Like probably most of the contributors to this website, I buy my footy club membership every year. My love for the Demons has always been unconditional, even through the last six stinking seasons.
The only variable is the time of year I purchase my membership – sometimes before Christmas, sometimes closer to the start of the season, usually whenever I get around to it. The only real decision each season is whether to stick with the standard home game ticket, or go for an upgrade.
I had been planning to purchase my 2013 ticket this week, but still haven’t done so. Sadly, I now feel a little hesitant, following the bombshell revelations linking elite Australian sport to systemic use of performance enhancing drugs and organised crime.
Investigations into the Essendon footy club’s use of supplements may or may not uncover anything untoward. Either way, the Bombers’ troubles surely have implications for every footy fan. After my initial astonishment at the Essendon announcement, my first thought was of relief. Relief that a club was in crisis and for once, it wasn’t the Demons. But then I realised if questionable practices were happening at one club, how could anyone be sure about others?
Now every footy fan (and fans of every other major sport in this country) can’t be sure that everything is above board with their team or favourite players. The seven month tanking investigation has already been hanging over every Demon supporter (an absolute farce that it’s taken this long) and the rest of the footy faithful now have to endure similar uncertainty.
We’ve already been warned that investigations by the crime commission, sports drug agency, police and sporting bodies could take months, so regardless of what anyone says, the start of the footy season will begin under a massive dark cloud.
What do us fans do? Try and block it out and hope for the best? Invest our time and passion in local footy instead? I’ll still buy my Melbourne membership and I’m still looking forward to seeing whether we’ll improve this year. But whether or not AFL footy offers its usual enjoyment remains to be seen.