A brief story about Australian football (or soccer, if you must) fans in the 1990s before the A-League existed because if you don’t know your history you repeat the same mistakes

Matthew Hall
12 min readDec 20, 2022
Spectators invade the pitch during an A-League match in Melbourne in 2022 but first… let’s go back 24 years and learn a bit of history…

Sydney/Zagreb 1999

It might be a muggy, wet, January Sunday afternoon in Sydney but the 30 or so Perth Glory fans, having traipsed across the continent to watch a game of soccer, are ecstatic. They’re tumbling down the back stairs of Parramatta Stadium in Sydney relieved that their team has escaped with a 0–0 draw against league leaders Sydney United. Laughing and singing, they edge their way towards an exit: “Let’s all have a disco… tra-la-la-la!

Just outside the exit another group gathers, like storm clouds. These boys are big. And they’re angry about something. To them, this traveling carnival of interloping good-time Western Australians has started to get very annoying.

They strike up their own song but it has a different beat to the Perth fans’ playful tune: “Fuck off, Glory! Fuck off, Glory!” The words are spat out and delivered with red-faced hard stares. A group of 30 or so angry men can make a lot of noise.

The Glory supporters stumble to a stop and suck in the sight. What was playful and teasing rivalry now takes a sinister twist. The already balmy atmosphere…