Almanac Teams – Most Disliked

David Rhys-Jones



Fans have different reasons for disliking or dare I say, despising a particular footballer.



I couldn’t stand recent Australian Football Hall of Fame entrant Wayne Johnston. Somehow he’d find a way to lift against Collingwood and get in our faces in the process. I have never forgiven him for knocking out Graeme Allan early in the 1981 Grand Final. Allan was playing well until ‘The Dominator’ ended his day by breaking his jaw. He was never reported for the incident and that sticks in my craw to this day.


Don Scott


Nathan Buckley was one of the fairest to play the game, yet he got booed by opposition supporters week after week. His nickname FIGJAM could not be easily shaken off and he was taunted at every opportunity.



Some villains get their reputation for a specific moment of madness. Carlton’s Harry Casper was hated by Essendon fans for goading John Coleman into retaliating on the eve of the 1951 finals. Coleman’s 4 week suspension almost certainly cost the Bombers the flag.



Richmond’s Joe Murdoch decided to test Gordon Coventry’s patience by punching the boils on his neck four weeks before the 1936 finals. The normally placid Coventry finally retaliated and copped eight weeks. It was the first time he was reported in seventeen seasons. His suspension meant that he missed the chance to play in a Collingwood premiership.



St Kilda’s Jim O’Dea will forever be in bad books with Pie fans after striking John Greening behind the play at Moorabbin in 1972. Almanacker Dave Nadel and my brother Tim, will never forgive O’Dea for ruining Greening’s career.



Adam Goodes is in the team because despite all the goodwill from Almanackers and many decent footy fans, he got booed relentlessly in his final years. He is a hero to many, but he was disliked by most.



So over to you Almanackers. Who is that one player that you could not stand? What was it about them that made you see red? Would love to hear your reasons.


B: Jim O’Dea (St K) Joe Murdoch (Rich) Harry Caspar (Carl)



HB: Campbell Brown (Haw/GCS) Ron Andrews (Ess/Coll) John Worsfold (WCE)



C: David Rhys-Jones (SM/Carl) Nathan Buckley (Bris/Coll) Neville Bruns (Geel)



HF: Jason Akermanis (Bris/WB) Dermott Brereton (Haw/Syd/Coll) Karl Langdon (WCE)



F: Stephen Milne (St K) Barry Hall (St K/Syd/WB) Hayden Ballantyne (Freo)



Ruck: Don Scott (Haw) Adam Goodes (Syd) Greg Williams (Geel/Syd/Carl)



IC: Wayne Carey (Nth/Adel) Matthew Lloyd (Ess) Joel Selwood (Geel) Rod Grinter (Melb)



Coach: Alastair Clarkson



Umpires: Ivo Crapp, ‘Razor’ Ray Chamberlain, Ian Robinson



Entertainment: The Animals (Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood)




Phil’s sides feature heavily in the pantheon of Almanac “Funny Teams” find them here.


About Phillip Dimitriadis

Carer/Teacher/Writer. Author of Fandemic: Travels in Footy Mythology. World view influenced by Johnny Cash, Krishnamurti, Larry David, Toni Morrison and Billy Picken.


  1. Jarrod_L says

    Wowee, what a concept. Interesting you mentioned Dom straight up – as a family member, my dad, uncle and Grandpa (none of whom ever followed the Blues) told me just how brutalised he was on the field and how many times he had to go to hospital afterwards, so fair to say he’s more in the misunderstood category in our houses.

    Buckley, I think, suffered (suffers?) from “the vibe” borne of his FIGJAM-ness (no matter how true it is) rather than any individual incidents. Kind of like how LeBron and Ronaldo are seen in other sports.

    Hard to go past a pest for “only a mother/one-eyed fan could love” status: Ballantyne, Milne, Baker, Greene, Libba, Crowley, King, Didak…it’s a long list.

    Goodes being on here is an unfortunate consequence of mob mentality and tone deafness when it comes to social issues – poison to professional sports a lot of the time.

