Thursday, 10 March 2016


Week three of the FMI FootyCountdown begins. All footy, every day until it starts again.


Another great application of football, its heritage and unique style today for the Wednesday FootyCountdown post. This time its paying homage to the simple style and aesthetic of the humble Australian Rules football jumper.

And if you are not aware of the team from 'Fabric of Football' then make sure you get acquainted with them ASAP (link to site here).

They take the wonderful woolen footy jumper design ethos and extend it to art, both in the decorative sense as well as functional.

The classic 'V'-adorned jumpers, sashed and striped guernseys are either blended together or used separately in a variety of ways to present the colours and styles of footy into different outlets.

Also strongly represented, and very much part of the footy jumper design, are the numbered backs.

As well as the designs and webstore, they also have a blog dedicated to those jumper colours and designs not seen in the mainstream. More great jumper designs and tales of local footy and the iconic image that the local colours have.

Further, they are looking to archive images of local woolen jumpers of the past and need your support. Take a picture of your jumper and get in touch with them.

Another great football - art project you should support


Football needs more writers and storytellers. Most would only be able to name Martin Flanagan as a 'footy story teller', and not much more.
But today's post is about another. A journo by training but these days its a bit more freelancing that keeps this writer busy.

Dugald Jellie has taken a blog, and an idea inside that to become a feature on a club website. But it needs to go further than that, because these are the stories of football in Melbourne.
They are the stories of football through the eyes of the people that follow footy.
Love it. Live it.

A few examples of Dugald finding stories of ordinary supporters are below.
Yes they are all Richmond supporters, as is Dugald, unashamedly so.

But importantly, the tales and people could be common to any of us. From any club across the nation.
Of being and wanting to be, involved in moments. Of the bond between people to club and game. A certain bond that gets stretched and frayed ever so slightly each year.
And Dugald writes so well and with such texture about the people he meets.

After the two below is a link to more written on the Richmond website. An extraordinary collection of stories from everyday people.

Thanks for sharing Dugald and thanks to your interviewees.

"In the pantheon of a football club, it’s a hero image that is all Richmond: coach Tommy Hafey carried on the shoulders of fans in the middle of the MCG, before a record crowd of 119,165, in the euphoric afterglow of the 1969 Grand Final win. It’s an unscripted snapshot of celebration and joy, with Hafey perched like a statue – like Washington hoisted by his troops – all flinty gaze; a loosened neck tie his only concession to public adulation....“I’m the blonde kid next to the bloke holding Tommy’s leg, to his right,”

Somehow in the whirlwind of winning a flag, a 14yo lad was able to not only enter the field of play, but also be able to help hoist the coach in the air.
In the stage managed world of the current AFL, this is an unfathomable thing to do.

Lee took his love of club to another level and joined a coterie-type group.
But the next pair are closer to the average supporter.

Tied to Richmond but virtue of living in the neighbourhood, and of links to family. Football becomes family as well.
" "Sport brings people together,” says Emily Chuon, whose Richmond story is as young and old as her family’s history in Melbourne. “The game gives me a reason to see my uncle and his wife, and to go to friend’s houses to watch a match, even if it’s not Richmond playing.”
Football is family; it’s a community of strangers, a company of hope. Ours is a city of barrackers, wearing our colours and all wanting for the beauty of the play. In our everyday lives, is there anything as free-spirited as singing the song at game’s end? We are never alone with the football."
Phanat also came to Richmond as a local, and at a time the club actually won something. Later, his family moved to the west of Melbourne, but the link was made and embedded.
"once a Tiger always a Tiger, and Phanat tells a remarkable story of a Saturday afternoon as a 10-year-old, when he packed his lunch and took a dollar for ground entry and made the long walk alone to the Western Oval. Richmond was playing and he had to be there."
That bond was made and was enough to spur a wee 10 year old to walk to the footy on his own.

Football does things to people, and writers like Dugald are able to tease out these small moments, and understand the significance of them.

More of Dugald's wonderful writing and the stories of footy fans via the link here.


As it is a public holiday in Vic (and SA and Tas) today, here are some posts about the old Western Oval from the FMI blog for you.

For History Monday in the FootyCountdown.

A look at the grounds very early days after the 'new' stand was built, its life in the war years, and some memorable games (with youtube vision) - the record score, and the goal in the last 35 seconds.

Images via


Long time readers of the blog will know that these pages are not for those who overlook the social side of the game and its influence on people. The blog commentary has reflected this by highlighting where disparity on field has been its worst and suggested the driver for that is the dollars some clubs have been able to throw around. Firstly in the 70's and 80's when teams bought and sold each others players, and later where the off ground spends have escalated.

