Time to euthanise Newlands

2012-05-15 08:11

David Moseley

I was at Newlands on Saturday for the Stormers versus Cheetahs Super Rugby derby. I won’t be going back. And it has nothing to do with dire level of rugby being produced by teams in 2012. It’s the so-called "fans" that turn me off, the alleged rugby "lovers" who are chasing me away (and the rugby is rubbish too, but that’s another story).

Just before kick-off the Springbok flank Heinrich Brussow ran onto the field alone, in celebration of his 50th Super cap. What kind of ovation did this superb rugby player receive, this man who helped spark remarkable results against the British & Irish Lions, New Zealand and Australia, and who was integral to any success the Boks would have at last year’s Rugby World Cup?

He was booed, naturally. A man who represents his country at the highest sporting level, who is respected and feared for his rugby prowess by almost every major rugby nation, was jeered by the gormless hooligans who descend on Newlands every weekend.

Feeble-minded fans

Now that’s just not on. Newlands is already a creaking dungeon, a cold rugby dump if you’ll pardon the pun, and the reality is, the place has no atmosphere either. When the Stormers and Cheetahs were engaging in the ‘thrilling’ second-half episode of kicking the ball back and forth you could hear a pin drop, until a Cheetah’s player lined up a kick at goal. Queue chorus of childish boos.

I’m being harsh on Newlands, that’s true. I know the booing happens everywhere, even overseas. I notice it’s even crept into the English game, a place where, last time I watched a live match (not too long ago), crowds sat in respectful silence as goal kickers took aim with their penalties or conversions.

But what really gets to me is this mythical and mystical notion that Newlands is some kind of hallowed turf because of the great atmosphere it produces on match day. That’s nonsense. The biggest roar of the day is reserved for the tedious dancing girls who whip of their reveal pants. Ooh. Titillating.

I think it’s time rugby sought out a new breed of fan. And I think those in charge of the game need to crack down harder on booing. It has no place in our stadiums. How can you, a South African, boo at your countryman simply because he’s walked on the field to celebrate a career milestone?

And I don’t for one second believe that it’s "certain elements of the crowd". When Brussow stood in the middle the jeering was loud. That’s not just 10 or 20 misfits engaging their feeble-minded brains.

To a certain degree I can understand the hissing and catcalls to show frustration when a team is not playing well. I’ll admit that it is hard, as a paying public, to have any influence on the team (it’s still inexcusable, though). But laying into a guy, a key Springbok who in three weeks you’ll be cheering on as you hoist your brandy sloshing gut over the braai, is just mindless.

It’s my hope that when the inevitable comes, and my beloved Western Province and Stormers move to the Cape Town Stadium, that these "supporters" will left behind.

I love watching my team play, and that’s why I continue to suffer through the Stormers dreadful intepretation of the beautiful game as a sport that’s only played with defence. But I won’t be back at Newlands while vulgar ingrates continue to mark their territory in the stands. That’s just not rugby.

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  • Koos - 2012-05-15 08:32

    Goed dat een van hul eie mense daaroor praat. Ons se dit al dekades lank maar word nie geglo nie. Bloubul groete.

  • Jacques - 2012-05-15 08:39

    I'm glad someone picked up on it. I recently went to see at match there for the first time and was bitterly disappointed. It wasn't just not great, but actually uncomfortable. The fans are a bunch of hooligans as well! Greenpoint will be a much better venue to represent SA

      CharlesDumbwin - 2012-05-15 12:37

      What's got 2000 legs and 4 teeth? The front row at a Newlands rugby game

      wesley.bischoff - 2012-05-15 13:36

      That's quite racist Charles. I assume you are referring to coloured people?

      derikbench - 2012-05-15 22:21

      Haha, the irony. Aren't you being racist Wesley, by assuming that all coloureds don't have teeth? Stop seeing race in every damn thing.

      keith.gough - 2012-05-15 23:40

      Sadly it has become a South African, rather than a Stormers habit. Really an embarrassment to the home union. About as embarrassing as the Cape spectators supporting and New Zealand team. I don't buy this whole apartheid history as an excuse, because it is only a Cape Town and Southern Cape Phenomena. Also, young children are being taught to cheer for the Black Fern.

