I’m sick of footy


I’m sick of footy.

I’m tired of 24 hour, 365 days a year media saturation.  Hirdy on the front page in January.  Fev playing the pokies in February.  Ricky Nixon and a teenage girl.  Sordid, seedy, eploitive, embarrassing, boring.  I don’t need to hear and read about that stuff.  I don’t frigging care about players’ private lives.  What happens if Fev ends up alone and dead in some dingy apartment?  A tragedy for his family and friends, yet the biggest day since Carey left North for many of Melbourne’s so called sports journos.  And for those sagging middle-aged men who have fantasies over 17 year old girls: spend a day at a girls’ school.  You’ll be over it by recess.

I’m tired of watching shit football.  Over analysed, over coached, over cooked football.  Tell yourself something enough times and eventually you will believe it.  You will believe the best way to score goals is to go backwards.  Or to crowd your forward line.  You will believe in structures, set ups, rotations, forward presses, backward presses.  You will  bench your best player 6 minutes into the first quarter of the season or during the last quarter of the grand final because some bloke with a science degree said you should.  I’m tired of seeing five assistant coaches, who look fitter and more buff than during their playing days, running off the ground at the end of ¾ time, yet the players on the field couldn’t hit a London bus from five metres.  Of course, they can’t practise their goal kicking because of potential soft tissue damage. 

I’m tired of going to games and not seeing a curtain-raiser and not being able to see the hear myself think because of the blaring music or dickhead ground announcer yelling at me.  I went to the Saints and Cats Friday night. It was a shocking game.  Defensive, sloppy, indirect.  Why do two the strongest teams in the AFL play scared?  Pre-match, the ’91 elimination final between the same teams was shown on the big screens.  Was this a substitute for a curtain raiser?  It was brilliant, fast, attacking, end to end stuff and embarrassed the match that followed.

AFL football has been a shit spectacle for a few years now.  The occasional attractive game and recent close grand finals have distracted us from the garbage.

I’m tired of rule changes.  The pre-season cup looked like a primary school lightening premiership and this substitute rule is a joke.  If the AFL wants to decrease the use of interchange, place a cap on rotations.  Simple. We have the greatest game in the world, why do we have to change it all the time?  Leave it alone.  LEAVE IT ALONE! Get rid of the rules committee.

I’m being self-indulgent, I know, but I’m tired of the way my football team, North Melbourne, is treated.  Look at the fixture.  It’s not a draw, it’s a fixture.  It’s fixed.  Compromised.  Round 1 last season, we were away to Port Adelaide on a rainy Sunday.  I found a tiny TV in the back bar at the Rose Hotel, Fitzroy showing it.  The grand prix was on the big screen in the front bar.  Round 1 2011, we play West Coast away on Sunday night.  That’s right, 7.10pm Sunday night.  My sister has FOX, I may be able to watch it at hers.  The kids will have to go to bed at half-time, it’s a school night.  North play one game in Melbourne in the first four – Collingwood, round 2.  That’s some compensation, I suppose.  Round three is the bye and the next week we’re back in Perth, away to Freo, again on Sunday night.  Imagine doing that to the Magpies or Carlton or Essendon.  There’d be a frigging revolution.  For the record, Richmond play all of the first four rounds at the MCG.  This is a club that hasn’t won a chook raffle since Neighbours was on ch.7.  We’ve won two effing flags in that time.  Two effing flags.  Coincidentally, we play the Tigers round 5, at the Docklands, Easter Sunday.  There will be bugger all there because of religious and secular holidays and people will ask: ‘Why can’t North drag a crowd?’  While CEO, Andrew Demetriou, will probably be photographed like a mob boss, discussing his two million dollar pay packet.  Demetriou grudgingly tolerates North Melbourne.  We are the relative he invites to his party because he has to.  He wanted us to go the Gold Coast.  We would have gone if he wasn’t so arrogant.  Our board voted 4 to 3 against relocation because the AFL demanded ownership of the club and that we moving, not when we wanted, when Demetriou insisted.  It’s his fault we’re still hanging around. 

I know, I know, I know.  AFL footy is a business.  TV ratings, potential audiences, crowd sizes, memberships, markets.  I don’t give a shit.  Football will always be first and foremost, sport.  Where’s the even playing field?

I’m pissed off and I’m sick of football.  But I feel a bit better having had my vent.


  1. John Butler says

    Andrew, you can’t wait until the end of term from the sounds of it.

    Hard to argue with your assessment of North’s treatment in the fixture. Though you’ll never get AD to fess up.

    And yes, Friday night’s effort was a shocker.

  2. Andrew,

    come to the boutique Penguin football ground next saturday arvo and watch the young Wynyard Cats have a crack at the big spenders of the comp.

    No bullshit, hard at it inter town rivalry from a young kids, many of whom would like to be surfing, with a noisy can bar and the final result influencing how two small Tasmanian north west coast towns function the next week.

