You can take the family out of Richmond…

I first posted this in 2011 on Nick Maxwell’s blog, and secondly (with additions) on the footy almanac site. Here is my third posting, with further updates! You’ll just have to remember it was written in the context on football 2011. i’m posting this one last time as i’m off to punt road with my daughter molly to watch Port melbourne v richmond, as my family did back in the early 1900′s. Read on.

In case it escaped your attention last year, esteemed journalist Patrick Smith took the astonishing step of turning his back on four generations of Essendon-supporting tradition, trading the Bombers in for my club Richmond! Smith’s actions were in protest of his ‘former club’s’ handling of the controversial James Hird and Mark Thompson coaching appointments, using what he described as “shabby trickery unworthy of a league that aspires to be the best and most respected competition in the country.”

“It has become impossible to continue to support a club that acted so shamelessly.”

Whether a mere publicity stunt or pure stubbornness, it just didn’t sit comfortably with me. Firstly- what exactly did Essendon do wrong? I don’t particularly love the way in which they conducted themselves post-season 2010, but I’d love that ruthless nature should Richmond adopt it. I also get the sense that the majority of Essendonians are supportive, given the sudden spike we saw in 2011 membership sales.

Secondly- what will Patrick do when Richmond one day acts in a way he can’t respect? Surely it’s only a matter of time. Will he switch clubs again?

And thirdly- how can you turn your back on such a family institution and tradition? How can you push down that instinctive ‘urge’ for your team? I haven’t found the off switch yet! Perhaps decades of sports journalism is the answer?

I was reminded of these ‘antics’ as I read through the memoirs Fr Kevin Cronin, my first cousin, twice removed, or more simply, my grandmother’s cousin. Kevin passed away in 2007. His stories added to what I already knew of my family’s links with Richmond, both football club and suburb, yet from a different perspective. The Cronins were of Irish heritage as was much of Richmond’s population, and have been traced back by family members as far as my great great great grandfather, Patrick Cronin, who emigrated from County Cork in Ireland to Richmond in th1840s, during the period of the great potato famine.

The first thing that leapt from the pages as I read Kevin’s memoirs was simply a paragraph on his father, Thomas Cronin, brother of my great grandfather, Maurice.

“Dad was a Tiger supporter even as a boy and a young man. In those days, the Tigers were part of the Football Association. Whenever the team played an away match against Port Melbourne, the Tiger supporters would travel together by train, then form up in military fashion and march to the ground, a matter perhaps of intimidate or be intimidated! I seem to recall hearing from dad that on one occasion the umpire so incensed the Port supporters that, fearing the worst as soon as the final bell sounded, he raced for the exit and made off in a handsome cab. Some irate fans took off in pursuit, but the Cabby kept them at bay using his whip to good effect!”

In trying to locate some information about this match in Brian Hansen’s “Tigerland”, the Richmond Football Club history, I came across numerous spiteful clashes between Richmond and Port, and to pinpoint the specific afternoon is difficult. A fierce footballing rivalry was lost when Richmond joined the League in 1908!

I was fascinated to learn that my family’s link with the Richmond club pre-dates entry into the VFL in 1908. I can only assume that my great grandfather too watched Richmond in the VFA, as my father spoke of how he was a Richmond supporter and member of the cricket club. This all got me thinking, what about my great, great grandfather, Maurice Cronin senior? Surely as he lived in Richmond, and his children followed the club, he too would have been a Tiger, or a Wasp as they were known in the early days!

So I asked my own father again if he knew anything of it, and he pointed me in the direction of the Richmond cricket club, remembering that there had been some link, though unsure of its nature . So I scurried off to my library of all things football (with a smattering of cricket) and pulled out my copy of the History of the Richmond Cricket Club. And there he was, Maurice Cronin (snr), on page 122!

It turns out that Maurice Cronin hosted the players on their tours of the wineries during their 1921 rural trip in and around Rutherglen. The players “eventually staggered home after visiting the local vineyards and the Viticultural College, where Maurice Cronin, an old Richmond personality held sway as principal”. An old Richmond personality? I like the sound of that!

This story certainly rings true with family records, as my own Nana spoke of visiting her grandfather in Rutherglen. There’s also a copy of an electoral role from the time which listed “Cronin, Maurice, Viticultural College, Rutherglen, vineyard manager”.

It can only be assumed, and I don’t believe I draw too long a bow, that my family’s support of the Richmond Football club extends six generations, with my daughter now firmly entrenched in the Richmond camp. I’ve also made life as anything other than a Tiger for my 5-month-old son difficult, naming him Richmond Jack… Richie for short! Here’s hoping he doesn’t rebel like Patrick Smith and end this Richmond fanaticism.