      Martin - 2012-05-21 09:38

      @Wesley: Little strange to call someone a racist and then ask him what race he is referring to. I'm going to say that your statement seems to be more revealing about you than anything else.

  • jonny.g.gonzalez - 2012-05-15 08:40

    It's not cricket. The Stormers don't expect any favours in Bloem or Pretoria. Why should the reverse be true? That's what home town advantage comes down to, unfortunately. The paying public has a right to vent their vitriol in a lawful fashion.

      Carl - 2012-05-15 09:49

      Such retarded mentality! Richie McCaw ran onto the field in Australia for the first time since the World Cup to deafening applause from people who appreciate what a great player he is. Brussow, a great player in his own right gets booed for playing 50 games for the cheetahs and you think thats appropriate!!!

      Carl - 2012-05-15 09:50

      granted its not only a newlands thing....

      James - 2012-05-15 10:36

      Carl - Richie McCaw has 100 international caps and a World Cup to his name - of course he commands that respect. Brussow does not have the same C.V. yet - so he is just another Cheetahs player. Should he have been booed - perhaps not, but he certainly doesn't deserve the same reception McCaw got!

      Carl - 2012-05-15 12:40

      He isn't just another Cheetahs player, he has excelled for both the Cheetahs and SA....he deserves some form of acknowledgement from his fellow country men and women for his achievement even if it is in the form of silence when he runs on!

      Phillip - 2012-05-15 21:15

      Ah, but James - you're obviously a SpringBlack! Of course Ritchie is of superior class than Heinrich! What does it matter that he is completely outplayed and neutralised whenever they meet? And, if only refs would not have a separate set of rules for him, ultimately domination by the little mielie-boer would be a more apt description. But hey, I knew Ritchie was probably in the twilight years of his career, but I had no idea he played in the 1987 World Cup already! Wow, now that must be an accolade he really deserves, I agree! Hey? Pardon? Oh, the 2011 competition, you mean? No, I'm afraid Ritchie doesn't hold that one aloft. That honour belongs to his compatriots Paddy o'Brien and Bryce Lawrence, who play in a team of their very own. Only that formidable combination could beat the Boks...

      Jason - 2012-05-16 09:53

      The fact of the matter is Booing is unsportsmanlike conduct. i was taught that as a kid and i suspect many of the booing fans were to............maybe they should think back to their school days!!! There is no place in this sport for that........and if booing and violence continue to mar the sport i love, you might just find me at more cricket matches and spending more time on the golf course!!!!

  • schalkjburger - 2012-05-15 08:58

    To be fair David's not a "newlands' or 'stormers' -only thing. This is something that has become the "South African" thing. Maybe its more prevalent at places like Newlands and Loftus, but this is simply where this 'norm' is at it's worst. We, as 'supporters', have become ill-behaved and pathetic. We dont watch rugby, we watch a team and then go tell the world that we are 'rugby mad'. We are NOT! Appreciation of a well executed play is non-existant anywhere, noty only Newlands. Boo'ing the kicker is common-place at every stadium in this country. We're not rugby supporters....we're colour-blind (jersey wise) idiots who, I agree with you, does not deserve the quality of players we have in this country. (Look at the comments that follow...i bet you it's just another province vs province bash)

      Gert - 2012-05-15 10:35

      At least Loftus did something about this. A few years back the stadiums management addressed this issue and the crowd behavior during opposition place kicks improved a lot. But sadly the booing crept in. The management, again, addressed this after we all witnessed the behavior of the Stormers fans when the Bulls played there. And the Loftus crowd again behaved very well during the Crusaders and the Brumbies games. It's sad that management needs to step in, but at least at Loftus they are doing something about this.

