Childish scarves not needed for derby
Melbourne’s biggest A-League advertisement is still over three months away, but you can feel the tension building between the two sets of fans already.
Supporters will argue if Melbourne is red or blue for the bulk of this time, with good humour and a healthy respect for each other; except a small splinter group from the Melbourne Victory.
Most fans enjoy the banter between the teams. I fondly remember the first ever derby when Victory fans produced their ‘No Heart’ banners. They were extremely well done, and whether you were from the red or blue half of Melbourne you have to appreciate the time and effort that went into the ‘No Heart’ campaign. Melbourne Heart responded to this, cheekily reminding Victory fans of the 2-1 score line from the first derby. Heart also ran with the ‘Grass is greener’ referring to the amount of former Victory players that were in Heart colours in season 2011/12.
I have been in the stands for all these occasions, and there was never any animosity when these banners appeared, just friendly banter between the supporter groups along with some chanting, trying to continually outdo each other. Victory fans have the upper hand with the bulk of supporters, but Heart fans have done their best to hold their own during the various derbies.
However, at the next derby there will be as many as 350 ‘F*** off Heart’ (you can fill in the blanks) scarves, an idea created by some genius. Yes, I’m a Heart fan but I would have the same issue with these scarves if they said ‘F*** off Victory’. The scarves are very childish and offensive, and whilst I applaud clever fan campaigns, this one is immature and not thought out at all. Someone has made themselves some cash selling these items for $30 each, laughing all the way to the bank, without thought to the consequences this could create.
If the league allows fans to walk around displaying these scarves, the media will be all over it. The game could be an absolute classic, but I can picture the Herald-Sun linking this image along with hooligans, thuggery and the typical football fan. Football in this country doesn’t need this, we work hard enough to attract new fans through the gates every year. I know we live in a ‘Nanny state’ being heavily scrutinised for everything we do, but these scarfs can only be bad for the football brand in Melbourne.
I don’t want the game to be become heavily sanitised – fans should be able to support their team in whatever way possible, as long as this is reasonable and doesn’t offend surrounding supporters. I want to see a great rivalry continue without incident, and without either team resorting to something petty like ‘F*** off heart’. Sure there will be some incidents over time, but this one if clearly avoidable.
This is just a bad look for the game, one that we definitely don’t need, and one that football fans in this country don’t portray. But once again it’s a small minority spoiling it for the majority of football fans.