Comment: The “Football Club”

by Tony Robb

Along with the increasing use of the check side, banana, lay it off your boot techniques employed by the modern day footballer to disguise his ineptitude kicking with their opposite foot, there has emerged another insidious trend that his penetrating the very core of footie. I refer to the use of the term “Football Club”.

Growing up following football I’ve never had much trouble distinguishing who or what I was watching. It was apparent from the jumper or who I was listening to that the content roughly revolved around footie. Therefore, why has it become the norm that words “Football Club” be intertwined in the same sentence as Collingwood, Essendon, Geelong etc.

The Richmond “Football Club” has a 28 year plan; the Melbourne “Football Club” is proud of their distant tradition etc etc. Unless there has been a dramatic increase in interest throughout regional China and they need a bit of familiarisation about the local identities, it’s a fair chance that the particular Coach or President being interviewed is talking about their “Football Club”, not their local take away. Even then I’m tipping that the new found fans from the Chezuan Province might quickly cotton on that Mick Malthouse and Rocket Eade aren’t from rival toothpaste manufacturers.

In the slim chance that the Collingwood Council and Footscray Library Auxiliary were having a scratch match at Docklands yesterday, it’s pretty safe to assume that “Football Clubs” might have been the participants. The thing with Sherrin written on it might also offer a clue to those who obviously struggle to remember what they forked out their hard earned to see.

About Tony Robb

A life long Blues supporter of 49 years who has seen some light at the end of the tunnel that isn't Mick Malthouse driving a train.


  1. Well said, Tony.

    I stand to be corrected but I think it was Melbourne who set this trend. For several years now the footy cards that my kids have been collecting (ok, that I have been colecting) have had the name of each team at the top of each card, with the Melbourne ones all reading “Melbourne fc”, rather than just “Melbourne”.

    I fail to see what this achieves but I’m sure there’s a marketing guru out there who could give you a two-hour PowerPoint presentation attempting to justify it.

    Finally, I just have to say that the idea of a match between the Collingwood Council and the Footscray Library Auxiliary actually appeals to me. I’d go.

  2. I reckon it came out of a previously well over used sentence of nonsense that got wheeled out after every coach, player, president did something good for their club:

    “It’s good for football and it’s good for the football club.”

    Fortunately it seems to have died out but we’re still left with “football club”

  3. Dave Nadel says

    I think that you’re too late Gigs. There is no Collingwood Council. Thanks to Jeff Kennett, there is only a Yarra Council, which doesn’t seem to have the interest in its local footy clubs that its predecessors at Fitzroy, Collingwood and Richmond had. On the plus side, Yarra also doesn’t have either a Wren machine or a Loughnan-O’Connell machine.

    Footscray Library is now Maribyrnong Library and if it had an Auxiliary it would presumably be called Maribyrnong also. I remember Chris McConville suggesting at a conference that Footscray was gradually being taken off the map. The football team is now the Western Bulldogs, the hospital is Western General, the Institute of Technology is now Victoria University and the council is Maribyrnong. They haven’t renamed the railway stations yet.

  4. Tony Robb says

    Another small issue folks. When did it become permissable for every hack footballer in the AFL to wave around their pointer finger when they kick a goal. Fair enough if you’ve kicked the sealer or your Gary Ablett but they all do it. How can some dope from Melbourne have the gall to wave his finger to the crowd when his team is TEN GOALS DOWN. What does it signify? I’m number 1? my crap doesnt stink? my hair product looks awesome? It should be reportable

  5. I’d be staggered if players were not instructed to refer to their clubs as the such and such “football club”. What’s the bet it arrived courtesy of a sports business guru.

    It’s way earlier than Melbournefc, though. That’s only been in the last couple of years.

    Can’t bloody well find the post, but back in 2003 or 2004 I wrote one about a David Neitz interview in which he said “Melbourne Football Club” over and over and over and… well, I lost count around the 134th chant. And that was just in his first answer.

