A question for fans


Like probably most of the contributors to this website, I buy my footy club membership every year. My love for the Demons has always been unconditional, even through the last six stinking seasons.


The only variable is the time of year I purchase my membership – sometimes before Christmas, sometimes closer to the start of the season, usually whenever I get around to it. The only real decision each season is whether to stick with the standard home game ticket, or go for an upgrade.


I had been planning to purchase my 2013 ticket this week, but still haven’t done so. Sadly, I now feel a little hesitant, following the bombshell revelations linking elite Australian sport to systemic use of performance enhancing drugs and organised crime.


Investigations into the Essendon footy club’s use of supplements may or may not uncover anything untoward. Either way, the Bombers’ troubles surely have implications for every footy fan. After my initial astonishment at the Essendon announcement, my first thought was of relief. Relief that a club was in crisis and for once, it wasn’t the Demons. But then I realised if questionable practices were happening at one club, how could anyone be sure about others?


Now every footy fan (and fans of every other major sport in this country) can’t be sure that everything is above board with their team or favourite players. The seven month tanking investigation has already been hanging over every Demon supporter (an absolute farce that it’s taken this long) and the rest of the footy faithful now have to endure similar uncertainty.


We’ve already been warned that investigations by the crime commission, sports drug agency, police and sporting bodies could take months, so regardless of what anyone says, the start of the footy season will begin under a massive dark cloud.


What do us fans do? Try and block it out and hope for the best? Invest our time and passion in local footy instead? I’ll still buy my Melbourne membership and I’m still looking forward to seeing whether we’ll improve this year. But whether or not AFL footy offers its usual enjoyment remains to be seen.


  1. Barry – one of the insidious things about all this is the lack of actual people or clubs being named. Until the authorities get specific everyone and everything is tainted. That’s sad and unnecessary.

  2. Mark Doyle says

    Don’t get sucked into the beat-up by the media and nanny state do-gooders at the sports anti-doping authorities. I have just perused the sports section of the Age newspaper and it is full of illinformed and meaningless opinion and speculation, which also applies to other media such as the ABC and the Herald Sun. This paranoia reminds me of Bob Santamaria and his DLP cronies in the 1950’s and 1960’s with their hysterical and irrational opposition to communism.

  3. As an individual you will have your own sets of standards and morals which rule the way you perform as a member of our society. This varies from person to person. There are laws which govern our society and place parameters on where those sets of standards can fall. It is when it crosses the accepted boundaries that actions need to be taken. It is the same in society as it is in a sporting association.

    We have the same sort of expectations of our football clubs. I have been a paid up member at Hawthorn for the last 26 years and been a supporter since 1976. To me the club is a dominant feature of my life. My life revolves around what Hawthorn does. I am pretty well much a satellite orbiting around the club and gravitational pull remains strong.

    Having said that however, I do have expectations of the club and individuals. Minor indiscretions occur everywhere – it is human nature not to be robotic and symmetrical in character. It is how these situations are dealt with and whether it is acceptable to me which determines my continued involvement.

    The indiscretions currently alleged to have occurred would appear to be cowboy tactics by individuals and not broad based club policy. Those individuals and any compliant with the deception need to be weeded out and removed if it has occurred.

    As long as there is strong action against any actions outside of accepted practices I will remain a loyal follower of our game. I would be happy to accept strong sanctions against my own club to purge it of undesirable and illegal conduct should it be proved to occur as I would expect others would also demand of their club.

    You take pride in success achieved at your own club but if it was proven to have been obtained through cheating it would be nothing more than a hollow feeling. There can be no joy in cheating as ultimately you are only cheating yourself and living a lie. My own personal moral ethics could not accept such an action.

    Keep following your Mighty Demons as long as they conduct themselves in a manner that satisfies your expectations. Let’s hope none of us ever have to change our lives to a world that does not involve the AFL. I have faith that the fabric of the game will prevail.

  4. Skip of Skipton says

    Buy your membership and enjoy the season. The Dees have some exciting new players like Dawes, Pedersen, Byrnes, Rodan etc who should stiffen them up somewhat. Viney is hard as nails. Toumpas has class, obviously. Something to get excited about at last. Watts and Trengove might start cutting loose and playing really well now too.

    This whole saga is some of the most hyped up clap-trap I have seen from the media in some time. It makes one wonder.

  5. Shattered and Confused says

    I have grave reservations about adding to my 20 plus years of EFC membership, but I signed up for 2013 before Christmas. I have followed this club in good times and bad, through sickness and health, through premierships and ‘rebuilding phases’ for a long time. The ’99 prelim was undoubtedly the saddest day of my life, and my joy from ’93 and 2000 is unsurpassed.

    I thought I knew the commandments of being a football fan:

    Thou shalt not leave the stadium before the final siren no matter the margin by which you are being thumped.

    Thou shalt not abuse your players or coaching staff (although you may enage in intelligent and informed debate about ‘list management’)

    Thou shalt purchase thy membership before March and not be a bandwagon jumper in July.

    Thou shalt not bet or tip against thy team.

    The current situation at Windy Hill is not covered in any supporters’ bible, but
    I know for sure that I cannot support a club that lets its players be pumped full of an ‘unkown substance’ even if that substance turns out to be legal (or more specifically, not yet illegal). The very fabric and soul of the club has been irreperably damaged.

    It breaks my heart to say so, but I don’t know who or what I would be supporting if I attended an Essendon match this year. It wouldn’t be a club that I felt any connection to at all.


  6. Barry Levinson says

    Thanks for the comments and advice. I guess today’s relevations that only 1 other player from 1 club other than Essendon is under investigation for performance enhancing drugs will offer a lot of relief to most footy fans. I do feel for Bombers’ fans, but the odds for the rest of us are now pretty good. And while one potentially bad egg at one footy club is disappointing for whichever club it is, at least it won’t destroy the place. It also now seems likely that if anything untoward did happen at Essendon, it was done without the players’ knowledge. Guilty or not, Essendon still has a big problem – how did the men in charge allow this to happen?

  7. Stephinboots says

    Huge claims + generalised accusations + one devastated/devastating presser. Can only and inevitably lead to speculation. Perhaps we’ve heard the worst and the reality won’t be so appalling after all. But if we’re all prepared to entertain the worst-case scenarios, doesn’t that suggest something rotten in footy – winning at all costs, big money riding on match results, betting odds and options being shoved down our throats, swollen ranks of club personnel all promising the answer, crackpot sports ‘scientists’ overriding club doctors and administrators. It’s an accident waiting to happen.

  8. Barkly St End says

    There is something not quite right about this whole process.

    The ACC report talks of “widespread” use of banned substances in sport in the opening pages, but as you read the report, it’s all qualified and a large part of the focus appears to be on amateur sport and bodybuilding.

    Government Ministers then organise big press conferences to say nothing.

    We finally find out in the case of the AFL that we are only talking about two cases.

    We also discover that the ACC focused its energies on the NRL and the AFL, and the obvious question arises: what about other sports?

    We then get an inkling that recreational drugs is a large part of the “problem”.

    Sorry, too many issues mixed up together, to many ambiguities, and a little bit too much political grandstanding for my liking.

    If there are offences – prosecute.

    If any drug tests turn out positive – take the appropriate action.

    But all this ifs, buts and maybes – spare me.

Leave a Comment