Football is a funny game (on missing Before the Game)

Technically, football is a serious game. It’s big dollars, big expectations, big news…it’s just big and serious.  Football is not life and death, it’s a bit more serious than that.

But football is a lot of other things as well. It’s history, loyalty, tradition, passion, excitement and anticipation. It’s a lot of different things to a lot of different people. It’s not necessarily a way of life but it just plays such a big part in so many lives that are woven around it.

Ultimately it is entertainment, and entertainment is fun. It’s a lot more fun if you are winning but you don’t have to be winning to find it funny. Football has a humerous side as the analysis of such a serious organisation leaves it open to various interpretations.

Through my various phases of watching the game I am drawn to the humour and entertainment that adds to the experience of following the game.

For me it started off with an ad-libbed show called World Of Sport which filled several hours on a Sunday, seemingly rudderless although apparently under the close watch of Ron Casey. An extension of that was Lou, Jack and Bob on League Teams.

It came in other formats as well. On radio the Coodabeen Champions have been supplying their unique view of the game for the best part of 30 years. In the printed format it has a varied and rich tradition with some of my more memorable reads coming from Matthew Hardy – Saturday Afternoon Fever, John Orchard – Life, The Universe & Football and Angela Pippos – The Goddess Advantage.

It is this humour, analysis and interpretation that not only entertains but resonates with my own experiences. We all do the same thing but some of these commentators can articulate it so well that I am drawn like a moth to a flame.

One of the flames I have been drawn to for the last decade has been Before The Game. Many TV shows try to be funny and entertaining but it is not easy to pull it off. Before The Game has been consistently entertaining whereas others such as The Footy Show only think they are. Others such as Live And Kicking, The Bounce etc tried and failed.

I was saddened to hear a month ago that Before the Game has been axed by Channel 10, who found it hard to keep a show going when they didn’t own the rights.

Thanks to the crew who put that show together, I will miss you.


  1. Couldn’t agree more, loved the show and very sad to hear it is not coming back. Except for the strange move to Thursday evenings, which didn’t work, the show has been a winner, and it seemed players and coaches really enjoyed coming on, were Ok at having the mickey taken out of them and liked the format. It didn’t take itself or the game too seriously, a great balance to the Footy Show’s supposed humour or the incredible seriousness of Bruce stats and the commentary show off pieces every Friday and Sat nights on 7. It will be missed

  2. Neil Anderson says

    Really disappointed to hear that Before The Game is finished. Dave Hughes, Mick Malloy and Peter Hellier were great foils to the more serious reporting of Sam Lane, Andy Meagher and the others. They all were ‘football’ people with their favourite teams and it was light-hearted needling about who won and lost, rather than the sarcastic put-downs used in other shows.
    They looked like they really enjoyed working on that panel and that feeling was relayed to the viewing audience.

  3. Mickey Randall says

    Disappointed. Immeasurably superior to The Footy show. It seemed to laugh with people, rather than at them. Functioned as an ensemble whereas TFS is about oneupmanship.
    For me, comedians who love footy works better than ex-footballers who think they’re comedians. Hopefully, it will get picked up in the pre-season draft!

  4. On a day when it’s 110 degrees in the water bag is not the time to learn that one of the reasons for persevering with the Long Dark Summer is to be no more. Curse the dolts in Ch10 programming. May they finish in Hell wearing Red & Black.

  5. Andrew Starkie says

    From a good source, I understand ch10 axed BTG because it was primarily a Victorian show with limited national exposure due to time zones and scheduling. Ch7 may be having a look.

  6. My source says the same… and said it a couple of years ago also. Has been on borrowed time at Ten. Those bloviating f***mothers at Seven will make a mess of it.

  7. bloviate – verb; to talk at length, especially in an inflated or empty way.

    :- ( Guilty

  8. Andrew Starkie says

    We all bloviate at times

  9. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Lehmo success in the media is fascinating in being a qualified bean counter a CPA at that ! Lehmo was dong the working holiday UK bit and ended up doing some stand up comedy as well as accounting and a producer of radio station SAFM turned up and he subsequently got offered the breakfast gig with Amanda Blair . Lehmos only other previous comedy gig had been a prestigious 1 hosting Hold your bowlies which you all no is Ad Uni FC weekly presentations . Lehmo is a huge Hawthorn man and has become very good friends with the Clarkson family and has well and truly educated the Clarksons about Bob Neil . Congrats on your success he’s yesterday’s hero he’s Anthony Lehmo .Hope the best footy show on TV continues !

    Hope the best footy show on TV continues

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