THE LET’S BE HONEST ABOUT ALL THIS EDITION
For the Philosophical Marngrook Follower
It takes a bit to draw the Wrap staff back from hibernation, but we believe the crisis at Melrose Drive & Jellymont House warrants such a re-call. As one Footy Almanaca so pithily put it – say it isn’t so Shoeless Jim. And this is how all those Little Bombers must be feeling right now. It would be so easy to take cheap shots at the writhings of the Essendon Football Club, which we’ll get around to in our analysis. But our main concern now is the wellbeing of all those Loyal Whingy Hill Faithful who have had their lives and dreams torn asunder. In the name of common goodness, please, seek them out and offer a comforting arm around the shoulder. Proffer the solace of human company, sitting quietly with them in a darkened room. Little things like a casserole left on the front veranda, mow their nature strip, slip their mail under the door and clean the graffiti off the driveway and their garage rolla-door. There but for the grace of God and the folly of man goest thou.
Think of some kindly phrases that may ease the anguish and uncertainty this test of faith must be putting them through. The following is an excerpt from a Footy Almanac post on 14th of January by Lachlan Waterman in his piece on Club Culture, and where it has taken the respective clubs. To put the analysis in perspective, here’s the ones on Sydney & Carlton. From wherever you’re sitting, you’d have to say Lachy’s got the angle pretty right.
Sydney: The ugly ducklings have become the benchmark. In the last 20 years the Swans have competed in 14 finals campaigns for 4 Grand Finals. A plethora of discards from other clubs are now premiership players – Kennedy, Mattner, Richards, Shaw, and Morton. The Richard Colless led administration has in place a coaching succession plan modeled on the great Liverpool success of the 80s.
Carlton: Proud. Arrogant. Ruthless. Successful. Some suggest the Ratten sacking reeked of Carlton ruthlessness of the 80s, others believe it was two years overdue . In 2008 Carlton had Collingwood’s measure, two years later the Pies salute and the Blues slump to 8th. An ageing list will have Mick working hard for his moula.
Here’s what he had to say about Shoeless Jim’s Mob.
Essendon: An AFL powerhouse with 16 Premierships, the Bombers are building a state-of-the-art facility near the Melbourne airport. Appear to run smooth and quiet off the field, rarely hitting the papers for all the wrong reasons. Can Essendon’s Golden Boy deliver the goods?
That’s a pretty big reputation those Sugar Basins out at Whingy Hill have to live up to, eh? Rarely hitting the papers for all the wrong reasons. Boy, you have to give it to Lachy for timing, eh? And can Golden Boy deliver the goods? You could venture that he already has, and goods that have a stronger stench than those dumped at Punt Road all those years ago.
So in light of the huge comedown faced by those followers of The Red Sash, practice putting heartfelt sincerity into such phrases as “Two years will pass in next to no time”, “Look, all this will blow over in a hundred years”, and “Bendigo’s not all that far up the Calder since they’ve put in the by-passes at Kyneton & Woodend”. It may not seem like much at the time, but every bit of solace will help them through this crisis.
The Wrap Investigative Team went out to where the Maribrynong meets the mountains to see just what was going on. Once the roar of the big jet engines had subsided to a gentle but prolonged whine, the sound of cocks crowing was overwhelming. Tracing the sound to the far side of a grassy knoll we peaked over to find Mr. T declaring that he was finished with coaching and that he had enough to do with his property development projects on the Bellarine. Then there was Shoeless Jim pushing the same story line – he was heavily involved in his own commercial career and had no thought of joining a putsch to oust Matty Knights and usurp his role at Whingy Hill. The crowing cocks must have been on something stronger than caffeine; they were going at it hammer & tongs in relays.
Of course the Essendon legal team of Downright Lie & Procrastinate, led by the indomitable Sir Frank Downright, has come up with the usual lawyer crap about being innocent until proven guilty, and proclaimed the charges would be vigorously denied. A sop to the gullible, but it should provide little comfort to the perpetrators. We, like so many in The Football World, are looking forward to review the vigorous defense.
Meanwhile, surfing the net, Wrapgate Team came across a weird phenomena. The Essendon Bombers in 2010 & 2012 had started the season like players possessed. Usain Bolt would have been left in their dust and they were leaping over taller buildings than Clark Kent’s super ego could take on without his Weeties. Then the thread petered out into a trail of broken bodies. Talk about bury my knee at Wounded Hill. Which raised the question: does a degree of stupidity count towards the Fevola?
Firstly we thought we may have had to announce the suspension of voting in the aforesaid Medal in light of the scale of disrepute into which the administration & the coaching departments at Melrose Drive had brought The Game. The Bagmen had closed the book for 2013, and possibly 2014. But there’s nothing but surprises out there where Life Imitates Sport. First there was the coach of the Australian swimming team, Leigh Nugent and head of Everything’s Going Swimmingly Australia Barclay Nettlefold. Yes Narelle, there was a bank by that name, but I think you’ll find he was named after the bank; and with more than a little ironic foresight. Leigh’s man-on-the-spot call of teenage high jinx from Manchester and London, and Barcaly’s 110% support of his embattled head coach catapulted them to clubhouse leader for the medal that is fast becoming the most sought after decoration of the season. The best part about all this has to be their absolute naïveté at Everything’s Going Swimmingly. Or is it us who are being naive?
Would any word of this boorish behaviour have surfaced if they’d brought home Gold! Gold! Gold!? And equally, how long has it being going on? And to what depth in the sport? It might not do any harm to extend the navel gazing right through the junior ranks. They just don’t turn into Nick D’Arcys over night.
We were speaking with a neighbour on this the other day. He’d coached the Singapore Kudo martial arts team. He said when he return to Oz he was staggered by the win at any cost mentality here. The philosophy of martial arts had been brushed aside. Which brings us back to Whingy Hill, I guess. (Crikey Wrap, I never thought I’d see you play ‘the victim of circumstances’ card when it came to Essendon – Ed) As I was saying, the ego driven forces at Melrose Drive are at the forefront of this malaise that has turned sport into a business. A business thinly disguised as entertainment.
And for those of us who believe in the afterlife and the power of clairvoyance will accept Harry Hopman’s nomination of the Atomic Bernard for the Fevola. You’d even be excused for thinking he had an outside chance.
That was until our own Great Helmsman launched the counter attack on stewardship of the Prestigious Gong on behalf of The Senior Code. In a Fevola winning outcome the Ayatollah said there was no tanking at Melbourne yet raised a lazy half mill towards his bonus as a fine, and imposed suspensions on Football Manager Chris Connelly & Senior Coach at the time, Dean Bailey. It’s our guess that he’s going to make a concerted run at the one award that has thus far eluded him. No draft penalties for The Demons, followed by no suspension of Essendon and/or Essendon players – except perhaps those who have moved to other clubs – will go a long way to securing outright favoritism. Watch this space.
We also feel it might be time to strike another medal. (Turn it up Wrap; not another one. You’ve struck more medals than Marshall Tito as it is – Ed) This one is for deeds of great Nobility and Serve to The Game, Life & Sport in general. It will be called the Robby Flower Medal. And the first nomination is Angry Adrian. No longer able to stomach what was going on at Jellymont House he did what Captain Oates did on the ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition led by Robert Falconer Scott, and walked out into the blizzard, never to be seen again. Well maybe not quite as sacrificial as ‘Titus” Oates; Angry can be found at It’s Just Not Cricket Sir undertaking a review of how the Gentlemen’s Game manages integrity issues. You’d have to believe Lindsay Hassett & Slasher Mackay are spinning in their graves at the thought of the need for it.