Book: Footy Dreaming by Michael Hyde

Book launch: Footy Dreaming by Michael Hyde


Friday, May Day, I was off to a book launch. Held at the offices of Ford Street Publishing just north of the Collingwood town hall, right on Punt Road, or Hoddle Street as the invite said. A boisterous doorbell heralded each arrival, and I’m sure there were some comments along the lines of ‘Ford St, I thought this was Hoddle!” which will probably never get old, despite how much the proprietors might wish it did.

In all about 60 folk turned up, and there was a festive spirit like at all book launches. This included the chips’n’dips, the red wine, and the white, plus soft drink. Some of the put-together-plastic glasses proved a bit unreliable, but maybe the lesson was don’t put your drink down. In a while there were hot party pies meeting the almost-lava contents standard, and other tasty treats. The mode was heightened by balloons strung around the room. On the lectern they were just black and white, apposite as it turned out given we were in Abbotsford (Collingwood) and the author barracks for the ‘Pies. The other colours were purple, red, black, blue and white. ‘No yellow!’ cried a lass in a much-signed Richmond guernsey. A standout in the crowd of mainly Melbourne literary black, but her son was wearing St Kilda gear and there was a striped tie which may have been a club one. About the only other footy clobber was a Star Wars + Richmond themed t-shirt, which was very appropriate given the amount of science fiction and fantasy on Ford St’s list, and the content of the book to be launched.

After mingling, chat, book buying and getting them signed, a handbell (baby brother to the doorbell) signalled gathering time and publisher Paul Collins spoke the introduction and handed over to Phil Cleary. Phil spoke from the floor, reminisced, addressed the author and the crowd, mentioned his now old commentating gig, but all in all kept focus on the book. How the descriptions therein of the coach reminded him of Gary Ayres, how the town and country leagues were what football was all about, what this book was about, and how it spoke truths.

He quoted the following passage, an email exchange:

Don’t know about you but I’m feeling like crap. Had second hurl for the morning. So bad that Dad has stopped telling me to eat. Feel a bit wrecked. …

Just had an idea – not very original. This morning my old man said that all I could do was keep my eye on the ball and don’t leave myself open. He said in the words of the great Teddy Whitten ‘Stick it up em’.

This had resonated with Phil, and as he said, it was men’s sentiments, placed in the mouths of teenagers. With that his part was over, and Michael took the lectern.

The author shared some of the background of writing the story, some locations which may or may not feature in the text, and gave an example of using names which turn out to be unfortunately too real. There were some interesting anecdotes revealing helpers with getting things right, and a series of heartfelt thankyous. He concluded with reading a section describing that country-townish custom of a bicycle dink, and its accompanying conversation which is at the heart of the book.

No one mentioned the ending of the novel, it is left up to readers to find it out for themselves.

Footy Dreaming by Michael Hyde

ISBN: 978-1-925000-99-3

Publication date: May 2015

Extent: 186 (est)

Format: B format paperback

Price: AUD$17.95

Category: Contemporary

Age guide: 11+


For further information or to arrange interviews please contact: Terrie Saunders, Publicist, (03) 9416 4062 or email: [email protected]



About Alan Stewart

My first VFL memory is perched on my grandfather's shoulders watching a game at Glenferrie Oval during the school holidays, probably about 1968. Other football immersion is from many hours assisting my father doing maintenance or selling savs at the Tarrawingee football ground during the 1970s.


  1. Good job Alan. I find your mention of 1968 interesting as that year coincides wonderfully with the actions of Mike and his comrades, like the famous July 4 demo of that year.. It reminds me of a wonderful Chinese slogan of that halcyon period, ” Be a realist, demand the impossible.” Good to see Michael writing.


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