Migrants are often characterized as in search of new homes, while spectator sports are frequently spoken of as providing homes for the followers of particular teams. However the particular kinds of ‘homes’ that spectator sports can provide for migrants is understudied. This paper explores the sporting ‘homes’ found by those who migrated from Italy to Australia after the Second World War. In particular it examines the different experiences of those who found a home in the mainstream sport of Australian Rules football with the more culturally peripheral sport of Association football (soccer). Drawing on 59 oral history interviews with first and second generation migrants to the Australian cities of Melbourne and Sydney, the paper provides a window into the meanings, passions, exclusion, inclusion, intergenerational tensions, and intergenerational bonding that these migrants found in, and created through, Australian Rules football and soccer. Both sports facilitated entry into particular territorial worlds in Melbourne and Sydney. Yet while those who followed Australian Rules football went to away games with throngs of Anglo-Australians, soccer provided access to a more hidden, peripheral, and more European parts of Melbourne and Sydney which were yet to be celebrated for their multicultural ethnic diversity.
- Australian Rules football