The financials of the top tier are what entices the best to perform at the best venues. And in turn the fans expect better. Skill. Performance. Surroundings.
And as that develops, it moves toward a 'show'. To a managed event. To theatre.
Then it moves to attracting the 'theatre-goers' that are often derided as 'clogging up' all the good seats and Grand Final Tickets.

And over a dozen or two years, some find themselves distanced from their game.
Cursing the 'kiss cam' at the breaks. Or the dance troupes, organised and sponsored 'kick-to-kick' sessions.
And more. To where every possible surface is filled with someone elses branding. Moments are also for sale. Even the things that people contribute of and by themselves are plastered with outsiders names.
And also beyond the day itself. Into altering the game to be a better 'package', as well as killing off or stifling most of its direct competition.

So when David Wilson released this tweet and accompanying Almanac post, well it was instantly on the list for the FootyCountdown.
Its a wonderful and considered piece about where football and politics sit in the modern era. On its lack of connectivity with people, and a focus on 'focus groups' and consumerism.

It is worth your time reading and thinking about.


Another blog / lighthearted look at footy you should be getting your eyes around is from the 'team' over at Inside Sauce.
Short and snappy little chunks, loaded with tongue-in-cheekness and silliness. Pointed at all in footy, and usually on the topic du jour.

Again, not much is known about the person/s behind the @InsideSauce blog and twitter, but the writing is good and witty. And sometimes its not about footy,as per this article

And of course, following on from yesterdays 'commentator' chat is this article.

So follow @InsideSauce on twitter or facebook for a bit of a laugh.


In posting yesterday's FootyCountdown update, I made reference to 'two blokes talking footy' in the Footy Gospel podcast, and that then led me to think about other 'voices of footy'. And in particular, with Dennis Cometti retiring, to then think of other callers of the past.

Three names I thought worth mentioning in the list of 'some of the best callers' sprang to mind.
The first is a name not well known, calling a game very well known: the classic VFL Grand Final of 1977 between North Melbourne and Collingwood. Calling the drawn Grand Final is Lou Richards, a caller of renown and long-standing, and beside him is the lesser known Peter Ewin.

It was the only year Peter called for the Seven Network, replacing Mike Williamson in the line up, and in turn being replaced by Peter Landy.
I would be interested to learn more of Peter's time calling footy, media work and what happened to have him only call one season.

I listen to him call of the game and think he is a wonderful play-by-play caller with an even cadence and manner.
Find out for yourself by revisiting the 1977 Drawn Grand Final (last quarter only, unfortunately) here.

Following on from that, I then went into the first North Melbourne Grand Final win in 1975, as told in the 'The Final Story' series. These are brilliant documentaries, and hopefully more are coming.
In this set of videos (part 1 of 4 embedded below), we can also hear the above mention Mike Williamson with Louie.

Mike also was a good caller of the action and also had an eye for the theater of the occasion as well. This is perhaps best noted by his comments during the celebrations that he was also caught up in the emotions of the game. (see the end of part three and latter stages of part four).

A genuine stalwart caller, Mike called a dozen grand finals or more up until 1976, most with Lou. His is the voice of the Breen behind in '66, the Jesaulenko mark of 70, Billy Goggin' shot of goal marked ny Fres Swift on the line on '67.

Also sneaking into that documentary is some radio commentary by 'Smooth' Peter Booth of the ABC. A wonderful caller for years on the radio, very clear and controlled.

Click for parts Two, Three and Four 

For me, the common thread of 'good callers' is that most would have had media and calling training, not nessecarily have been players in thier time, and also limit themselves from being the story.

All that without even mentioning some of the great names of the game.
Maybe another time.

14: GOSPEL-ING AGAIN [20/2015]

Week three of the footy countdown starts again with more podcasts and a return to the FootyGospel Podcast.
The previous podcast as a bit of a speciual with a special guest host and an interview inserted as well, but for the more week-to-week Gospel-experience the below link from Round 20 2015 is what you need.
Its footy talk, footy tips and the best part, two blokes goofing about, talking footy and other stuff. There are plenty of other podcasts where things are quite serious, but some lighthearted listening should also be on your listen list.

Where else can you get Seinfeld references mixed with Levi Casboult, video games, goal umpires with character, as well as serious talk on football and drugs?

And they still call the Bulldogs as Footscray.

So have a listen to Round 20 from last year as a preamble to their return to 2016 footy on Thursday night, 24th of March.

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