2016 Footy Almanac Cover: The Case for Swanny

2016 Footy Almanac Cover: The Case for Swanny


  1. In nine editions, there has been no Magpie on the cover. It’s time.


  1. Universally admired. Virtually impossible for a Collingwood player.


  1. Would be the first at an Almanac function…and last to leave.


4. At the vanguard of body art like FA is at fan writing.


5. Started being taken seriously in 2007 (Footy Almanac debut year)


  1. Collingwood haters will forgive because it’s Swanny.


  1. Loyalty. One club champion, unlike some who have graced the cover.


  1. Loved by children and the elderly, despite appearances.


  1. Symbolic of grass roots with VFA connection.


  1. Respected by opponents, teammates, coaches and the media. Rare.


  1. Never afraid to be his true self.


  1. Genuine team player who is happy for others to shine.


  1. Sense of humour was a constant throught his career.


  1. Comfortable with bikies and suits or the common fan.


  1. Brownlow celebrations helped Geelong win the 2011 flag.


  1. Redemption. Many Almanackers love this theme in all sports.


  1. Never bagged his coaches publicly.


  1. Would make an ideal guest at the 2016 launch.


  1. While, candid, Swanny leaves you wanting just a little more.


  1. A Collingwood premiership player ( still fairly rare).


  1. A footballer first, an athlete second.


  1. Could kick the miraculous goal while resting in the forward pocket.


  1. Made the tattoos of ‘Bones’ McGhie, Les Parish and Kevin Murray look quaint.


24.Can’t remember him berating a teammate, on or off the field.


  1. Scallywag, who doesn’t mind a punt or a pint. (Almanac Gold Member)


  1. Self-deprecating. Can take the piss out of himself and other without offending.


  1. The 2016 edition would be a collectors item for Magpie fans for years to come.


  1. Swanny would wear a white skivvy, if asked politely.


  1. Made Mick Malthouse look like a great coach.


  1. Gives hope to kids from all walks of life dreaming of an AFL career.


  1. Never resorted to cheap shots on the field.


  1. Swanny personifies the term ‘Never judge a book by its cover’.


  1. Resisted the temptation to tattoo an important appendage (disciplined).


  1. Swanny is a character, not a caricature.


  1. He charmed the critics and purists with his work ethic and creativity.


  1. Swanny is a poignant example of how choice and chance could lead to jail or retiring as one of the game’s greats.



About Phillip Dimitriadis

Carer/Teacher/Writer. Author of Fandemic: Travels in Footy Mythology. World view influenced by Johnny Cash, Krishnamurti, Larry David, Toni Morrison and Billy Picken.


  1. Cat from the Country says

    No I would not forgove because it’s Swanny.
    That’s just me … ABC!

  2. Suggest it’s 2005 Swanny as tatts are bloody difficult to draw!

  3. Omg phil u obvs saw my tweets to JTH lol
    How good would it look. U wouldn’t even hav to have his face u could have from neck to waist back of Collingwood jumper with 36 on it n a colourful linked arm…omg i can see it now!

  4. Paddy Grindlay says

    Pity the artist etching all of his tats!
    Him or Danger

  5. I’m totally biased but Phil that is so compelling a case the cover of the Almanac should be a given.

    In fact replacing the Queen on the $5 note only seems right.

    It’s Mabo, it’s the vibe, it’s Swanny.

    Vote 1 Dane Swan

  6. You almost had me over the line, Phil.

    And then I remembered one word:


  7. Phil.
    You had me at the heading.


  8. Phil – I read the title of your piece and thought “yeah sure, I’ll read it and post something appropriately cynical and dismissive”.
    You won me over. I find the guy immediately likeable for all his flaws (join the club) and admirable as a footballer. As you say he embodies the Almanac ethic (not that we can define it, but we know it when we see it).
    Would be a classic cover. You have my vote so long as there are no other Magpie scum in the picture.
    Paddy – if Danger is on the cover I’m not buying a copy. There is something vaguely smug and traitorous about him. Too good to be true. Instead of personally selling 300 copies (with a raffle ticket thrown in) Rulebook will be leading a book burning in Rundle Mall. Maybe after 5 years service at Sleepy Hollow, but definitely not now.
    Smokie – Boomer wouldn’t work. How can we sell copies in November when he signs for the Bulldogs in October?