  2. Matt Quartermaine says

    Excellent list Phil. Agree with Jarrod, Goodes hatred was racism not footy and any doubt is due to the pathetic response at the time of the AFL. Cheers

  3. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Scilily for mine huge massive ego personally think Goodes bought a lot on to himself

  4. Can you have a player you love to hate in the best way possible? As a footy fan, I admire David Mundy for the absolute bulldozer and classy user of the ball that he is. As a Richmond fan, I hate the fact that he’s sunk us twice with match winning goals, one of which I was at.

  5. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says

    Agreed on Matthew Lloyd. I have never, ever hurled unbridled vitriol at a player (I am an aristocrat after all!) except Matthew Lloyd. It was a pre-season game up at North Sydney Oval many moons ago. Swans v Bombers. He was lining up for a shot from the picket fence and I almost broke his leg with my sentiments. He missed. I think it was his humourless righteousness and certainty that always annoyed me. I feel the same way about him as a commentator.
    Akermanis definitely. Although I loved his battles with Jared Crouch.
    Toby Greene. Prat. Hopefully he’ll mature because his talent is worth watching.

    Can’t agree on Goodes. WAY more complex than footy.

    Would add Eagle Adam Hunter. From the rivalry years Swans v Eagles. Terrible haircut. Dirty player. Honourless, if that’s a category.

  6. Great work as always Phil.

    Carl Ditterich must rate a mention

  7. Ray Biffin?

  8. Jarrod_L says

    Almost forgot Jake Lever…not a one-eyed view as I assume he’s disliked in equal measure by Adelaide and Richmond supporters alike, but I must admit I was less sympathetic to his injury plight this week than I’d be with most other players.

  9. Luke Reynolds says

    Darren Bewick. Found him as irritating as Milne.
    Stephen Silvagni, couldn’t stand to watch the way he played,scragging and hanging off forwards.

  10. Funnily enough I haven’t got one! If we’re talking teams, chapters would flow. Edited version: Collingwood up until the Giants emerged, now Hawthorn.

    Goodesy, as others have said, shouldn’t be on the list. Racism and ignorance at the heart of the booing.

  11. It is an excellent team that can only find a spot for W Carey on the bench, LB!

    How about Campbell Brown – he was a player I loved to hate !!

    I must say I agree with the comments re A Goodes. I reckon it was only a noisy minority who booed him. At least, I hope so anyway.

  12. Dave Brown says

    Great work as always, Phil – BT for the commentary team. A story I love that I’ve heard a few times is following the Crows’ first match (where Dermie had knocked out Chris McDermott cold with a cheap shot), Hawthorn called Neil Kerley asking for the Crows’ help at the tribunal to get him off. Apparently the demountable that was the Crows’ operations offices at the time shook with the violence and foulness of Knuckles’ response.

    Drawing on Jarrod’s nomination (BTW, reckon tweets about Crows fans outnumbered tweets from Crows fans about Lever about 50-1 on the weekend. Terrible injury for anyone, but it was a re-injury of an already dodgy knee that was the reason the Crows got him so cheaply in the first place and was not willing to come up with the massive payday he wanted – caveat emptor) I reckon there’s a subset of this group that are individual club fan hatreds, Lever being a good example (although tbh I find it baffling that Richmond fans came out of last year’s GF hating opposition players who politely folded for them). There’s a bloke named Talia running around at Norwood these days (and doing very well) who is particularly disliked by Bulldogs types. The Crows have plenty of villains in the Gunstons and Tippetts of this world not to mention a charmer like Chad Cornes. Even after all these years there wouldn’t be much love for Neil Balme down Carlton way either I wouldn’t imagine. The list would be long.

  13. Jarrod_L says

    I admit his actual performance was much appreciated as a Richmond fan, but I think the interaction with Jacob Townsend is the source of most of the spite

  14. John Butler says

    Geez Phil, what would Bob Chitty have to do to score a guernsey? Not to mention Mopsy.

    Gary “Autumn leaves” Lyon got on my goat when all he could do late in his career was swan dive for frees. M Lloyd probably belongs in that category as well.

    I’m with Dave – BT scores a post retirement slot for disservices to commentary. And for sooking at umpires when he did play.

    For the umpires, Darren Goldspink.

