I hate Richmond


A young North Melbourne supporter in a blue and white beanie exits VFL Park, thrilled that his team has comfortably defeated Richmond to progress to the following week’s preliminary final. Heading for the safety of his parents’ car, he winds his way through the labyrinthine car-park, where he is confronted by a car-load of men, Richmond supporters all, who abuse and spit at him. The young North supporter is eleven years old.




Friday nights at the Richmond Social Club are a surging, heaving mass of drunken bodies partying on until the early hours. The venue is dark, dirty and occasionally out of control. Beneath the flashing disco lights, a young man standing on the sticky carpet whispers conspiratorially to his mate “I want to break into the board-room, steal that musty old tiger skin, piss on it, and string it from a tree in Yarra Park. That’ll teach them.” His stunned mate asks, “How drunk are you?”




Three boys are talking with their father, explaining that they are making a list of things that they ‘hate’. “Tomatoes” says one. “Making my bed,” says one. “What do you hate, dad?” asks one. “Hate is a wasted emotion,” the father answers sagely, “You can dislike something, or be indifferent to a person, but I urge you boys never to hate anyone.” Hate is a powerful, but pointless emotion. “But surely there is something you hate?” asks one of the sons. The father recalls an incident in the car-park of VFL Park a quarter of century earlier and replies “Yes, that’s true… I hate Richmond.”




Once again, a tipster finishes second in the annual pub footy-tipping comp. If only he could bring himself to tip Richmond when they are odds-on favourites, rather than joyously and boldly scratching a pen through their name on the fixture, he might go one better next year.

But his team overcomes a 13-point half-time deficit: North defeats Richmond in an elimination final. There is nothing – nothing – sweeter than beating Richmond. And Jarrad Waite – Jarrad bloody Waite – kicks four goals.




Much to this footy fan’s disappointment, the Tigers have finally won a final after trying and failing for half a generation. The further worry is that Richmond looked very good in doing so. But whilst I am pleased for my Tiger-supporting friends, and I have plenty of them (at least, until they read this!), for me the fun is over. For years I rejoiced in their disappointments, I want to see them again microwaving their memberships and ordering truck-loads of sheep hearts to be dumped outside their Punt Rd headquarters. The incessant media coverage is nothing short of nauseating; Eddie McGuire must secretly wish for another coaching controversy at Collingwood to give the Magpies at least some column inches.


Only twelve months ago Damian Hardwick was on the chopping block, but those same Richmond supporters who were calling for his head are now hailing him as a modern-day Norm Smith. Spare me this adulation. And to those neutral supporters hailing the Richmond resurgence as some sort of feel-good underdog story, I say this: “Be careful what you wish for.” I have seen Richmond at their ugly, arrogant best. They are not the Western Bulldogs!


Man, I wish I had stolen that moth-eaten tiger-skin all those years ago. Regardless of the consequences.


I have no love for the Greater Western Sydney. But come Saturday, this North Melbourne supporter – once spat on as a child by a group of Richmond knuckleheads – will be a lone voice in the MCC cheering on the Giants. I despise Richmond. More than the Eagles and Crows. More than Carlton or Collingwood. It is deep-seated; it is a part of me. And when the inevitable day arrives that Dustin Martin’s arm is wrenched out of its socket I will not feel pity for him. I will be too busy wallowing in schaudenfreude. Come this Saturday afternoon, I will wonder for a moment or two about that car-load of goons who, 40 years ago, lit the fuse of this deep-seated hatred of the yellow and black. If they are not burning in a particularly warm part of hell, they would all be well into their 60’s by now. So I hope to God that Richmond lose, preferably via a goal kicked after the siren, if for nothing more than for me to imagine the tears of those sorry souls who spat on an eleven year-old child.


About Darren Dawson

Always North.


  1. Memo to self, Smokie holds a grudge … for a very long time.

    Love it. If you are going to have a deep, burning irrational opinion then this is a ripper.

    I especially loved this: I have seen Richmond at their ugly, arrogant best. They are not the Western Bulldogs!

    And don’t get me started on the so called best footy anthem. It sounds like it comes from a musical. And I can’t stand musicals. I expect can-can dancers in the background as it rises in crescendo.