    That all makes it seem very Melbourne, but I remember Dennis Pagan used to use it when he coached Norf.

    Currently, the gong for The Biggest User would have to go to Tim Watson.

  6. Tony,

    Was Brad Green the finger waver? He’s a serial offender who has never let a ten goal flogging get in the way of a vigorous over-celebration. I’d suggest Chris Connolly had imported Fremantle’s over-celebrator ways, but Green’s been doing it for years.

  7. I love the idea of improper finger waving being reportable. The AFL could release a DVD to all the clubs on what is permissable and what constitutes a reportable offence. Presumably any finger waving when down by 10 goals would result in automatic 3 game suspension. And Leon Davis should have a 3 waves per game limit imposed.

    Along with the references to “Football Club”, the oine that really grates me is “the group”. Sounds like they formed a band for after match functions but I’m sure the creation of another marketing/motivational guru.

  8. Budge,

    The Aussie cricket team has gone group crazy. Among an assortment of groups there is the playing group, the fielding group, the bowling group and the coaching group. Do they have a nickname? How about Group Australia?

    The Grouperoos? No, I thought not.

  9. pauldaffey says

    Tony, you’re right. It’s like a form of footy Tourettes Syndrome. Whenever a footy clone mentions the words “football club”, I half-expect to see him loose an involuntary shiver, like he’s got no control over the filth that spills from his mouth.

    I reckon Denis Pagan introduced it at North. Perhaps it was to compensate for the fact that they were about to become the Kangaroos Football Club (I just shivered) that Denis felt compelled to mention North Melbourne Football Club with such horrible regularity.

  10. Tony Robb says

    Great Call Budge. You could also add a new 10 yr rule. Match payment fine for any player who has played less than 10 seasons who refers to the “young boys in the group”. Ah to be an elder at 21

  11. Lucas Garth says

    Don’t get me started on Soccer calling themselves Football Australia but still keeping the Socceroos?

    Which one is it boys?

  12. Stephen Cooke says

    Slightly off topic, but that hasn’t stopped me before.
    Why does the AFL insist on opening the season with Carlton and Richmond? None of the games have been close. People wait for 5 months for the season to start, the atmosphere in Melbourne is electric, the walk to the G is intoxicating….then wipeout. A game without excitement featuring a team without skills (sorry Daff).
    Imagine starting the year with a GF rematch – Riewoldt desperate to put one over early on the Cats, Geelong at the top of their game in preparation. That would be mouth watering. Or the Dogs and the Pies – two teams with good skills in premiership contention. Oh well.

  13. Stephen Cooke says

    Back on topic, I remember Denis Pagan referring to North as the North Melbourne Football Club every answer. I don’t know whether they had rebadged themselves as the Kangaroos then and he was trying to reinstate the traditional name, or whether it was just him.

  14. Stephen Cooke says

    Sorry Daff, just read post nine. I read these posts like the paper, starting from the back.

  15. pauldaffey says

    Agree, Cookey. There’s no way they could justify another Richmond-Carlton opener, or a Richmond-anyone opener.

    And what’s the business of Brisbane-West Coast and Sydney-St Kilda every opening round?

    They need to mix it up a bit.

    On a contrary note, I don’t like grand final rematches in the opening round. I reckon the opening round is to a throat-clearer. (I suspect we’ll see a different Bulldogs-Pies result in Round 12.)

    I’d like a GF rematch in Round 4, by when the season is fair dinkum.

  16. Stephen Cooke says

    Who would you have as the opener then?

  17. pauldaffey says

    Pies and Dogs would have been great this year.

