Happy Snap #23 Saturday Afternoon at the G

MCG Saturday AfternoonThe universal reflex reaction to victory, hands in the air followed by clapping.

This photo was from a gorgeous Saturday afternoon spent at the footy back in the mid-2000’s, and marked the last time I would sit in the old Olympic/Northern Stand at the MCG. The occasion was Footscray v St.Kilda, and I took my Dog supporting brother, Pete. We sat in the middle deck on wooden seats. Come to think of it, this is the last AFL match I watched with the risk a slpintered bum. It was also the last time that I could sit and watch league football in Melbourne and see trees, something I miss greatly.

Today we find the Dogs again on one of their exciting excursions to the MCG to play Richmond, a day that me and my Footscray supporting brother never relish. The last Richmond v Footscray match for points we went to together was the game at Docklands when Richmond snatched a draw from the jaws of victory, and Nathan Brown greeted the siren with arms raised. We are both rather fond of one another’s team, yet we are fiercely competitive…it’s just not a good mix. The Liberatore/Knights incident threatened to tear us apart!

Whatever the result, football will always be the winner when the MCG is graced on a Saturday afternoon. Long may it continue to do so.

Lachie Hunter and the Impossible Mark on the Dunny Wall

 

Testing? Is this thing on? Ah yes…hullo and a very warm welcome to season 2015. It’s been a long time between posts so I thought I’d kick things off with this pearler emailed into me by Western Bulldogs life member and Lachie Hunter Player Sponsor, Scharlaine. She contacted me in reference to a post I did on my brother’s drawing of an imaginary Daniel Hargraves mark which was immortalised on the dunny wall at Blackburn Primary School….until they knocked it down of course. Anyway, it read like this:

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 9.15.35 pm

LACHIE HUNTER MARK USE

 

the impossible mark

Quite prophetic brother Pete, and thanks kindly Scharlaine for bringing it to my attention. I’m glad I named it the ‘impossible mark’ because we all know that Lachie Hunter sadly couldn’t hold onto what would have been one of the greatest marks of all time.

But there’s another mark and player I wish to drag into this. Merv Hobb’s famous grab, (below) which he actually held, also bares a striking resemblance to the mark on the dunny wall. To me, the drawing is actually the perfect combination of Hobbs and Hunter’s mark and mark attemp, neatly tying together Footscray footballers in search of aerial glory from the 1960’s through to the current day. Hobbs, Hargraves and Hunter. Three Hs…now this is becoming rather peculiar, a good place to leave it.

merve-hobbs MARK

May football this year be more than winning and losing, deeper than dream team and wider than the AFL. Fill it with colour, confusion and diversity. May it be ritual, family, hobby and beautiful distraction.

“Footy’s on, footy’s here again, back to greet me like an old friend.” Thanks Champs.

A footy tragic’s love of MS Paint

As I morphed from teenager to ‘man’ during the late 1990’s and early 2000’s I had one core belief…

“If it can’t be done on Microsoft Paint then it’s not worth doing.”

Being a big believer that limitations are key to creativity, in particular with music and the recording of it, MS Paint presented exactly that…limitations. I used it to create family Christmas cards, cassette covers for bands I was in (yes that’s right, cassettes!) and of course, footy logos.

Now this below work took a long time, a steady hand and quite an extensive reliance upon the zoom function. While Essendon’s rather simple style presented little problems, the Richmond logo was far more difficult, which can be seen by the fact that I merely put RFC at the top upon completion of the Tiger. I belive it was about 2001, and the phasing out of the classic logo shield shape was underway, with just a few clubs hanging onto that classic design.

The choice of background colour was I believe influenced by the seats in the Southern Stand behind the Punt Road end goals with the same or similar colours. It was, of course, also a prominent colour at the time. That’s still no excuse though.

clubs

Only a few of these designs remain, and in another 10 years the current logos will most likely face the same predicament. Whilst this was not the height of logo brilliance (1980’s in my opinion!) it’s still a nice little time capsule.

Happy footballin’ to ya!

A Town painted Red, White & Blue

Living in Footscray, it’s hard to ignore the fact that as a Richmond supporter, I am in ‘enemy territory.’ (I’m actually quite partial to Footscray!) Unlike a lot of clubs, there is still a strong link between the suburb and the footy club. When I came across the below fire hydrants, I decided to do a little tour of the village in search of red, white and blue.

What impresses me is that the fire hydrants of Footscray encompass both home and clash strips!

Many houses are adorned with Footscray Footy Club paraphernalia, and when the Dogs are in the finals as they were recently the volume increases dramatically. Above are some of my favourites. From the subtle to the clever. The lower picture was found on Lara Cameron’s lovely blog http://kirinote.blogspot.com.au/2009/09/knitted.html

This is Doug Hawkins first of two appearances in this post, fitting given the connection he appeared to share with fans. He was one of them in a way. This is one small part on a wall outside Footscray City College, a large mosaic depiction of Footscray. Above Doug is some fantastic old advertising on the Rising Sun Hotel (now apartments…nearly), over the road from the Western Oval, while other street art around Footscray shows a great love for the dog. There’s even a Dancing Dog cafe!

