The clutter of Football – AFL (Advertising Football League)

I am both a realist and a  romantic. How these two coexist I am not sure. I want to briefly take a look at advertising in football. I’m no expert on such matters, so I’ll try and make my point in a more visual way.

Advertising. It is here to stay, not just in football but in life, and it’s very hard to escape it. And not all advertising is evil, that’s not the path I am taking. But at times it can clutter your life.

Not so in Sao Paulo however. This city of 11 million has been without public advertising for five years now, and in a 2011 government survey it was found that 70% of its residents had found the change beneficial. Whilst the situation is not perfect, an issue I am not delving into here, the lack of “visual pollution” is said to have had a positive impact on the people. Click here to see a great before and after video.

Sao Paulo image from http://slorker.com/sao-paulo-a-city-without-advertising/

Much like we Melbournians understand what it is to “meet under the clocks,” one Sao Paulo resident said that “My old reference was a big Panasonic billboard, but now my reference is an art deco building that was covered by the massive sign.”

So football. As I said, I’m a realist. Should a club nobly knock back all advertising, they would cease to be competitive and go broke quick. But when is enough, enough? There was a time when the Sherrin itself was thought to be sacred, until the Golden Arches found their way onto the leathern sphere. “Challenge on a ball? What do you think?” went the Crackers Keenan ad. Club guernseys too were once pure from advertising. Who’d have thought that Carlton, the famous old dark blues, would have colours such as red and yellow splashed over their famous old jumper? But it’s reality.

So things won’t change, but it’s also good to be aware of just how cluttered the modern game has become with advertising. New substitute rule? Subway Subs. How many Carlton Draughts has Gary Ablett had? You get the picture.

Here are two famous Carlton marks. Andrew Walker’s screamer has had up to 12 advertisements removed and to my eye now has a purity to it. And below, well I’ve just had some fun in adding some advertising to Jezza’s famous speckie!

And finally, a short visual presentation on the saturation of advertising in football today. It’s good to be aware of the “visual pollution.” Digital alterations done by mine own fair hand.

Original images from…
Andrew Walker mark – http://www.sen.com.au/site/_content/article/sp00040292-image.jpg
Dustin Martin – http://images.theage.com.au/2012/04/14/3219657/AFL-20Richmond-20v-20Melbourne-20Round-203-203_20120414184811693939-600×400.jpg
Josh Kennedy http://resources3.news.com.au/images/2011/04/24/1226043/996579-josh-kennedy.jpg
Jezza’s mark http://footyalmanac.com.au/wp-content/uploads/1970-GF-Jezza-shrunk.jpg
Lenny Hayes – http://resources1.news.com.au/images/2009/09/06/1225769/964657-afl-finals-action-week-1.jpg

Happy Snap #10

Today marks the beginning of the VFL-AFL’s 116th season, the start of what I believe is a new era in Australian Football. Though I’m now 30 years old, the first day of a season brings out the excitable little boy in me. As such, I thought I’d share with you a picture I drew when I was in grade prep (1987). My imagination had already been completely captivated by football, as is seen in my old school books kept by mum. Football everywhere. It also seems fitting to post this picture as my own daughter has just started prep, and I can’t help but consider the change in life, school and more importantly, football! (Wife cringes)

Note the players names I’ve written down…Dyyl Watmen (Dale Weightman) Muc Lee (Mark Lee) Daved Bolters (David Bolton) Woree Capu (Warrick Capper) and Greg Wilyms (Greg Williams). Also note in the background my fascination with cheersquads! Thanks to mum for keeping this…and even dating it! Enjoy

Nice Statistic #4 Andrew Underwood

Having already explored the intrinsic link between David Cloke’s career and the number 3, I thought it time to look at the numbers of another dual club player, Andrew Underwood.

Underwood played with SANFL club Sturt from 1985-1988 before being drafted by then VFL club Essendon. After two seasons at Windy Hill, he transferred to Richmond for a season, before returning to Sturt after not being required by incoming Richmond coach Allan Jeans.

Andrew Underwood at Sturt post AFL career and importantly post mullet! Pic from http://www.sturtpics.com.au

So where does the number 12 fit in? Underwood was the last player to don the number before a young Matthew Richardson commandeered it in 1993, taking the number 12 guernsey in his only season with the Tigers in 1991. He played 12 games with Essendon, and 12 games with Richmond. His career of 24 games saw him play in 12 wins and 12 losses, while in his first season at Essendon, he played no games after round 12.

