Almanac (Unhappy Fan) Life: Where has our game gone?

I am not a footy writer – nor am I likely to be. I do write local interest articles for the local Surf Coast print media, but I don’t write sport. OK, I know that ‘not doing sport’ is anathema to ‘you’se all, in here’, yet it is the truth.

So, how am I … indeed, why am I … here?

Well, my mate Gareth [i.e. ‘Big G’] … he of the Cats, and of [briefly] a “how-can-he-justify-to-the-footy-firmament-his-unCatlike-dalliance-and-a-dilettante-stolen-flag-cameo-at-Punt-Road” brain-fade … my mate Gareth ‘dobbed me in’ with JTH as ‘a writer’!

‘Johnny – the Almanackers are a perfect fit for you!’ said he, blithely tossing my name across to Harmsy.

While vast sties of pigs have oft been seen taking wing in the vicinity of the ‘Big G’, I demurred … one tends to do so with ‘Big G’ as it is commonly easier to agree.

I joined. But, in doing so, I made a pact with my better self – I will NEVER start writing ‘sports stuff’!

What it is now – less than a week? Yet here I am, breaking my self-solemn oath, to uncharacteristically write about footy … Footy 2020. Simply put, I hate what has happened to the game!

I know 2020 is a bizarre aberration. I know the quarters are shorter! I know there are no crowds to urge their players on. I know players are away from home. I know the season is a s**t one. I know it has been foreshortened. And I know there are heaps of other extraneous circumstances … all that stuff and more.

But, for Odin’s sake [reference my first ‘Ashton Agar’ article of a week ago], and after watching Richmond and Fremantle strangle each other for YET ANOTHER GAME where both teams kicked rugby scores against each other … boring!

… boring, boring, BORING … and in truth, PATHETIC.


Why watch …?


Well, when the scores at half time were 4.3 to 1.2, I couldn’t hack it a moment longer … I left!


I switched back to my Vikings re-runs [some rumpy-pumpy, some scores settled, and heaps of worthy mayhem] … and an infinitely more enjoyable program.

As an unashamed CAT supporter, I still revere and reminisce my love of and delight in ‘Blighty’ and his unique and spectacular adrenaline-pumping, endorphin-releasing philosophy that went something like this … “who gives a s**t how many goals the opposition kicks, just as long as we have kicked more!”

Bring back Blighty, I say with Coodabeen passion … bring back Blighty!

I recall game after game at the ‘G’ where a score of +/- 28:25 [the Cats] crunched a score of +/- 22:18 [Richmond] … or something similar. Games where Ablett might [and did] kick 14. Games that soared. Games that entertained. Games worth going to. Games that made the super-excited 11-something boy Nick think …“I wanna do that …”. Games that used to wet one with excitement [and beer] and blush one with joy [and Rosella tomato sauce].

Now? … well, put simply, footy is boring, dull, dour crap.

How did we let this happen? How have we become such uncomplaining sponges? How have we come to accept this pap? Why would a kid aspire to struggle when once there was a chance to soar?

Maybe I am alone in this view … if so, then so be it … and I will view Vikings in the splendid isolation of my Lorne lock-down. But if others are disturbed by the unexciting half-back to half-forward kick-to-kick [or better, scrimmage-to-scrimmage] CRAP we are now served, week in, week out, SAY SOMETHING!

I do not intend to denigrate the players – they are, as ever, magnificent. It is the process, the rule changes, the triumph of defence over attack, the dominance of the ‘do-not-get-beaten’ over the ‘win-the-game’ mentality that has so damaged a once-glorious game.

Meantime … except for Cats games [and, incidentally, Geelong is one of the only teams this season to kick a winning score more than 100] … for me, it is back to my ancestral pair – Ragnor Lothbrok and Ivar the Boneless, a bit of Viking rumpy-pumpy by my crackling fire, and a carafe-decanted red to down and drown my AFL grumpiness.

No boredom there …


To read John Agar’s earlier contribution about family history and Ashton Agar, click HERE.


To return to the  home page click HERE


Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


Do you enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.

Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE
One-off financial contribution – CLICK HERE
Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE



  1. Good to hear from you John
    Just wanted to say “a tongue in cheek” thankyou as a supposed Geelong Cats man, for the fact of you breaking open the scar tissue and bringing up the very bad memories of when both Gary Ablett s (senior and junior) would have a picnic against my mighty Tiges and you say you don’t want to write about sport!!
    I disagree with your opening premise !!!
    I think you have the temperament and guile to provoke emotional reactive comments like this !!!
    yes last nights game was boring until the last quarter when the Tigers actually started to play like proper Aussie Rules footy so you turned it off too early!!
    well done – enjoy the inner self coming out!!! It gives us a chance for all of us to connect with and comment about what you bring up in spite of the questionable content written.