    This one could run all week. :)

  15. Stainless says

    I’m totally with you about Johnston. I could actually name a team of most disliked all from the Carlton era 1972-1982 but Johnston seemed to epitomise that nauseating combination of big game brilliance and arrogant strut that many from that team carried. Bosustow, McClure, Fitzpatrick and all those little germs that fed off them. Oh and throw in Nicholls, Waite and Walls from a bit earlier. Ugghhh!
    A few others that haven’t been mentioned:
    Dean Wallis and the Scott brothers from the dark side;
    David King from the show pony stable;
    Tex Walker and Buddy from the over-rated, over-hyped, let-you-down on the big day cohort.
    And just to be even-handed, I’m surprised no-one’s mentioned Bartlett, Sheedy or Mal Brown so far!
    Cannot have Goodes as part of this discussion.

  16. Kevin “Cowboy” Neale deserves a Guernsey. Thug who belted Peter Hudson in the GF, because it was the only way he could stop him. Jimmy O’Dea also from the Saints deserved a year in jail for crippling John Greening for life.
    Ross Lyon for coach. Sour-faced, humourless, defensive one trick pony. Saints and Dockers deserved what they got.
    Grave Danger from Port Adelaide would have to be the most despised footballer I can recall. Thug of thugs. Robbie Muir was similar, but just mad rather than pre-meditated like Granger. Played for St Kilda, my West Torrens and Woodville in the SANFL. He would just start hitting everyone for no particular reason. Took on spectators one day at Thebarton Oval after he had decked half the Torrens side because we traded him.

  17. Rabid Dog says

    Grave Danger
    Ray Hayes.
    Darren Bewick
    Karl Langdon
    Anyone with a manbun
    Brian Taylor could call the game – along with yibbidafuckingyibbida and Eddie Everywhere.

  18. Dave Nadel says

    You are right, Phil, I never will forgive Jim O’Dea although my real anger and contempt is for the administration of St Kilda Football Club during the 70s and early 80s. When Duncan Wright knocked out John Somerville behind the play during the 1965 Preliminary Final it became the last game he played for Collingwood. The Club sacked him. When Jim O’Dea knocked out Johnny Greening behind the play, putting him in a coma for over a week and destroying his career, St Kilda played him after he had served his suspension and eventually awarded O’Dea life membership!!!

  19. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Seems Full-forwards and small forwards get a bit of heat:
    Warwick Capper
    Before they became media stars, Lou Richards and Jack Dyer could generate some ire and chagrin.

  20. bowchamp says

    Harmes, ’79 Grand Final.
    We (the cheer squad) were very close to the action when that damn ball bounced over the white line, only to be tapped back into play by that unmentionable (& unprintable, even for the colorful Almanac).
    May he slowly & painfully lose his manhood with a blunt fork whilst hanging upside down is one of the less nasty & cleaner fates I still wish for…. particularly when he publicly & laughingly admitted it many years later.
    However the curse (& Mick) we put on that Club (& others *waving at the 1980 Tigers & ’66 Saints*) was almost worth it – look at their last 20 years of absolute nothingness. But their adventures with their Favorite Sons ( Elliott & Harris) make those daily prayers from yesteryear so worthwhile.

    The small-d dominator was never in that category though – I think his rumored Late-night & post celebratory (extremely unsuccessful) dalliance with the (Office Holder & high profile, for the day) wife of another put paid to that form of immortality, imo.

    Apart from that thug O’Dea, anyone in a St Kilda jumper was simply laughed at … that notorious late-’70s Friday night disco saw to that.
    My Catholic Grandmother once told me that the Micks were great & notorious haters – I’d add that a Collingwood supporting Mick (lapsed or not) is something to be feared for life.
    But yes, a great list, to be sure… I also take great comfort in knowing that Adam Goodes will be eventually immortalised & I’d be applauding the loudest when it inevitably happens .. & yes, before you ask, Phil, those multi-functional blunt forks will be in the pocket if needed.

  21. Lindsay Hall says

    Ray Card of Geelong was hated down my way for knocking out Keith Greig way back when. Must have been late 70’s or early 80’s but he was booed by North fans for the rest of his career

  22. Luke Reynolds says

    Mick Malthouse would be my choice as coach

  23. Tony Shaw.

    Yet he seems more likable these days. Like a character written for footy.

