Almanac (Footy Merchandise) Life: Gullible with a capital G!


Kids these days don’t know how good they’ve got it. No doubt this is a timeless refrain, but I was reminded of its validity recently when I bought my son a new Bombers hoodie. Sure, it was from the clearance rack at the local DFO, but it had all the bells and whistles… including a shiny club logo and a few too many sponsors logos. It was the real deal, albeit technically last year’s design. Most importantly, he loves it – and pretty much hasn’t taken it off since first putting it on.




Like many times as a parent, certain moments take me back to moments in my own childhood. And this new hoodie took me back to arguably the most gullible moment of my youth. Sometime in the late 1980s, when I was still a young tacker, Mum proudly presented me with a new footy tracksuit. I was obsessed with Essendon, so I unfolded this new garment with great relish until I saw that it was navy blue and had a large red ‘V’ across the chest. Not wanting to sound ungrateful but clearly wondering why I’d been given a Demons tracksuit, I gently asked why it had the opposition’s colours and design.


Quick as a flash, as if they’d rehearsed this very answer, both my Mum and my older brother earnestly informed me that the tracksuit was, in fact, Essendon’s new training tracksuit. You know, the one they wore at Windy Hill on Tuesday and Thursday nights while preparing for the big game on the weekend. Oddly, I accepted this explanation. Take a look at the tracksuit for yourself: does this look like an Essendon training tracksuit?



The internet was obviously in its infancy at the time, and social media didn’t exist, which means the sole information source for footy was basically a couple of pages at the back of the newspaper each day. The wall-to-wall coverage we now expect was a generation away, leaving me with few avenues to check up on the bold claims of my mother and brother. So, I wore my new ‘Essendon training tracksuit’ with pride, and whenever people asked me why I’d changed teams to the Demons, I confidently explained that I was wearing a very exclusive replica of the Bombers’ new training kit. I thought I was the keeper of some insider secret. I felt special.

So special that the photo above is actually from the night of my Mum’s graduation, meaning I obviously saved my cool tracksuit for important events. Look how proudly I’m standing there. I can’t remember if Mum was graduating with honours in marketing or international espionage, and whether this elaborate tracksuit ruse was the subject of her PhD.

I also can’t remember when I worked out that I’d been lied to, but I know it was well after the fact and well after I’d grown out of the offending item of clothing. While I’m still embarrassed by my gullibility and the fact I proudly walked around in a Demons tracksuit for a year in the 1980s, I’m equally impressed by the audacity of my family to not only think they could get away with this slight of hand, but also to then execute it perfectly!


Photos courtesy of Ged McMahon


To read more on the Almanac site by Ged McMahon click here.


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About Ged McMahon

Ged McMahon has been a Bombers fan for as long as he can remember. With a Grandpa who grew up just a spiralling torpedo punt from Windy Hill he didn't have much choice. When his junior football career resulted in almost as many possessions as games he eventually had to bite the bullet and give up his dream of captaining the Bombers to a Premiership. So his weekly footy fix became confined to the stands. He yearns for the next Premiership.

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