  2. I shudder to leave social media memes like ‘lol’ …. but, lol!
    I may have switched to Vikings before your famed last quarter Richmond come-back, but my disgust with the 2020 game [as a whole] remains.
    As for questionable comment written, I reckon the most questionable of all was my feather-touch handling of the Andrews-to-Richmond ‘heist’. His saving grace was a return to the cats as a member of ‘THE’ Board …
    Thanks for taking the trouble to respond.
    John [alias Ivar, though non-boneless] Agar

  3. Ok folks this a piece of shameless self promotion but can I suggest checking out some of my 1981 Revisited pieces and having a butcher’s at some of the footage of the game back in its “heyday”.
    Compare the pair and give us your opinions.
    Richmond footy 2017-present day is a joy to behold IMHO.

  4. Oh … while I love this focus on Richmond, in truth I lambasted ‘the modern game’ using references to two ‘mighty teams’ [the Cats and the Tigers … one Cat clearly edging out the other more ‘stripey’ variety] being used only as peripheral collateral exemplars. It is the game that is in peril, with both feline teams being the last bastions of excellence [especially when held against those black and white Spring-time head-peckers].

  5. Daryl Schramm says

    I’m with you John (although Vickings and other TV series mentioned by our esteemed contributors I have not laid eyes on, preferring instead to discover music on the net). I cannot understand how a game with no off-side rule has become so defensive. Que no goals in 2nd term last night by either team (although chances went begging). Money and self-interest is what is driving the forces at play here in my opinion.

  6. Every platform has this Agar fellow on it all of a sudden. He has the late life ubiquity of a Trump.
    John, you should never have beaten your grandson at chess. It lacked humility, charity and forethought. You can’t expect the little bugger to amount to anything more than a bank robber now… and banks aren’t easy to rob these days.
    The Blight days were fun, weren’t they. But what about the Bomber days? Now there was ball movement. Perhaps if we got C Scott some psychological stimulants he could see beyond process and into the kinetic wonderland of those years.
    Do you ever have a pot at the Anglers, John? Once Dan fires the starting gun and I’m able to emerge from the seven or so speakeasies I’m currently frequenting round Lorne I’ll meet you for one on the mod-grass so we can raise a glass and denounce the treachery of G Andrews.

  7. Good plan, Anson, re the LAAC mod-grass idea … but as for thumping the poor little bugger x3 at chess – it is he who now has me on the ropes.The worm turns.

  8. Ah Gareth Andrews – the most unique kicking style in VFL AFL history thanks for jogging the memory bank on that one !!!
    Just want to say love the banter all within the safety of sacred space of a great community
    Watching highlights of Sav Rocca kicking straight and taking screamers remined me of good old contested footy not the tempo style, flooding et al
    At least Richmond when firing up are a joy to watch – relentless pressure and skill on show plus two forwards who can take a grab!! Ruckman who work hard and little guys who never stop running

  9. Largely agree John. I have penned a few pieces of tripe on the state of our game. Its in strife when a team can only kick 1 goal in four quarters as the Blues have recently done. Across two halves of footy they’ve managed one, solitary goal. Appalling.

    In short, in my view, its because the game has become a commodity. And commodities are usually parcelled up, templated, managed, budgeted, dumbed-down, costed, and stripped of uniqueness, then sent out for consumption. Blah.

  10. It’s more pleasing reading about the tripe than consuming it
    ISO has me watching every game – back to back to back like I did as a kid when vision was scant – tuning in to get snippets of whatever footage of the Saturday’s games was available
    So returning to my youth but oh what the years must’ve done to my stamina – I’ve not seen more than 2 full games either falling asleep – sleeping tablet precariously balanced on the arm of the couch, just plain bored or that embarrassed to think this is MY game . Cut the vision maybe just a commentary may conjure up a better picture or bring back Football Roundup- I think Thorold is still with us and just show us the highlights across 9 games – you might conjure up 5 minutes worth of vision
    Or maybe employ Andres Cantor – he’d fill the 30 second gaps, and whilst not sure oh his age and quality of chords but just like the so called real football – sadly I think it may becoming the real game with more scoring – the AFL wouldn’t need to pay for many royalties and he’d wake me up from my tedium

Leave a Comment