Did anyone else grimace hearing Waltzing Matilda booming around Rotterdam’s De Kuip Stadium as the Australians took on the Dutch in Sunday night’s unfriendly friendly?

As
someone who has been to plenty of big international sports events over
the years – French Open, two Wimbledon finals, 1999 World Cup cricket
final, 2000 Olympic soccer final, 1997 British Open golf, Arsenal v
Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, Manchester United v Juventus at Old
Trafford, Real Madrid vs Athletico Madrid,
etc etc – I’ve come to the conclusion that Australians are hopeless
fans.

Indeed, part of the reason Cricket Australia is trying to minimise
Barmy Army numbers during the forthcoming series is that the Poms
comprehensively out-sing their convict cousins.

I spent three days on the Western Terrace at Headingly during the 1997
Ashes tour when the Australians flogged the Poms in four days but were
comprehensively out-sung, out-chanted and out-gagged. As the Yorkshire
crowd belted out little ditties such as “He’s fat, he’s round, his a*se
is on the ground, Shane Warne, Shane Warne”, the 3,000 or so Aussie
could come up with nothing in reply although I’m still proud of my
effort in getting “Ivan Milat from Australia” called over the loudspeaker system.

At
one point, a drunk Pom turned to a group of blokes in NSW State of
Origin jumpers and said: “C’mon Aussie, sing us a song.” The pathetic
reply – “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie – oi, oi, oi.”

If Barrie Cassidy can come up with a new version of The Man from Snowy River on Insiders,
surely we can use the internet to co-ordinate some decent singing come
12 June when at least 15,000 Australians dressed in green and gold will
be there to see our boys take on Japan.

Sure, we’ll never have anything as good as the Poms and Swing Low, Sweet Chariot – but there’s got to be something better than Waltzing Matilda.
However, we’re not accepting anything which mentions the war as the
Poms are still in disgrace for their “Two world wars, one world cup”
chant whenever they take on the Germans in soccer.

All suggestions to [email protected]

Peter Fray

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