We’ll skip momentarily out of Footscray, yet stay firmly in the west. The Braybrook Hotel proudly houses these fantastic statues of two Braybrook boys in EJ Whitten and Hawkins, arguably Footscray Football Clubs biggest personalities and two of the very best. Surely there’s no need for security with these two out the front night after night?Below is another wall mural, this one running along the Barkley Street side of St.Monica’s Primary School. The scoreboard reads Footscray 18.24.132 to Collingwood 11.10.76. If only that were the case more often than not! We also see that Footscray Primary’s uniform is red, white and blue, and back to the mosaic wall for another take on the Western Oval, along with a Bulldogs inspired playground.
‘Cafe Bulldog’ in the Footscray Mall unashamedly sports the clubs logo and colours, as does the trendier Gusto cafe in West Footscray, albeit with a somewhat artfully put together Bulldog to watch over patrons. (bottom right pic from the wonderful Footscray Food Blog-read here about the Whitten Oval’s Pound cafe!)

And lastly this bit of graffiti, pointed out to me by Vin Maskell of the fantastic scoreboard pressure blog, sums it all up for me. For no matter where you are, there’ll always be a Collingwood supporter showing a bit of cheek.

Home & Away #3 Western Oval

Western Oval: League venue: 1925-1997. League (VFL/AFL) matches: 665 . Record Attendance: 42,354-Footscray v Coll’wood, r.121955.

 Having already looked back at the old league venues in Fitzroy and Hawthorn, we now head across the Maribyrnong river to Footscray’s Western Oval, now the Whitten Oval.

Photo courtesy of Maribyrnong Leader

Growing up in Melbourne’s leafy east, to me Footscray seemed an eternity away, both in distance and way of life. Fast forward to 2012 and I now live just a few drop kicks and a decent torpy away from the old Western Oval, many myths about Footscray having been debunked along the way.

 I took this series of photos when the ground still stood essentially as it was since top-level football departed it in 1997. Little did I know that the following week saw the scoreboard come down and work begin on the new developments at the kennel. While understanding the need to move forward, I’m sure glad I captured some of the old nooks and crannies that I did before it all came down.

I have watched with great intrigue over the past few years the developments at the oval, and have been pleased with how they have come about. While not as in depth as Victoria Park’s recent refurbishments, the Dogs have maintained much of the grounds feel, including a large section of old-school terracing which still exists behind the Geelong Road end goals. There is however a trendy cafe these days residing between the two old grandstands, a far cry from the old Western Oval where the Scraggers plied their trade.

The two old stands, and on the right the new cafe and administration joins the two.

I love the local touch that the Western Bulldogs still possess; if you live in Footscray then the chances are that they are your team. The suburb still has plenty of red white and blue on display in shops and on vehicles and is a club still connected to their community. Central to that has been the redevelopment of the Whitten or Western Oval, now a community space as well as an elite training facility

When it came to the redevelopments, there were elements of the ground deemed necessary for demolition. First to go was the old scoreboard. I took these photos just days before its demise, with the remnants of ‘congratulations’ for Chris Grants 300th match still on the board.

I also love the old wooden seating in the foreground which stood until recently, a world away from todays plastic bucket seats. They look more like pews, where supporters could kneel and pray. Whilst snooping around, I ventured into the scoreboard, quite tentatively as I’d heard that it was a home to squatters. This photo shows the old South Melbourne board, which must have sat there gathering dust since 1981. How I wish that I had grabbed the sign!

I

What fascinated me most about the Western Oval however was the Gordon St side of the ground. The Doug Hawkins wing. I just loved the integration of footpath, EJ Smith grandstand and Geelong Road bridge, with many a dark corner to explore. I was sad to see this go as it was just full of character, a stark contrast to todays near uniform stadia.



The Western Oval is now an elite training facility for elite athletes and will obviously not be hosting any more league matches. But the ground still has that old feel about it. There’s plenty of terracing left, the old stands are intact and the ground is well cared for, unlike others which have been left to decay. The Dogs still get a decent sized crowds to their intra-club matches too.

The one glaring admission is no signage to acknowledge the Dougy Hawkins Wing. I hope this is rectified at some stage.

(Ed. – This was recently rectified…great work by the club! Click here to see the rectified Dougy Hawkins wing! )

Please share any old stories you have from a day spent on the terraces at the Western Oval. Were you there when Carlton kicked just one goal? Or at the climactic end to the 1987 home and away series?  Perhaps you heard first hand EJ’s final address to his players as captain coach. I’d love to hear your stories. Thank

And be sure to check out Vin Maskell’s piece on the old Western Oval scoreboard on his Scoreboard Pressure site!

http://scoreboardpressure.com/2012/06/04/whitten-oval-footscray-victoria/