September 25, 2003


Excellent Collingwood piece by Richard Hinds:

Collingwood's insular fanaticism is based on both their ancient and recent history. For the boot factory workers from the impoverished slums of Collingwood, football was an expression of pride and revenge. In latter days the club's spectacular finals failures have entrenched the feeling of victimisation.

Perhaps the sentiment that best describes Magpie supporters comes from 12-year-old fan Stephanie, who was asked on the website which opposition clubs she dislikes: "I hate them all because I am a true supporter and don't like other clubs," she replied.

Well said, Stephanie. Important news for readers in Denver, Seattle, Philadelphia, London, Toronto, Vancouver, Sachsenhausen, Guam, Paris, Hong Kong, Vientiane, Singapore, and Madrid: the Melbourne Age has compiled a useful list of places where you may gather to watch the AFL Grand Final. Be warned: some of these venues could serve alcohol. Exercise extreme caution.

Posted by Tim Blair at September 25, 2003 08:25 AM

In an effort to understand and appreciate AFL, could someone familiar with both AFL and US football give me some parallels for the teams in both leagues? For example, is Collingwood more like Oakland or Denver, or maybe even Green Bay?

I need some points of reference in order to expand my sports horizon. Thanks.

Posted by: Polly at September 25, 2003 at 09:00 AM

You do realize that this conflicts with Rosh Hashanah, don't you? Could this be an anti-Semitic plot? Did anyone think of that?

Posted by: Eric Jablow at September 25, 2003 at 09:01 AM

Rocca's appeal fell flat, lets see what effect that has on the last Saturday in September.

As much as it pains me.....go the lions.

Posted by: Jake D at September 25, 2003 at 09:31 AM

`Extreme caution...'uncover nanny police moles who would inform and see you incacerated for the rest of your natural life, unlike murderers, Greenies, Clintallary and so forth.

Posted by: d at September 25, 2003 at 09:55 AM

On Rocca, the first footage shown of the incident shown on Saturday evening news looked damning. More footage shown on the news last night from a differnt angle disclosed accidnetal contact, not deliberate.On the strength of the second clip, Rocca has been unjustly dealt with.If standards of due process applied to AFL tribunal ,what would have been the decision, indeed of many cases is worth pondering.Like it or not, video has to be treated evidence.In Rocca's case, on the video clips, he comes out rather well.

As in, he played an aggressive game, footy is supposed to be, but fairly, within the rules, and no apparent nastiness in manner. Collingwood should run for another applea in quick time.

Posted by: d at September 25, 2003 at 10:03 AM

forget American football, the closest thing American sport offers to Collingwood would be the Red Sox and the Curse of the Bambino. The Sox had the wonderful Ted Williams and they still couldn't win a World Series. Then, in 1986, they have the Mets cold when Mookie Wilson slaps one to first, there's an error, and the Amazins' win.

Same with Collingwood, although not so extreme, since they've actually won a few premierships in the last 80 years. They've come thisclose a bunch of times and, well, we don't want to make Tim B. cry, do we, so let's not dwell on past misfortunes when the Lions (nee Gorillas) are about to get what's good for 'em.

Posted by: RF at September 25, 2003 at 10:19 AM


I'm a New Yorker, and the thought of Bill Buckner still makes me chuckle. However, the game was already tied when Bill made his error; Calvin Schiraldi had thrown his wild pitch to give the Mets their tying run. Let's be fair.

Of course, Bill did try to commit suicide the following winter. He ran into the street right in front of a speeding bus. Fortunately for him, the bus went right between his legs.

I've been known to refer to our previous President as Bill “Buckner” Clinton.

Posted by: Eric Jablow at September 25, 2003 at 11:03 AM

Polly - the only way to really understand the Collingwood phenomenon is this.
Are you or your ancestors Irish Catholic working class poor? Then you support Collingwood. If that does not apply to you, you will support any team that is playing against Collingwood. I don't think there's a full parallel with either NFL or MLB, but people hate Collingwood like non-New Yorkers hate the Yankees. The issue of getting to lots of finals and not winning many is a distraction. That's what Collingwood people will say they love about Collingwood. This is our Tim's only weakness.

As an indication of how strongly this stuff is felt in many parts of Oz, I just did some shortlisting for a job in our outfit. One referee for one of the applicants actually said in writing that the applicant's main shortcoming was that they supported Collingwood.
Fair dinkum!