  2. I’ve not been able to hate them since they rolled over in the 2013 Elimination Final for us… that could change this weekend though.

  3. Yep. Richmond has been my most hated club ever since all the bullies at school (and there were a lot, and they were smug, and they were often shockers) were all Tiger fans.

  4. steve todorovic says

    I’m surprised that vitriol like yours has been allowed through, Darren. John and his editors may well want to re -address what they see as acceptable commentary. I don’t see this as an acceptable piece of writing. Your description of Dusty’s arm being wrenched out of it’s socket and not feeling pity, is more malicious than it is sarcastic. Anyone who harboured any thoughts at all, of urinating on rugs, drunk or not, probably required some form of therapy. It’s just not normal. As a Tiger supporter who went to that 1977 Prelim final. along with all those finals and grand finals in the late 60’s and 70’s, I’d like to offer you an apology on behalf of all Tiger fans for the spitting incident, but I’d also like to offer the advice that after 40 years, you need desperately to move on. The Japanese and the Americans, the Germans and the Brits, the Serbs and the Croats, all managed to do what you haven’t, after far worse. You clearly have children of your own and I wonder how you justify the venom you’ve expressed here, to them. It sets a very low benchmark for parenting standards. I’ll be in the Olympic stand on Saturday, cheering on my Tigers as I have at finals since 1967. Win or lose, I’ll keep my spittle to myself. Safe travels on your way back through the car park.

  5. Andrew Fithall says

    Where are you sitting Saturday Smokie? We can turn that lone voice into a duet.

  6. Steve,
    either your piety is so laughable or your satire so unlaughable I can’t tell where you’re coming from.
    BTW you have no licence to apologise for all Tiger fans. They barrack for the same club as you. That doesn’t mean some aren’t serial killers and/or lite beer drinkers.
    That said, Smokie was probably wearing girly-boy sneakers and deserved what he got.
    And anyone who hasn’t felt the urge to piss on some grandee’s rug is down on their knees begging for the return of the Tsars.

  7. Chances are he was speaking to a mate and it just landed on you and you’ve been carrying it for 40yrs. A high probability you went to the Richmond v Nth game barracking for Dusty like most other Nth supporters, the humiliation you must of felt 2-3 mths later on.

  8. Paddy Grindlay says

    Was speaking to my old man about this.

    He said that everyone who can remember what Melbourne was like pre Richmond patheticness desperatley will be barracking for the Acronyms this weekend.

    It will be loud, confronting and very, very Yellow and Black.

    I have a similar dislike of St Kilda due to an incident at this year’s Etihad Saints/Tigers game where my old man, with 13 y/o in tow, left at half time due to some unsavoury behaviour. It happens, unfortunately, all too often with almost all teams.

    I agree that this is not the Doggies story from yesteryear. That was a campaign built on being the underdog, grit and grind and belief. The Tigers have just come good, and have been consistently impressive this year. That said, it’s been a story about love and joy, for people who haven’t seen success for the longest of times. I speak for the happy, slightly drunk yet harmless Tigers I saw a fortnight ago at the MCG who were just happy. Not harming anyone.

    Not too sure about the Dusty comment. I for one can’t stand Tom Bugg or Toby Greene, but that dislike doesn’t extend to taking pleasure in injury. Nor will I be pitiless if a Sainter does a knee – if anything, respect the player at least if you dislike the club and its people.

    A good read all in all.


  9. Smokie. I almost choked on my lunch laughing at this. People in my office turned to look at me and were genuinely disturbed. Bloody marvellous stuff.

  10. G’day Smokie,

    It’s an interesting read, mate! But I understand how you were hurt at the VFL car park. What Richmond supporters have done to you were intolerance.

    Your feelings towards Richomond came from your past experiences. It’s very understandable.

    And yes they are different to the Western Bulldogs.



  11. Smokie, all I will say is that Richmond are definitely not my favourite team. I would like it if Adelaide won the flag this year.

  12. Boys,I hear what you say. Allow me to tell you; we’ve kept all the IOUs over the last 37 years, and just added some new ones. Let me assure you that we are honourable people at Punt Road. They’ll all be paid in full, plus interest.

