Old soccer, new football


New Football: Good evening everyone and welcome to tonight’s open forum, How PowerPoint Presentations Will Make Australia A Football Powerhouse.  So first up, let’s talk about the football community.  How can we grow the community?

Old Soccer: Abolish birth control!

NF: No can do, we’re trying to get Durex on as a sponsor.

OS: How about a Mark Viduka breeding programme!

NF: Who?

Aide whispers in NF’s ear.

NF: Oh, that guy. We can’t find him.

Aide whispers again.

NF: Ah, we’re hoping to catch up with him at the next Melbourne Cup.  We know a guy who says he can get us into the Birdcage.

OS: Are the ethnic community-based clubs part of the football community?

NF: If they change their names to something less ethnic, then yes.

OS: Then you and your mates can make condescending remarks about diverse food and stuff like that, right?

NF: I like souvlaki and I’m proud of it. Dim sims, on the other hand, give me gas. Let’s move on to how we can make football more accessible. Any suggestions?

OS: Bribery!

NF: You again. Look, we’ll get to governance later.

OS: Why don’t you stop sucking money out of junior players?

NF: I can assure you that we are not sucking money out of junior players.

OS: No?

NF: We’re sucking money out of their parents.

OS: Look, football costs too much. You have to make it open to anyone.

NF: I can see that we’re not going to get any sensible suggestions here.

Aide whispers in NF’s ear.

NF: Yes, they’re playing into our cunning “sham consultation” plan.

Aide covers mic and whispers again.

NF: So this thing’s on all the time? Oh. Not to worry. No-one’s recording this. I mean, it’s not like you can record conversations using your phone, right?

Aide swigs from flask.

NF: Next is governance. Do we have the correct model? Are we aligned?

OS: What does that even mean?

NF: Look, our corporate communications division drew this up.  One of them’s been on a course and has started using all these half-arsed phrases like “reach out” and “understanding gap”. So who knows what kind of drugs they were taking when they put these slides together. Do we have any concerns about governance?

OS: Rene Rivkin’s dead.

NF: Eh? No he’s not, he’s on Twitter.

OS: Who can be on the FFA Board?

NF: I’m pretty sure anyone who’s mates with Frank is in with a shot.

OS: Frank Farina?

NF: Who?

OS: Are youse guys going to get the money back that you gave to Jack Warner?

NF: Not sure that a discussion about governance is the right time to be asking –

OS: That would pay for some football community, you bastards!

NF: Please don’t use bad language, it violates our code of conduct.

OS: Code of conduct my arse!

NF: Please, please, some restraint, otherwise you might remind us of where we came from. Let’s move on to the next slide – which button do I press? – now, let’s talk about public access to facilities.

OS: You’re missing an apostrophe in “public’s”. Who wrote this, a ten-year-old?

NF: Our corporate communications division costs us a lot of money so I’m not prepared to take any criticism of them. Moving on, what role should football’s administrators play in the delivery of facilities?

OS: They should volunteer at their local club, deal with all the legislation involved with being an incorporated body, talk to wound-up parents who want to complain about their kids’ coach, and then run the line for the juniors and the reserves because the club can’t afford to pay for linesmen.

NF: They’re called Assistant Referees, actually.

OS: It’s turning into a bloody middle-class sport. All SUVs and mums wearing make-up.

NF: What’s wrong with being middle-class?

OS: You’ve got the AFL pumping money into junior clinics and stuff like that, meanwhile our kids are subsidising the Socceroos!

NF: Football’s pretty middle class in the USA, and they’re ranked above us. And the AFL’s full of middle-class kids who got athletic scholarships to private schools.

OS: It’s not the Henrys and Hamishes that are the backbone of this sport, it’s the Costas and the –

NF: That’s just stereotyping.

OS: Look mate, I can type with both hands too, and that ain’t got nothing to do with it.

NF: Next slide is… coaching.

OS: Try not to look so bored.

NF: Have you ever sat through a coaching seminar? It’s almost as bad as going to dinner with the referees.

OS: Everybody wants to play like Barcelona, but these blokes can’t even pass. The coaching’s a joke. Everybody’s out there looking for elite players, but they’re all playing AFL and we’re left with a bunch of social players with shot knees on pitches that are covered in dog shit.

NF: Manure – good for the turf.

OS: And as for the referees –

NF: Great segue! The next slide is, wait for it, about referees!

OS: …me dead.

NF: Sorry I missed that. What did you say?

OS: Hey you look a lot like the bloke that used to be on the telly on Sunday mornings.

NF: Jimmy Swaggart?

OS: Yeah, that’s him. Listen, the referees are poor, but who cares when players in the A-League can’t even pass?

NF: But what about Roar-celona?

OS: You’re deluded mate. Goran Lozanovski would smash it in the A-League.

NF: True, he had great hair. Let’s move on to fan engagement.

OS: Do they get married on the pitch?

NF: Eh?

OS: After the fans get engaged, do they get married on the pitch?

NF: It’s not that sort of engagement.

OS: Then what are you talking about, moron? That’s bullshit, that is.

NF: Why are you so angry?

OS: That is a complex matter relating to issues of identity, belonging, community and competitiveness. That, and we’re playing a drinking game that involves downing a shot every time you say “football family”. I’m pretty bladdered.

NF: Look, mate, I think we’re two sides of the same coin, y’know, really close together.

OS: The two sides of a coin can’t see each other.

NF: Unless there’s a mirror.

OS: Sure, but coins don’t have eyes.

NF: Let’s skip forward to the last topic – the national teams. What should our teams be aiming to achieve in such a competitive global sport?

OS: All sport is competitive, moron. You’re just trying to soften us up for a poor performance in the Asian Cup and basically every tournament between now and the apocalypse.

NF: We wanted to use this opportunity to reach out to the football family –


NF: …and try to close the understanding gap.

Aide nods.

OS: Screw this, I’m going down to the club for a drink.

NF: What club?

OS: My local club, where I play.

NF: You mean, there’s non-matchday hospitality there? That’s a brilliant commercial idea! It’s still a mystery to me as to why the NSL clubs couldn’t create an inclusive, growing competition.

Aide whispers in NF’s ear.

NF: Who was Crawford?