Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Is It A Joke?

On the same day Melbourne Victory released this statement on hooliganism by their club associates at an NPL game (should be gameS, but let's sweep that under the carpet for the moment) it was interesting to hear club CEO Ian Robson laughing about West Ham United fans attacking the Manchester United bus on Radio 1116SEN.

At 5:20 you can hear Robson stifle a laugh as Kevin Bartlett brings up the subject of West Ham fans attacking the bus, before joking "that's called a London greeting".

Is it as funny as when South Melbourne fans attacked the Adelaide City bus? I'm not sure anyone laughed about that, not just because of the injury sustained by Ange Costanzo. It is one of the most cited incidents when condemning the NSL and it's clubs of ethnic origin as a blight on the game in this country.

If South Melbourne are condemned for such an incident, but it is laughed off when done by West Ham, is it outrageous to point out a possible racist double standard that is at the forefront of the Old Soccer/New Football divide?

Rather than calling for a league to be disbanded, and clubs expelled could someone not just have said "that's called a Greek greeting!" and we could have all had a chuckle and moved on?

What we also know from the Victory statement is that the hooliganism in Epping after the game against Melbourne Knights was far enough removed from the stadium/game to be able to be brushed aside by the authorities. Brand protection comes ahead of protecting opposition supporters and their vehicles, it would seem.

Maybe we are meant to believe nothing happened in Epping? Just like we are supposed to believe that when Robson was CEO of the Essendon Football Club he had no idea his football department were running a supplements program that would eventually see 34 players banned for breaching anti-doping rules.

Robson sometimes talks a hard-line on hooliganism, but his laughter gives him away. Talk is all it is.

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