  13. Smokie, Smokie, Smokie, that was just pure fun. Loved it. Funny part is the Tigers haven’t won anything yet. Except the Play School “what’s your favourite club song” competition.

    In 1973 I got cornered in the Primary School shelter shed. I was wearing my Geelong jumper (one of only two Geelong jumpers in the whole school). I was surrounded by Richmond kids who said if I didn’t change teams they would beat me up. So, they beat me up, but my jumper stayed on. Never been prouder of myself before or since.

  14. Smoke, I’m disappointed in all this self censoring. If only you’d say what you really feel.

    One of my earliest football memories is the ’73 GF. I’ll see your car park and raise you on behalf of Geoff Southby’s chin and Big Nick’s bonce.

    I’m sure the Giants fans will appreciate the help. Though I doubt they’ll be able to hear you.

    Good luck.

  15. Smoke, interesting article. Can’t help but think you are a bit salty that North Melbourne are crap and couldn’t even snare Dustin Martin despite throwing a huge amount of money at him. Says something about the Roos!

    Go and have a sook mate

  16. Not we Catters supporters Smokie.
    Never have given Richmond a second thought.
    Most other supporters hate Collingwood. A few others despise the BlueBags.
    But we hooped supporters hate the Squawks. With a passion.
    Couldn’t raise the slightest flicker of emotion when Hodge retired. Nor when Mitchell and Lewis transferred to other clubs.
    It’s an ingrained hatred even harking back to the early Fifties when they’d win 2 or 3 games a season.
    Dump on the Hawkettes. Constantly.

  17. One against All. That’s the way we like it at Tigedrland.

  18. Joe De Petro says

    Hate is such an inadequate word, isn’t it?

    Just a handful of benign letters to convey such powerful emotions. The word should be at least three times as long and have lots of Ks, Vs, Zs and other harsh letters in it.

  19. How dare you pierce the bubble of Richmond necessarily being the non-aligned Victorian’s non-threatening team of choice this finals series, Smokie. Certain otherwise very good podcasts are almost unlistenable at the moment.

    Completely get the teaching the kids ‘you can hate the club without hating the people’ perspective. Possibly have one of those clubs myself…. you know, a club that possibly selfishly sold football in a state out and was rewarded for it.

  20. Peter Fuller says

    John B.
    You took the words right out of my mouth. That day of infamy, 29th September 1973 has led to the Tigers being sentenced to life without parole in the PF ladder of hostility. This sentence is subject to slight review by virtue of the Tigers’ good behaviour while serving their sentence,reflected in the glorious 1982 Grand Final and the splendid half of the 2013 elimination final alluded to by Litza. Incidentally, he’s gone soft when he confesses that he hasn’t hated them since the glorious Judd-Yarran festival.
    My only concession is to prefer Richmond to Essendon, thanks to the 1980s (when I re-engaged with football more passionately). Don Watson eloquently described that era as when Essendon’s backline was populated by Cossacks.

  21. Smoke – enjoy your September holiday and that high draft pick that North has this year.

    Oh – and enjoy Josh Kelly and Dusty Martin – oh wait… LOL!

  22. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    That was an absolute pisser.
    Nothing good ever happened in the VFL Park car park after a game. Methinks you’ve rattled a few fangs with long memories. Good on ya !! I was at the 1980 GF – They definitely aren’t the Bulldogs

  23. i hate carlton

  24. Dianne Waddingham says

    I share your pain Smokie in hating a club so much all logic goes out the window! It only takes one minuscule reason that sets the “hate for life”. It manifests like a cancer but you have no control over it. So I don’t upset any of my friends, and other Almanac readers, (especially Steve T) I will not mention the team’s name but my rules stipulate I can’t wear any of their colours I hate them so much. I can’t barrack for them under any, and I mean under any circumstance I hate them so much. I can’t pick them in any footy tipping competition I hate them so much. I can’t mention the team’s name I hate them so much. The team doesn’t exist I hate them so much. I can’t read any newspaper articles about the team I hate them so much. At least Smokie you have a good reason. I don’t but completely understand where you are coming from. Please keep the “passion of hate” going…………makes me feel so much better!