  24. Tarkyn Lockyer, for no sound reason.

    A former nun I worked with would often say of recalcitrant Year 9 boys, “they were difficult to love.”

    I felt the same way about Tarkyn.

  25. There are some footballers I didn’t mind, except for when they were playing against Geelong. The best example is Darren Jarman. But Andrew Jarman was one I loved to hate all the time.

  26. george smith says

    Luke, are you a closet Buckleyite??? I have banned myself from Nicks over this very controversy… (plus the Thatcherites!)

    As far as hated players, Kevin Bartlett must surely be on the TV replay in hell for his Academy Award performances…

    Mr Rick Kennedy, Footscray hard man and disliked by other supporters, turned out to be a lovely man who helped sell my auntie’s house. He does however, have a handshake like Ted Whitten…

  27. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Thanks for your responses folks. Revealing and entertaining as always.
    To quote my old mates Morrissey and Marr:
    “It’s so easy to laugh
    It’s so easy to hate
    It takes strength to be gentle and kind.”

  28. E.regnans says

    M Lloyd.
    Elbows and staging free kicks as specialties.

    S Silvagni.
    Above the law.

    T Daniher.
    Post quarter-time, Saturday 6 October 1990.

  29. Peter Warrington says

    Robbie Walls. still can’t stand the sight of him

    have to say am not a Tom Papley fan. he is probably pretty Ok with that.

    am with you on Kingy, Stainless. if I could have had one decent shirtfront in me…

    actually, Robbie Gray. as with Mathilde, it is somewhat a haircut thang.

  30. Marcus Holt says

    Only Peter Riccardi’s goal after the siren has saved me from a lifetime of hating Matthew Lappin. He staged for two free kicks in the dying minutes as I recall, resulting in Carlton taking the lead with less than 30 seconds to play. The fact that Ricco’s kick was touched on the mark and wobbled through like a brick and tile glider made the victory all the sweeter.

    It’s a convoluted argument but having suffered the arrogance and injuries of the WCE for 20+ years in WA I adopted Freo as my second team in the pre-Lyon era, and I do hope they one day win a flag but it can only occur once the unholy trinity of Lyon, Ballantyne and Crowley are all departed. That said, my hatred for Hawthorn trumped my contempt for RL, HB & RC in 2013 but we all know what happened that day. Sad face.

  31. Rick Kane says

    I’m not sure Phil re Goodes in this team. I feel very uneasy about Selwood for example and Goodes being in the same team because they are “disliked” or “despised”. The definition and correlations are unclear and simplistic


  32. G’day Phil,

    It’s an interesting perception.

    As for Stephen Milne who was my favourite player, I wonder if opposition supporters disliked him because of aggressive attitudes on the footy field or not. Or simply he became a strong small forward after being picked by Saints as a rookie draftee (opposition supporters felt jealous to St Kilda)?

    No matter he was not polular amongst non St Kilda supporters or opposition players, he was my hero and I am proud of wearing his number 44 at the Osaka Dingoes. I love Milney.



  33. Ken Boyd (South) and Delicate Des Dickson (Haw) weren’t much loved in their day (talking ’60’s here). Both played pretty dirty at times.

    Leigh Matthews (Haw) let himself down by playing dirty when he didn’t need to – and I’m not just talking about the Bruns king hit.

    Special mention must go to John (‘get the boy off the ground!”) Bourke (Coll reserves) whose name sticks in my memory for some reason. In an old ‘Comedy Cup’ game at South he not only flattened a field umpire but for good measure jumped the fence and dropped a spectator who was heckling him. Thugs Hall of Fame contender.

    Cheers, Burkie

  34. DBalassone says

    This is brilliant Phil. The strange thing is…I love most of these players. But then again I used to love the heels like Honkytonk Man, Macho Man Randy Savage, Dangerous Danny Davis and the King Harley Race. Like wrestling, I love footballers who inject theatre into the game.

