A vitriolic outburst at Collingwood is a thing of beauty

by David Downer

From an early age we are indoctrinated to despise the evil that is Collingwood.   Let’s face it, stereotypes are a staple and lifeblood of footy.

The reasons are obvious.  The supporters.  The players.  Coaches and administration.   Victoria Park.  The inflated delusion of self-worth,  the collective club ego. “That side of town”, the unforgiving one-eye,  the prison-stripes.  Did I mention supporters?  One interstate game a year (probably).  And the names …Clokes, Shaws, Malthouse, Joffa.  Not to mention the latter’s rise as a community mouth-piece – thank you again Herald Sun.

And Eddie.  That’s inclusive of “Eddie ego” and “Eddie spin” – both front-running and back-peddling.  On Triple M’s Hot Spin-fest only Eddie could praise coach Mick – launching him from the “decorated experienced leader” who called an opposition player a “f*n rapist” – and didn’t lie about that either? – to being “immensely proud” that he came forward to apologise.  Yes Ed, in your over-used vernacular, it was “fantastic”.  It’s a pity the stage-managed Tiger Woods apology shams had more sincerity.  But Ed will be comforted that Milne has too been fined for questioning (seriously questioning obviously), the sexuality of the recently married Paul Licuria.   Ed has a bit of form with gay innuendo – the Winter Olympics wasn’t that long ago – but of course Ed has “many gay friends” (as you automatically do when homophobic fingers are pointed), and I’m sure he’s already Skyped his good mate Johnny Weir to let him know that Milne didn’t get off lightly either – “Great news Johnny, he got done $3K …now when are you coming over again mate?”

The lead-up to Collingwood games is ominous enough en-route for opposing fans …on Friday night the Bourke Street footbridge was awash with “the army” – an unsuitable application of a military term if ever one existed.  But in footy speak they might be the cheer-squad equivalent of the French Foreign legion – the historically renowned haven for the troublesome and destitute seeking new lives and identities, albeit amidst the strict rigour of the world’s most elite fighting unit – er, that’s where this loose analogy attempt loses face.  But if this were still the ideal demographic of recruit – then most  patrons seated from Aisles 44 to 8 on Friday would be “knocking down the door for selection” at the legion.   And note handy access to the Locker Room from said location – “subourbon and cokes” in conveniently rapid supply.  But I can’t yet see the day when J.Corfe and his not-so-academic minions hold up a banner congratulating Alan Toovey on “50 great games”, whilst sporting the famed white-kepi, as opposed to current headwear of choice – that Wizard Home Loans Adidas cap thing (Mark Bouris would be so proud).   But alas these days even the Legion has a screening process to weed out criminal applicants – if only Southern Cross station had similar measures on Collingwood matchdays for the Epping and Greensborough lines.

Acknowledged rules of football fashion were being widely flouted also.  The commandment “grown men shalt not wear football jumpers” was ignored en masse by the legion (the Pies are only challenged by smug Geelong knobs on this behalf).  These were accessorised by those hoodlum-esque Black “puffy” jackets emblazoned with the Emirates logo.  Do you suppose Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed, dressed in white robes and being hand-fed grapes in his jewel-encrusted Emirati palace, could ever imagine his airline would be represented with such “distinction” by the illiterate, unwashed and toothless hordes from Abbotsford?  Marketing brand research would conclude their national airline is foregoing mountainous customer share from the Oceanic hub because they do sponsor the Pies.  And I don’t think many conversations behind the goals at Collingwood games include the sentence “When I fly to Dubai, I choose Emirates”.

But I do thank you Collingwood.  Football needs someone to hate and squeeze increased gate receipts from.

And the game itself …unfortunately overshadowed by post-match tabloid fodder, was infact one of the great St.Kilda wins we have witnessed.  A modern-day stoush that the Beva rightly compared to St.Kilda’s historic emblem patch/right of passage game many decades ago – clawing to victory vs North Melbourne with three fit players (exaggerated for effect folks).  With our towering blond beacon of light hobbling off just before the half – to great applause and delight from many of the “filth faithful” of course, and then our star CHB the Fish (or is he Chips?) stretchered off concussed during the third, plus the beloved “Lendog” sporting a broken schnoz, it was all set-up for the Pies to overrun us via a rotational frenzy to leave us gasping for air.

Alas what the Pies lack, and what the Saints have proven again, is another level of heart, belief, desire, and that great new footy lexicon – “structure”.  These “big game” Pies, who play in front of big crowds every week, folded under the “Saints Footy™” stranglehold.  Hunting in packs, driving them to the ground, forcing them backwards. A joy to behold.  Grump-ass Malthouse obviously felt it too – Pies fans should forget all the post-match hyperbole and just defer to Basement Jaxx prose and ask Mick “Where’s your head at?”.

The magic moments in the second half were many – the run and dash of the French, the poise of the Dal, the Baker little-hard-man intensity, the Schneider last quarter jag off one step, a burst through the lines gem from the Gwilt (has the ‘fro come of age?), big Gardi lurching forward all knees and elbows, and Joey, himself another taunted target from the unwashed, finished them off with a snap that sent “them” scurrying to SEN nuff-nuff witching hour talkback, and whatever other lame shoulder-chip, excuse-filled world they live in.

And now, as we face uncertain weeks, months, perhaps entire season without our fearless no.12  – who was prior to Friday at the absolute peak of his powers since shaking Blighty’s hand at draft day in November 2000 – yes it was that long ago ….to that I say: “Unleash the Rhys!”


  1. David,

    “Smug Geelong knobs”. I’ll take it. Much better then “Sleepy Hollow Handbaggers”

    I liked the article, it got me smiling early in the day.


  2. I friend of mine who follows the Pies once made the following observation about Pies supporters. ” We are lower class people but we still a are better lower class than Port supporters”.

  3. Don’t believe any of this ‘all Collingwood supporters are scum/ferals who have no intelligence’ nonsense!
    I’m a Collingwood supporter who studies Literature, History and to top it off I’M CUTE!!

    GO PIES!!


  4. You’re right Danni, NOT all Collingwood supporters are bogan ferals. Not ALL of them, anyway.

    Good read, David, I’m looking forward to seeing Rhys Stanley in action also. The paragraph about the Emirates jackets made me chuckle.

  5. I’m reminded of an aquaintance (can’t be bothered with a dictionary, so apologies in advance on that one), who supoorted Collingwood. That character flaw prevented him from being a real friend. That being said, he was not completely uneducated, so not completely feral, just tendencies.

    Took it upon himself to catch a Lions supporters bus from Brisbane to see the first of the GFs vs Collingwood in 2002. I laugh at the image of him enduring the 471 versions of “We are the Pride of Brisbane Town” on the way home.

    That he did it again the next year absolutely kills me!

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