  25. Mark Giuliano says

    I am with you Smokie………… They are most definitely NOT the Western Bulldogs.

    Being a vanquished Swans supporter at last year’s Grand Final, I observed Bulldogs supporters around me almost apologetic for having won. The most good-natured and humble winners I have ever encountered.

    Can’t help but think that the current arrogance and smugness of having made a Preliminary Final will only grow exponentially if they win this weekend. This city will be an ugly place to be should they manage to make and win the Grand Final. And I think they are a big chance.

    The possibility of Richmond succeeding, fearfully takes me back to my childhood in the early 70s. A South supporter at a time they were really struggling, my dear old Dad imbued into me a disrespect for the Richmond thugs of the day……. Balme, Sheedy, Fowler, McGhie

    I have a bit of a dislike for GWS, but ……………Come on ……………. everybody else !!!

  26. Luke Reynolds says

    Great read Smokie. Loved it.

    Go Giants.

  27. Whatever happened to Brotherly Love and Big V Solidarity? I’m dismayed by this outburst of vitriol. Truly dismayed. I guess we’ll just have to uphold the honour of the Queen State on our Pat Malone.

  28. “Big V” solidarity is a con, foisted upon us by false prophets such as one K Sheedy.
    Never been a believer.
    I’m with you Smokie.

  29. Hey Mr The Wrap

    First of all, kudos for The Tiges year thus far. As for expecting solidarity, let me tell you as a Hawker … anyway I think you can finish the sentence your good self. Enjoy the ride. And the good natured slings. Oh and if you don’t win the big one expect more slings! Cheers

  30. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    From Daniel on Twitter:

    It’s a similar story for me. North vs Richmond games in the early 80s, and the Tigers fans were the most intimidating crowd in footy. Which is kind of annoying since I loved players like Bourke and Rioli, and have many mates who are good Richmond people.

  31. Walter Sobchak: That rug really tied the room together, did it not?

    The Dude: *uckin’ A.

    Donny: And this guy peed on it?

    Walter Sobchak: Donny, please.

  32. Crikey, we haven’t won it yet. All we’ve done is move from perennial 9th to playing finals in four of the last five years. From being the butt of every September easy beat joke to finning one in the Spring. But it’s flattering that you all think we’re more intimidating than Collingwood, Hawthorn, Adelaide & WCE fans. We’ll take that.

  33. Mickey
    any time you can squeeze in a Big L quote is fine by me. “I didn’t watch my buddies die face down in the mud in Vietnam… etc”

  34. The Dude abides, Mickey, the Dude abides.

  35. Good morning Darren.

    Despite the fact you would’ve been eight years old and tucked up in bed at the time I’m surprised the events of Monday September 2 1974, Southern Cross Ballroom, a little after 10.00pm didn’t get a mention.


  36. Polythene Pam says

    Mic Rees – what happened on 2 September 1974? I assume that was Brownlow night.

  37. Yes Pam – Brownlow Medal 1974

    Winner: Keith Greig (NM) 27 votes.
    Runner up: Gary Hardeman (Melb) 23 votes.
    Third: Kevin Bartlett (Rich) 22 votes.

    One Richmond official was far from pleased with the result and let their feelings be known.

    To all within earshot. Probably heard him out on Exhibition Street.

    Windy Hill, Pitura, Brownlow night shenanigans and finally a premiership – ’74 was a interesting year at Tigerland.


  38. Sounds like you can’t remember the last time North had any chance of getting into the big one. LOL. What a stupid article.

    Go Tiges, win it so muppets like this end up with egg on their face.

  39. My sincere apologies to all at Footy Almanac for temporarily turning this site into BigFooty.com

  40. Absolutely loved this article,Smokie ( geez there are some dummy spits above )

  41. I love it Smokie and apologise on behalf of any thin-skinned brethren that wandered in thinking this was some kind of Tiges fan club. And also for what happened when you were eleven. There is no excuse for bad manners.

    Having said that, the Tiges are going to tear the Orange Experiment apart on Saturday and I imagine it will be a genuinely stomach-trembling experience to be there opposed to the biblical flood of Tigers.

