Footy Talk: Andy D and TV do business

by John Butler

TV- The ubiquitous, all seeing eye which rules our lounge rooms and inhabits our imaginations- at least that’s what the advertisers hope. It is the bringer of drama, pathos, bathos, banality and Karl bloody Stefanovic. It also runs a side interest in sport.

Andrew Demetriou- Grand Supremo of the AFL. He’s very fond of what TV can offer.

In a dimly lit underground car park, TV sits, smoking a cigarette, with his car lights off. Another car cautiously enters. It pauses, spots the burning end of the cigarette, then creeps up alongside TV. Andy D gets out, scans the area warily, then scuttles around and sits in TV’s car. On the car radio,  Lou Reed’s “Waiting For My Man” is quietly playing.

TV: Is it safe?

AD: Huh?

TV: Is it safe?

AD: What are you talking about?

TV: Nuthin’, just messin’ with you. Haven’t you ever seen Marathon Man?

AD: Stop mucking around, you know why I’m here.

TV: Relax will you. You don’t have to worry unless you see me reach for a drill and some oil of cloves. (smiles)

AD: (blank stare)

TV: (sighs) You really should get out more.

AD: Yeh, I’d get out more, ‘cept someone has me busy singing for my supper.

TV: Hey baby, no one’s holding a gun to your head.

AD: That’s rich. Like I have any choice now.

TV: You could always say no. It’s a free country.

AD: (baleful stare) Nothing’s free in this country. Just get on with it will you. You know I’m jonesing for it. What are your terms?

TV: Tsk, tsk, tsk. You needn’t be like that. (blows smoke in Andy D’s face) Why so grumpy? Need a little taste? (pulls out a wad of cash).

AD: (trickle of drool) Quit it will you! I asked you, what are your terms?

TV: Before we talk business, you have to make with the nice. I wanna see a little respect for what we give you.

AD: Make with the nice! You wanted the Gold Coast, I gave you the Gold Coast! Then West Sydney! I even threw in Sheedy. I have the whole of Tasmania wanting to throttle me. How much nicer can I get?

TV: Oh we’re just gettin’ started baby. Word is the Foxtel and Nine crews are gettin’ together, fixin’ to muscle into Seven and Ten’s territory.  Things are likely to get a little lively around here. If you play your cards right, there might be a pretty penny in it.

AD: Yeh, I heard. What are you gonna want from your end. If I’ve learnt one thing, you always want your pound of flesh.

TV: You sound a little resentful there Andy. I’m hurt. After all we’ve done for you. (leans in toward AD) Just remember who approached who. You’re the one who wanted to do a deal. If you don’t like how things are, you should have  thought before you asked.

AD: What choice did I have? The clubs were spending money like it was going out of style. Nobody wanted to merge, even though half of them were probably insolvent. When Oakley “merged “ Fitzroy up north, he had to move to a safe house and wear a disguise. I don’t want that. And now the players want free agency. It could all start again. Who else could cough up the dough we needed?

TV: Precisely. Just because you and your fancy clubs have champagne tastes, don’t blame us. You come cap in hand, what do you expect? We aint runnin’ a charity here.

AD: Listen, you’ve gotta cut me some slack. I don’t know how many more twilight games, Monday night games and Thursday night games we can get away with. The hard core supporters are already jacking up. Many more Docklands lockouts and we’ll have an open revolt on our hands.

TV: Not my problem. My customers have needs. Your customers have needs. You’re the big CEO, it’s your job to reconcile things. You were complaining about singing for your supper; if you want that billion bucks you better learn to be a mezzo soprano. If we want to play games on a Wednesday night in Alice Springs, on a three hour delay, then that’s how it will be.

AD: The fans won’t like it.

TV: Don’t tell me you’ve just discovered the fans! The Fitzroy diehards would get a laugh at that. Besides, have you forgotten you still owe us for the Irish connection falling through.

AD: Now you can’t say we didn’t go the extra mile on that one. Did you look at the dog’s breakfast of a game we concocted! You can’t say we didn’t try. That wasn’t our fault.

TV: Trying and 3 bucks gets me a cup of coffee. The fact remains, you made a commitment and didn’t follow through. We’d invested money on certain expectations.

AD: (sighs) Alright, alright. Well if I’m not gonna be able to walk the streets, you better make sure I can afford protection. This better be worth it.

TV: Since when has it not been worth it? And stop being so melodramatic. When did you last walk the streets anyway? Need I remind that you’re personally doing very well out of this. You know as long as the clubs see the cash roll in, they’re like moths to a flame. They won’t ask too many questions. And the fans, they’re hooked. What are they gonna do? Go without?

AD: I wonder about that. Still, we’re getting away with it so far. But there’s gonna be some heat when the new clubs get rolling. The existing clubs will eventually wake up that their cut of the take is shrinking. And wait for the screams when a few star players take the money and run. Some Melbourne clubs won’t see a flag before I die.

TV: (smiling like a shark) Careful what you wish for. So what else is new? Ain’t nothing we haven’t handled before. And wait ‘til we play the broadcasters off against each other. Nine are really desperate now. Have you seen their new season’s line up? We’ll milk that cash cow ‘til it’s dry.

AD: You’re right there. They have to make Eddie earn his salary somehow. I don’t think his future’s in golf… or ice dancing. (smiles, then opens the door) I presume I’ll be hearing from you?

TV: I knew there was a reason you’re the boss.

About John Butler

John Butler has fled the World's Most Liveable Car Park and now breathes the rarefied air of the Ballarat Plateau. For his sins, he has passed his 40th year as a Carlton member.


  1. John Butler says

    Nice one Gigs

    “Overwhelming demand”- that would be my mum.

  2. Not true, JB. At the very least, it’s your mum – and me.

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