Australian football commentator Lucy Zelic has taken aim at Aussie football fans on social media in the wake of vitriol being spewed at Peter FitzSimons.
FitzSimons became public enemy number one among “Sokkah Twitter” after sharing his thoughts on Australia’s opening performance on his Twitter account and in a newspaper column.
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Commentator Simon Hill slammed the article with a particularly scathing response on Twitter.
“‘Ave a go … I don’t know anything about the game … Tommy Raudonikis … soccer’ Sigh. Why are we STILL getting these sorts of ‘analysis’ pieces on the biggest sporting event on the planet? Depressing,” Hill wrote.
Hill wasn’t alone in applying the blowtorch to FitzSimons with Sokkah Twitter coming for the former Wallabies player.
Zelic however wasn’t having it and came to the defence of FitzSimons and slammed Australian football fans for having a go at any outsider who dared speak or write about the game.
In a lengthy thread on Twitter, Zelic turned the flame on not only Australian football fans, but the hierarchy of football in Australia for failing to take the game to new heights Down Under.
The former SBS commentator has faced her fair share of online backlash, with Zelic finding herself as public enemy number one during the 2018 World Cup.
She defended FitzSimons, pleading for fans to instead welcome newcomers into the argument, rather than remaining in “dingy and dark corners”.
“Days later, I am still struggling to understand why people are so offended by Peter’s OBSERVATION and genuine questions about the NATIONAL team’s performance? In addition to being an Aussie, the man very modestly also admitted he doesn’t know much about the game.
“Yet somehow, because he’s classified as an ‘outsider’ and not an ex-player, diehard fan or moaning about the state of the game like the rest of us, he’s not entitled to enter into the debate?
“I used to routinely sit in on the @LadiesWhoLeague (rugby league) podcast, purely because I enjoy the game (long-suffering Raiders fan) and love the host Mary K. Not once was I piled on or told to stay in my lane because I had no idea what I was talking about.
“If you want to find out what’s wrong with Australian football you don’t have to search far and wide because the answer is: Australian football.
Zelic went scorched earth on Australian-run leagues, pointing out how inflated prices and failures to introduce a promotion/relegation system have left many feeling perturbed.
“We’ve had a league collapse, our current competition spent the majority of its existence hidden behind a paywall and still does today, we charge kids at state level between $1-3k just to play, one of the fixtures in the A-League this season alone drew a crowd of 2,423 people.
“Memberships and General Admission tickets are outrageously priced, we don’t have promotion/relegation, we introduced – then scrapped the NCIP, some state league teams and their fans are still pissed off and living in the past.
“For years our governing body was controlled by self-obsessed tyrants who wouldn’t know true leadership if it smacked them senseless, those same ‘leaders’ threw our own fans under the bus, we shut down the AIS which was a known and proven talent identification program.”
The popular presenter said the game Down Under had done nothing to help itself by continually going after anybody who dared have an opinion on the game if they weren’t a diehard fan or a former player.
“This will sound impossibly rich coming from me because I spent the better part of my career defending the game to ‘external’ personalities and journalists constantly (hello you lot over at the AFL) but the benefit of hindsight has taught me that none of it mattered..
“All it did was justify their opinions of us, which is that we’ve created a virtual cocoon of arrogance, exclusivity and elitism around our sport, where anyone that has an opinion on the game and it’s constituents are ‘biased’, ‘racist’ or ‘clueless’.
“And the only ones that can join us have to be rich, ethnic, have played professionally or grown up worshipping the game. It’s the exclusive club that loves to defend itself when questioned from the outside but are doing a damn good job of eating themselves from the inside out.
“We whinge that the nation only cares about football every four years but what have we done between World Cups to make them care? In 1989, Kevin Costner said “If you build it, he will come” and so far, we have built a sandcastle on perilously shaky ground.
“So you can get angry at people like @Peter_Fitz all you like but debate is what makes our game great. We should welcome it, particularly when our national team is playing because they belong to the country, not just the dingy and dark corners of Sokkah Twitter.”