General Footy Writing: My night of waiting in line to buy Grand Final tickets

It’s Sunday night. Tomorrow at 9 am Grand Final tickets will be released to AFL full members of non-competing clubs. Dad and a few other AFL member mates have been planning for a few weeks now and tonight we put the plan into action.

There are two ticket locations near us: Chirnside Park and Ringwood. We will have people queueing in both lines throughout the night and whoever is first to get through, they will buy everyone’s tickets.

Dad and I arrive at Eastland by 9 o’clock. We haven’t packed anything. The idea is that I’ll line up, Dad will go home and bring supplies back.

I sit on the ground at the end of the line, making myself number 19. Everybody else is rugged up with blankets and sitting in deck chairs. They all have either a book or newspaper. I overhear that number 7 has been in line since 11 this morning. What a waste of a day for the sake of a few extra rows.

Number 20 arrives. He’s an old man with thick glasses. He looks at me and says, “Geez, you’re doing it rough. Will you be here all night?”

I explain to him what’s going on. He lends me one of his spare chairs until Dad comes back.

I’m surprised when Dad arrives 30 minutes later empty-handed. “We’re not staying here,” he tells me. Apparently the guys over at Chirnside are fifth in line. There’s no point in waiting there if they are certain to reach the front first.

We go back home and Dad tells Bron and I that we’ll be at Chirnside from 11  o’clock till 1.

We pack sleeping bags, pillows, lollies, a laptop and movies and before too long I’m out of the house again.

When we arrive at Chirnside I’m shocked. Not only are fifth in line. We’re last in line. Some people musn’t have heard that they were selling tickets here.

Number 4 is a nice man about Dad’s age. He’s an Essendon supporter. He says he hasn’t missed a Grand Final since about ’87.

I too have been very fortunate with Grand Final tickets. I have been privileged to have been to five Grand Finals. Two of which have been decided by less than a goal.

Number 1 in line is an old man wearing an old baggy cap. When I ask him who he follows he says all Victorian teams. I don’t understand how some people can’t pick just one footy team.

Bron and I lie down on the concrete in our sleeping bags and watch Zoolander. It’s a good way of taking up time.

After that we put on (in memory of Patrick Swayze) Ghost. I havn’t seen it in a long time and is better than what I remember. Before Same Wheat passes on to the next world the battery runs out. Bron’s asleep anyway.

Number 6 finally arrives. He’s decked out in Richmond gear. He sits down on a deck chair, puts on an old Richmond beanie, pulls a blanket over himself and starts to play games on his phone.

Twenty minutes later B. Kane arrives to take our post. I’m close to sleep and think, “I’ve made it this far, I’ll keep on going”. So I stay while Bron drives home.

B. Kane sleeps in Bron’s sleeping bag while I read his Herald Sun. At 3 o’clock people start flocking in. The first is an old lady. She chats to the Richmond man while out of the blue comes 8, 9 and 10.

Before I know it the place has become to loud for me to fall asleep. The people who have just rocked up seem up for a chat while the lower numbers are still attempting to sleep on the pavement.

Number 14 is in his mid 20s. All he’s brought with him is his DS, a blanket and a strawberry Big M. Number 15 is a boy probably a few years older than me, with his mother. Apart from number 14, we’re the youngest by about 30 years.

Not much excitement comes until 5.30am. A man (I think he’s coming back from the 24-hour K Mart) is forced to enter his car to turn off his alarm. It takes him a couple of minutes to shut it off. B Kane is less than impressed, having been undisturbed for all this time.

As the sun rises the line is up to about 19. Equal to the amount of people that was at Eastland at 9 o’clock last night.

Famma (Leader of the operation) arrives at twenty to seven as planned. I tell him to get good seats before heading home.

B. Kane gives me a lift home. Mum and Dad are just waking up to go to work. I give them a quick rundown of how the night went before having a shower.