His first season saw him accumulate 112 kicks, while in his career he received 12 frees for in home matches and conceded 12 frees against in away matches.

While his career at Tigerland was brief, I will forever remember him for his part in Richmond’s shock win over his former club Essendon at Windy Hill in 1991, a lovely way for Richmond to sign off from that suburban ground. Underwood played an integral part in the win, yet the part I remember most was the picture of him in the paper following the match…hulking arms raised in defiance to his former home crowd as he left the field a winner, the last time he would do so as a league player.

I have been unable to locate this picture, though I was able to find the old match report from the Herald-Sun. “Obviously I wanted to play well against my old club, I had a point to prove. They let me go at the start of the season…I wanted to prove them wrong.” The report went on to say that Underwood gathered 23 possessions off half-back, going through four opponents; Ian McMullin, Michael Long, Tim Watson and flatmate Brad Fox! “Not a word was passed between us.” 

Andrew Underwood signed my book at the 1991 Richmond Family Day/Best & Fairest Count. He was soon to be let go.

With a Little Help from my friends…

@andreamaryb for informing me of the Underwood #12 files

http://stats.rleague.com/afl/stats/players/A/Andrew_Underwood.html

http://www.sturtpics.com.au

Tigers of Old, by Paul Hogan

(Interestingly, though Andrew Underwood was the last player to wear the number 12 before Matthew Richardson, Andrew finishing in 1991 and Mattew starting in 1993, a 1992 record I have lists Reserves coach Peter Schwabb as number 12 for the reserves. The book ‘Tigers of Old’ shows no record of him playing a game for the Richmond seconds, though this happened from time to time due to player shortages.)

Shake your Booty #4 Carlton Song

So part 3 of this festival of sound sees us move in an alphabetical fashion to the ‘team that never lets you down,’ Carlton. Love them or hate them, it’s a pretty darn good song they possess. When the Bluebaggers have a win and their song blares as you leave the arena defeated, the ‘nah-na-na-na-nah’ essentially serves as a big raspberry blown in your direction. This version does not do it justice, with a poorly played guitar solo by yours truly. Please remember, the ‘theme-songs’ session took place in my brothers and my bedroom using cassette 4-track and took no longer than an hour. The quality is questionable, but that was kind of the idea!

Brother Pete’s series of football caricatures from the same period, the late 90’s, brings us to his Carlton supporter. I think he must have drawn his inspiration from famed Carlton fan, Barb. The Blues have many different type of fan….and this is just one aspect of their follow-ship! Please take no offence!

Home & Away #2 Glenferrie Oval

Glenferrie Oval: League venue: 1925-1973. League (VFL/AFL) matches: 443. Record Attendance: 36,000-Haw v Carl, 1965.

This is part 2 of my series ‘Home and Away’- a look back at Melbourne’s grounds

Glenferrie Oval. I must have passed it by train a thousand times. I’ve heard many a father trying to convince their unbelieving youngsters that Hawthorn actually used to play games down there on that skinny patch of grass, my own father included. It is hard to imagine that 36,000 once managed to cram into that space.

Surely the most unique of Melbourne’s league football grounds, Glenferrie Oval was opened in 1906, the Hawthorn Football club finally settling there after numerous homes previously. Flanked by train tracks and Linda Crescent, the oval took on an unusually narrow shape, and spectator facilities on the wings were rather creative.

Hawthorn, until recently, had one of the smaller followings of the Melbourne clubs. Having joined the league along with Footscray and North Melbourne in 1925, with the VFL nearly three decades old, these three clubs found it hard to attract large supporter bases. While North and Footscray still struggle with this, Hawthorn’s astonishing success from 1961 (10 flags and at the least one flag in each decade since) has finally seen it become a genuinely big club. It was the first of the three 1925 “newcomers” to outgrow it’s original home, leaving in 1973. However until that point, Glenferrie Oval had been apt in its size.

The grounds first main grandstand, as opposed to pavilion, was an old wooden stand transported to the ground from the old East Melbourne Cricket ground upon it’s demise in1921, standing until the 1960’s, when it made way for the Dr A.S. Ferguson stand…which has since been cut in half!

Above is the old wooden stand, East Melb C.G on the left, later at Glenferrie on the right. Below is the Dr Ferguson stand, which has been neatly halved since its glory days.

The classic art deco styled Michael Tuck stand, built in 1938, was clearly given it’s name in retrospect, as Michael was still some decades from making his debut. The ‘red-brick stand’ as it was known, to me defines Glenferrie Oval. It is superb. Just walking up the stairwell and into the upper tier actually gives me goosebumps. My wife does not understand this phenomenon.

