Not getting Foxtel was a family decision. Well, if it was me I would have got it in a flash. I would be able to see Italian TV from Italy and of course the A-League. However considering that I am the only Italian speaker in my household and the only one interested in watching sport on TV, I knew that it was not going to be worth it.
But I can’t complain. I live in the inner suburbs of Melbourne, and a pub only ten minutes walk away from me has Foxtel, and it usually shows Melbourne Victory games. I am happy to pay the ‘admission price’ of a lemon lime and bitters to watch the game. Sometimes if the game is shown on a Saturday night there is no chance of listening to the commentary as the place tends to be a meeting point for young 20 somethings (with no interest in the game) who then proceed to other places of entertainment such as nightclubs or such. So it gets pretty noisy, and somewhat detracts from the experience, but better than nothing. A few of us gather around and show the flag for the A-League.
However, once the AFL starts, we are immediately shown how the codes pecking order works in this town. All three TVs (one is a big projection one) show the AFL, and perhaps we football fans are lucky to be relegated to the small telly outside where they store the kegs.
I could ask if one telly, even the one where the kegs are could be switched, but that’s not the point. What I want is a convenient venue where football is king. Where there is no AFL when a football match is on (I am an AFL fan too, but there are heaps of pubs who show it). There are gay pubs where gay people are not hassled by straights, why not the same for football fans? A place where we can feel comfortable and not feeling like we have to ask for a small TV in the corner to be switched on but football but it is given pride of place? A place where we don’t feel like a minority? A place where we don’t have to sometime endure snide comments from non-football fans as they go from the bar to their seats?
Yes in Melbourne there is such a venue, the Dickens Tavern but while I commend its dedication to the World Game being in a basement I find it quite claustrophobic. Also considering the A-League it is predominantly played in summer, it would be nice to have somewhere with a garden, that would also make it easier for fans with children. Of course an honourable mention should also be given to the appropriately named ‘The Keepers’ Arms’ in North Melbourne near the Victoria Market, now defunct, that did cater specifically to the Association Football market.
But we need more pubs such as the Rose Hotel in Fitzroy which has been saved from the developers, and apparently it is a favourite with the AFL fans as being a great place to watch a game. We need more pubs that primarily cater for Association Football fans, and during times of AFL/A-League clashes we can be sure we don’t have to go there and wonder whether they may be ‘kind enough’ to switch a TV to the round ball. To know that at whatever times you are amongst kindred spirits.
Inspired by many blogs that comment and review the best places to watch AFL in Melbourne, I stared one of my own for Association Football four years ago. However, as I don’t really have all that much time to go around pubs in Melbourne and find out how whether they were showing football, it is a project that didn’t get off the ground. Perhaps it may be time to resurrect it, especially if I can get reviews from fellow supporters.