The Australian textile industry is experiencing its strongest period of economic growth since trade liberalisation in the 1980s, and experts believe that fanatical soccer fans are to thank.
The Socceroos have not been the only ones preparing steadily for this month’s FIFA World Cup. Since Ange Postecoglou’s appointment as head coach in October, and with the sport’s most prestigious competition just around the corner, fans of Australia’s national side have been hard at work designing banners to cover all result eventualities.
The most popular banners, according to arts-and-crafts shop owner, Christopher Ouw, have been those dedicated to the “Ange Out” cause, in preparation for the Socceroos coach’s inevitable failure at the helm.
“From as early as October last year, we have seen huge demand in fabrics and other textiles from fans of the round ball game,” Ouw describes, “most of whom could not stop talking about their ‘Ange Out’ campaign and why it means a lot to them.
“This is great to see, as it encompasses the beauty of making banners… people can really express their emotions.”
Ange Postecoglou got off to a dream start in charge of the Socceroos, with a 1-0 victory against Costa Rica. However, he still received much criticism for the team’s seeming lack of creativity. Since then, the coach has lost two games and drawn the other – a rather unimpressive record that could see him in the firing line.
Joseph Kruse, a strong supporter of the “Ange Out” campaign, told FMF, “I knew Ange’s time was up as soon as Tim Cahill scored the winner against Costa Rica.
“Once again, Cahill has to carry the team on his shoulders.”
While they haven’t been so prevalent at recent games, it is believed that these banners will make many appearances at next year’s Asian Cup, after an inevitably disastrous World Cup campaign in Brazil for Ange Postecoglou’s side.
“We can pass the ball around all we want, but if we don’t score, we’re not going to win.
“Maybe it’s time that we brought back long, direct football to the Socceroos, but Ange simply won’t facilitate this.”
Others have strongly criticised Ange’s decision to leave Lucas Neill out of the World Cup squad, despite Neill having represented multiple clubs in England over the last season, where the standard of football is much higher.
Kruse continues, “Neill pulled on a Watford jersey, one of the English Championship’s strongest teams, and yet Ange still picks the A-League’s Spiranovic? This has to stop.”
After fears that the Australian textile industry was doomed, with all major companies off-shoring despite the Australian government lowering trade tariffs in 2010, this banner-fuelled boom could change everything.
It is rumoured that former Socceroo, Milan Ivanovic, will be the head of a new textile industry marketing campaign, similar to the lamb industry’s use of former AFL player, Sam Kekovich.
Meanwhile, the government is reported to be funding a television promotion to capitalise on the situation, and promote the growth of the industry, under the slogan, “Soccer Fans: keep the textiles, stop the projectiles.”