It oozes cinematic charm and elegance, a far cry from the simplistic yet still charming stands which adorned the more working class suburban grounds. The stand has gained recognition world-wide for its unique design and is acknowledged as an art deco design of significance.

Here is a link to a fantastic article on the art deco stand at Glenferrie by Paul Daffey

On one of my trips to Glenferrie Oval to take pictures several years ago, I was snooping around as per usual. I’m always looking for that odd little feature which I’d never seen before. Amid my treasure hunt, I was startled by an older guy who popped his head through one of the grandstand nooks to ask what I was doing. My natural thought was that I was an imposition, about to be told in no uncertain terms to buzz off. With Hawthorn still using the ground as a training facility, my Richmond polo shirt would surely not aid my cause.

However my anxieties were soon at ease, as this gentleman was clearly no threat. In fact I recognised him instantly as Graham Arthur, captain of Hawthorns first flag in 1961. And what did he want? He wondered if I’d like a tour through the ground. Wonderful. I hadn’t let on as yet that I knew who he was, and he’s not the type to parade himself around. Introducing himself simply as Graham however confirmed my near-certain suspicion.

Graham Arthur, still helping the club out at Waverley Park. Photo courtesy or hawthornfc.com.au

As we wound the narrow corridors of the old red-brick stand, it was as if in a time warp. There were signs of current day things, players boots lying here or there, but the walls were filled with old stories. Graham led me around, showing me this and that, still not feeling the need to let on who he was. I’m sure he assumed I wouldn’t have know him anyway, yet I have a keen feel for the games history and study it religiously.

Up musty stair cases, winding this way and that, we came to a room out the back where the trainers put on a barbecue and beer night after training every Thursday. Players, Graham told me, were often in attendance. The very notion in the present day seems preposterous, yet it was a different place and time. It was in this room that Graham took me to a picture on the wall of a young strapping man, clad in brown and gold, sending the air-conveyence closer to goal. I was sensing a reveal.

“You see that bloke there? Well, you’re talking to him right now.”

Very humble, almost embarrassingly so. I played along with him, feigning surprise, though I still reacted so that he knew that I’d heard of Graham Arthur, to give his ego a little boost. Graham and I continued over to the Dr. Ferguson stand, plain on the outside, yet housing a past players bar and a comprehensive Hawthorn museum, since transported to Waverley park. We finished the ‘tour’, which I must add I paid nothing for, over the road at the old Hawthorn social club, since sold off and demolished. I thanked Graham immensely, and continued on my way. Graham Arthur was so easy to talk to and very humble, and the fact that in retirement he returned to his club to contribute says something about him.

But back to the oval. The Sardine tin, as it was affectionately known, was one of the earlier suburban grounds to bite the dust. With no room to expand the playing surface or spectator facilities, the ground always had a limited lifespan. The Hawks have left, and upon my recent travels past the old ground, it’s looking a bit sad. The turf was the first thing to fall by the wayside, and whilst I am far from impressed with the amount of advertising at AFL grounds, jumpers, shorts, even the Sherrin, this tired little ground seemed somewhat lifeless now that even the advertising hoardings no longer lived there. I guess it served as a stark reminder that Glenferrie Oval no longer plays a part in league football.

While the future of the ground is somewhat uncertain, what with it being prime real estate, thankfully the red-brick stand carries a heritage listing, meaning it at least will be safe. And as the years go on and I pass the ground with my own rug-rats in toe, I’ll point out the high-rise suburb that used to be Glenferrie Oval, with the seemingly out of place art deco grandstand to the side of it and say…

“Hawthorn used to play there kids.”

“Yeah right dad!”

Here are some more photos I took around 2004-06

With a little help from my friends…

Book:We are Hawthorn, http://hawthornfc.com.au, Football Grounds in Melbourne, Santo Caruso, http://stats.rleague.com/afl/afl_index.html

 

Also, check out these fantastic links-

Scoreboard Pressure’s look at Glenferrie scoreboards over the years…

http://scoreboardpressure.com/2011/09/14/glenferrie-oval-victoria/

http://www.peterelliston.com/Webpage_Football%201961/index.htm#6

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJVYBhyuDPE

 

Another fantastic video showcasing Glenferrie circa 1969…a whole quarter! Courtesy of Damian Watson on the Footy Almanac website.