Farewell AAMI Stadium

I love AAMI Stadium. I don’t care what people say about it being too far out of the way and hard to get to, the lack of sufficient legroom or the fact you feel a mile away from the play. I love it.

One of my earliest memories of football is throwing a hissy fit when my brother got to go to a game instead of me in the early 2000s. We used to alternate who would go along with my Dad but there was no way I was missing a Saturday night home game against the Lions! So I cried and cried and I have never missed a home game since. (Except for that one Sunday I had a tap dance exam and I moved to Victoria early this year).

I basically grew up at AAMI Stadium. There were the years I dragged along an Adelaide beanie bear named Tony, after Tony Modra of course, the Crows coloured braces on my teeth came and went, and my first boyfriend sat beside me last year.

Reminiscing on what I’ve seen before me on the turf at AAMI Stadium is like opening a bottomless box of memories.

I’ve seen the highs and lows and the people who have come and gone. I’ve witnessed legends made and careers cut short.

My all-time favourite Crow is Andrew McLeod. I loved the way he would fly down the field, sell some candy, seal the goal and point to the adoring crowd. One of the best memories I have at AAMI Stadium is that exact type of goal he kicked in the famed Showdown final. The Rolls Royce of football ran rings around his opponents and kicked some ridiculously good goals at Footy Park.

I was fortunate too to see the short career of the ever-promising Trent Hentschel. I saw him flourish when he kicked a bag of eight goals on a Friday night against Essendon in 2006 when we scored 30 goals as a team. Then there was the Showdown, later that year, where the only memory I have is of him being tackled and going to ground clutching his knee as the crowd fell silent. Need I say more.

I’ve cried and felt the depths of footy despair and I’ve smiled and felt on top of the world.

The year 2006 was a rollercoaster year like no other. I cheered until I could cheer no more at three quarter time in the qualifying final against Fremantle. We made it over the line but a resulting home preliminary final ended in a flood of tears as the bloody Eagles beat us again.

Saying goodbye to greats has always brought a tear or two with the likes of Hart, Ricciuto, Edwards, Goodwin, Burton and McLeod to name a few. But who could forget the ‘Nigggellllll’ chant that swept the stands when the popular backman played one last time. All I could do was smile.

I’ve clapped my hands until they’re red raw, yelled so loud I’ve left with no voice and my heart has pounded back and forth in my chest.

Every footy fan knows that nervous feeling that sweeps over you when the clock starts ticking into time on in a nail-biter. Then how that sinking feeling consumes you as the final siren sounds and the opposition get the better of the game. There was no worse than Brendan Fevola’s 50-metre bomb from the boundary, the northern stand pocket, when he put Carlton in front in what was to be a come from behind victory. I still can’t look at the TV when that comes on today.

While there have been some close games that have fallen on the wrong side of the ledger there have been some exciting, unexpected and heart attack inducing wins. One of the best games I’ve ever been to was in 2010 on a Friday night at Footy Park. We were massive underdogs against an ever-resilient Cats. No one expected us to win. But my god there must’ve been a full moon that night. Ricky Henderson, Taylor Walker and Patrick Dangerfield were kicking the impossible goals from the pocket, Henderson ran down Wojcinski and Johncock did the same to Ablett. The atmosphere was simply electric as we claimed a fairytale 11-point win that turned out to be the closing chapter for McLeod and Goodwin.

I’ve leapt in joy seeing hangers from Brett ‘Birdman’ Burton. I’ve admired brilliance in defence from Nathan Basset, Ben Hart, Ben Rutten, Nathan Bock and Daniel Talia. I’ve seen the impossible from Rhett Biglands and Ivan Maric. I’ve cheered on everyone’s favourite Matthew Bode and I was there when Kris Massie held Buddy Franklin to one goal.

I’ve rushed back to the original Crows Shed after the siren to ensure I got a coveted table. Lined up at the sausage sizzle and waited for hours to get an autograph on all sorts of memorabilia. I stayed until the early hours of the morning after Mark Ricciuto’s 300th game to get his signature on my Record.

I’ve been sunburnt in the late summer and I’ve been drenched to the bone in the middle of winter. I’ve seen and felt it all at AAMI Stadium.

I used to so look forward to going to AAMI Stadium every second weekend. I planned my whole life around that ground. Maybe not everyone will miss it but I will. The home of the Adelaide Crows.

Comments

  1. Ben Footner says:

    Great article Anne, I enjoyed reliving those memories with you!

    Alas, while I love the memories, I will have no trouble in saying goodbye to the place on Saturday.

    Adelaide Oval here we come! :-)

  2. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Great aricle Anne and I will miss Footy Park as some 1 who goes back further my favourite memories are the 84 Sanfl GF when Nwd beat Port in a epic it was the Game when Keith Thomas took 1 of the Greatest Marks in History . funnily enough now 1 of my favoritev memories is as a kid when Barry Robran virtually on 1 leg and Single handed won a Game against Nwd being Shattered as a kid and then later on in the evening realising I had seen 1 of The Greatest Players ever dominate and how lucky I was I have spoken to Neil Balme who was Norwood Coach and he said he had similar feelings . I will miss the Car Park Barbys and I end I will miss the coloseum which is Footy Park

  3. Adam Ritchie says:

    Thank you Anne for making me think of that McLeod goal once again.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXC-whnc4Sw

    The roar as it sails through…. if there is a better sound, I am yet to hear it.

    I was also there that night against Geelong. Johncock’s tackle on Ablett is one of my favourite football memories.

Leave a Comment

*