A messy match against the Auckland Blues on Saturday taught us one thing: That being a Bulls’ supporter is a complex thing. Well, it’s complex if you’re civilised and pretty straightforward if you’re one of those peasants on the Oos-pawiljoen who like to throw bottles at players of the opposing team and swear at them from behind the fence.
I have been a Bulls fan since I could talk. I grew up in Pretoria, went to school and University there, and live in the greater metropolitan area even now. My credentials are good. It’s also (mostly) nice to be a Bulls supporter because we tend to win rather a lot more than we lose. Insert a joke here, at will, about any other South African team in the Super 15. The Bulls have a great rugby track record, Loftus has a spirited and exciting ambience, and the whole experience of being a fan is one I am happy to admit having enjoyed for many weekends in the now interminable season.
The problem is other Bulls supporters. It’s not the majority, it never is – it’s just a small clique of extremely stupid, extremely common, usually quite drunk hooligans. All sports teams have their bad eggs among the throngs of supporters, but the Bulls have a very distinctive flavour of hooligan – the kind that drinks brandy, gets aggressive and listens to really bad music. They have tended, over the last few years especially to have confused their support for the bulls and presence at Loftus with a licence to behave badly, use foul language, get violent and sometimes react in an offensive or racist way that you just don’t see in the lowest echelon of support for any other Super-15 team. I call it Bull-shit behaviour.
Watch this clip that my friend Ben found, showing the incident on March 10th: http://www.thebounce.co.za/2012/03/13/bulls-fan-throws-mealamu-wiff-a-water-bottle/
It appears, from reading his reliable blog, that this extraordinary specimen got so close to the field because he kicked one of the guards in the face. How anyone so dreadful should be allowed even to attend public events is beyond me, but he also seems, upon closer inspection, to be a repeat offender. That he is not the only awful organism at the match supporting my team is made further evident by the colourful language used by the behemoth woman in the crowd when he is eventually chased off the field. I have always said that some of the more intense female supporters make the most belligerent men look tame by comparison. This clips bears me out.
What is to be done? Certainly this man must be banned from ever attending a game again, and he should be fined too. Pierre Spies made a groveling apology – an unnecessary but chivalrous thing to do – since it was not his fault that one of his supporters was an unrehabilitated moron. The Bulls management tried to make it all go away, but the average supporter at Loftus must now be tarred with this prickly blue brush. I won’t stand for it. I denounce this man and his like. They make the entire undertaking thoroughly unpleasant. The parking lot braais and street corner gatherings around the stadium have become post-match lodestones for the worst elements in white society and make me very embarrassed, and uneasy. The fact that children are present among these troops of baboons makes it likely that bad behaviour among the adults will become learned bad behaviour among the next generation – where drunkenness, brawling and bigotry are praiseworthy ways to spend game days. It is an ugly clamjamphrie.
I don’t go to Loftus anymore. I’ll be called names for saying all these things – Engelsman, verraier, moffie, etc. I’ll support the Bulls, but I won’t do it with those people. It is beneath me – and you.