Cricket and football. The tale of two English games in Australia.

Why isn’t Soccer treated the same as Cricket?

Those who have read this blog before would know that I don’t like cricket. However I can understand those who do and I can see that it is part of Australia’s tradition.

Australia’s under performance in the Melbourne test could not be avoided even for a non-cricket person like myself, heading news bulletins on the ABC and on SBS. It did however make me think again about how Australia treats the sport of Cricket and Association Football in different ways. The comparison is interesting because with Association Football (and Rugby Union) Cricket is the most ‘traditional’ sport where Australians can identify with a national team.

When Australia was taken apart from Germany 4-0 there were comments about how this could spell the ‘end of soccer in Australia’, endanger the A-League etc. The usual commentators from other codes reveled in the result which somewhat proved that ‘soccer’ really wasn’t a sport we should put much effort on, as we were not that good at it.

So when I watched the news the other day and I saw that the whole Australian team was dismissed in a few hours with a score below 100 I couldn’t help thinking of a comparison. Would some be Australian sport commentators being somewhat pleased about the result? Would we have articles heralding the end of cricket as a sport in Australia? Would we had words written that we should forget about the sport because we were not good at it? Well no. What we had was a common gnashing of teeth with no Australian (as far as I know) chortling about the result. What we had was talkback radio callers and articles about what to do next and how to resurrect Australian cricket.

What I sense when I watch the Australian National football team is that them, and the Australian Association Football fraternity is not only facing the adversaries on the pitch, but also an array of sport fans and commentators which doesn’t want Association Football to become an integral part of the Australian sporting culture. Australian fans know that an humiliating loss would not be just depressing in itself, but it is more so because it will give fuel to the soccerphobes to get out if the woodwork and trot out their usual whoary arguments. Could you see that with cricket? Not on your nelly. The fact that Association Football seems to be the only sport to get this treatment makes us feel like outsiders and marginalised. I can only hope for a day when the Australian football team get thrashed and we will get the same reactions from <u>all</a> Australians as we are seeing at the moment about the cricket.

Cricket Australia should employ the Melbourne Victory South End fans

There is actually something where soccer culture can actually contribute to cricket, or at least when Australia plays England. There was an article in today’s Age about the fact that English cricket fans were singing and taunting the Australian cricket team with their chants. Of course that is because the English fans probably have done that in football matches for yonks. As the article says one chant is with the tune of <i>Guantanamera</i> to Pointing “Sacked in the morning, you’re getting sacked in the morning….etc.” which is a tune used a lot in football as well. When there are not many fans the chant directed to the opposition is “came in a taxi, you came all in a taxi etc.” The article says that on the first day of the test the Barmy Army distributed songbooks to anyone who was interested, including a police sergeant who states: “We need to work on our chants” We got nothing”, except the unimaginative ‘Aussie aussie aussie oi oi oi’ which when chanted the Barmy Army chants back ‘You’ve only got one song’.

Well, the cricket people should get in touch with active Melbourne Victory fans, which have been chanting at matches ever since the A-League started. Probably even better with the fans in the ‘Southern end’ which is traditionally the more ‘Anglo–Celtic’ type of support that is no choreography or flags, but banners, chanting and plenty of beer. But also a tradition of giving it to the opposition fans. One well used tune is “Cwm Rhondda” (also known as “Guide me, O thou great redeemer”) It is used to chant ‘Can we play you every week??” (sung at opposition teams, usually a team currently performing poorly) and “You’re not singing, you’re not singing. you’re not singing anymore’ directed at opposition fans when their team was ahead but now on level terms. Some chants are pretty unsavory, so I am not sure that the singing sergeant would approve, but I am sure that given the chance plenty would have a go.

1 Comment

Filed under Football

One response to “Cricket and football. The tale of two English games in Australia.

  1. In Melbourne and Victoria at least, it’s the result of footy – cricket nexus. It’s historical, it’s cultural and it’s anachronistic, but at the same it’s real. People assume if you follow or play one that you also follow or play the other. Symbiotic, if that’s the word.

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