I’m exhausted and head off to the bed. I’ve never appreciated it so much.

I wake up at midday. Bron is already awake. “Do you know how we went?” she asks. I shake me head.

“M22 Row S,” she recites from a text sent in by Dad. After expecting level Q seats I’m relieved. The night out on the streets was worth it.

I’m really looking forward to the Grand Final now. Should be beauty.

Comments

  1. Josh Barnstable says:

    So you did an all nighter Michael? I did last night/this morning. Started coming home from school camp from Marla yesterday morning and arrived back home a couple of hours ago. Slept about 10 minutes coz i was sitting underneath a leaking vent. Oh by the way im back everybody lol

  2. Steve Healy says:

    Welcome back Josh. You didn’t miss much.

    Brilliant story Michael, I would certainly love to be in that situation-lining up for tickets all night. Good seats as well. Just past the wing in the brown seats. I think some people might find it hard to go for one team if they have no family ties to footy, but they’re just born a footy lover.

  3. There are outlets around the city (and no I’m not telling you) where you can rock up at about 8am and be first or second in line. Just think about locations where its unlikely there will be much interest in the GF. Your story reminds me of the old days when the only way you get a ticket was queue at the MCG – there were massive queues starting days before and you had no idea whether your place would get you a ticket.

  4. Good to see you are utilising the scam that is AFL membership! Get 40 games a year for the price of 12, get finals tickets for $10 and then take 25,000 tickets on Grand Final day ensuring that the majority of the competing clubs members miss out!

    Hope all the Richmond, Essendon & other non Geelong/St Kilda supporters enjoy the game! All the St Kilda supporters will be watching the game on the St Kilda foreshore. Oh, that is unless all the AFL members scalp their ticket at over inflated prices!!!

    Hope you have a great day

  5. Michael – For all that my latest comment in the Finals Chat attempted to make me out to be a die-hard footy fan, I don’t think I’d attempt an all-nighter. Well, maybe if it was the Tigs in a Granny but I don’t think I’ll face that choice any time soon.

    My favourite finals ticketing recollection is of a man standing in a long queue for a final involving Collingwood (i.e. tickets going like hot cakes). He eventually reached the counter and asked to purchase Melbourne Theatre Company tickets for a performance some weeks off. Politely asked if he’d come back later when the rush for the footy had passed, he stood his ground and insisted on getting them then and there. There was an audible groan down the queue as the seller meekly obliged him. Not sure if we were more shocked at the thought of missing out on our prime vantage points at the G or incredulous that he’d chosen such a ridiculous time to buy theatre tickets!

  6. Michael Allan says:

    Geez Steve you know the MCG well. I know the Great Southern Stand bays back to front but I wouldn’t have a clue anywhere else.

    Stainlessm that’s a great story. Especially because it was a Collingwood Grand Final. I read your point in the Finals Chat. I also read the articles about GF tickets both in The Age and the Herald Sun. I think we have every right to go. Besides without us, who’d scalp their tickets?

  7. Hey all.
    i dont think i would go that far for GF tickets unless my team is playing.
    Concert tickets on the other hand, thats a different story.
    its been an hour since i just saw Barry Hall in the Westpac bank LOL.
    Cats for the flag!

  8. Steve Healy says:

    Michael I know the MCG back to front. It’s my second home.

  9. Damian Watson says:

    Great writing Michael,
    I didn’t know you live around the Eastern Suburbs.
    Which footy club do you play for?

  10. Josh Barnstable says:

    I know nothing about the MCG, i don’t even know what both ends are called. I know at Etihad Stadium that the left side is the Lockett End and the right side is the Coventry end, but only coz Left (L) is Lockett (L) lol.

  11. Michael Allan says:

    Haha I don’t play footy Damian. I live in Croydon though and I’ve never moved houses.

    Josh it’s the City end and the Punt Rd end. And Josh it’s fine to say Lockett is on the left side, but that depends on where your sitting.

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