Playing long balls into empty space since 2012.

Monday, 2 September 2013

The more things change . . . Whinging about the media in 1892

We socceristas tend to get our knickers in a twist at the very sniff of media bias. Seems it was ever thus. In 1892, 'Centre Half' complained to the Referee in Sydney that our game wasn't being given a fair go in the media. This was one of the reasons that the game was not moving onwards and upwards.

The following is a response by another soccerite, 'Left Half' who agrees that the club secretaries need to get their act into gear in relation to publicity but puts the problem as one of the unavailability of enclosed grounds. Interestingly, this is not so much to charge spectators an entry fee as it is to keep the games private. It certainly points to a kind of class snobbery among some immigrant soccer players in 1880-90s Australia who would rather give the game away than consort with the common folk. It also gives some possible insight into why the game didn't take off in important parts of Australia.


(To the Athletic Editor of the "Referee")

Sir,— In your last issue I saw a letter from "Centre Half" deploring the luck of publicity given to games played under the British Association rules, and agree with him that the various clubs' secretaries should never omit sending in a report of every match that comes off. But nevertheless there has not been such an omission as to cause Association players from the old country to be unaware of the game being played here. The greatest bar I have met to players starting again in Sydney is the fact that none of the clubs have a private ground to play on, and consequently old country players, who have been accustomed to such things, with nice pavilions, &c, require a lot of coaxing before they care to play on a public park. I know there are lots of players in Sydney who could help to send along the game of "pure footbull," but the above fact deters them, and I am sorry to see that the game is not much more ahead than it was live years ago. Should "Centre Half" desire to join a respectable club, and bring along the many old players he seems to know of, I shall be only too pleased to introduce him and them to the secretaries of two or three respectable clubs that I know of if he will communicate with me. — I am, &c., Left Half.
It's like a polite version of discussions on the 'Smell the Fear' thread on the Melbourne Victory message board!

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