Football writing from Down Under? The Turf is the new kid on the block.
When it comes to football, there can be no doubt that it is the most popular sport of our times, perhaps of all times. There is no problem to gather information about the game in the most distant corners of the globe. The same is true about football writing. Though the epicentre is still Europe, the number of blogs, websites and magazines from all over the world is increasing. It is a good sign.
It is therefore refreshing to see writing about the beautiful game from Australia. Not bestowed with much knowledge about Aussie rules football or the A-League, I was hoping to find more about that topic in The Turf Quarterly a new magazine from ‘down under’. The first issue contains 16 pages with short reports from Europe and Australia. Though rather short, the reports look at the top stars of the game from a new angle. The cover story is about Ivan Franjic, an Australian international with Croatian roots. The career happened due to an injury of a first team regular at Brisbane Roar and includes several league titles and the AFC Asian Cup 2015. This probably has helped Australia to get taken seriously outside Asia. Franjic may be one of the biggest players in Australia right now; Aaron Mooy may be the next big thing in Australia, however. The usual career path sees young talent come to Europe to wrestle with the best; Mooy went the other way: from Bolton Wanderers to Melbourne City via St. Mirren. It was in his native country that he flourished and were he has made his name.
There is a word on Neymar and the obvious foot steps he has to fulfil: Pele. Though the man himself has never bestowed that honour upon Neymar as he has done for example with Robinho. The effect is very visible: Neymar may be about to become one of the world’s best players.
Marco Reus talks about Dortmund in the post-Klopp era. Though very different in his approach, Tuchel and Dortmund are a ‘perfect match’ he states. Reus comes across very much grounded when he states that mouthing off does not win trophies when asked whether or not Germany are favourites for this year’s European championships.
Last but not least, Jamie Vardy gets a mention. Of course, because he is currently one of the top strikers in Europe. This effect is amplified by the fact that he came out of nowhere, or rather the obscurity of non-league football. His abrasiveness has seen him getting into trouble off the pitch in the past but is also a help for him on the pitch. Lately, his fiancee has helped him to calm down.
The Photographs gracing this issue are of a high quality and underline the serious approach of the magazine. The magazine comes in the unusual Berliner format and aims to be published quarterly. The most interesting fact: the paper is entirely free of charge, though postage applies.
The publisher, Jacob Arnott was happy to answer some question about the magazine. He said the reason to make such a magazine was
to create something that reflected where Australian football is currently placed. We wanted to make something to fill the growing space we see in youth football culture and thought a free football paper was the best way to go about it. And this came together in TURF Quarterly.
Although it was not quite clear in this issue, the emphasis is on Australian football as he thinks
football for a long time has been seen as an ‘immigrant sport’ but now it is beginning to find its feet in the middle of Australia’s saturated sports market.
It is the aim to ‘observe and support the growth of football in Australia’ he continues as everything concerning the game is growing: participation, interest but also the hype around the game. Football is gong through an interesting phase and The Turf wishes to accompany and comment on this development.