Playing long balls into empty space since 2012.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

There's soccerphobia and then there's soccerphobia

There are two things to note in this piece from 'UNOME', soccer writer for the Daily News in Perth, 18 October 1933. One is his quoting of the insane paranoia of an Australian rules representative speaking of Australian soccer's war chest for its impending battle against footy. But the other point is UNOME's unbridled and unfounded optimism. During the 1930s many soccer people saw an immediately bright future for the game. Depression and war intervened and left the game floundering in most parts of Australia. The point about amateurism. however, is well made and is one which the custodians of the game could reflect upon today.

Another thing that strikes me is how much the anti-soccer rhetoric resembles other kinds of political and racial xenophobia - a fear of  outsiders, their covert plans, their money, their capacity to corrupt our youth - a vein to be tapped down the track.

The following extract from the 'Melbourne Age' of October 7 is a sample of the foolish propaganda against the game [soccer] in the Eastern States. Speaking at a wind-up social in connection with the Saturday Morning Industrial Football League (Australian rules), Mr. W. J. McDonnell, secretary of the Victorian League second eighteens, said: "The controllers of the Australian game would need to be wide awake to the menace of soccer. He had information that the latter organisation was willing to put £250,000 into soccer in Australia. This money was not Australian money, but came from England, where there was £1 million [only slightly under $100,000,000 in today's money] waiting to be used to foster the game." 

The stupidity of Mr. McDonnell's remarks can be gauged from the fact that the majority of the professional clubs in the 'Old Country' are working on bank overdrafts at the moment. As a matter of fact, both the English and Scottish Associations are unable to consider the sending of teams to Australia owing to the financial positions of their respective bodies, which are not such as to enable them to take the  risk of the amount of their guarantees not being forthcoming. The soccer code has been spread all over the world by amateurs who are prepared to give their time and money to furthering the interests of the game, and so pave the way for the arrival of the professional player, who reaps the reward of their spade work in the end. The game has reached this stage already in Sydney and balderash such as this will only hasten its progress in other States.

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