    The only ones here I can’t like are O’Dea and Grinter, for obvious reasons, but also Joel Selwood – great player, but he’s taken the ’round the neck’ thing too far. It’s an indictment on the game. He doesn’t need to do it.

  35. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Damo, you magnificent theatrician !
    How’s this for a team of 80s wrestling bad guys?

    B: The Missing Link Harley Race The Iron Sheik

    HB: Cowboy Bob Orton Terry Funk Ted Dibiase

    C: Shawn Michaels Ric Flair Mr. Perfect

    HF: Honky Tonk Man Jesse Ventura Butch Reed

    F: Rick Rude Macho Man Randy Savage King Kong Bundy

    Ruck: Big John Studd Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart The Model Rick Martel

    IC: Bad News Brown Nikolai Volkoff Greg Valentine Don Muraco

    Coach: Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan

    Referee: ‘Dangerous’ Danny Davis

  36. Luke Reynolds says

    George- always been a Buckley man, yet had conceded he was gone last year. Genuinely hope he can have success as a coach.

    As for nominating MM, couldn’t stand him in his West Coast years, thought he was extremely lucky to get that contract in 2009, thought his behaviour was disgraceful in 2011, then all he achieved at Carlton was breaking McHale’s games record. And now he’s made me turn off the ABC football coverage.

  37. george smith says

    Luke, I think that history will be the judge. It is best to leave the past in the past, and not stir up vitriol with the club. But wishing and hoping ain’t going to get us where we want to go, so whoever is is charge had better do the right thing. Like Phil Coulter’s Derry, I can only pray for a brighter day…

  38. DBalassone says

    Helluva side Phil. Love how Bundy sits in the pocket for the long option. Wouldn’t wanna run into that half-back line. Hell.
    I would add The Birdman Koko B. Ware as a flakey forward and perhaps Ken Patera as a back up CHF (when he is released from prison).

  39. Jason Fraser says

    Disgraceful to have Goodesy.
    Unsure how being an ape and being the face of racism is bringing upon himself as he cant help his skin colour. The third comment is digusting.

    I would have
    Brisbane – Alistair Lynch, Akermanis, Merrett
    Carlton – Rhys-Jones, Johnston, Brad Pearce
    Collingwood- Tony Shaw & Eddie would have to be President
    Essendon – Bewick, Lloyd, Wallis
    Fitzroy – Lee Murnane
    Footscray- Jim Edmond, Akermanis, Brad Johnson, Nathan Brown
    Geelong- Milburn, Scarlett, Selwood, Ling
    GWS – Green
    Hawthorn – Brereton, Campbell Brown, Hodge, Mitchell
    Melbourne – Danny Hughes, John Fidge
    Port Adelaide – Wakelin, Tredrea
    North Melbourne – Carey, King, Schwass, Allison
    Richmond – Jake King, Martin, Barry Young, Knights, Rance
    St Kilda – Milne, Barry Hall,
    Sydney – Rhys-Jones, Capper, Bernie Evans
    Wet Coast – Langdon, Sam Mitchell, Jakovich, Worsfold,Stenglein
    Bulldogs- Brad Johnson, Hall, Libba

  40. Sandy Bay says

    C’mon – what’s the value in this?

  41. A couple of Brownlow medalists to add here. Peter Moore, how he ever got a vote, let alone two Brownlows frustrated the bejesus out of many of my cohort.

    Gavn Wanganeen, a sniper and stager. I don’t deny he could put in a good game but a Brownlow medal: WTF ???

    I’m sure there’s more from the 70’s & 80’s but my addled old brain can only deal with so much.


  42. Of course there was Ray Shaw, who spat in Robbie Muir’s face.

    Muir belted him: suspended.

    Shaw, laughed all the way to the tribunal.

    Those Port Melbourne Grand Final wins over Preston in 1981 & 1982 were so good.


  43. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    In retrospect, the inclusion of Goodes in this team was unwise on my part.
    It disrupts the pantomime.
    Maybe that’s why some booed, maybe that’s why some feel uncomfortable seeing his name in this team?
    Sadly, on most other footy blogs/forums he would probably be the first one picked. Says a lot about the Footy Almanac. Cheers

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