  • Pierre - 2012-05-15 09:09

    Good article but you could say the same about any stadium and group of supporters in this country. We critisize the Kiwi's and Aussies for being bad sports but then behave as described in this article. I must say though that in my experience , and having been to many games at both Newlands and Loftus, the thuggery and boorishnes is much worse at Loftus. Probablyt something to do witht he amount of Brandies and cokes and wife beating that happens by the bulls supporters before the game. One thing is for sure though as much as I love Newlands the sooner WP/Stormers move to the Cape Town Stadium the better

  • Fiela - 2012-05-15 09:27

    Your solution to the "so called fans" is by moving the Stadium? That's like saying you want a restaurant to move in the hope that their food gets better. I agree with you to some extent about the fans, but the fans come with the territory, and that territory is Cape Town. Everywhere in Cape Town.

      Squeegee - 2012-05-15 11:42

      Not really. I won't go to a Lions game as long as the stadium is in Ellis Park. I prefer not to be mugged. Change of venue would change add lots of fans.

  • The-third - 2012-05-15 09:28

    Loftus is the same.

      Pienaar - 2012-05-15 10:13

      When last were you there? Booing is expressly critisize over the PA system and the supporters will give you a difficult time, but generally not use obscene language to describe your mother just because you don't support the local team. Personal experience!

      The-third - 2012-05-15 12:36

      Fair enough. It's been a while since I've been to Loftus.

  • James - 2012-05-15 09:43

    That "dreadful interpretation" has them with only one loss... However, I'm sure your experience as a professional rugby player would do wonders for the team's strategy! What's that?? Not a pro player?? Coach?? Analyst?? Oh - just another journalist then! Of course you'll be back at Newlands - don't be so precious! I hope WP never leave Newlands - it's like a favourite golf course that gives the players motivation to play better. Move them to Green Point so that the City can cash in on their crap business model is ridiculous - as is your article!

      Jason - 2012-05-16 09:59

      Im sorry James, but if you condone booing then you are ridiculous!! It doesn't matter where it takes place, booing is wrong!!!

  • Deon - 2012-05-15 09:55

    It is even worse when the Crusaders / All Blacks play there, then even some Stormers / SA players are getting booed.

      Felix - 2012-05-15 10:35

      Damn, I wanted that joke :)

  • Ivan - 2012-05-15 10:00

    Well said. Booing is not cool!

  • BergieSean - 2012-05-15 10:08

    Sharks vs Force, stadium EMPTY. Stormers vs Cheetahs, stadium FULL. Why is Newlands the ONLY stadium that is full, week after week after week? I am a boo-er, but only at the ref. Its tremendous fun, especially after a double brandy in that dingy little hole below the railway stand.

      Dave - 2012-05-15 10:15

      sharks v under preforming Australian team with few superstars stormers v cheetah's in local derby you do the maths.

      BergieSean - 2012-05-15 10:57

      No no no Dave, I have yet to see an empty Newlands stadium this season. Newlands is always chokkers. We know and enjoy our rugby. We are universally regarded as the worlds most knowledgeable crowd. We are also known for our humility.

      Squeegee - 2012-05-15 11:44

      And your drinking, and your booing and...

      Morne - 2012-05-16 02:27

      Dave do the Math the "Septic Tank" has so many cracks in it the spectators flowed out! Sharks fans only come for entertainment after the game if they winning!

  • Pienaar - 2012-05-15 10:10

    Spot on, I won't be seeing the inside of a WP stadium ever for this reason. And the heckling if you are a supporter of an apposing team!!?? Only the Lions supporters could be worse, but there are so few, it does not have an impact on anybody!!

  • ThaBob - 2012-05-15 10:15

    If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen !! OR better stil, go watch the Southern Kings in PE. You won't be missed at NEWLANDS

      Gert - 2012-05-15 10:37

      I take it you are one of the booers then.

