A (temporarily) disgruntled Don returns to the Sash

After weeks of indecision, today was the day I rejoined The Dons.   It wasn’t easy though, I had a feeling of disillusionment and  shame when the topic came up, as if in some way I was to blame for last season’s drugs saga.

But I thought back to my great grandfather, who apparently was always up at the Essendon Recreation Reserve, as it was then known, doing things for the cricket and football club.  I thought of my grandfather, loving known as Da, who was friends with the players especially Dick Reynolds, because in those days all the Essendon players lived in the area.  I thought of Mum, the most one-eyed football supporter known to personkind. She thought any footballer who went off to another club was disloyal. “What’s wrong with playing for Essendon seconds?” she would say forcefully. Mum knitted my brother and I Essendon jumpers which we wore with pride at every game. Even the numbers on the back were cut from white flannel and stitched on.

I also thought of the one grandchild who “goes” for the Dons, what would I tell him?

I guess the “clincher” was the new rallying call, Don the Sash.  I like it.  I like the footy club being called The Dons. And who doesn’t admire  the red sash on the black jumper?

So I’ll be there for the games at the “G” shouting myself hoarse, bemoaning bloody awful umpires decisions, joyfully jumping up  out of my seat when the final siren goes and the Dons are in front, and being down in the dumps for up to  five minutes after the game, if we loose.

So roll on the 2014 season.


  1. Well done Rod. I found it hard to put myself in your shoes, and then I thought of the Labor Party.
    Randy Newman sang “he may be a fool; but he’s our fool” and that about says it all.
    I might despise the ALP – but they are my family. I loath the ‘born to rule’; so like you I will stick with the devil I know.

  2. Fair play to you Rob, but I can’t bring myself to hand over the hard-earned after last year. It was one thing to ‘push the envelope’ in regards to the use of supplements, but to then play the victim and vehemently attack anyone who dared question what happened at the club was straight out of the Lance Armstrong playbook.

    When I wavered last year, the club urged supporters to stay strong and that the smoking gun exonerating Hird e.al. would be produced. Lo and behold, when things get serious, and the whips start cracking in August, deals are cut left, right and centre, and Dr Reid is the only one truly prepared to fight all the way to the Supreme Court to clear his name. That was the moment I questioned the quality of people at the top of the club.

    I’ll always barrack for Essendon, but it will be a long, long time before they get a brass razoo out of me.

  3. Neil Anderson says

    Even us die-hard supporters waver about signing on again after a dismal-performance year or because of off-field scandals.
    I usually last about four weeks before I start looking towards next season. That’s what happened to me at the end of the 2012 season after we lost the last eleven games with nothing positive to look forward to.
    Twelve months later and Bulldog supporters have a lot to look forward to.
    Good recruiting and almost doubling the number of games won certainly helped, but the real clincher was after an assessment of the quality of the people at the top of the Club. That’s what did it for me. Taking out membership number twenty-three was an easy decision.
    After the annual re-connecting of Fox Footy, the first replay match that came on was Bulldogs versus Crows, Round 21, 2013. Watching the young Bulldogs lead the way to a win and their highest score for two years, I felt even better about signing on again.

  4. I had the same dilema this time 12 months ago after the whole Tippett affair at Adelaide. In the end the renewal went through though, I couldn’t handle missing out on watching the boys play live for something that happened off field.

  5. “For up to 5 minutes after a game” – wish I could compartmentalise like you. I’m pissed off for most of the weekend after a loss.

  6. Malcolm Ashwood says

    I must admit to having lost interest in the AFL for a number of reasons style of game
    umpiring , program , treatment of inter state sides and then as a crows supporter
    the Rendell and Tippett fiascos combined this week of the state gurnsey incompetence and then the stupidity not to have a reserves comp there by stuffing every state league up give me local amateur footy please

  7. Rod’s deluded faith in his beloved Dons reminds me of Monty Python’s black knight screaming, “It’s only a flesh wound!” as he lies on his back, with both arms and legs hacked off and blood pumping from his gaping wounds. What does it take for reality to finally sink in?
    The AFL administered its token slap on the wrist last year, to ensure that the finals series was not tainted by Essendon’s participation, but we still await the formal ASADA/WADA charges.
    Steve’s reference to Lance Armstrong is an apt comparison. I have noticed a flood of the former cycling hero’s books appearing on the shelves of my local opportunity shop this summer, as holiday homes get their annual clean out of accumulated junk. As the Bard once noted, “sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds; Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.”

  8. MW Harrington says

    I am presently considering whether I will renew my Brisbane Lions membership. I have been a full member since 2007 but come to the game late as an adult who moved to Brisbane from the US. And as a relative newcomer (and in terms of the recent Lions the antithesis of someone who jumps on the bandwagon..). Over these years I have been to almost all the home games at the Gabba and have even been to a few in Melbourne. I am finding that as I develop a deeper understanding of what is happening within the white lines, I am also learning more than I care to know about concerning what is happening outside. I find the AFL ‘brand’ increasingly unattractive, from the fixturing, to the Victorian-centric nature of the comp (and media for that matter), to all the other scandals in between. Part of me doesn’t want any of my hard-earned to support the tanking, supplements, the increasing presence of gambling, and the rest of dramas that seem to pop up endlessly. Part of me feels like I am being played for a chump by the AFL, especially living here in Brisbane. Unlike Roderick I have no childhood memories to counter-balance this all this rubbish, only the enjoyment of what is (or should be) the most sublime sport on earth. I will probably renew in the end – James Hird notwithstanding – as it looks like we are in store for a great year (yes, the last bit’s a joke).

  9. I’m with Steve and Bert. I was a long term interstate member who was disillusioned with the treatment dished out to WA members before the fiasco became public. I can accept that yes other teams probably carry out similar tactics. But to use a bunch of young guys as guinea pigs, ummm. The Bombers used to have a forum on their website where supporters could voice their views. Sadly that disappeared last season too. Yes i will barrack for them but no longer will i support them financially!
    Hope Hirdy enjoys his long paid holiday. Paid for by mug supporters!

  10. Good on you Rod for communicating what would only be a unpopular view on this site. You were doomed to be Baulderstoned by those who love an easy kill.

    The family ties and memories are obviously strong. Clearly the depth and breadth of your bond is greater than one torrid season.

    I’d be interested to know from those above an appropriate timeframe when ‘deluded’ or ‘mug supporters’ would be OK to re-join. After Hird goes? After Little goes? After Doc Reid goes? How big does a ‘scandal’ have to be before you withdraw anyway?

    And I’m not sure Rod’s faith is like the Black Knight at all. Actually…it isn’t. Not one bit. It’s about family….HIS family…and a deep connection. Something that makes him.

  11. It’s been a tough few days, but I still think I made the right decision. I abhorred the drug situation, injecting young people with so called performance enhancing drugs is a criminal offence and what are the repercussions for them in later life? And I’m not to impressed with Little or James Hird either. Martin Flanagan wrote a great piece about an Essendon supporter Bill Jennings who asked questions at the Essendon AGM. I could not have agreed more with Bill, he echoed my thoughts completely.
    But my small contribution of hard earned didn’t all go to Essendon, I rejoined Fitzroy (VAFA B Division) and seeing Coburg are now stand alone, rejoined them for the VFL season and there is still MHSOB in my future budget.

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