Posted by: uburoi at September 25, 2003 at 11:34 AM

Dear Polly

I think that Collingwood is a bit similar to the Cleveland Browns, exept that everybody in the US of A laughs at Cleveland and in Australia everybody hates Collingwood. Both teams have a long and proud heritage but went through fairly rough times in the last couple of decades. Both lots of fans are fanatical, too.

I used to be a Collingwood supporter, but once West Coast arrived I switched to them because I'm a West Aussie. Now I'm like a reformed smoker and hate Collingwood with a Passion and I blame my father for indoctrinating me as a child, but now I have seen the light.

Then the AFL let Fremantle into the competition. As a South Fremantle supporter in the local League I was drawn, but decided that having changed allegiances once already I didn't want to do it again. And now I hate them with a Passion as well.

And then Sheedy waved his jacket over his head. . .

I support the Cleveland Browns because in the '80s, while at Uni I watched a late night US Football Show (Don Lane's) and needed a team to support. When they announced that Cleveland had been voted the daggiest team in the NFL and having seen their fans carrying on in 'the Dog House' I thought they were worth supporting. I was also gambling on sporting socialism (the draft and salary cap) to work so that by now (15 years later) the Browns would be a power house. Nup! A good mate of mine who supports the Steelers just keeps laughing at me and taking my beers when they do us over. What to do??

Please enjoy watching the greatest spectator sport in the world. Go Lions (but I think the Magpies will get up, even without Bozo).

Kind regards

Posted by: Razor at September 25, 2003 at 11:39 AM

Well, where do I fit in? Irish Catholic and working class and named after a Footscray star from their premiership year -- and I don't hate the woodsmen any more than any other team, except Melbourne because the only good things about the Demons is that Bluey Truscott played for them and Ron Barassi didn't burn down the members stand (probably because he hadn't got around to insuring it.)

Collingwood is much loved at Western Oval. When the Doggies were facing extinction, Collingwood was amongst the first and most generous contributors who kept us going.

Collingwood by 17 points on Saturday.

Doggies in '04, for sure.

Posted by: RF at September 25, 2003 at 11:43 AM

That Age list shows 13 venues.

Posted by: ilibcc at September 25, 2003 at 02:04 PM

That Age list shows 13 venues.

Posted by: ilibcc at September 25, 2003 at 02:06 PM

A better list for AFL Grand FInal parties in the US is here.

Posted by: Pig Head Sucker at September 25, 2003 at 03:19 PM

Thank you all for your comments. I'm beginning to get an inkling of the dynamics.

I understand the Red Sox and Bill Buckner example because I still groan when I think of that game. I was rooting (I know that means something different in Oz speak) for the Sox.

I understand the Cleveland Browns analogy because I'm a rabid Bronco fan, and they've humilated the Browns soooo many times. Although I'd take the Browns over the Steelers ANYTIME.

I understand the reflexive hatred of the Yankees. As a non-New Yorker I do hate the Yankees - the only time I rooted for them was during the 2001 World Series.

And while my ancestry is poor working class Irish-heck, I think they were starvation class when they left the island in the 1700's- they weren't Catholic. Would Collingwood accept an "Orangeman's" support?

I still don't know which team to support. Perhaps I should sit this one out and select a team to cheer for next year. The 5 major cities I've visited in Australia are Sydney, of course, Melbourne, but only the airport, Brisbane, Canberra, which didn't look like a city that would have a great footy team, and Perth and/or Freemantle. I wouldn't feel right supporting a team but hadn't visited their city. Who plays in the Subiaco Oval? I thought that was a cool looking place. Maybe I'll just have to go with the team with the prettiest colors.

This is an important decision; I'll have to do some research. Thanks again.

Posted by: Polly at September 25, 2003 at 04:04 PM

Let me give you the good oil Polly, support the Essendon Bombers. Not a local terrorist group but the creme-del-la-creme of Australian Rules.

Everbody hates Collingwood but everyone wants to beat Essendon (or get in the team). Although not in the race any more for the Premiership they are consistantly in the Finals series and rarely have a bad year.

We've even got good looking players if that's your thing and no other team can boast having the same top quality coach for 20+ years.