(Since posting this piece, I have learnt through the help of Richmond historian Rhett Bartlett that my great-great grandfather, Maurice Cronin Snr was in fact a Richmond football club member in the VFA premiership season of 1905 and the following year 1906. Many thanks to Rhett for his efforts for locating and sending through some photos of these records. It has certainly given the family a thrill.)

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Richmond Football Club’s membership records from 1905 (top) and 1906 (below) show that M.Cronin, my great-great grandfather, was a member of the club.

 

While my great-great-great grandfather, Thomas Cronin lived in Richmond from 1845 until his death there in 1896, I’ve no evidence to suggest he followed the club, which would make my children seventh generation Richmondites. My feelings are that he may have, but as the club was merely 11 years old when he passed, he may have had no time or interest for sporting clubs in later life. Besides, it would be too many bows drawn far too long.

 

But enough speculation, and back to Kevin Cronin’s memoirs.

 

In between stories of serving his priesthood in India and other family tales, he also touched upon his own following of the club, going to watch the Tigers play whenever they played at home, just over the road at the Punt Road Oval in the 1930s and 40s.

 

“I used to have a Scholar’s Membership Card” he recalled, and would often attend with his elder sister Teresa, the most passionate Richmond fan of the lot. “We would sit together in the stand while holding a place for a pal of hers who lived at the top of Richmond Terrace… while people near us grumbled about the amount of space we occupied!” Nothing has changed there, although reserved seating has taken such angst out of many a football fans experience!

 

I met Teresa, also my first cousin twice removed, when she was an elderly lady, probably three or four times. Never at a family function, rather in the lower deck of the old Olympic or Northern stand, the Richmond members area. Perhaps such occasions could have been classified as “family functions?” Teresa continued attending well into her 80s such was her devotion to the club. Kevin describes her as having a “one-eyed passionate interest in the Tigers” and spoke of her “devoted following of their fortunes whether at home or away.” My dad also mentioned that Teresa is clearly visible in the 1937 Richmond Team photo in front of the old stand at Punt Road. Here is my own daughter Molly in front of the same stand just last year. You can take the family out of Richmond…

 

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Then Kevin continued with some information which fascinated me no end. While Richmond’s current day song is oft regarded as the league’s best, Kevin spoke of a Richmond song in the 1940s, of which I’d never heard. According to Rhett Bartlett it would have been one of many ditties used by Richmond fans, not an official club song. That would come later.

“It it is true that I can still sing the Tigers song of the 1940s- and it is because of the thoroughness of Teresa’s coaching! Thus (to the melody of “Men of Harlech”) :

‘Bolger, Crane, O’Neill and Dyer,

Cocker Strang, the Albry Flier,

Sure to set the grass on fire,

Tigers on the ball!’ ”

Go ahead- hum it to yourself. It’s quite catchy! The names mentioned are for me almost fictional characters, having only read about them in books, representing a time and place in football and life that is long past. I can only bring them to life using a combination of faded black and whites and a vivid imagination.

Which brings me to “the scrapbooks!”

A visit to my nana and pa’s “little bit of Richmond” in Forest Hill was never complete without three things. Licorice all-sorts, watching old football videos and a fossick through the old Richmond scrapbooks my nana kept from 1958 through to 1969. Top cupboard, spare bedroom. Newspaper clippings yellowing with age, these scrapbooks had a unique aroma, a magical mustiness which permeated my senses. Each match has the selected teams from the Friday paper, results and any match reports or pictures, plus a ladder at the completion of each round.

There were pre-season pictures of players training in sand shoes and the odd shot of a new recruit at his work-place. The hours I’ve spent poring over these family treasures is immeasurable, yet I seem to come across something new upon each viewing. Once the Tigers finally broke the premiership drought of 24 years (current drought is 31 years strong) the scrapbooks began to wain slightly, until coming to an end in 1969, another premiership year. It appears that my nana was well satisfied with victory and lost the hunger! Though my grandparents are no longer with us, the scrapbooks are still in the family.

Now my grandparents were born and bred Richmondites; married at St. Ignatius atop Richmond Hill, Labour and then DLP voters and of course Tigers at heart. Remembering that Richmond was once referred to as “Struggletown”, it’s no wonder that they, like many others, eventually headed for the space and comfort offered by Melbourne’s east and south eastern suburbs. Firstly Carnegie, finally Forrest Hill.

My pa was old school. “Kick-it, KICK the dam thing….ahhhh!” He also had it in for Brendan Gale for reasons never explained, as if every Richmond loss was solely his doing! Whilst never admitting it, I think he disapproved of Benny’s curly locks! Yet a Tiger victory would see Pa humming away to himself, quietly satisfied as he poured himself a sherry.

