A Pensee on Bastille Day


Footy and France are two of my favourite things. One day I’ll write a book about footy in France (perhaps with Stephen Alomes), but for now, a post.


I have been haunting Villers-Bretonneux since 1994 and was lucky enough to be there for the Big One in 2018. I am delighted that there is now a match there on ANZAC Day, but I didn’t actually manage to see it, being whisked away by friends to see the new museum of photos of Australian soldiers at Vignacourt.


The next day, I was back at the museum in Villers and stumbled on a small man in red tracky dacks who turned out to be Bob Utber, Paddy Dangerfield’s grandad and a legend of Mildura footy in his own right. Villers is twinned with Robinvale so he was the right man in the right place!


I had made another footy pilgrimage in 2016 when in Bordeaux to see the place where they play Aussie Rules. It was summer, but there were to goal posts safely chained in a pile ready for the season.


I also travelled out to Victoria Park in Kew during the last International Cup to see Les Coqs get thrashed by Nauru. If we want an international team in the AFL, Nauru would be a good option!


There was no French women’s team, but hopefully next time!


I am not aware of any French ancestry AFL players (Matt Clape?)(happy to be informed…Heritier Lumumba had a French name,,,) but if the French decided to take it on, as they have already taken on soccer and both kinds of rugby, they would be formidable!


I suppose we have our version of the fall of the Bastille in the MCG lying idle in July while the game is played in Queensland – which is where every Victorian wants to be at this time of year anyway!


Ah well, c’est la vie!






Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


Do you enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.

Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE
One-off financial contribution – CLICK HERE
Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE



  1. Kevin Densley says

    Merci, Matty! Agréable et apte!

Leave a Comment