Central Coast had narrowed City’s lead.
“We’re gonna win 3-2! We’re gonna win 3-2!” The Yellow Army showed its sense of humour as the match went into injury time.
“You’ve lost four in a row!” a plain-clothed City fan replied.
The young chap who was taken away a few paragraphs ago, returned to his spot behind the northern goal. Whether he escaped custody or was set free, we do not know. But the young repeat offender broke his parole, directing obscene and unwelcoming sign language towards Melbourne’s guests, earning a second eviction. He went peacefully, escorted by six fluoro police officers. Six.
“Se-cond class ci-ti-zen! Se-cond class ci-ti-zen!” The Yellow Army sentenced.
“Twoooooo-nil you f—ked it up!” Undivided opinions flew from the unified away crowd.
Central Coast players approached their fans for congratulatory selfies and high fives. Three blokes dressed as tomato sauce bottles (in honour of their team’s main sponsor) surrendered their disguises to passing players in a gesture that resembled a knighting ceremony.
The visitors vacated their spot singing “To the pub, to the pub, to the pub” to the tune of Stars and Stripes Forever while the blokes in the corporate box behind them were still trying to digest the final result.
Tensions did not escalate in the stands, despite the frictions that arose during the match. It was on the concourse where police had to be on the lookout as City fans crossing Edwin Flack Bridge were serenaded (but not marinated) by Mariners supporters on Swan Street below.
“You’ve got no his-to-ry!” The visitors chanted.
“You’ve got no mo-ney!” Locals replied.
Final score: Melbourne City 2 Central Coast Mariners 2