The Carlton Four caught up with me the other morning on our regular walk/plod around Princes Park and invited me to their Annual Grand Final Bar B Q Breakfast.
Now this is not your ordinary run of the mill breakfast in the park. A table was selected by Michael in the dark at quarter to six, a cloth is spread, brewed coffee is in the thermos, chapatti sausages, avacado, tomatoes, eggs are made ready for the barbie. Smoked salmon and small Italian rolls await the cooking. In the meantime magnificent coffee gets the conversation going, most of it about the Carlton Footy Club and how cruelly these four have been treated over the years. This for a tragic Don, is sweet music to the ears.
One of the many people who walk around Princes Park with his dogs and knows the four well, is Ian Robinson, a one time VFL umpire. Now a bit of history here regarding Ian. Way back in 1981 he umpired a game at Princes Park between Essendon and Carlton on August 17. Well into time on, on this particular day, Carlton led by 13 points and seemed to have the game won. Carlton’s captain Mike Fitzpatrick decided to slow the game down after taking a mark. He wasted over a minute of time ignoring the umpire (Robinson) who decide he had had enough. He took the ball off Fitzpatrick and gave it to Essendon’s Neale Daniher who promptly put it through for a major. In the remaining ninety seconds of frantic action Neale kicked not one but two more goals, and the Dons triumphed by a point.
Michael, who has a memory like a Thai elephant when it comes to Carlton football trivia, remembers this incident like it was yesterday, When Ian passed our happy group, the incident was mentioned to him. He remembered it well and we “replayed the scenario” for him. One of the four, Rob was wearing a Carlton jumper. He had the footy and walked away from umpire Ian , refusing to take his kick. I was on the mark in my Essendon strip. Eventually Ian, the umpire took the ball off Rob and gave it to me. The rest is history, we won by a point, and Michael is still seething!
Ian couldn’t stay to enjoy our breakfast, but that didn’t stop us from washing down this great food with a very tasty sparkling red and a dash or two of Chivas Regal in our coffee.
Well done Rod, Leb, Michael and Rob, a great way to start the day. Long may you all continue your trek around the park each morning and long may you suffer for your beloved Carlton Football Club.