Let them ring: In defence of Macarthur’s cowbells

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The 2020/21 season signalled the beginning of a new era for the A-League, with new players, coaches, rivalries, and even a whole new club.

But there is one new addition to the league which stands out above all others: Macarthur’s cowbells.

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Competing in their inaugural season, the A-League’s newest club Macarthur FC are nicknamed “the Bulls”, a nod to the history of the South-West Sydney region they represent.

Ahead of their introduction to the A-League, Macarthur gifted their foundation members with branded cowbells. They encouraged fans to bring these along to games, and ring them in droves to signal their presence.

Macarthur fans – and their active supporter group(s) – have gotten right behind it. Rival fans, not so much.

“They’re worse than vuvuzelas,” is one criticism.

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It isn’t hard to understand why. I can tell you from experience that listening to thousands of small, high-pitched cowbells clattering simultaneously is enough to drive you absolutely insane.

But that is exactly what makes them great.

The power of the cowbells was on show in Macarthur’s first ever competitive match, when they stunned local rivals Western Sydney Wanderers on opening night this season. It came as their small legion of fans, cowbells in hand, completely drowned out the Red and Black Bloc in their own backyard.

These scenes brought back memories of the Wanderers’ early days, upstaging “big brothers” Sydney FC while the A-League was in its prime in the mid-to-late 2010s.

Macarthur have not yet reached the dazzling heights that Western Sydney did in their inaugural season, but they are definitely proving to be noisy neighbours – quite literally.

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As loud, annoying and obnoxious as they may be, the cowbells serve their purpose to perfection: they build tradition, rivalry and atmosphere. These are all areas where the A-League has been seriously lacking in recent times.

In a small space of time, the cowbells have formed the basis of being a Macarthur supporter, while giving rival fans something to hate about the club.

They create a unique atmosphere that cannot be found in any other league around the world. Sure, it’s not ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, but it just might be the A-League equivalent. Seriously, what other fanbase has such a compelling tradition that has generated so much discussion?

Yes, the cowbells are infuriating.

But there is no arguing they are a powerful little tool which has established a type of tradition, rivalry and atmosphere that we have not seen in the A-League for some time now.

So let them ring, I say. Let them ring.

Feature Image: Supplied

 

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Jye Campbell
Journalism student at Western Sydney. Love my football (#lazoumance) and rugby league (#pantherpride). Advocate for FIFA Career Modes. Covering Western Sydney Wanderers in both A-League and W-League for the 2020/21 season.

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