The Fans

With Central Coast away this weekend, Tales From The Terrace returns after a few months off as we reminisce about the trip to Gosford in 2009 that is renowned within some circles as one of the biggest away trips in Victory history.

LIKE ALL LADS TRIPS AWAY TO SYDNEY, this tale begins at the pub formerly known as Paddy’s, bright and early on a Saturday morning in December 2009. People rolled out of cars, and off their respective flights, into their hostel dorms, and then, after checking-in, to Melbourne’s home away from home in Sydney, Paddy’s pub on George St, right in the centre of the city.

After a fairly standard morning of a few drinks and chants directed at the locals, we moved on to another regular establishment, Scruffy’s, for a few morning pick-me-up’s before taking an early leave from there and heading to Sydney Central station via the bottle shop.

We all boarded the train and took the top section of one of Sydney’s double deckers. It wasn’t long after departure before most of the sensible sorts going about their daily travels decided to head downstairs or to another carriage, as beers started flowing freely along with the abuse.

By the time the train arrived at the suburb of Woy Woy, everyone in the carriage was well lubricated, and a chant of ‘Woy Woy Woy, Woy Woy Woy Woy, Fuck off Sydney Woy Woy Woy Woy’ went up from the masses, and a song still used today by both terraces was born. When the train rolled into Gosford, light fixtures broken and beers strewn around the carriage, somebody passed yours truly a camera (this was the days before everyone had an iPhone) and asked me to take a photo of the group on the platform, while one of us ripped some pyro. I suggested this was a bad idea but nobody listened, and so as the flare was ripped and the group struck their poses, I took the snap, the band from the camera obscured the lens, and thus what would’ve been one of the greatest flicks in terrace history was destroyed.

One Woy Woy photo was salvaged.

One Woy Woy photo was salvaged.

As we disembarked the station, security at the exit took issue with a few of us still possessing alcoholic beverages. A few words were exchanged with the seccies before we went on our way, only to find moments later we were being followed by a bunch of plain clothes NSW police officers. They jumped on a few people, and before anyone really knew what was going on, a scuffle had erupted. Some brief handbags were exchanged before the dust settled and a few of our group remained pinned on the ground, hands cuffed behind their backs.

One observant Melbourne lad noticed amongst the chaos, that a wallet had been dropped in the melee. He picked it up, only to quite pleasantly discover that it contained a police badge in it, a badge that happened to belong to one of the arresting plain clothes officers.

The officer, obviously none too happy about losing his wallet, got into contact with a member of our group and, after a brief period of negotiations, a deal was made – we would give them back the wallet, in exchange for the release of one of those arrested, and thus was entered into terrace folklore one of the most ridiculous occurrence’s in the decade long history of this football club.

After this, the game itself was somewhat pedestrian – as most games against the likes of Central Coast and Wellington are. There was a few more shenanigans – a very drunken ex-terrace member leaving the ground at halftime and nearly getting himself lost in Gosford for the evening by going the wrong way out of the stadium, a current terrace member entering the Marinator’s home bay and somehow ending up leading chants over their megaphone.

Some Mariners fans.

Some Mariners fans.

For some reason, I remember us losing this game 0-2, but a look back through the fixture lists on Wikipedia assures me that, in fact, we actually won the game 3-0. Score aside, as the game came to a close, I’d obviously seen enough. Not currently in the sharpest state, I took two flare off a young acquaintance and proceeded to rip both, launching a smokey and a sparky underneath the seats into the middle of the away bay, before quickly turning and hightailing outside of the stadium. I exited the stadium onto the street, thinking I was home free, the safety of the Gosford Leagues club in sight, only to be pulled back by a firm hand on my shoulder and a few uniformed police officers dragging me to the concrete.

Fans celebrating in the street after the match.

Fans celebrating in the street after the match.

After being assured that I’d been well and truly spotted by the stadiums CCTV in the act, the Police told me if it were up to them, they’d let me go and save themselves the trouble, but stadium management wanted to make an example of me. The police station being just a short walk from the stadium, we proceeded across a park to the station with my hands still behind my back, getting escorted by a jack on either side of me.

When we arrived at the police station, it quickly became abundantly clear why the police could not be bothered dealing with me, as the day for the second time descended into farce. The arresting officer had never charged anyone with such an offence before, and decided to ask me what he might charge me with, to which I answered as straight faced as possible, ‘The Maritime Act?’. After a short stay in the station where I helped to write my own police report, I was released back into public with my pockets $1,000 lighter, only to find that only one of my travelling group of thirty odd had decided to stay back and wait for me.

In the time in between my arrest and release, the same ex-terrace member who nearly got himself lost, had given a good crack at burning down one of the stores on the town’s main street by launching a flare onto the roof of their business that overhung the footpath, so the group thought it best to leave town ASAP.

Time to go.

Time to go.

I found my remaining mate at the local pub and thanked him profusely for waiting before we headed to the station to get a train back to Sydney Central. While waiting on the platform, we got into a discussion with two chicks of relatively attractive appearance, thinking we might be in, before finding out not two minutes before the train arrived, that had we have gotten aboard we would actually have been heading to Newcastle, in the complete opposite direction to Sydney, and would have been well and truly stranded for the night.

We thanked them for the info and headed to the other platform, only to find we had a 30-minute wait for the next train to Sydney, so we headed back to the pub, where we managed to win ourselves a quick $180 at the pokies before running back and just making our train, the night finally looking up again.

We arrived at Sydney Central and hailed a cab to take us to Star City for the usual end to a Sydney trip of watching live EPL games in what used to be cinema-like comfort in front of the old big screen in the sports bar with a few other stayers. This particular night, a few of our mates from an infamously conservative crew in the North Terrace, had booked tickets to a trance show in Sydney after the game – the event was to take place on a cruise ship that sailed out into the Harbour. They arrived at the docks just in time to board the boat, only to find – much to their dismay –  that the trance music scene was a bit different in Sydney to the one they were used to in Melbourne. As the ship moved further from the shore, they noticed a decided lack of females present, and then that a large number of the other males aboard were taking a serious interest in not only each other, but in our terrace friends. As it dawned on the terrace members that they had embarked on a gay cruise, they quickly called for a water taxi and departed the boat back for dry land. They arrived at the casino a short time later with expressions on their faces as if they’d been on a ghost cruise, with exclamations like, ‘I’ve never been so happy to see you blokes in my life’.

The night continued on in a pretty standard vein, with more drinks being consumed and the piss being taken, until only six people remained. The sun came up as we sat out on the Star City balcony, finishing last beers and smokes for the trip and readying ourselves for the flight home. It was about this time that one of the last six standing decided that, rather than go back to his hostel for a quick rinse off in the shower, he wanted to go for a morning dip in the Harbour. After much effort trying to talk him down from it, we realised we’d need to get two cabs back to our hostel anyways, and so left the insistent swimmer with the most responsible of our remaining mates.

The six of us headed downstairs to the cab rank, splitting into two groups and going our separate ways. Four of us were back at our hostel meeting up with the early sleepers out the front 15 or so minutes later when we received a text message – a photo of both the other two swimming in the Sydney Harbour, arms held high above their heads in celebration. A fittingly ridiculous and memorable end to one of the terraces classic away days.