      Ed - 2012-05-15 10:57

      brain. dead.

      ThaBob - 2012-05-15 11:36

      Mense maar djulle is sensitive !! The oldest profession in the world, prossies, and the poor will always be with us. Likewise the Romans booed in the Circus Maximus, and where you there when they booed Morne du Plessis - Bok Cappie nogal - at Loftus when he came out for his 50th game ? So booing will always be with us. You can't even escape it at the Opera nogal. Did you know that they booed Pavarotti in La Scala ?? So get a life or go play in an abandoned mineshaft !!!

  • Firhaat - 2012-05-15 10:32

    Booing Brussouw was definitely over the line but booing the kicker should be of little consequence to the person kicking the ball, so it is a non-issue really. And when the stormers move to Greenpoint their fans will simply move with them.

      BergieSean - 2012-05-15 11:01

      Rugby is a mind-game. Kickers must be able to overcome the hostility of the crowd. It adds an exciting element to game. Its like suggesting that all stadiums have roofs to keep the rain out. ban boo-ing and you will land up with half empty stadiums like loftus and sharks.

  • Tygerr - 2012-05-15 10:38

    I watched SA play a test against NZ there, and unfortunately happened to get standing place behind the south poles, amongst all the South Africa "New Zealand supporters". Worst rugby watching experience of my life. It didn't help that the Boks were held scoreless for the first time ever at home, but the fans and the stadium left a bitter taste in my mouth. I'd rather go to the new Green Point stadium any day.

  • wesley.bischoff - 2012-05-15 11:15

    I agree. Last time i was at Newlands, there was no parking, so we had to walk like 2km to get to the stadium, while raining. Once i got inside, i thought i would be in awe. It was dirty and old, looking like it came from 70s. It isn't an attractive stadium at all. Maybe it was when build whenever years ago. Point is... change is always a given. Embrace it you rugby bosses, it is inevitable. And besides, CT Stadium is stunning, has ample parking, looks great, has wonderful atmosphere. Let us show off our recent achievements, not dwindle on some relic.

      BergieSean - 2012-05-15 13:30

      Wesley, what is it, do you think, that causes people to flock to newlands week in and week out, year after year? Do you not think some MAGIC will be lost if they move to town?

      wesley.bischoff - 2012-05-15 13:41

      Why would that happen? The fans would still support their team, regardless of the venue. Embrace the change... it is for the better

      Morne - 2012-05-16 02:20

      I have walked to Newlands many times. But the fact that you say no parking means you don't know the area. 2 schools provide parking for rugby and cricket at Newlands on their rugby fields. You can leopard crawl to the game from both fields. CT stadium does not have the parking or have you forgotten park in CT centre and be bussed in or do the fan walk of 5km. Newlands people also don't need pre/post match activities to lure them there they want to see 1 thing and that is their team.

  • Laverne - 2012-05-15 11:30

    I am a proud Newlands faithful who has been attending games at Newlands for over 10 years. I too don't like the booing but unfortunately that has become a reality in all sports and in all stadiums in the country, not just Newlands! I, and the regulars around me, always cheer for the achievements of the other side but again its got to do with our character as individuals and not as a group of supporters!! Your generalizations in your article are largely inaccurate - you are speaking about some 49 thousand people!!! The new stadium is not going to make a difference - we will all move to where the rugby is!

  • ThaBob - 2012-05-15 11:36

    Mense maar djulle is sensitive !! The oldest profession in the world, prossies, and the poor will always be with us. Likewise the Romans booed in the Circus Maximus, and where you there when they booed Morne du Plessis - Bok Cappie nogal - at Loftus when he came out for his 50th game ? So booing will always be with us. You can't even escape it at the Opera nogal. Did you know that they booed Pavarotti in La Scala ?? So get a life or go play in an abandoned mineshaft !!!