My nana, a Cronin, was old school too. She was the most mild-mannered being you could meet, never a cross word from her lips and an ever-present smile. Yet the mere mention of ‘Collingwood’ would see a darkness emerge from her that very rarely saw the light of day. “It’s Collingwood on the front page, Collingwood on the back page…it’s all Collingwood, Collingwood, Collingwood!” she would spit with rare venom surfacing above her otherwise sweet demeanour! She was also a nervous football watcher, and legend has it that the further Richmond went ahead of the Pies in the 1980 grand final, the more nervous she got! “Oooh, we’re getting too far in front.”

My nana spent much of her childhood and married life living in Docker street, Richmond, a street which also housed Tiger and Australian Football great Jack Dyer. Younger than Jack, she frequented his milk bar on Church St. “He knew me by my first name” she often told us. It must have been quite a place to hang out. Can you imagine if Buddy Franklin ran a milk bar down on Glenferrie road?

Nana’s cousin Kevin also frequented Jack’s shop. After junior football on a Sunday he and his mates “used to congregate for shakes or spiders at Jack Dyers milk-bar on Church street. Jack was always an interested and courteous host.” It was simple. You live in Richmond, you barrack for Richmond. It’s unimaginable these days.

So to Patrick I say, football clubs are, to a lot of us like family. Or like mine, the two are so intertwined that you’re not sure what came first. I may not agree with or condone everything my family does, but I still accept and love them for who they are. The same goes for my footy club.

But Patrick, I’ll leave the last word on the subject to my late cousin, Kevin Cronin-

“…where once the Cronins, like many others were “parochial” in their tastes and loyalties, especially as regards political affiliations and social identities, over the years and through generations and by reason of migration to less-congested living areas, they have become less distinguishable from their neighbours generally. With one important exception, of course: whoever heard of a Tiger becoming a Magpie or a Demon?”

me

The following are comments from distant family members who added a great deal of information to the story. Included is a family member who played for the club!! This is a bit self-indulgent but it may interest a few of you!

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Below is a grab from the book Pioneers.
Wally Seitz

Uncle Wal’s AFL statistics! Thanks Australian Football
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Alternative Jumpers – Proposed Solution


Away jumpers, clash jumpers, alternative jumpers. All clubs have them, some are great, some not so great, and then there are the downright awful. As I recently read through rossvslater‘s blog posts under the category titled ‘AFL Strangest Jumpers‘ I chuckled through gritted teeth at the inadequate, the feeble, and the greedy grabs for cash.

Now I seem to remember hearing once, possibly twice, that it’s best not to criticise unless you yourself have a solution to said criticism. As such, I have spent some alone time with MSPaint (and a little help from the wonderful footy jumpers website) to come up with my very own clash jumpers for every team in the AFL. The only teams I haven’t bothered with are Footscray, Fremantle and Port Adelaide, whom I think have it right. Funnily enough, and this will be a bit of a theme throughout, each of those clubs in the past few years have SIMPLIFIED their jumper designs, removing a clip art bulldog, an anchor and some lightning or something. That’s right, the age old K.I.S.S! (keep it simple spotty!)

Port Fremantle Bulldogs

I gave myself no particular guidelines, and as it turns out, a few of the designs are rather similar to some of the great ideas shared on this big footy forum page (well worth a squiz!) I guess it’s just a case of ‘great minds and all that.’

Without further ado:

Adelaide Football Club - In my mind, the Adelaide home jumper is by far the strongest of the ‘new’ jumpers to enter the VFL-AFL competition (you can read my expanded thoughts on the topic HERE.) However, their attempts at a clash jumper have been if not disastrous, then incredibly floppy. Here is my idea for a basic, ‘pictures-of-crows’ free design. It removes all but three of the bands off the home jumper. Done, next!

ADE - ALT

Brisbane Football Club – So much scope for greatness here. I’m not one for having images on jumpers but the Fitzroy Lion (not the three-peat Lion) is the exception to the rule. I think either of these maintain the greatness of the home jumper (they’re ditching the paddlepop next year) whilst making it, well, alternative and clash free!

BRI - ALT

Carlton Football Club – Another great old jumper with many attempts at a clash jumper, which have left me wanting more. Their Sturt inspired jumper last year looked great, but it just wasn’t Carlton. And while I don’t hate their current reverse strip, I prefer to see the CFC monogram white on a navy blue band.