  9. Sign me up for Rulebook’s book burning if Danger makes the cover PB! He may actually sell more than the usual 300 with the amount of people that would be willing to buy a copy just to participate (particularly if Geelong win the flag).

    I understand the sentiment around Swan – but he only played a handful of games and hardly had an impact on season 2016.

    I’m putting my parochial vote in for one Edward Betts III, in the indigenous guernsey his aunty designed, after kicking goal of the year against GWS.

  10. Pete B – say it isn’t so.

    If Dangerfield is on the cover “I will fair dinkum spew up!”

  11. Swanny on cover = Almanac on FLEEK

  12. If Adelaide takes the flag Betts a monty for the cover anything else, even Swanny as long as its not a Hawthorn player. Maybe if Geelong takes it a brotherly love pose with Dangerwood?

  13. Andrew Fithall says

    Magnificently presented case Phil. The anti-Pies bigotry that murmurs just below the Almanac surface need to be silenced. Swanny on the cover the perfect symbol. Add my vote.


  14. This all feels a bit like picking the Norm Smith Medallist at three quarter time in the granny. There’s still plenty of narrative to come in 2016.

  15. May I just add to the compelling case for Swan.

    It goes to the Almanac tagline; Write from the heart

    Swanny goes to the heart football, a champion and a character writ large.

    He may only have played 5 minutes in 2016 but surely there’s irony in that of all seasons he makes the cover this year.

    And it rights the wrongs of 2010 & 2011 covers.

    There’s a strong case for Boomer but he’ll probable saddle up next year.

    Sh!t, I’ll even dust off the Derwents if need be!
    Danger; no for the reasons outlined above.

  16. Here, here Phil. Swanny’s pic on the cover and a tribite to Swanny by Haiku Bob inside, please.

    #it’s time

  17. Phil – great arguments. No problem for me. Just so long as we don’t see a Hawks jumper AGAIN.

    If its not Swanny (because everyone knows that the Collingwood jumper is bad for book sales) maybe the bearded Bartel?

  18. There should have been a Collingwood player on the cover in 2010. I was told that there wasn’t because Penguin didn’t want a Collingwood player on the cover. Swanny would be an appropriate player to put on the cover. So would Boomer or even Jimmy Bartels, But Collingwood is due.

  19. John Butler says

    AF, were is this ‘below the surface’ anti Pies sentiment?

    I should have thought it was sitting in plain view. With a loud haler.

  20. Luke Reynolds says

    You’ve nailed it Phil. 36 compelling reasons. It’s time.

    When it happens, will be looking forward to his speech at the 2016 Almanac book launch…

  21. Phil D – I don’t know whether I should call in the team from MASH, Dr.Kildare, Dr Doolittle or Doc Edlesten. Come to think of it Doc Holliday is the right man and he shoots straight.
    Next you will asking for a statue of Eddie Everywhere!
    A great shot from the Grand Final – whoever is playing is the appropriate piece. Remember last year’s great painting of the “top four” didn’t make it.
    Besides 36 did not play more than 10 minutes this year!.
    Glad your season is over Dimma. You have been concussed too many times.
    Take care.
    Grumpy Old Man

  22. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Thanks folks. Genuinely surprised at the amount of goodwill towards Swanny by non-Pie fans , Cat from the Cuntry aside.

    After the monumental snub in favour of Jonathan ‘Hymie’ Brown in 2010, I reckon Swanny deserves a guernsey on the basis of this simple question:
    Is there any other Collingwood champion in the modern era that has been as well-liked and respected across the comp from opposition fans?
    I doubt it.
    Vote 1 D. SWAN – You know it makes sense

  23. Oh, alright. Yer got my vote. Cheers

  24. Mark Duffett says

    An Illustrated Man illustration has a certain ring to it (with apologies to Ray Bradbury)

  25. Nice reference Mark Duffett. Glad someone else remembers Ray Bradbury.

  26. Earl O'Neill says

    Good call, Phil, Dane Swan deserves it for being a personality in an ever-more anodyne world.
    “Got any advice for the kids?”
    “Don’t get caught.”
    I vote for latter day Swan, finger tatts essential. Seen the vid with a big bloke keeping him down with a throat hold while he got his nipple tattooed? Yep, his flipping NIPPLE.

  27. kath presdee says

    Sorry, I’m a no.

    He’s a champ, but a Collingwood champ. He’s a character and a personality, but so is Heath Shaw (who is also a Collingwood Premiership player) – and I’m not suggesting Heater for the cover.

