Friday, July 26, 2013


Last Night At The Big Top

Tonight sees the last game. Chelsea following in the footsteps of Arsenal and Liverpool will have swept through Jakarta leaving a trail of screaming face painted fans rushing to send money to the official club shops while sponsors drool at the thought of having pictures taken with Theo, Stevie G and JT.

Familiarity, you see, comes at a price.

The circus will move on leaving the clowns behind.

The clowns of course were here before the EPL travelling circus arrived and will be here long after they have gone. The English clubs' legacy is You Tube videos of crazy, crazy nights at the Bung Karno and that's about it.

Indonesian players will continue to not get paid. I wonder of the likes of Giroud, Sterling or Torres spared a thought about them? I wonder if they even knew Indonesian footballers were ritually going months without receiving their salaries and the world's governing body, FIFA, were quite happy to turn a blind eye.

I wonder if anyone touched upon Diego Mendieta, the Uruguayan footballer left to die a lonely death in a Solo hospital because nobody felt the need to honour contracts and pay him the money he was owed that could at least seen him return home.

Do you think the PSSI, during their discussions with the visiting dignitaries, discussed the dual league system that operates here. Or how a game that was supposed to be played behind closed doors for fear of crowd trouble could be called off. Because of crowd trouble!

Wenger, Rodgers and Mourinho will return to England and rave about the friendliness of the Indonesian people, the passion of the fans and the traffic jams they saw the rest of us stuck in.

But being the good diplomats they are for the pseudo government of the English Premier League they will have been coached at great lengths to avoid upsetting their sponsors. Sorry, hosts.

They, much like FIFA over the last few years, will pretend everything is fine and hunky dory in the good ship Indonesian Football.

This Saturday normal service may well resume at the Bung Karno Stadium when Persija Jakarta host Sriwijaya in an Indonesia Super League.

The face painters will be back at home, gazing at their photographs of their heroes from thousands of miles away while the passionate hardcore, those who follow their local teams in Indonesia will be left wondering what all the fuss was about.

Because for them and the teams they follow nothing will have changed.

*This week's Globe column

I enjoyed the evening at Bung Karno, but not so much for the football as for the maturity of the crowd. There was collective disdain for the dignitaries and good-humoured mocking of the police.

When a flare was lit, the football was forgotten and the idiot was loudly castigated from all areas.

My match report

Other circus will come next year and so does the clowns...
Other circus will come next year and so does the clowns...
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