CAR - ALT

Collingwood Football Club – I found this to be one of the more difficult to get my head around. The stripes are integral, I get that, but to truly get away from the North Melbourne jumper there needs to be more white. Now marketing gurus and designy peeps, that big white space sure looks like it’s crying out for some sort of swooping magpie does it not!? WRONG! Leave it!COLL - ALT

 

Ed-A few alterations suggested by twit follower, Pie and footy enthusiast, @lucasgarth More Pies alt

Essendon Football Club – Now if I found the Collingwood jumper difficult, the Essendon one was near impossible. I’m still not sure I love it, but it’s a darn site better than their grey/silver number. The sash is intact, and the EFC logo seemed to add that little thing it was missing, whilst probably being in the way of prime advertising real estate!ESS - ALT

Geelong Football Club – The idea is similar to the Adelaide one, remove some hoops to create some white space (leave it alone!) whilst maintaining a Geelong jumper feel. Not much more to say really.GEE - ALT

 

Gold Coast Football Club – Now as the Suns are still wearing their training tops in the AFL, I thought I’d go to the trouble of designing them a home jumper as well as a stab at a bit of a clash jumper. Drawing inspiration from Port Adelaide’s current jumper, designed by a GRADE ONE STUDENT (I kid you not) I have drawn upon my on primary school’s footy jumper (below) for inspiration. I think that the colours yellow and red are fantastic yet brutally under-utilised on the Suns jumper. I appreciate that they went for simplicity, but their GC just doesn’t cut it for me. The away jumper is, I believe, simple yet effective, with the addition of blue trims and numbers because, you know, beach. NEXT!

GC - HOMEGC - ALT
blacky 1991Blackburn PS

Greater Western Sydney Football Club (What a bloody mouthfull!) – While it’s a better jumper than the Suns, I think a new home jumper would be better, with accompanying clash version. I didn’t think I’d like to have the snazzy ‘G’ on the jumper but it just looked right. I do like the colour orange on a footy jumper, and the charcoal, even though it sounds wanky, balances it nicely.

GWS - H&AHawthorn Football Club – If any club is guilty of bringing the game into disrepute on account of poor uniform choice then it’s the Hawks. Firstly, working with ‘poos and wees’ isn’t easy, but the diamonds, the t-shirts, the camouflage, the intricate Hawks which no child has a chance of being able to quickly scribble in the back of the maths book, enough is enough! I decided, like Collingwood, to keep a part of the stripes and tie it together with the HFC monogram which was used on their heritage jumper a few years back, a fine jumper (brown with a gold V) which should be used from time to time as it far outweighs their current design.

HAW - ALT

Melbourne Football Club – As you can see, I like trying to keep as much of the original jumpers as possible. I toyed with a few things but couldn’t decide where the MFC monogram fitted best, so I’ve just added the two that looked best. I don’t hate Melbourne’s current clash jumper, but think it could do with a bit more blue.MEL - ALT

Ed- Thanks to twitter follower @MVZimmari pointing out that the Melbourne design looked like ‘some weird kind of bikini’ I have adjustted it and quite prefer it!

MEL - ALT

North Melbourne Football Club – I really like the white ‘V’ on blue which North wore as a heritage jumper a few years back, and it provides a great alternative to their light home jumpers whilst drawing from history. I think it’s actually quite bold when compared with their current jumper. A second option, and less preferred in my eyes, is similar to the Hawthorn and Collingwood designs.NM - ALT Port Adelaide Football Club – I actually love Port’s home and away jumpers, but the only change I’d make to the home jumper is to tie it to the past with this SANFL back and white trims. They’ll never get their prison bars but may as well look like the old SANFL magpies from behind. Nit-picking.PA - HOME Richmond Football Club – Again, I’m actually quite fond of Richmond’s clash strip, but wonder how much it actually avoids the clash. I’m very much against reversing the yellow and black (sorry Richmond VFL!) and think the addition of white just adds to the ‘away white shorts’ idea. I prefer the jumper on the right, still very much a Richmond jumper but with white shorts, easily distinguishable against Essendon and Hawthorn…I think. RICH  ALT St.Kilda Football Club – The Saints have plenty of options when it comes to developing a clash jumper, but I have drawn on their 1997-era ‘crest’ jumper and have whitened it. But I’d be all in favour of stick man making his way onto the jumper also, and no, I’m not talking about Aaron Fiora!ST.K - ALT Sydney Football Club – What more can you say really? South Melbourne’s old jumper, and Sydney’s original jumper for what it’s worth. The biggest clash is with the Gold Coast so taking the biggest body of red away, the back, makes this mostly white, traditional jumper a no-brainer for mine. I toyed with losing the opera house off the home jumper, it is truly bizarre that there IS an opera house on any sporting guernsey the world over, but think this says a little bit about old Sydney town.SYD - alt West Coast Football Club – Ah my old friends the Eagles. I’ve analysed the Eagles name, jumper and song HERE and I was far from favourable. I still feel as though they’ve never really settled on a jumper after all these years. Firstly, I’ve decided to remove all images. ENOUGH WITH THE IMAGES! WE GET IT, YOU’RE EAGLES! I also only realised recently that their current jumper, hiding behind a mean looking eagle Eagle, was actually a pretty stock-standard footy design. However I feel that the dark blue with the yellow and white is so uninspiring. Perhaps it reminded me of the two years I spent living in Doncaster, the bland Manningham city council logo everywhere.manningham

