Almanac Footy Poetry: “A Footy Crowd” by Bernard Whimpress

A footy crowd


A footy crowd

has a pulse,

a beat,

a rhythm,

an ebb,

a flow.


A footy crowd

has energy,





I can’t help feeling

the people who build

all seated, all sealed stadiums

have got it wrong.


I can’t help feeling

the people who want to provide

comfort and protection

above all else

have got it wrong.


I can’t help feeling

the people who want to take away

our movement and our space

have got it wrong.


That’s not sanity.

That’s sanitisation.


A footy crowd

is not watching the Adelaide Crows,

an artificial construct,

my home town

rather than my own team.

This is not a footy crowd,

this is fundamentalist religion,

this is positive affirmation,

this is feel good euphoria,

this is lets all go down the gurgler

and have a shit weekend together.


A footy crowd

is Them and Us,

barrack For and barrack Against.


A footy crowd

is an exchange.


A footy crowd

is not about

being locked into a season’s ticket,

sitting next to some loud-mouth dickhead

you wouldn’t normally waste spit on.

Footy Park is bad enough.

Docklands, the worst nightmare

to come.


A footy crowd

is about being able to put space

between yourself

and the source of your aggravation.


A footy crowd

is about sometimes choosing

to go to the Match of the Day,

on the day.


A footy crowd

is about choosing

to go to the Unmatch of the Day,

and having a pleasant surprise.



A footy crowd

is not just about bums on seats,

leave them for the passive

and the decrepit.

The sociologists might be right,

you’re less likely to swing a punch

from a seated start

but think about

what you’re missing.


A footy crowd

is about having legs to stand on,

rocking and a rolling

on the balls of one’s feet,

its part of what’s called,



A footy crowd

is about camaraderie,



bonding sure,

but its more than an all-male thing.

Its about ballsy feminist women

who’ll kiss you flush on the mouth,

when the star recruit

dobs a sixty metre screwy

to land the points

with the last kick of the day.

Dream on.


A footy crowd

is about shit food,

pies and chips and chico rolls,

and sausage sizzles

from the back of the stands.




A footy crowd

is duffle coats

that never go out of fashion,

until they do.


A footy crowd

is not wining and dining

while peering occasionally

through panes of glass.

Its the slap

of a polar wind

in the face.


A footy crowd

is a special place.



© Bernard Whimpress 1999


To read more from Bernard Whimpress click HERE


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About Bernard Whimpress

Freelance historian (mainly sport) who has just written his 40th book. Will accept writing commissions with reasonable pay. Among his most recent books are George Giffen: A Biography, The Towns: 100 Years of Glory 1919-2018, Joe Darling: Cricketer, Farmer, Politician and Family Man (with Graeme Ryan) and The MCC Official Ashes Treasures (5th edition).


  1. Colin Ritchie says

    Love it Bernard! Reminds me so much of my days standing in the outer in the late 60s & 70s, me more often than not standing on a few quickly drunk cans, swaying with the crowd, exchanging friendly and not so friendly banter all in good fun cheering my team on. That element, sadly, is missing these days as is so clearly shown in your poem.

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