Footy: The off-season has gone on long enough!

By Steve Merry

In the season proper, footy fans are spoilt for choice. There is football everywhere. Newspapers are littered with articles, photos and charts. Radio stations such as SEN discuss footy endlessly. Pay television channels  provide us with a host of shows on the subject, and then, to fill in the gaps, they run countless replays of games, old and new. And, of course, every weekend there are another eight matches to make predictions about, to watch, to attend, to listen to, to score dream team points in, and of course, to spend a week digesting.

But now we find ourselves in more barren months. The transition from in-season overload to off-season paucity is complete, and the difference between the two periods stark. Clubs have bunkered down to prepare for the new year and media outlets have turned their attentions elsewhere. It is during this time that only the most committed (read: obsessed) fans are thinking actively about football. And for these fans, it is an appetite for news that is not easily satisfied.

I often marvel at the nuggets of football information which qualify for these most driven of fans as being worthy of discussion during the off-season. Indeed, I am guilty of partaking in these nuggets myself. During the footy drought, a player’s new hair style is often enough to fill several pages of discussion on one of the many online football forums. If a player has been seen wearing strapping on his knee at training, this is even bigger news. Is it the same knee that was sore last year? Wasn’t he seen training with the main group, and seemingly running freely, later that session? This is serious business.

Inevitably, fans turn to the perennial topics to pass the time: comparing their team’s current list to its most recent flag side (and yes, I swear, this year they match up well); lamenting the drafting mistakes of the past; compiling a best 22 for Round 1 (a mythical group of men whose opponent is irrelevant and who are picked more on potential, perceived off-season improvement and, ultimately, a desire simply to deceive the brain into thinking that there is a game of football in the near future); the list goes on.

So complete has the starvation been that the prospect of just one new game is enough to get the fans excited. The fact that this game is merely an intra-club match in which many of the players will be only marginally interested is neither here nor there.

Yes, the off-season madness is still with us. I hear that membership numbers are at record levels, and the boys are looking fitter and stronger than ever. This might just be our year.


  1. Good article Steve, i know what you mean. Hopefully i’ll be going to an Essendon intra-club practice match next week. I hate Essendon, but i’m really looking forward to it.

  2. Oh, so true Steve!!!

    I am indeed one of the “committed” (perhaps I need to be committed) fans. Thank goodness I found this site, otherwise I don’t know WHAT I would do!

    Things were SO much easier last summer when I wanted to pretend football didn’t exist …

    (not that I’d change the outcome of the Grand Final for any price!)

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