History - got it. Great success - got it. Handsome manly men - got a lot of those. Cool colours - Black with a bold, striking red sash from shoulder to hip, oh yes got that.

Essendon has it all, we just need you Polly.

Posted by: Jake D at September 25, 2003 at 04:45 PM

Do me a favour, Tim, give up with the world interest in AFL propoganda. Even up the Hume highway here in Sydney nobody undestands any of this AFL stuff on your site, let alone in Sachsenhausen or Vientiane. The sooner Melbourne crawls out from under its carapace of AFL provincialsim and joins the rest of the world, the sooner it will become recognised, even in Sachsenhausen.

Posted by: Freddyboy at September 25, 2003 at 05:11 PM

Essendon's black strip with the bright red diagonal is so striking that the team was once known as the blood-stained niggers, well before the term was regarded as unacceptable.

(In fact, Essendon has led the AFL in using indigenous players - the first aboriginal played for Essendon in the '40s or '50s, also well before it was modish issue.)

The current name Bombers refers to Essendon's home base near Melbourne's original Essendon Airport. Welcome aboard Polly. Enjoy the flight - next year.

Posted by: ilibcc at September 25, 2003 at 05:13 PM

PS to Polly: via a great coincidence, the original Essendon Airport can be seen two posts above in the link to the orginal 1966 Melways street directory. Click on Map 16.

Posted by: ilibcc at September 25, 2003 at 05:53 PM

Collingwood to be done by 12 points. I hate anything Brisbane usually, but like any team playing the AllBlacks, anywhere, I will pick anyone over the Kiwis and Collingwood.
As a Hawk since the early 80's, it is incumbent upon myself to declare that Rocca is a cheat who should be stripped of his jersey and Collingwood be expelled from the competition.
There, that feels better, end bleat....

Posted by: Chief Bastard at September 25, 2003 at 06:20 PM


I'm originally a New Yorker. I hate the Yankees; mine is an NL family. Remember too, they're owned by the convicted (and pardoned) liar.

But, they are not the most evil team in baseball. The Los Angeles Dodgers is. Remember, the three most evil people of the twentieth century are:

  1. Adolf Hitler
  2. Stalin
  3. Walter O'Malley
Posted by: Eric Jablow at September 26, 2003 at 01:42 AM


You're quite the salesman. I do like history and tradition, which Essendon seems to have. I do like the fact they have the same coach for so long-one thing I hate about US sports is the constant switching of personnel. And the fact that the manly men are handsome is a plus, for sure(because AFL players don't wear layers of padding during the game, unlike US football players, looks are important). And I just discovered the Orange County Bombers from Orange County, California. I grew up in Orange County, and they seem to be modeled on Essendon. So Essendon is a strong contender.

I understand your hatred of Walter O'Malley because he moved the Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles; however, I grew up as a fanatical LA Dodgers supporter. There was no better way to spend a balmy So. Cal. evening than sitting in Dodger Stadium, munching on a Dodger Dog, listening to Vin Scully on my transitor radio, and cheering for the team. Nowadays I'm a Colorado Rockies fan, and I am, at best, a lukewarm supporter of the Dodgers. I turned when they screwed over my favorite player and coach, Bill Russell ("Mr. Clutch"). Tommy Lasorda and company really knifed him in the back. I'll never forgive them.

Have fun watching the game this weekend.


Posted by: Polly at September 26, 2003 at 05:56 AM

ilibcc, we have her! Muh hah hah hah! Welcome to the Red and Black side Polly.

Go the Bombers!

and the lions, yay.

Posted by: Jake D at September 26, 2003 at 12:34 PM

Sorry Jake D. for not crediting you with your sales job. You did give me the salient points about why I should support Essendon. I meant to thank both of you when I posted. I guess this cruddy cold is clouding my brain.


Posted by: Polly at September 26, 2003 at 02:50 PM

Thanks Pig HS for the plug. Our list is much better and AFANA's been doing it since 1996. The Age is late into the game.

Posted by: Rob de Santos at September 26, 2003 at 03:55 PM


Just one more fact about Essendon then I'll shut up.

Essendon Football Club's Number One Ticketholder (a prestigious position for each club) is Australia Treasurer and Deputy Prime Minister Mr Peter Costello.

Isn't that just the icing on the cake?

Posted by: ilibcc at September 26, 2003 at 04:05 PM