  18. I think the use of the term “… Football Club” is also partly attributed to coaches, their staff and players doing their best to sound intelligent. By adding more words and more syllables to an answer, its bound to sound a bit more complex, intelligent, even though it isn’t. The use of the term “football club” is superfluous and sounds even worse when a coach uses the term “footy club” instead. I can see the likes of Brad Scott using it alot. In a recent survey I participated in for Hawthorn (the football club), one of the questions asked how I would like to see Hawthorn referred to in marketing material and so forth, e.g. “Hawthorn”, “the Hawthorn Football Club” or “Hawthorn FC”. I did not choose “Hawthorn FC” for fear that people would think it means the Hawthorn Fishing Club. I did not choose “Hawthorn Football Club” for fear people would think of the local soccer club. “Hawthorn” I thought sounded about right, though I hope people don’t think I barrack for the suburb. I’m more of a Deepdene man…I like those suburbs in-between.

  19. I don’t like the term “grand final rematch”. It’s only a rematch when it’s a grand final. Carlton v. Richmond ’73, Essendon v. Hawthorn ’84, Melbourne v. Richmond 2014.

    But I DO like the in-between suburbs: Donburn, Donvale, Warranwood, etc. It’s my life’s goal to visit every one in one day.

  20. pauldaffey says

    Aberfeldie and Glenbervie are my favourites out Essendon way (no, it’s not the western suburbs).

  21. Dave Nadel says

    Aberfeldie has a sports ground and a primary school, Glenbervie has neither and I question that it exists anywhere except in the mind of Victorian railway planner 100 or so years ago.

  22. Daff,

    Are the names Aberfeldie and Glenbervie made up of the bordering suburbs?

    Donburn = Doncaster + Blackburn. Donvale = Doncaster + Springvale (Road) and Warranwood = Warradyte + Ringwood.

    Or Glenbervie = Glenroy + Strathbervie?

    Does Aberfeldie = Abergavenny + Essenfeldie?

  23. Dave Nadel says

    A friend of mine used to call Ashwood “Burbur” on the basis that it was made up of Ashburton and Burwood.

    I don’t know that there are any “bordering” suburb names in the Northern or Western Suburbs. Perhaps Moreland should change its name to Brunsburg and Braybrook could become Sunscray.

  24. Andrew Fithall says

    Melton is so named because it is part way between Melbourne and Linton.

  25. Andrew Fithall says

    Instead of Linton, I was going to say Washington, but that would have been even more stupid.

    I read that in a post match interview today, Mitchell Johnson referred to “the bowling group”.

    And until commetators refer to a player kicking the ball off the ground as having “footballed” it, it will always be soccer to me.

  26. pauldaffey says

    Sorry, Tony, there’s no portmanteau suburbs in the north-west.

    I think Dave’s right about Glenbervie.

  27. Stephen Cooke says

    And I thought I had a tendency for going off on tangents!

  28. Stephen,

    As Richo* says: “Wherever it takes.”

    * The other Richo.

  29. Glad to see I’m not the only one with an interest in suburb names. I played for the Studfield Junior Football Club in the early ’80s…in the suburb of Studfield in Melbourne’s outer south-east. It sits in-between Boronia, Bayswater, Wantirna and Wantirna South. It bred a few good footballers (was a little too serious for me so at the age of 12 I retired…only to make a triumphant return for Glen Waverley High a few years later!!). Those from Sudfield with any talent would often go on to play for Scoresby or Vermont in the EDFL, then the North Melbourne Under 19s (we were in North’s zone) and then…who knows.

  30. …. and is anyone game to suggest an alternate reality VFL / AFL…had things been different? What if we were heading out this Easter Saturday to see the Kensington Cats take on the Ripponlea Falcons (who by the way, did well last week to beat Premiership favourites from north of the Tweed, the Normanby Tigers – JTH will know where that is…one of Alfie Langer’s favorite spots we all discovered on the weekend)…time for bed.

  31. I now believe that Richmond is a conspiracy. We recruit young players that aren’t anygood so we can pay them minimum wage. They promise the fans the world so we can become members. We delisted so many senior players & now someone is getting very rich at TIGERLAND! Bring back Kevin Bartlett he will sort them out.
    ……………But l still love the yellow & black. Gold member Sam

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