 

Anyway, what I DO like about the Eagles jumpers is the royal blue they’ve often used. It has far more heart, and brings out the best in the yellow (I know, that sounds wanky but it’s true.) So to remake the West Coast home jumper, I have tossed aside the angular Eagle picture and changed the blue from navy to royal. One thing the Eagles have done well is to lose the white edging around their yellow numbers, a bug-bear of mine. Adelaide and Brisbane, TAKE NOTE!

So I looked at the jumper, and the thought hit me that the white was now diluting the blue and yellow, lets lose it. Now it may look a little like an old version of an East Fremantle jumper, but I’ve actually removed the Sharks white (which West Coast have in place) and replaced it with yellow. The reverse is the Eagles clash jumper, grown up versions of West Coast’s first two jumpers from 1987.WCE - home WCE - ALT

 

So there you have it. I would LOVE your feedback, and if you have any design ideas I’d love to see them too. And club land, stop employing professionals and designers to help with new clash designs. It’s money flushed down the toilet. There are any number of simple ideas here or on football forum sites which are fantastic, respect history, and provide a clash-free alternative. Alternatively, many primary school would be happy to run ‘jumper competitions!’

May the football gods be ever in your favour.

Boot

I love the Richmond Football Club

Mezz and Me

 1986, my 5th birthday. sister maryanne was still being ‘Essendon-ed’ by my mum, but this was futile. She was a Tiger soon enough.

The year was 1986. I’d just been to my very first league match. It was a Richmond v North Melbourne Friday night match under lights at the MCG. Richmond had beaten the Roos. I have some vague memories of meeting dad at work in the city with mum, catching the tram to the ground and sitting in the old southern stand. I remember the sheer size of the MCG, the excitement of the lights as we approached the ground. I remember being cold. I remember being glued to the match.

The above photo was taken three weeks later as I celebrated my 5th birthday. Little did I know I’d just begun a complicated journey with my dad’s team, Richmond, who just six years earlier had held aloft the premiership cup. I saw Maurice Rioli play that night, so the record books tell me.

Little did I know the emotional pain following Richmond would bring to my life. The embarrassment at school, the anger at matches, the hollow feeling of being overrun in a final quarter, time and time again. Losing the unlosable and failing whenever it really matters.

But I wouldn’t change a thing. Following Richmond has been difficult, a real test of character. Yet I’m thankful to barrack for the club and suburb that my family both followed and lived in. I’m thankful for hearing the story my dad told me tonight, that his dad, my pa, would come home from games in the late 1950′s and early 1960′s saying “Well it wasn’t Ron Branton’s fault we lost!” I could say the same of Daniel Jackson today.

Some of the best memories growing up were of rare Tiger wins, ringing nana and pa and asking them to record the replay. I’d watch it the following Friday night when we’d go over for dinner.

Stick with them Tiger fans. Just think what some Fitzroy fans would give to still be able to go and watch their team each week, whatever the result.

As I left the ground on Saturday with Richie and Mol (the eldest isn’t into footy), the three of us clad in knitted Richmond jumpers, a punter tapped me on the shoulder and with a glint in his eye and suggested it was child abuse that I put my kids through following Richmond. Yes, I’ve heard that one before. I didn’t bother telling him that one of them had ‘Richmond’ on their birth certificate! I did however reveal my birth year…1981. He chuckled and wished me the best, much like a drunk uncle would on Christmas day.

Richmond happy sad

Left:On our way to the footy. ‘Richmond’ is wearing the same jumper I’m wearing in the first pic.
Right: What have I done!! Poor Mol learning that the footy is not all fun and games

Thick and thin. What’s another 30 year wait?

I love the Richmond Football Club.