  42. Oh boy, groaning you are under the weight of all that old baggage Smokie.
    And I sense, baiting us fans into talking it all up? Loving the tiger vibe but hating the tiger spotlight…..so I’ll lay low And be bemused and entertained by your literary talents, instead.

  43. The Skull threw my rabbitohs beanie under a train at Kogarah in 1980s

    but it was OK, I already hated the Dragons, and Fascists.


  44. Loved this, Smokie! I like to think that the ‘Darren’ who called this piece stupid is some kind of Bizarro Smokie.

  45. In my experience, Smokie, a good chunk of the population read everything in a very literal manner. Makes writing a somewhat fraught venture for people with a sparkle in their eye. But you get used to it.

  46. AJC
    I recall reading a piece you did for The Age about your loathing for Collingwood in the lead-up to their 2010 Premiership. I thought it was absolutely brilliant as it made no bones about your “hatred” for Collingwood but the tone and the expression made it perfectly clear even to the most literal reader that it was tongue-in-cheek. I reckon Smokie would benefit from reading it. Might help make his next instalment sound a bit less like “we’re being swamped by Richmond supporters”.

  47. Smokie
    Just when I was starting to waiver on my life time “Hatred of Richmond” you have come along to restore my faith.

    Here’s a few more to add to the list.

    Brownlow Medal night – Keith Greig wins his second consecutive Brownlow medal. The Richmond table comprising the likes of Ian Wilson, Alan Schwab and Graeme Richmond remain seated while the rest of the room stood and raised their glasses to toast the 1974 Brownlow medallist. Schwab and another committeeman booed and hissed. North’s Ron Joseph had a crack at them later in the evening and it almost erupted into a brawl.

    The Tigers scraped in against Collingwood in the elimination final, after two last quarter goals to Billy Nettlefold. Remarkably it was the last game he played for Richmond before moving to North Melbourne and playing in its 1977 premiership team.
    I was rapt Richmond won the elimination then the first semi. It meant North could beat them in the preliminary final and be responsible for preventing the Tigers making it three in a row. Richmond would have been filthy, especially as the Tigers got a lot closer in the prelim than Hawthorn did in the GF.

    Keith Greig goes down with knee injury in round six against Richmond at the MCG. I got in a massive argument (as a 16yo) with several Richmond supporters who made disparaging remarks about Greig. I had to move to another section of the grandstand for my own safety as I was heavily out numbered.

    So, Yep – go the GWS. :)

  48. Fake News tis not confined to CNN.

  49. Murray Walding says

    So, we have most readers going back in time to when they learnt to hate the Tigers?
    Now its my turn to go back; to the days when I was a kid and Richmond were nothing- just a motley bunch of losers playing on a tiny mudheap near the Richmond station. A team filled with more ‘characters’ than real footballers- like the slow moving goal-sneak Teddy Langridge, Col Saddington- a bodgie who played at centre half back, and the laconic full-back Freddy Swift, who was tough as old boots but could let fly with drop kicks that landed in the centre square each time.
    It was tough for the Tigers then.
    We were regularly flogged by the supercilious Demons and the fancy pants Cats; even Collingwood looked down on us. These were the years when you looked at the draw at the start of the season and figured out just which game you might win…that’s right- ‘game’…one bloody game! There was always a slight chance that the Tigers might actually win a game. The joy at that one win was unbridled, and after the game, while my parents celebrated with cold beers in front of the grandstand at Punt Road for maybe an hour or so , I was Roger Dean…punting my old footy through the posts at the Brunton Avenue end in the dwindling light.
    I walked away rom of plenty of games as a kid- in tears. Heckled and taunted by opposition supporters. Cruelled to the point of weeping by missed free kicks from biased umpires. It was a tough way to learn about footy but I set my jaw and kept believing.
    Little by little we improved, only to fall at the last hurdle in 1966. The Tigers won 13 games and finished fifth, and missed the finals. 13 wins in the previous years would have seen a team comfortably into the finals and in 1963 would have seen them finish equal first. Even today that would gain a team a finals berth. There were more tears and by then I should have been old enough to hold them back. But I couldn’t.
    So it wasn’t until 67 that Tigers, after not seeing finals action since 1943, thundered into finals action and knocked off Geelong in the grand final.
    For decades we had been kicked while we were down, but my family and I stuck with them. And we had scores to settle. So, Smoky don’t give me any of your tears now that we’re back. Hate us all you like, but we are back and we still have scores to settle.

