Monday, June 20, 2016


Holding The Megaphone

I must admit I don't get the whole choreographed football atmosphere that we see in South East Asia but when it works, think of clubs like Arema, JDT, Persija, Persib etc, it does look and sound pretty impressive.

In the underworld of Indonesian football culture the fan leaders if you like can become celebrities of their own with one Arema supporter featuring in a film called The Conductors. They certainly become recognisable and are in a way the terrace faces and legends that we used to have in England.

Watching the PS TNI v Persipura game last night for some reason I was in with the away fans and as you might expect they had brought down a small but vociferous crowd and mingling in with the travelling support were various other waifs and strays including a few Persikabo fans and one lad wearing his Persib colours.

Normally these fans have a megaphone and last night was no exception. With Persipura well and truly on top the supporters took in turns to hold the megaphone and lead the crowd with their favourite tunes.

That is what it felt like, Fans living out their fantasy of leading the supporters with their movement and their chanting. Forget those football manager games where frustrated fans and wannabe coaches live out their dreams with imaginary money, Holding The Megaphone was the real deal. A fantasy show played out in the terraces. It didn't matter some of the guest megaphone holders were all but ignored by the bulk of the support, seemingly it was to be standing there leading the crowd as they have seen their peers do.

One guy was really getting into it. He had the actions and the movements as well as all the songs from the Indonesian Terrace Handbook. What he didn't have was an audience...the fans were watching the game but I am not sure he cared that much. He was living his dream with the megaphone and anyone he wasn't watching the game. 

I wondered why he had come to the game. Was it because he was a neutral? A groundhopper? Or was he a frustrated rabble rouser and by ingratiating himself with the travelling fans he could get to play with their megaphone. Who knows. Just another face on the terraces with a story we will never read.

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