Bloody Collingwood

By Ged McMahon

I hate Collingwood. I have hated them for a long time. There are many reasons for this hatred but I think the best way to sum up my argument is to borrow a quote I heard from Dr Turf a few years ago … “I hate Collingwood so much that if they were playing a game against the Taliban, I’d barrack for the Taliban.” Sad but true.

I was only 8 years old when the Pies beat my beloved Bombers in the 1990 Grand Final. Despite this tender age, I still look back and shudder at the memories. How could my team let Collingwood win their only Premiership in the last 52 years? It still haunts me to this day.

The hatred has gone unabated pretty much since 1990. I rejoiced when Brisbane beat them on the last Saturday in September in both 2002 and 2003. I rejoiced again in 2007 when the Cats just held them off in the Preliminary Final. I live in constant fear of Collingwood winning a Premiership. It would be Armageddon for the city of Melbourne. Bogans would run loose. Bottle shops would run out of stock. The celebrations would last for weeks, months and probably even years. Hell, they’re still talking non stop about 1990 and that was 20 bloody years ago.

But this year it’s looking possible (ouch, it hurt to type that). The Pies sit on top of the ladder and once again Premiership stage whispers are coming from the Magpie faithful. I should be scared. And I am. But I’m a little less scared than normal. Why?

Well, around Grand Final time last year a beautiful young girl came into my life. She’s great and I’ve fallen head over heels in the last 8 months. There’s only one catch … she barracks for Collingwood. I knew this from the beginning but she ticks so many other boxes that I’m willing to overlook this horrible fact.

The problem is that I’m actually finding that my hatred of Collingwood is softening. Only a little. But this is still very significant.

Anzac Day this year tested the softening. We sat in the stands together and she muted her responses in the first quarter as my head dropped lower and lower. And then lower. It was a thrashing.

The hatred boiled up. Especially when “Daisy” Thomas staged for a ridiculous free kick and got it. Despite this, I soon found myself diplomatically noting that Collingwood had simply out played us. I had no choice really, because it was clearly true. But it hurt nonetheless.

So as the season rolls on and Collingwood now face a big clash this Friday night to test their Premiership aspirations, my football moral compass has been slightly recalibrated.

I’ll watch with interest. Can they go all the way in 2010?

To be honest, I still don’t want them to. But if they do, I’ll be ever so slightly less aggrieved. Love is clearly blind.

About Ged McMahon

Ged McMahon has been a Bombers fan for as long as he can remember. With a Grandpa who grew up just a spiralling torpedo punt from Windy Hill he didn't have much choice. When his junior football career resulted in almost as many possessions as games he eventually had to bite the bullet and give up his dream of captaining the Bombers to a Premiership. So his weekly footy fix became confined to the stands. He yearns for the next Premiership.


  1. Danielle says

    Beautiful piece Ged. :)
    I hope one day i will find a guy that will tolerate my black and white heart.
    Go Pies


  2. Haha, thanks Danni.

    Yeah I never thought it was possible!


  3. Phil Dimitriadis says

    Oh Ged, you’ll love her as long as the Pies DON’T win a flag. Could you imagine the arrogance of Eddie,Mick and Joffa if the miracle happened? I have always had a soft spot for the Bombers because they were partly responsible for letting me experience a flag. For the record, 1990 is but a very distant memory for me now.

  4. Dave Nadel says

    Isn’t it funny how Essendon supporters think their hatred of Collingwood is significant? Collingwood supporters expect to be hated by everyone but what matters to us are the teams we hate.

    Carlton, obviously. The rivalry between Carlton and Collingwood goes back before World War Two but was reinvigourated by all the finals that we lost to Carlton, 1981, 1979 and especially 1970. The personalities, public statements and business ethics of George Harris and John Elliot help build the hatred. For those of us on the Left, the fact that Bob Menzies, Malcolm Fraser and Bob Santamaria were prominant Carlton supporters reinforces our hostility. (Yes I know that John Curtin and Jim Cairns were also Carlton supporters, but I prefer to think of Carlton as Bob Menzies’ club)

    For anyone over fifty Melbourne are also the enemy. Historically, on class terms but also because four of Melbourne’s six premierships between 1955 and 1966 involved Grand Final victories over the Pies. The one GF that Melbourne lost during the period was to Collingwood which is part of the reason that the Dees reciprocate Collingwood’s feelings.

    Fitzroy in the early years of the VFL, Richmond in Jack Dyer’s time and Brisbane in recent times were major rivals but it was hard to maintain hatred of Fitzroy and Richmond when they fell on hard times and I suspect that will probably be our attitude to Brisbane post Gold Coast.

    The one hostility that is not based on Grand Final successes and failures, or class or religion is the feeling that older Collingwood supporters have towards St Kilda. This is based on a Cowardly blow, behind the play when the ball was sixty yards away by Jimmy O’Dea. The blow effectively ended Johnny Greening’s career after Greening spent ten days in a coma. Greening was a brilliant young player who should have been mentioned with Collingwood greats like Bob Rose, Peter Daicos and Nathan Buckley.

    The hatred of St Kilda comes from what followed after the king hit. When Collingwood player Duncan Wright knocked out Essendon’s John Somerville behind the play it become his last game in black and white. Collingwood sacked him. St Kilda however treated O’Dea as a hero and kept him at the club for another ten years. Because of the way St Kilda made a hero of an unspeakable villain there are many Magpie fans who hope St Kilda remain a joke with one Premiership by one point to show for more than 130 years of history.

    Essendon – minor players in the Collingwood story!

  5. Ged, I loved the piece! It reminded me of how much pleasure I get out of sending you an sms every time the pies beat bombers – love it!

  6. Eagles flying high says

    Ged your hatred of Collingwood is similar to mine of your bombers. Although mine is not softening, not yet anyway.

  7. You can hate my Pies all you want… I won’t hate the Bombers because I am above that, so much so that I will accompany you to Bombers vs Tigers on Saturday night and even hope the Bombers win, if only to make you a nicer person to be around. I’ll have you in black and white soon though I think… Softy!

  8. Phil Dimitriadis says

    Great historical summary Dave. I too hate Carlton because of Menzies,Fraser,Elliot, Harris and Pratt. How could any person with a social conscience follow that club and like those bastards!?

    I was too young to remember the Greening incident and therefore don’t hold as much malice for St.Kilda. My brother, who was 14 at the time still curses Jimmy O’Dea. He was there and he saw the incident-a karate chop to the throat apparently. No wonder he still holds a towards the Saints!

  9. John Butler says

    Dave, Phil,

    You know you really love us. :)

    Yin needs Yang and all that.

  10. Ged McMahon says

    Never, ever ever ever will i turn to the darkside Stevo!

    I agree with John, maybe they do love us after all???? Haha…

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