Crio’s Q: Sporting Prodigals

I’m watching ManU and Everton on Fox tonight (Sunday). Wayne Rooney, of course, is the focus of most attention. Aged nine, Rooney joined the youth team of Everton, where he made his professional debut in 2002. He played two seasons before moving to Manchester United for £25.6 million in the 2004 summer transfer window. The Toffees’ fans, naturally, wonder what could have been. They have an ambivalent relationship with him.

Media hype here in Melbourne last week surrounded the tenor of the crowd’s reaction to Ross Lyon returning to face his “former friends” at St Kilda. Hysterical predictions ultimately seemed to get lost in an engrossing game.
In Rugby League, the Kangaroos gave a New Zealand born player his debut in the Test against the Kiwis – and the papers noted that he didn’t know “our” National Anthem!…this from TVNZ’s website coverage: “This match has had the usual tense build-up associated with any New Zealand v Australia contest, with James Tamou’s defection to Australian colours casting a shadow over the international eligibility rules and talk and expectation of Kiwi payback dominating the press.”

It’s interesting to see how supporters “welcome back” those they’ve previously cheered.
Border was jeered when he first went back to the SCG, but that didn’t last.
Was Bradman treated likewise?
Can you recall contrasting responses when former heroes returned “home” as foes?


  1. Dave Nadel says

    In 1972 former Collingwood coach Bob Rose and former Collingwood captain Des Tuddenham were appointed coaches of other clubs. When Bob brought Footscray to Victoria Park he was treated with great respect even by the most rabid sections of the Magpie crowd. All Pie supporters knew how close Rose had taken the club to three flags and recognised that his departure to another club was probably good for both clubs. When Tuddenham came to Victoria Park with his Bombers he was met with hostility. Pie fans saw no reason for his departure and besides we all hated Essendon a lot more than we hated Footscray.

    In actual fact Essendon did the Collingwood a huge favour by appointing Tuddy as coach. Tuddy was a terrific player, an inspirational captain and the most courageous player I ever saw. He was a lousy coach. For one thing he never seemed to understand that most footballers couldn’t run through brick walls the way he could. As coach at Essendon and later at South Melbourne, Tuddy always had the longest injury list in the VFL. This was not coincidental. If Tuddy hadn’t failed at Essendon, some Collingwood committee would have appointed him coach on the basis of his captaincy skills. Thanks Essendon.

    Eleven years later sacked Collingwood coach Tommy Hafey visited Victoria Park with his new team, Geelong. Again he was treated with repect, both because he had taken Collingwood to Five Grand Finals (including the drawn GF) and because the crowd knew that he had been sacked after a player revolt (which most of us disagreed with) Also because, like Rose before him, most Pie fans knew what a good bloke he was, However when the leader of the players revolt, Peter Moore, arrived at Victoria Park as Melbourne player on huge (for 1983) contract he was greeted with a sign saying “Moore Filth”. The sentiment, if not the specific wording, would have been supported by most Pie fans. Moore has since been forgiven and welcomed back into the Magpie fold but it took many years.

  2. Gary Ablett Jnr back to Geelong in 2016 should be quite the homecoming. I’m looking forward to it.

  3. I was given a cold cup of tea, stale sandwiches and no chocolate caks for afternoon tea when I bowled at Ridgley after transferring to Penguin.

    Those bowling ladies are brutally unforgiving

  4. Des Hassler this week?

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