Yeah, I'll admit, I'm lazy... I went overseas for a couple of months and didn't really find the motivation to write much once I came back. The way AUFC have been travelling hasn't really inspired me much anyway.
So let's get back into the swing of things. Here's a piece I've submitted for this month's issue of the excellent Half Time Heroes zine:
I think we're now in a position where we can safely say that this year has not quite gone to plan for Adelaide United. Two thirds of the season has passed and we're sitting dead last, with misfiring strikers, a leaky defense and a coach whose motivational genius is exemplified by his suggestion that his players might benefit from having their heads severed from their bodies. Well, at the moment anything's worth a shot.
I do feel for Vidmar, though. He's obviously a capable coach, and he's still got some brownie points up his sleeve after the feats of last season and the ACL. But the pressure is definitely on, and it's showing. Bad results piling up, unhappy players and behind-the-scenes issues at the club create a vortex that is very difficult to escape from. And the fans want blood.
Football supporters aren't known for being the most rational creatures when things aren't going well. Once a scapegoat has been identified, the knives come out. Viddie is number one with a bullet on the terrace hate-list at the moment, with a few of the players not far behind.
Of course, by and large, we supporters don't know what the hell we're talking about. If decisions were made based on terrace opinion, Kristian Sarkies would have been sent packing last season. This year, he's been our best player. 'Two up front!' became a mantra earlier in the season for supporters sick of drab football - well now Viddie's tried it, and the team played worse than ever.
Once things are going this badly, the vortex of negativity is so strong that it starts to override anything positive. Last home game, for example, there was a period of play where Adelaide actually kept possession for a little while. The team was holding the ball, patiently passing it around outside Newcastle's penalty box, probing for an opening. Fair enough it wasn't quite like watching Brazil circa 1970 but it was the right idea. Behind me, though, there was a bloke going absolutely off his nut: "Put the fucking ball in the box you muppets! You are FUCKING USELESS!" This was the same guy that made donkey noises whenever Cornthwaite or Hughes went near the ball, and gave Vidmar a massive spray every time a substitution was not made.
Obviously, that guy was a moron. But for all his negative, irrational idiocy, one thing about his ranting struck me: at least he cared. It takes a lot of commitment to hate your own team so strongly. It's better than the antipathy of some of my mates, who have just gradually stopped coming to games because they can't be arsed any more. It would be nice if we could all go to every match happy, watch some great football and come away with a win every week, but reality doesn't work like that. Through the bad times, it's the discontent, injustice and endless disagreement that keeps us going as fans. It’s not pretty, but being a football supporter rarely is.