The foolishness of Newcastle City Council's discussions about spending millions of dollars enticing World Cup games to Newcastle in 2018 or 2022 will be evident in the city's Wheeler Place from 4.30am on Monday. At that time about 1500 lairs and dandies are expected to gather to watch the diving that will be Australia's first 2010 World Cup match. It's to be on a big screen provided at ratepayers' expense, and it is beyond me why ratepayers should subsidise such a gathering of exhibitionists and nancy boys. Still, it may serve as a warning against spending any money to entice more of them to Newcastle at subsequent World Cups.
In my column in The Herald today I suggest that it may be worth calling into Wheeler Place after 4.30am simply to see the latest fashion accessories for simpering men and the histrionics that go hand in hand with soccer. It's man scarves, apparently, in plain, checks or knitted and in lambswool, baby alpacha and cashmere. Every man who fancies himself as only soccer fans can has the urge for a man scarf, and David McElwaine of Newcastle's Gentlemen's Outfitters tells me that bracelets and bangles are another hot item for men. Listen for the rattle as the prancing peacocks in Wheeler Place on Monday morning throw their scarf about like a stripper's feather boa. How long before they're carrying lapdogs and wearing heels?
I wonder if the big screen on Monday morning will show the SBS ad urging Australians to get over Fabio Grosso's dive in the final minutes of the match against Italy in 2006. Get over it, the voice says, it's just a part of soccer. Diving, cheating, screaming for your mother, thrashing about in unbearable agony is not part of soccer - it is soccer! Diving has a greater impact on the result of a game than any kicked ball.
Why should ratepayers' money go to a game for ponces, pansies and prancers when there's none for real men playing real football?