General Footy Writing: As curious as it might sound, I’m a Crows supporter and I love my club

By Richard Arrowsmith

A little while back I quoted Mark Bickley when he said on his retirement: “I have a club that I love, and it loves me back”. More recently, I wrote of Patrick Dangerfield: “… if I have anything to say about it, Danger Mouse is going to love his club, and his supporters.”

For no real reason, these thoughts came back to me today – and I realised that, yes, I do love my club – and its players (in, of course, a manly shoulder-punching sort of way).

Which is perhaps nothing special if you’re a supporter of one of the original Victorian clubs – or of Sturt, or Glenelg, or Norwood, etc – clubs that have been there all your life, clubs that were not created while you looked on as an adult. Certainly nothing special if you’re talking about your local club in Murray Bridge or Waikerie.

And let’s not even think about dockside Adelaide clubs that have (if you listen to them) been winning premierships since the Stone Age.

If you’re older than 20 you can’t say “lifelong supporter” of the AFC. If you’re older than, say, 30 you can probably recall the time when the Bloods or the Panthers meant more to you than the Crows (and for some, they still do).

And if you were 33 when your club played its first game; when your club has always been a professional sports business and not just a footy club; when you’re a member but you can’t spill the Board or vote for the coach – then, let’s be honest, the ‘L’ word isn’t automatically part of the equation.

In 1991, along with hundreds of thousands of South Australians, I latched on to the Crows as (I realise on reflection) a team to follow, not a club to be part of. Even in ’97 and ’98, for all the joy and excitement, I wonder if the genuine “love of club” was there. Perhaps it was budding. Perhaps, like a teenager, I would have called it “love” at the time but in later years realised it was just lust.

But some time, between then and now, that changed. I’ve been to summer training sessions and sipped Powerade from the cups the trainers pass out to supporters, while Craigy gives you a nod and a wave. I’ve had Brett Burton jog past while I fiddle with my camera, and call out, “How are you going?” (How am I going, Brett?!?) I have exchanged emails and phone calls with my club’s CEO.

I hated it – hated it – when I heard that Brodie Martin had done his knee. I loved watching Rory Sloane lay seven tackles in his first 40 minutes of footy. I have lost count of the number of times I have called to a new player who has done something great “Good. On. You. Son!” I suppose these are the sorts of things I have been doing for 19 years – but somehow there seems to be more emotion involved these days.

A couple of weeks ago Trent Hentschel slotted a goal from the boundary, as part of a special comeback. I was not at the game, I was sitting on my couch watching on TV. But I applauded, and I teared up for Trent.

Yes, I realise, something has changed.

My relationship with the Adelaide Football Club was something of an arranged marriage. But the relationship has grown with age, and it’s kind of snuck up on me. I don’t know if they love me back, but I hope that at least they like me a lot.

And that’s a good feeling.


  1. Brilliant read! I’ve grown up with the Crows and have not experience a life without them.

    I love our club too, and its hard to put down in words just how much.

    I’ve smiled from ear to ear experiencing moments of pure happiness and pride and also shed tears from the heartbreak of loses, frustrations and injuries.

    We’re lucky to support an AFL club that generally goes out of its way to be inclusive with its supporters.

  2. As a 2nd generation Tiger – my father was 8 years old when they joined the VFL – I’ve never thought of how it must feel to actually BE a Crow. To have been there t the birth. For me I’ve been a Tiger for ever and Punt Road is my home. Thanks for sharing your epiphany with us Richard.

    Why did I click on to you submission from hundreds of others? Names like Playfair, Truefield and Arrowsmith fascinate me. We made a list, on a long journey, of names that were occupations – like Fletcher, Farmer & Fiddler. We got well over 100, but missed out on Arrowsmith. That won’t happen again.


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