Go Tiges

Everyday words learnt through a love of football

It’s a well known fact that following the footy can be beneficial to your education. Maths is covered well; the 6 times tables are the first to be memorised, halves and quarters are simple to pick up and acute angles are easy to master. History and geography are touched on with the saying ‘via the cape’ (description of Richmond’s game style!) and even religion is taught when a ‘David and Goliath battle’ takes place.
But what of literacy? The literary world often seems poles apart from sport, but what did growing up immersed in football provide me when it comes to the spoken and written word?
The below tweet should answer that question.
Boot tweet
It suddenly dawned on me last week that there are a number of everyday words I know and use, which I first heard and learnt due to the footy. They’re a combination of words I learnt from hearing the crowd at a game (yes…expletives too!!), from reading newspaper reports, listening to television and radio commentators, to good old fashioned footy chat with family and friends. Whether I would have found these words without footy…well I’ll never know.

footy 112

I learnt some 'everyday words' in this manner at the footy!
(Jeff Hook image)

I decided to ask the same of my twitter followers and I was overwhelmed with the response I got! The discussion eventually skewed into footy sayings and even made up footy words, but for the purpose of this post I’ve included only everyday words which can be used independently from football.

footy 134

I grew up listening to these 'wordsmiths.' Sandy, Pete and Don.

Below is the list of 103 everyday words that my twitter followers and me have football to thank for.

Everyday footy words

The words were able to broken into a few different categories,  and a few of the stronger groups of words were;

Medical terms - Anterior, Cruciate, Hyper-extended, Ligament, Medial, Peptide (x2), Rupture, Sub-laxed, Navicular,

Corporate terms- Equalisation, Merger, Rationalisation

Footy Player Adjectives - Disinterested, Dour, Goer, Laconic, Lackadaisical, Mercurial, Mongrel, Opportunist, Prodigious, Tagger

Match Results - Annihilated, Boilover, Belting, Cakewalk, Hiding, Shellacking,

Kick descriptors - Wormburner, Soccered, Punt, Prodigious, Mongrel,

An old fashioned fight! - Brouhaha, Melee, Clash, Fracas,

As it ended up, melee was mentioned more than any other word, and a personal favourite was ‘stalwart,’ a word I certainly know firstly because of the footy!

Thanks to @Harri_Chas_17 @NABFW @SteveHealyyy @4boat @MarkDuffett @PaulErickson @ten_apples @AndrewGigacz @SirSuaveTheCat @APH1991 @cweaver1993 @HawkNinja76 @iamtheoracle @BumtownVic @roachy01 @JRRivett @DamianWhite42 @benno_76 @TheBlackCat1859 @Martin_Sanna @ossienet @M_1tch @Dgen717 @PaulMavroudis @Andrew_SaysSo @STaylor9891 @Tigers_Of_Old & @cade_e whose nominations made the cut. Sorry to everyone else who contributed but it was fun all the same. A special mention does go to @nervous_twittch who nominated ‘Porplyzia!’

It was heaps of fun guys. May football continue to educate both young and old!

PLEASE add any words you have footy to thank for in the comments section!

 

 

Happy Snap #22 Farewell to the Lazy Full Forward

Stinky Pete 1He could have been chasing. He could have been tackling. He could have been doing a one percenter to get himself involved in the game, help the team out!

But no. My brother, though having turned just 10 on this very day, possessed the demeaner of an old time full forward nearing 40 who is past his prime. He appears to be carrying on his shoulders the jaded torture of 10 seasons worth of poor delivery from midfielders, though the little league match actually only lasted 15 minutes.

How would this dinosaur fair in todays game of full ground presses and pressure acts? Poorly I feel. But my brother does have a couple of points up on me. Firstly, he played on the MCG. All I got was a grid match at VFL Park and a game at Princes Park.

Secondly, he scored North Melbourne’s entire score, 1 behind. There it is on the MCG scoreboard, thanks to some quick thinking with the camera by mum.

Well played little man

Stinky Pete 3

For further reading on our little leage and brotherly football adventures, check out THIS post, and THIS ONE TOO!

Stinky Pete 2Photos by Joy Carr….mum

Don’t forget to check out my bootique shop for your quirky football paraphernalia

Back to Suburban Footy

OPEN INVITATION 

 The producers of

boot

and

fmi
Invite you to join them at the first

#BackToSuburbanFooty Day

 5 April 2014  at the Whitten Oval

(10:30 first bounce)

for Footscray  -vs-  Richmond

in the VFL return of ‘Footscray’

to serious competition.

Current Whitten Oval Stand Configuration(Gent Stand on right, Whitten Stand on left)

Head on down to the Whitten Oval for a pleasant Saturday morning of football and and join @theholyboot and @Footy_Maths for the return of Footscray to the Western (Whitten) Oval. We will also be joined by @AndrewGigacz, editor of the AustralianFootball.com site (and keen Bulldog) as well.

Entry is free for Bulldogs members, and for non members it is (as described by the @Footscray_VFL account) a nominal fee.

@Footy_Maths There will be a nominal fee on the gate for non-WB members. Food and beverage outlets will be available.

