My letter to the club this morning:
Our family attended the Fremantle game on Saturday, and I am writing about the role of private security post-match. My daughter begged me to sit down near the fence both times we have been to the football this year so we sat three rows back right near the cheer squad. This gave us a real insight into what the AFL calls 'game day experience'. One one hand it was great to sit near the cheer squad and for my daughter to hear the real passion for the game inspired by the chanting and barracking. Not so the role of private security, who after the drama and disappointment of the last goal decided that they would swarm this area post match and move in on patrons because they had allegedly heard some 'abuse' from the crowd. From our vantage point the cheer squad was in excellent spirits all day and the intrusion of a private 'flying squad' of bouncers was totally unwarranted. The club is often criticised in the media for lack of passion at games, I wonder what security would do if it was a Richmond, Essendon, or Hawthorn cheer squad member had allegedly berated the goal umpire. There was no indication of racial or sexist abuse.
If the AFL, or the club, or its sub-contracted security want us to simply turn up and jog on the spot for some inane 'run like a demon' at quarter time, and act on any other of the various queues of the ground announcer, and allow members and patrons to be pushed around by glorified bouncers then I can't really see the point in bringing my family up from Gippsland - a 250k round trip, we could just watch the game from home. I hope that the club liaises in this instance with the cheer squad and find out what, if any provocation there was that required a squad of private security to intimidate paying patrons in this way. If the alleged misbehaviour was trivial and no more than disappointed barracking at the goal umpire, I sincerely hope that the club makes its feelings known to the ground managers at the MCG and ensures that sub-contracted crowd controllers can not act in such an unrestrained fashion in the future.