  50. I enjoyed that Murray. You’ve lived it.

  51. Onya Murray. Colin Saddington and Ted Langridge both ended up at Sturt in the SANFL in the early 60’s. I can still picture Col’s Mobil footy card in my mind. And Teddy was of course half of the legendary SANFL Ch9 commentary team with Wally May. On Monday’s at school we would all practice our Ted and Wally’s.
    “Comment Wally May?”
    “No comment.”
    “Good comment.”
    Still makes me laugh 50 years later. And I don’t know why.

  52. Thanks Murray. I remember we won the first six matches one year. I could go and look it up but it’s a lovely Friday night and I’ve got the barbie on out the back. I’m going for 1952. Jack O’Rourke was at full forward and the day we beat Collingwood at Punt Road he kicked six. That photo in the Tiger Museum of him marking over Jack Hamilton happened right in front of our little cheer squad. Which I should add included Jimmy & Johnny March – Uncle & Father of a future President. We were riding high before we went out to the Brunswick Street Oval. Apart from Butch Gale & Vic Chanter, Fitzroy were nothing special in those days and we were cock-a-hoop confident. We got rolled. Our season fell apart, and we slid down, down, down to where you picked up the story with Col, Ted, Freddie & Roger.

    We had some Famous Victories, of course. And The Gentle Giant’s two Brownlows to celebrate, But it was slim pickens for The Tigers across those decades.

    I was the only kid at school who barracked for Richmond. Essendon, Carlton & Melbourne were the glamour clubs in the forties & fifties. No one in Melbourne ever thought of barracking for Geelong. Now, when you get out of the cage for the first time in 37 years they come down on you like a ton of bricks.

    I reckon they’re scared Murray. We should feel obliged not to disappoint them.

  53. Growing up in the fifties, I remember the Tigers being pretty ordinary, Murray. At that time Melbourne supporters were turning hubris into an artform. They deserve to suffer another five decades.
    So you have earned the right to enjoy the Tiger resurgence. Not so those who got on the 67 – 74 bandwagon and have whinged ever since (apart from one fluke).
    So just for you, Murray, and a couple of other dear long suffering Tiger friends, wouldn’t a repeat of 1967 be good?

  54. That’s absolutely viral, Smokie. Spoken from the heart. I can deal with visceral hatred. There are some folk from North Ayrshire I dislike too. One of these days I will read all the responses you have generated, but meantime i’ve got to watch the Cats.

  55. I have hated Richmond ever since Roger Dean fibbed about Barassi punching him.

  56. I’ve hated Carlton ever since e Big Nick staged a knock down from a wild haymaker from Neville Crow, which cost the Richmond Captain his place in the 1967 Premiership side.

  57. Mark Giuliano says

    Well done Richmond FC

  58. I hope the Victorians that read this article can now understand the deep, visceral and irrational hatred that I (along with many other South Australians) have for Port. (Spits).


  60. murray walding says

    Don’t feel bad…we want you to hate us.

  61. My feelings have not changed one bit.

  62. Hope you’ve all enjoyed the Tiger dynasty. We might let another team have a turn this year. Might…

  63. Stainless says

    Ken – since you’ve revived this thread, let me weigh in. It’s apparent that the AFL wants the Tiger dynasty to end and are using their on-field officials to ensure that this occurs. Our negative free-kick differential as at Round 11 stood at more than double that of the next most disadvantaged club. Some of the umpiring performances this year have been laughable in their anti-Richmond zealotry. No surprises that the most egregious examples were our games against the AFL’s most adored children – the two Sydney clubs, the untouchable Bulldogs and their latest infatuation, Brisbane. After the last and most blatant instance of WWE-style officiating at the Gabba, I understand certain high-placed individuals from the RFC might have had a quiet word to the League about these goings on. Funnily enough, the Tigers seem to have had a better run from the fluoro maggots since then. Mind you, we’ve got the Weevils at Optus Stadium this week, so expect normal service to resume!

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