Bulut backs fan protests in blast at football haters

Fiery former Western Sydney Wanderers striker Kerem Bulut has backed planned protests by supporters at A-League games this weekend, insisting they are right "to take a stand against people who want to destroy the game".


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Greece-based Bulut, who became a Wanderland cult hero during his brief stint last season, spoke out as Wanderers and Melbourne Victory supporter groups announced their intention to walk-out en masse mid-match in the duels against Central Coast Mariners and Adelaide United.

The planned action from Victory's North Terrace and the Wanderers' Red and Black Block (RBB) is a reaction to perceived heavy-handed treatment from Football Federation Australia amid a snow-balling backlash to the controversial News Corp report of a leaked document naming 198 fans banned from stadiums nationwide, many who are Wanderers followers.


Bulut, the scorer of six goals in 13 appearances for Wanderers before departing for Greek Super League side Iraklis, called on FFA to "help the fans and be more lenient", warning that attempts to douse supporter passion would only drive people away from the A-League.

“The fans work all week and at weekends go out to relieve their stress and support their team. I don’t understand why there's such a big fuss from people trying to tear the game down,” Bulut said.

He was referring to the Sunday Telegraph article and incendiary comments from radio host Alan Jones comparing a ‘soccer shame file’ to the terrorist attacks in Paris.

"The fans have every right to make a statement. Why should they just sit back and let people talk trash about the game walk all over the sport?" Bulut said.

"Some people don’t like the fact the game is growing and Wanderers have such a huge supporter base that has built up over a very short time.

"Do people just want fans to go to games and sit down quietly and watch? They want to destroy the passion for football and turn people towards other codes.

“Making a noise and showing your passion is what the game is about. As a player, if I don’t have that fire then I don't do as well."

The supporters groups want the governing body to condemn the News Corp report, investigate how the banned list was leaked and instigate an independent appeals process for supporters who feel they have been wrongly excluded.

"The FFA has to help the fans and be more lenient and understand them more," Bulut said.

“If the fans don’t come to the games then there's no game. The first priority is the team and then the fans; if you don't have them then it's all over. “If, for example, for six weeks no fans came to any games then no one makes any money and the TV rights are worthless. You have to work with the fans and keep them happy, or you will turn them off for good. "This is football, it's the world game and it's all about passion. We don't need people in the background with all these agendas.
"You don't see it in other countries, why in Australia? It's ridiculous and it has upset me.

"People should let the game grow and get behind it. It's an Australian sport and it's going to benefit the country.

“For Alan Jones to refer to compere A-League fans with terrorists in Paris is unbelievable. I've never heard anything like it. It's quite shocking.

"He knows nothing about football and is there trying to rip the game apart."

After being limited by a hamstring injury at his new club, Bulut came off the bench to take man of the match accolades in the 0-0 draw against Veria in their last match, and is contention to start against second-placed Panathinaikos at the weekend.

It is all part of rebuilding his career after the kick start it received at Wanderers.

"It was a little confidence booster to come in and do well and change the game a bit playing on the right wing," he said.

"It was good to get that game behind me and hopefully I will be starting against Panathinaikos, which is a big game for us.

"I wish I could maybe play in my preferred position through the middle, but no complaints. I will play on the wing or wherever it is.

"There's a big chance for me now and I need to take it with both hands. Once I am on a roll I am hard to stop, I am just looking for that roll.”

Should Bulut, 23, ever decide to return to the A-League, there will only be one club for him.

"I would only come back and play for the Wanderers," he said. "They are the only Australian club for me ... they're in my heart."

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4 min read
Published 25 November 2015 at 1:54am
By David Lewis