  • Tommy - 2012-05-15 12:04

    Don't touch me on my Newlands.

  • paul.sdoow - 2012-05-15 12:21

    i can still remember many a early morning waiting in line at newlands and that's after a heavy night at springfields just a stood throw away and getting tickets and on your stub was printed clearly . . . newland crowds don't boo. why not educate the newer crowd not to boo. sure we have all done it befor whether in jest or in drunken stupor or just to make a point.

      Morne - 2012-05-16 02:25

      Paul you so right i made the front page of the argus after an all nighter in 95 just for a bulls match. O sorry they were Northern Transvaal then. Everyone seems to have lost their identity except good old PROOOOOOOVINCE!

  • robert.cerff - 2012-05-15 12:47

    Hahahahaaha... Shouldn't really have expected much more.

  • gerry.pelser - 2012-05-15 13:08

    As usual you are as full of crap as a long-drop at a 3-day rock concert. Want to punish the boo-ers? well, cheers to the Blue Bulls than who are without doubt springbok-grade booers.

  • Phillip - 2012-05-15 22:26

    Just a thought, Mose - did you notice that Stade de France, professionals in stadium management and turning white elephants into brown leopards, are no longer in the Cape? Remember why? No? Let me remind you, then - it's because our city bosses wanted not marginally more than their pound of flesh, making it a dead cat for those who successfully keep such bottomless tills filled, all around the world. And you thought the money at Newlands didn't catch this? Humour me - say the Newlands fathers did decide to sell the hallowed turf and move to the seaside, and the 'cold, creaking dungeon' was finally laid to rest in the ashes of all that is South African rugby history. Now in a rented home, with nowhere else to go, the landlord seizes his opportunity, and begins to exponentially grow his fleshy demands. What now? Newlands Rugby (PTY) Ltd files for bankruptcy, that's what. Who then 'owns' the game, I wonder not? He who owns the stadium. And who owns the stadium? The politicians, that's who. What a great future WP rugby would have! So why do you think the Newlands brains trust are untrusting of this golden chalice which is being held out so generously to them? Elementary, my dear Mose - it's because they would hate for you to long for the days when you used to watch rugby in that cold, creaking dungeon of a rugby dump. Leave the grand old lady alone - she has served you well, and also hates the darkening of her doorstep by the crass for whom the 'boo' is their identity.

      Morne - 2012-05-16 02:13

      Yes and every year we get oppressed with pathetic Internationals. All because we refuse to conform and pay to get them out the mire! It's been years since we have had a decent Test match where the best support is for a S15 side. Punished I tell you punished we are all because they want us to hire their way out of debt!

  • Morne - 2012-05-16 01:59

    The fact that you believe rugby will move to Capetown football stadium shows your value as a writer. Why would you go hire a stadium for 100's of thousands on a weekend when you own a stadium already? this behaviour is not reserved only by Newlands spectators or have you forgotten the WC winning Percy Montgomery's reception at every stadium in the country. Wakeup man look at the Bok barometer and realise that not one Stormer is supported by the nation and in that team! Rugby people in SA surprise me that game was played by 2 teams including your beloved team who didn't add to the spectacle. Anyway back to the Stadium not even Soccer SA want a match there next year. It's a stadium they had to build to keep FIFA happy. However nice it is it will never be Newlands. Unfortunately some will never see that. Pay R 600M for Newlands and maybe they will talk about buying CT Stadium which they will have to spend another R200 M on to build hospitality suites which were not built originally as well. Business sense in a time of financial crisis doesn't seem to come to a scribe who just wants to pen something for money. Go watch your team in Bloem in peace where they throw naartjies at my team players!

  • Wouter - 2012-05-16 07:26

    I agree that it is only "common" people that boo. It is only the referees that deserve some booeing. The most embarressing is the booing and singing while the New Zealanders are doing the haka. Unfortunatley moving to Cape Town stadium is not going to resolve this problem

      Raymond - 2012-05-19 16:58

      Actually, booing during the haka is the only justifiable time to boo. I hate this false cr@p. The crowd should boo and the opposition should refuse to acknowledge the farce.

