Carlton’s Right of Reply

Dear Carlton supporters,

So many “Dear Carlton” letters!

Aren’t they quaint? When you want to crack the sads and indulge in some very 21st century public flaming, you choose such a formal, Jane Austen way of doing it. As if somehow that’s going to make me sit up and take you seriously.

So let’s see – I’ve had proposals of trial separation and full-on divorce.

I’ve had affected disdain, from places far across the world – pretending that you don’t really care.

I’ve even had threats that you’re going to shack up with other clubs.

I’ve been accused of cheating on you, making false promises, associating with misfits and basically letting myself go.

OK, so I’ve been far from perfect these last 12 years. Yes, I’ve hit rock bottom a few times. And this must have made me a bit of a prick to live with.

But what do you expect? That I’m going to have a good hard look in the mirror? A beseeching, grovelling “give me one last chance, darling” reply?

That’s not the Carlton style.

I reckon it’s actually time for you lot to get a bit of perspective. Clearly you don’t appreciate everything I’ve done for you and what you actually signed up to when you made those vows. You know the ones I mean. “…for better for worse, for richer,for poorer, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others, as long as we both shall live…”

Remember signing up to those with your first membership?

Oh, yeah, they were easy vows to hold to back in that honeymoon phase when I was bringing home the bacon. Eight flags since 1968. You never complained back then. More to the point, you never questioned how I achieved them.

Only Hawthorn’s done better in that time and let’s face it, would you really want that extra itsy-bitsy success in return for having to wear poo and wee colours all those years?

“Mens sana in corpore sano” or “Don’t think – do”? I know what I’d prefer.

OK, that last Premiership was a while ago, but in an 18 team competition, Flags don’t grow on trees. It’s so much harder these days. More competition, special favours for interstate newcomers. It all requires patience. Patience has never been my strong point. But then – it’s never been yours either.

You didn’t care about how I managed my business affairs when I was making a sov and you were swanning around the G every September as though you owned the joint. But you know as well as I do that I can’t just take those interstate trips in the off-season and pinch a “Sticks” or a “Braddles” whenever the list starts looking a bit thin.

Nor can I do the old “wad of cash in a brown paper bag” routine for my special lads any more. Plenty were doing it back then. I was just the unlucky sod they busted. The bastards threw the book at me and we lost everything. But I picked myself up and tried to rebuild. It was tough, but I’ve never given up.

And don’t go harping about my choice of associates. You were quite happy for me to hang out with thugs, jailbirds, recluses and eccentrics back in the day. As long as they kept our name up in lights and made you feel special, you cared Sweet Felicity Arkwright about their criminal records or their strange antics in cars.

“It’s footy for Gawsake”, you used to tell me. “You’ve got to stick your neck out with these characters sometimes. As long as they can kick a ball, that’s all that matters.”

Anyway, are things really so bad? I’ve still got plenty of my old tricks.

Like pulling that “finals from 9th” ruse last year. That was a beauty, especially when I shafted both Essendon and Richmond in the process. Oh yeah, baby. Just like the good old days….You didn’t whinge about that one, eh?

And didn’t I just take you down memory lane last Sunday with that win over the poor, old Western Bulldogs last week. Nice that Big Jack’s barb about their tragic history is still proving true.

And how about that “get out of jail” act on Saturday? Wasn’t that just something? Knocking off the “Weevils” after we looked gone for all money – don’t tell me the thrill of that one didn’t permeate the walls of whatever French art gallery you were feigning interest in.

So, honestly, darlings, I’d hate to see you walk out the door, but let me ask you, have a look at what other folk have to put up with. Don’t you realise how lucky you are?

Before you go looking at those flirts down the street, just ask yourself: have I ever been done for drugs? Do I sell false hope whilst hiding a history of failure under the carpet? Am I a johnny-come-lately two-bit con-man from the Gold Coast white shoe brigade or the backblocks of Blacktown? I know things aren’t what they used to be but at least show that you’ve still got some dignity.

You think Geelong looks pretty good, eh? Well why don’t you ask their nearest and dearest about the 44 wasted years of fairy floss promises they had to put up with. You remember their tears in 1995 when they were jilted for the 4th time in six years? What sort of a weak character does that to its loved ones? They may be on “easy street” now, but you just watch. Their house of cards will collapse again one day.

And don’t even start me about Richmond. How those poor people stay in such an abusive relationship for so long staggers me, it really does. I’ve never stooped that low.

Long term relationships aren’t all beer and skittles. Life throws us curve balls and we’re much better at dealing with them if we stick together. So let’s just take a deep breath shall we. I’ve admitted my faults and I’m doing something about them.

So now, isn’t it about time you admit yours? You’re spoilt, temperamental, vain and intolerant. You spit the dummy when anything goes slightly wrong. Success does that to you and I’ve given you lucky sods decades of it. And guess what? I don’t mind your faults. We’ve shared too many good times together sticking it up the rest of the world to chuck it all in now.

The test of character is when a rough patch happens. How did we react at half time in the 1970 Grand Final? Did we throw an almighty tanty and give up? Or did we hang tough and plug away, knowing that if we could turn it around, we’d have a triumph to savour for ever, all the more sweet because we battled through it together?

Now stop your whingeing and let’s see this through.

Tonight. The old enemy. The usual place. It’ll be just like the good old days.

See you there.

Lotsa love


About Sam Steele

50 years a Richmond supporter. Enjoying a bounteous time after 37 years of drought. Should've been a farmer!


  1. Matt Watson says

    Carlton fans need to lose their sense of entitlement.
    They deserve success because they follow the Blues?
    Sounds contradictory, doesn’t it???

  2. John Butler says

    A very Richmond perspective on the Carlton predicament Stainless. :)

    But many salient points nonetheless.

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