    Then again, if the Premiership is won by a non-Victorian team, particularly one from the “North”, I can see that there may need to be a compromise for the Vic faithful to reassure them that the world has not ended. If so, then Swan’s a good option but Boomer is probably better.

  28. I’m a Swanny fan, but having only played ten minutes this year is he the narrative of 2016? Indeed, what are the cover criteria? Actually I’d rather not know. Preserve the mystery. If it goes to a deserving player what about Pav or Boomer?

    Great, compelling list of reasons Phil.

  29. Almanac Cover – precedents and criteria. Richo in 2008 and Jonathon Brown in 2010 were honouring champions rather than premiership winners. Buddy on the 2009 cover was the year after their flag. Gazza in Suns colours with Cats background players in 2011 was 2 bob each way.
    Eastern suburbs are cashed up bogans and old money, so I expect that 3 Hawks in a row is as much the publisher’s (understandable) financial self interest as honouring the flag winners.
    Should the Bulldogs win 3 in a row I wouldn’t expect similar treatment. Next Port flag the cover will be in crayon and Mandarin (bilingual edition).
    Giants flag = Stevie J (great creative possibilities if they beat the Cats). Cats flag = Bartel, Joel and Danger tripytch. Adelaide = Eddie Betts. All other flag winners = Dane Swan for commercial reasons as much as anything. Sell limited quantities outside of Melbourne save for Rulebook and the Crows. For North and Bulldogs flags we could offer a lay by option

  30. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    But isn’t his entire season being cruelly ruined by the worst injury of his career in the opening minutes of the first game enough to warrant a meditation on the peculiarities of fate in life and footy?
    PB, I reckon Swanny fits closest to the Richo narrative. Something about their personality, aura, disposition that fans are attracted to, but hard to define clearly, which makes them all the more intriguing.

    Pav and Boomer (If he retires as a North player) are great suggestions. If Danger can win the Brownlow, Norm Smith and play in a premiership he will be hard to resist by the Geelong mafia on this site.
    A short highlight package to remember from bumbling cleanskin plagued by self-doubt and unrefined ability to a champion. Each new tattoo is a signpost of the journey to football greatness. Enjoy:

  31. Robert Murphy?
    The most loved of all present day players, injured and out!
    All-Australian captain.
    western suburbs
    Vote 1 MURPHY

  32. I fear that trying to produce an artwork of Swanny’s tatts which are themselves representations of other artiwork will send us into a recursive spiral and tear a rift in the space-time continuum from which we may never recover.

    Anyway, Boomer.

  33. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Oh FFS !! Why not just have an 18 man retirement package collage and be done with it?
    Adelaide – Eddie Betts
    Brisbane – Daniel Merrett
    Carlton – Who cares?
    Collingwood – Swanny
    Essendon – Adam Cooney
    Fremantle – Pav
    Geelong – Boris Enright
    Gold Coast – Bald Judas again
    GWS – Stevie J
    Hawthorn – A fuck not given
    Melbourne – Irrelevant
    North – Boomer
    Port – Alipate Carlisle
    Richmond – Troy Chaplin (For Rulebook)
    St Kilda – St Nick
    Sydney – $$$ signs
    Western Bulldogs – Bob Murphy
    West Coast – Peter Baulderstone

  34. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    In fact why not scrub the men all together and put a woman on the cover to celebrate this watershed year for women’s footy. Moana Hope before she gets a chance to pull on a Collingwood jumper?

  35. While I’m resolutely pro-Boomer mainly because it’s likely the only chance for a North player to get on the cover for a long while, one of the women players would be great. Moana, or Tayla Harris with _that_ kicking action, or backin in to yet another pack.

  36. Love the suggestion Phil, Rob – we would need to back it up with content, though. Maybe have a write-up of last weekend’s game as part of this year’s Almanac.

  37. “Moana Hope before she gets a chance to pull on a Collingwood jumper?”

    Ha! I love your sarcasm PD.

  38. Jeez Phil – my retirement was supposed to be a secret between you and me. The boss thinks I’m seeing clients not posting dumb comments on a stupid footy blog.

  39. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    PB, I was going to nominate The People’s Elbow for Carlton, but as we’ve seen he can be easily offended. You’re made of sterner stuff.
    JD, loved your Swanny -art -haiku on Twitter. Might be worth presenting to the Geelong ..oops Almanac Board!!

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