I Don’t Care

By Andrew Else

A text message from a friend before the game read: “Today is the first day of our new football lives”.

I’d heard them all throughout the off-season: Bomber did the dirty; Hirdy is just the coffee boy; Goodwin is your best midfielder; David’s Dad wouldn’t have done such a thing;

My response is simple: I don’t care.

For those of us that follow the red and black, a simple fact remains: The Boss loves the club.

He was not ‘the pick of the assistants’, he’s not a sports science boffin, he wasn’t a ‘blue collar’ midfielder/dour back pocket, he’s not a ‘career coach’, and he didn’t ‘get the best out of himself’. (I mean, of course he did. He just didn’t do it in a way that inspires the condescending tones).

And he certainly wasn’t a part of any bloody Succession Plan!

The 2010 season was a disaster. Memories that are scattered through my brain include the first quarter on Anzac Day, The Frenchman’s dozen, the back-to-back thumpings from the Baggers and Pies on successive Friday nights, the 100 metre penalty in the dying minutes in Sydney, the usual Football Park Thumping (FPT) (though those annual memories roll into one after a while) and Courtney Dempsey’s invisible man impersonation against Travis Varcoe.

But the Round 21 match vs Brisbane had the most bitter of tastes.

Looking at the result superficially, the game was one that Brisbane controlled early and then never let the Bombers back in. J Brown was leading my man Hurley on a merry dance (don’t get me started on playing him down back) and Rischitelli played like a man who wanted to construct a few 120-minute 2 finger salutes before season’s end.

It was so much more than that though.

Although any game played during the day and with the roof open in the 3008 postcode lacks atmosphere, I’m sure I heard the sound of the every bit of parsley being placed on level 2. It was inescapable that the Bomber faithful had just stopped caring and, to be honest, it was no wonder. Over the course of the year, we had seen our promising young team of finalists (FPT notwithstanding) turn into a bunch of downtrodden sods who looked like they just been dumped by their girlfriends, via facebook, two minutes before they ran out. While the Lions had Official AFL Legend Bulldog Murray (and Brownlow) parading before the game, and Jonathan Brown being carried off for his 200th match afterwards, we had a bloody air-raid siren going for about 10 minutes before the team came out and then a group of players handing out ‘replica guernseys’ to select members on the field after the game. Needless to say this was met with mild bemusement by the fans who were of the opinion that the players just had a 4 quarter opportunity to show appreciation of their support.

Something had to be done. Thankfully, something was done.

Looking on yesterday, it was obvious what had returned to the EFC: Passion.

In an age where an opposition club can aim to the be the ‘team of the decade’ after years of inept administration, un-competitive football and planning to receive gift draft picks (and all the while charging full price for memberships, mind you), something has to be said for what has gone on at Windy Hill. James Hird loves the club and would never work for another, the fans love him, and the players want to play for him. Is there a chance that maybe that could influence results? I’m sorry I haven’t mentioned structures, zoning, rotations or super-subs, but I just love the fact that our coach didn’t go through ‘the process’. Jesus, don’t we get enough of that during our work days?

You can see the passion on the field too.

Ryder leapt in the air and punched his fist. Hille and Hurley leapt for everything. Zaharakis ran around like someone who knew he’d never be a lead-up forward. Jobe kicked it 22 times. Heath Hocking won clearances and I’m sure he knows he’ll never play on LeCras again, and although Cale Hooker still looks compelled to add some random excitement to the backline, he stood tall against Barry.

And what about Dyson Heppell?

I have wondered more than once in these past few years why we can’t just draft a mid-sized player that is ready for senior footy, has a touch of class, and can hit a target consistently. (OK, now that I’ve written it, I can see I may be asking for a bit, but I’m sure its been a while). Well here he is, and while he might not be in Mark Bayes territory yet, that is one sweet left foot.

And guess what? He supported the Bombers and idolized Hird.

Could it be that simple? Can love really conquer all?

I have been reminded more than once during the last 24 hours that Matthew Knights won his first game as coach by the exact same margin.

To that I say, look a little deeper.

That Easter Monday clash against the Roos (day game, roof closed, 28 degrees) contained one quarter or so of blistering football after an early glut of goals by the other team. This bi-polar football typified the Knights regime. Yesterday’s effort was constant. The spoiling, tackling, and all the other things that Ross Lyon chants in his sleep were top drawer, but it was laced with passion, and we felt it.

Maybe this won’t last. Maybe James won’t hold our next cup (PC17). Maybe we’ll get injuries and finish well down. Maybe Bomber won’t get ‘buy in’ from the group. Maybe we did overpay the staff.

Do you know what? Right now…..I don’t care.

About Andrew Else

Andrew has self-reported to this site as a lifetime Essendon supporter. He also played local footy for Lara and Melbourne Uni Blacks.


  1. Pamela Sherpa says

    Hang on for the ride Andrew. I get the feeling that playing football like footballers is back on the agenda at Windy Hill.

  2. Kath Godfrey says

    I Love your passion, Andrew. Enjoy the season.

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