Can Indonesia Have Its Version of England’s ‘The 92 Club’?

By webadmin on 11:51 am Jul 04, 2012
Category Archive

Antony Sutton

English
football is full of eccentricities. Every match day, up and down the
country, there are people out there busy adding to their collection of
programs, badges or tickets. Others collect scarves, pennants or
autographs. You name it and there is probably someone out there
somewhere with a sizable collection of them.

I’m sure if some enterprising club introduced their own vomit bags,
much like airlines do, complete with the club crest on them, some bright
spark would soon be out there buying them up, getting a few autographs
to add to their value and then starting a website about his growing
collection.

All those nutters make The 92 Club seem somewhat staid and normal.
The 92 Club refers to the number of football clubs there are in the top
four divisions of English football; for new converts to English football
there are a further three divisions outside the Premier League and that
is how they manage to promote and relegate clubs.

The aim of The 92 Club is to provide a place for members to gather
and talk about their achievements. To be a member you must have attended
a competitive football match at each of the 92 stadiums in the leagues.
Not just any old game. For example, my long trip to the South West of
England to see Plymouth Argyle play Everton would not count because it
was a friendly and the sniffy members don’t recognize such meaningless
games.

Once members have done the 92, then they often go on and cover
Scotland, Wales and Ireland, or they start visiting as many non-league
grounds as possible where they meet other “ground-hoppers” and opine
about how this is real football and the modern game has lost its soul —
thanks to the millions of pounds flooding in.

Could Indonesia host a similar club? Unlikely, given that it would
mean fans would have to travel from Banda Aceh at the northern most tip
of Sumatra to the highlands of Wamena in Papua and all points in
between. Logistically a nightmare, prohibitively expensive and that is
before we try and track down a reliable fixture list.

In England, clubs have their own home stadium — most own them — and
you can be sure that when Rochdale have a home game it will be at
Spotland.

I have seen PSMS Medan play two “home” games but never
in Medan. One was in Bandung, the other Jakarta — yet they were home
games. Their own stadium was closed for renovations at the time and they
were forced to take to the highways and byways.

What about Pelita Jaya? I have seen them play “home” games in three
different cities: Purwakarta, Soreang and Karawang. Before that they
played in Solo, Jakarta and Cilegon. How would any ground-hopping club
in Indonesia address that?

Last week I saw PSIM Yogyakarta play Persebaya at the Mandala
Krida Stadium in Yogyakarta. To all intents and purposes, it was a PSIM
home game. But the game was a playoff and in the eyes of the authorities
the stadium was a neutral venue; for them Persebaya were the “home”
team.

We’ll round off with Persiram Raja Ampat. The notion of Raja Ampat
glazes the eyes as we consider gorgeous, white sandy beaches and
fabulous diving. I have been to three Persiram “home” games — one was
cancelled at the last minute as the police on duty were called to a riot
elsewhere. The games took place not way off to the east of Indonesia
but in polluted South Jakarta.