Last week the Greek national soccer team versed the Australian Socceroos in a friendly game in Melbourne. Before the game, a few hundred fans paraded in the streets of Melbourne and used flares.
The following day front page headlines of some Australian mainstream newspapers claimed the Greek Australian crowd was out of control; even calling them “Idiotic soccer fans”.
Jessica Nomikos was actually one of the fans parading down Lonsdale Street and wrote this open letter in response to the claims.
No surprises, the media paints Greek-Australian soccer fans as hooligans, once again. We are not all hooligans, criminals or bad people like the Australian media tries so hard to depict us as. I am a female, I am a Greek-Australian, I am 21 years old, I like watching soccer and last night I marched with the other hundreds of Greek-Australian people and I sang those chants.
Am I a hooligan?
I wrapped my scarf around my face to minimise the amount of flare fumes I inhaled.
Am I a hooligan? Am I a criminal?
I attended the game with my three-year old nephew, who is just getting to an age where he loves soccer as his dad, godfather and uncle do. He cheered when Greece scored, just as he cheered when Australia scored.
Is he a hooligan? Is he a criminal?
In front of us was a family with two young daughters, no more than about 7 years old. One wore a Greece jersey, the other a Socceroos jersey. Is the one in the Hellas jersey a trouble maker and the other not?
Are they hooligans?
Some lit flares as we marched, police surrounded us from all angles and not one of the people who lit them was arrested. Why? Because it’s a flare; not a bomb, settle down. This is not a terrorist action.
I could sit here and write all about how racist some of the comments and articles I have seen are, depicting everyone that attended as bad. When of the 30 thousand odd people who attended only five were arrested. I could sit here and reply to each individual racist, uneducated imbecile, but I won’t.
I was born in this country, I pay tax in this country and I have a right to support the national team of the country in which my family originated in a friendly match which hasn’t occurred in Australia for a decade, as AFL fans and cricket fans have the right to choose what team they support every week. Although, we don’t hear about all the arrests made at AFL games, it’s not as exciting, I guess.
I am not a troublemaker. I am not a hooligan. I am a proud Greek-Australian and I am tired of the Australian media depicting us all as trouble makers.
HELLAS OLE!! 🇬🇷🇬🇷
* The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of those at Greek City Times.