— Footscray Bulldogs (@Footscray_VFL) February 26, 2014

WHY?

Well, @TheHolyBoot @AndrewGigacz and @Footy_Maths are football fans who have a deep feeling for the old suburban grounds of days past.

And with the Whitten Oval (joined in 2014 by Punt Road Oval) making a return to regular football service, we thought it would be good to turn up, watch footy and talk about it with people we had met on twitter (or read the blogs/sites), but are yet to see face to face

There is nothing else to the day, other than a game of footy and a face to face meet-up / tweet-up, and talk about each others footy experiences.

With the early start, it also makes it easy for all interested fans to get along and not miss any action of the round later in the day.

So, feel free to join us. We will be somewhere around the two players races in front of the Whitten Stand.

Hope to see you there!

Home & Away – Punt Road Oval

Punt Road writing

Senior league football returns to Richmond Paddock today in what will be the final dress rehearsal for the Essendon and Richmond football sides for season 2014. A total capacity of 2,100 will however rank as one of the lowest Punt Road crowds of all time, a far cry from the 46,000 whoe squeezed in to see the 1949 clash between the Tigers and the Blues.

Punt Road r9 1949 49,000

But I don’t wish to dwell on present events. This post is going to look back at the old Punt Road oval, often through the lens of my own families eye. As all of my home and away posts have aimed to do, this is to showcase essentially what has survived from yesteryear…an old sign here, and grandstand there, a ticket booth somewhere else.

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Punt Road circa 2006

We’ll start back in 1966, and much like today, the theme is pre-season. Dad ventured to Punt Road Oval, camera in hand, for an intraclub practise match. The reason he attended? To see new recruit Royce Hart who’d received rave reviews upon his arrival from Tasmania.

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These shots were taken from the Cricketers Stand, a place where dad had never watched the footy from, hence the fascination. Similar I guess to when I’d sit on the members wing or even the super boxes at VFL Park for practise matches. These photos offer a great view of the Punt Road end of the ground, the Royal Hotel and the classic Richmond skyline, dominated by the St.Ignatious spire.

The outer hill remains largely intact today, although at the Punt Road (the actual road) end it suddenly narrows. This was due to the widening and adding of lanes to Punt Rd, one of many factors contributing to the Tigers leaving the ground for the near-by MCG in 1965.

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On the right is a very interesting photo, taken again from the cricketers stand. Visible is the outer side scoreboard and if you look closely you can see the old concrete fence which once surrounded the oval. There’s also the overgrown terraces behind the goals, which are no longer. The outer side however is still very recognisable today.

CLICK HERE FOR A 1966 PANORAMA

Some more fossicking around recently led dad to stumble across some old slides. See dad is Richmond through and through (and through) but also followed Prahran in the old VFA competition. And so it was the dad journeyed to what was familiar territory (the Richmond ground) to see them take on Preston in the 1968 VFA grand final. (The 1967 final between Port and Dandenong also at Punt Road is widely regarded as one of the more brutal football games there has been.)

Again dad seemed attracted to the Cricketers stand, and is himself suprised that he’s taken this photo from inside the arena as the ‘two-blues’ entered the field of battle. Punt Road had hosted it’s last VFL match just 4 years prior, so the ground was still ‘complete’ and able to cope with a large crowd.

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The second slide dad uncovered is of the Liston Trophy being presented to Preston player Dick Telford, who after stints at Collingwood and Fitzroy took the VFA competition by storm, also winning his club best and fairest and helping guide Preston to the premiership. Also number 1 for Prahran you can see is former well known Collingwood player Kevin Rose, who captain-coached the two-blues at the time. Also note the wonderful banners adorning the boundary fence, although they have a rather Coburg/Port Melbourne feel to them, perhaps from the curtain raiser?Punt Road 68 GF

Other things I love from this photo are the brass band mid ground, the ‘stuffy and important’ looking men along with the late 60′s Richmond in the background.

Now my first visit to Punt Road was for the 1989 Richmond best and fairest barbecue, a far cry from last year’s Brownlow style best and fariest awards which I live streamed on my laptop! I had my photo taken with winner Tony Free and Matty Knights, hoisted up on their shoulders! The photo, taken in a tent, never turned out. What did however was my less exciting meeting with former player and assistant coach of some description Barry Rawlings. How is our body language?! But it does offer a better look at what was a very tired and run down Punt Road oval.
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The metal pipe seating, the same industrial seating which also surrounded Arden St and parts of Preston’s Cramer St Oval, looks about as inviting as a trip to the dentist, and surely on a cold day, standing huddled with the masses provided a more comfortable experience. Below is a shot from the same day perched up in what I believe at the time was just named ‘the grandstand.’Punt Road 91

Again there’s a great view of Richmond the suburb. I love the ‘plush’ best and fairest venue, and what appears to be an old scoreboard lying on it’s face. I’m not sure of it’s origins as the old footy scoreboard was on the outer side of the ground, however these  team shots below at Punt Road definitely show a scoreboard, complete with cigarette advertising, at the Punt Rd end. I’d be interested if anyone knows more about this.