  • gustav.louw.12 - 2012-05-16 09:59

    David ek stem glad nie saam nie. Ek het Nuweland die eerste keer in 1989 besoek. WP het teen Natal gespeel en die wedstryd het 20 elk gelykop geeindig. Ek onthou elke oomblik van daardie wedstryd. Daar is selfs erger gebooo as vandag. Om te maak of dit n nuwe ding is is net bloot onwaar. Dit kom al dekades aan. Van voor my geboorte. Ek het Nuweland sederdien al meer as 50 maal besoek en geniet dit altyd. Die ander span is deur al die jare nog altyd uitgejou. Ek was ook meer onlangs in Bloem by n paar wedstryde. Dieselfde gebeur daar ook, maar omdat daar baie meer mense op Nuweland is ( 45 000 teen Bloem se gemiddelde 10 000) klink dit erger op Nuweland nie. Dit gebeur oral op alle rugbyvelde lyk dit my. Dink net hoe Puke Watson bv op Loftus uitgejou is. Hoekom word Nuweland uitgesonder? Stormer groete

  • Charles - 2012-05-16 12:19

    as i read this articel and the replies on the forum i began to think..... dont you have pride?? have any of you ever played sport or been competitive its all about that atmosphere never give the opponent the advantage especially on your home turf, when you go to loftus the uncultured, dom boere shout racist remarks and you get pelted with oranges and they boo just as much, why all of a sudden pick on newlands and their faithfull followers and more importantly coloureds as they attend most of the matches. as a result of this attendance wp rugby has had the highest takings at the gate because of there unrivalled support, so my suggestion to you nancies and wankers......sod off!!! go watch tennis! THIS IS STORMER CCOUNTRY AND WE TAKE NO PRISONERS!!!!!!!

  • Paul - 2012-05-16 18:38

    Shame, David, what a loss, please don't do it, I cannot imagine Newlands without you. Maybe a 15 000 crowd at Loftus or Kingspark will suit your flimsy attitude towards life. Come on, have some fire in your belly! I mean, who is Brussow in the context of an important S15 match anyway?. That's what we do. After a challanged filled week where we were loving husbands and fathers, loyal employees and law abiding citizens we go to war (Newlans), behave like passionate warriors in support of our team, let our hair down, shout, swear and even boo the enemy, all in a controlled environment, return home after the game and continue to be loving family men etc. Get over yourself, boy, life is passing you.

      Raoul Duke - 2012-05-20 10:50

      My dear sir... It is both pleasing and surprising that the dim-witted idiocracy complained of in this column have at least acquired reading and writing ability. I understand your comparison of rugby with war, and remember making similar statements back in highschool when I just started realising that the world is in fact bigger than what my eyes can see and brain can remember. But now that I am older and see things in a little more perspective, I realise that the men I cheer are not only professional athletes, but people. Like you, they have families and responsibilities and stress. Unlike you however, they have ambition and determination and the will to actually go to war while you sit on the sideline and watch. While you slave away at a job you hate and live a life that demands 80 minutes of swearing and booing just to keep you content, these guys put their bodies on the line year after year in an attempt to be the best. We pay them well and celebrate their milestones because without players like Heinrich, Schalk, Bismarck and Bakkies the game is boring. The least you can do is show a bit of loyalty that is more than jersey deep. Heinrich Brussow is a god among men, and booing should be reserved for Aussies.

  • roxanne.norman - 2012-05-17 07:59

    I went to the game on Saturday but awesome to the game before they left for Australasia. I am not a rugby follower as such so am short on details. A old player or coach has passed away in that week and new lands could even shut up for the moment of silence. I was embarrassed and disgusted!

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