19/04/2012 06:20 BST | Updated 18/06/2012 06:12 BST

'Stand Up, If You Hate Melbourne'

For all the rivalry between the two countries, Australian football fans are keen to follow in the footsteps of their English counterparts.

Australia is a sporting giant.

Decades of 'Pommy-bashing' - including a jinx held over the English cricket team which at times verged on the sadistic - have helped forged a rivalry of great quality, enjoyment and more often than not, torment.

But when it comes to football - or 'soccer' Australian influence in Britain is comparatively negligible.

Granted, there was Craig Johnston - the mid-80s Liverpool winger who designed the Adidas Predator - and Tim Cahill's sporadic corner flag abuse was afforded fleeting bemusement.

Aside from this, a sprinkling of distinctly average footballers - think Brett Emerton, Lucas Neill or Vince Grella - is pretty much all Australia have had to offer.

Heading down-under, it was this which made it difficult to be anything but sceptical about the prospect of the Hyundai A-League providing my fix of live football.

The A-League is largely void of the stardust the likes of Thierry Henry, and of course David Beckham, have sprinkled over America's MLS. Average yearly league attendances only just creep above the 10,000 mark, and the football is largely considered to be absolute dross.

Still, I couldn't resist dipping my toe in the water and heading to a game - Emerton's laser-blue clad Sydney FC against the Newcastle Jets - a local derby and a match pivotal to both sides play-off chances.

The football was, as expected, very poor. The sluggish pace made Emerton look like Zidane and suggested even the Jet's bench-warmer and perma-crock Francis Jeffers wouldn't have been out of his depth.

Yet the football aside, my A-League debut was an enjoyable experience. We stood on 'The Cove' - Sydney's answer to the Stretford End - where the influence of Europe, and particularly Britain, on Australian fan culture was clear. Alongside the swathes of banners and flags, the 15,000 crowd sang songs normally heard on terraces across England at 3pm on a Saturday - 'They're Sydney, they're barmy, they're off their f****n' heads'.

As the game progressed, so too did the atmosphere. Whereas it's a heinous crime to be seen with alcohol on an English terrace - it's paramount to heresy to be seen without it in Australia. Stewards were also incredibly lenient with any persistent standing, and barely lifted an eye when a missile was launched at the away team's goalkeeper after Sydney's winning third goal -although admittedly, it was only a tennis ball.

It isn't just the football which appears to have been 'Anglicised' either.

Watching my adopted local Rugby League team - the South Sydney Rabbitohs - was again reminiscent of watching football at home, as the 'Bunnies' fans raised their beers to 'Drink a drink, to Sutton the king'. They even had one ditty set to the seemingly inescapable 'Sloop John B'.

The parallels between English and Australian fan culture are clear. Given that the A-League was only incepted in 2004 and that the Premier League has such large global influence - this is hardly surprising.

It appears that for once, the Aussies are willing to take a lead from their great Pommy rivals.