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1983 and 1988 team photos

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This is actually one of my favourite views of Punt Road, the back of the old grand stand. In my life time it’s been the dramatic back drop to news of sacked coaches, secret board meetings, and has even been the recipient of a pile of steaming chook poo! I just love the feel of the red bricks and make it a point to walk past it on my way over to see Richmond play at the MCG. It also now houses the Richmond Football Club museum which was originally in the bowells of the since demolished cricketers stand come social club. It’s open Mondays and match days at the G, so make sure you get along!
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I’ve always loved this photo of Jack Dyer arriving at Punt Road oval with the local Richmond lads carrying their idol’s bags. It’s a great portrait of what football once was, accessible, local, even a tad tribal. To the right is a photo I took around 2006 of the same spot where Captain Blood entered Yarra Park. The above structure has since been demolished save for a sceric of old standing room which I’m most thankful has been kept. 
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The since demolised entrance gates

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And here is that little piece of yesteryear which still stands today. No more than 50 or so patrons could have squeezed into this tiny bit of standing room, but it looks like it would have been a great spot to watch the footy from. I took a panorama shot from up there so I could let my imagination run away with itself!

Punt Rd panorama from awesome standy thingy

It’s time to turn our attention to what is now named the Jack Dyer stand, the ‘main attraction’ if you like. Although in the midst of having coaches boxes installed and thus reducing it’s capacity, it’s one of those classic footy grandstands that feels much bigger when you’re in it than when looking at it. My nana used to talk about sitting in it with her cousins nd how they’d stamp their feet on the wooden boards each time a goal was kicked. Below is actually a shot from the last VFL match to be played at the ground bewteen Coburg and Williamstown in 2005. It was a sodden day and this was the entire crowd, but it does look nice to have Jack’s stand full of Tiger supporters. Can you spot David Cloke keeping a close eye on however many Clokes were playing that day?Punt Road in the wet

It’s a ‘classic’ grandstand, and a feature that I love is the side glass windows. I’m not sure what it is about these but I love them. Perhaps it’s the feeling of being ensconsed by the stand, protected from a wintery Melbourne day.GRANDSTAND PICS

Whilst I completely understand that the footy club needed to revamp and expand the playing surface (a great thing for the club) it has made a bit of a mess of the natural contours the ground had going for it. I eagerly await the finished product.GRANDSTAND CONGLOMERATE

A little gem which I discovered in one of the narrow gaps I often find myself in whilst exploring a football ground was this ‘Gin Bar’ sign which was on the side of the old grand stand. With the wall in front of it since removed it is now easily seen, and worth having a look at for a glimpse of the past.Gin Bar

It would be remis of me not to mention and photographically demonstrate Punt Road’s location in relation to the mighty MCG. This will be the Tigers 50th season at the ‘G, having shifted it’s home games there in 1965, a masterstroke. The club’s most successful period came on the back of the move, and while progress can at times be hard for the footy fan to accept, premierships help.
Punt Rd & 'GWhich brings me finally to the cricketers stand-come-social club, where my dad did some of his finest camera work back in the 1960′s. This old building intrigued me greatly; from some angles it still looked like an old grandstand, from others it looked like a rundown block of flats. On venturing into the old museum that was tucked away in there you really got a sense of being in the bowels of a grandstand, a wonderfully authentic location for a football museum. I sneakily souveneered a brick when this building was demolished, something which seems silly yet I treasure it.

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Punt Road Cricketers stand

The rundown old footy ground I first ‘met’ in 1989 is no longer that. With a new surface and elite training and social facilities, the ground would be unrecognisable if it weren’t for the old grandstand keeping things rooted in the past. I’m very much looking forward to seeing the ground in use again for the Richmond VFL team, and the seniors practise match against Essendon sure has great lot of novelty factor. I only wish I could have gone!

Punt Road brick

Said brick

Punt Road Oval – 1922

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The fact that fans can still use the social club on game day, get off at Richmond station and walk past the ground on the way into the ‘G makes us very lucky when you consider what has been lost in the modern game. Richmond essentially still plays in Richmond, and Punt Road is very much our home, though it was one of the first league grounds to bite the dust. I’m glad she’s being looked after…now let’s start working on her trophy cabinet.

Eat em alive

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