    I’ll buy you a butchers shop sav and a cup of home made pumkin soup.

    (I loved the Cat’s win on Friday night. Arm wrestle or 100 metre dash: a win is a win)

  3. Wasn’t around for that 90’s football but I wholeheartedly agree with all of this. Footy was so much better back then. St Kilda should be fined for shaming the name of our game.

    Footy used to be about the 18 on one side, and the other 18 players on the other team. Now umpires, officials, coaches, doctors, sport scientists etc. outnumber the players.

    Good luck for the game tonight Andrew, we’ll need it.

  4. Phil Dimitriadis says


    I empathize. I too was watching the ’91 Elimination Final and marveling at how open the play was. More of the traditional skills were on display and zones and structures meant nothing.

    43,000 turned up for the game on Friday. Two years ago that fixture would have drawn at least 70,000. Crowds across all games were down. Maybe people are voting with their feet, but I saw two great games of footy this weekend, Crows v Hawks and Melb v Syd were fine contests, where skill, courage and attacking flair reigned.

    The AFL is trying hard to ostracize us, but keep the faith Andrew and hopefully the game will rise above the bullshit.

  5. Peter Flynn says

    G’day Andrew,

    The draw is the AFL’s weapon of mass destruction.

    I can’t see things changing.

  6. David Downer says

    Superb rant A.Starkie!


  7. Damo Balassone says

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head Andrew. It’s quite ironic that we are saturated with silly footy gossip stories all summer and then you can’t even watch your team play in Round 1 without great logistical pain.

    One thing to add to your rant – that you may have missed because you were at the game on Friday night (Geel vs. St K), but how bad was Channel 7’s coverage? I’m not talking about the ridiculously late delay – I’m talking about the camera angles they use. The ball is kicked into the forward line and suddenly they switch to a camera angle which is like a worms view of the game – you don’t know where the player with the ball is, in the context of the goals and in the context of where other players who may be able to tackle him are. You lose navigational sense at the most crucial times.

    It is SO frustrating. Am I the only one to notice this?

  8. Peter Flynn says


    That camera angle is no good. I’m with ya.

  9. Absolutely agree Damo. I like how soccer is filmed. Mainly long to medium shots so you can understand the action as well as get a sense of what is happening up the ground.

    Footy coverage is so intent on the close up with no regard for moving the camera position back and forth across the imaginary 180 degree line, breaking filming 101’s basic rule. It is almost impossible for the viewer to maintain a sense of perspective of the game’s movement.

    And AS, well said. Footy is a great game that its custodians seem hell bent on bending outa shape. I read somewhere (may have even been on this site) that if soccer players were transported from 1910 to the current day, it would take 10 minutes to brief them on the changes made to that sport in 100 years and they’d be able to hit the field running. How would an Aussie Rules player from 100 years ago cope with all the changes to our game?

  10. Andrew Starkie says

    Thanks for the feedback, boys. Apologies for the incoherent parts.

    Woke up Saty morning a bear with a sore head after a mongrel week at work and enduring that garbage on Fri night.

    SOme days I just get fed up.

    And another thing….

  11. Peter Flynn says

    Big test six days after playing in the heat.

    Your rant is understandable AS.

  12. Ian Syson says

    Rick, it may only take ten minutes to brief them but it would take a long time for them to ingest the rules, especially the absence of the shoulder charge rule (which basically was the same kind of thing as a hip and shoulder in footy). Goalkeepers especially would take a while to make the many adjustments to their role, such as not being able to accept a back pass or handle outside the area and the fact that while they were stationary with the ball in their hands they would no longer be fair game for the aforesaid shoulder charge. They would feel like a protected species today.

    The players would find the off-side trap slightly easier to implement as well.

    Isn’t the problem for footy that the field is just too big to achieve that balance between close-up and long view. It’s a much better spectacle at the ground TBH — as I found when I first went to a game.

  13. Off-side games are TV friendly. Some of the more distant shots seemed OK on the weekend, but I really just want being there to be as closely simulated as possible. I can’t believe how the field gets swarmed by tossers and cameras at cricket and footy before and after games. Surely with ZOOMS any producer can get his focus easily. It is just very intrusive.
    Andrew, North have a bad draw coming back from the heat…and that’s their last chance v 2010’s spooner! But you have a good squad and a good coach…and 2011 was never the target anyhow.

  14. Ian Syson says

    Crio, is hockey TV friendly? I think it is as TV friendly as soccer (though maybe the ball is a little small) and it doesn’t have offside.

    Soccer’s TV friendliness is more to do with the size of the field of play than the offside rule.

  15. Rick Kane says


    Hi Ian (#12) and Crio (#13), and apologies to AS for taking this tangent (if you follow a hyperlink on this article, it does in a round about sorta way go into some aspects of what you raise). I found the article I was referring to about soccer and thought you might be interested in reading it, but not necessarily agreeing with it.


  16. H of Burwood says

    I have just shown your post to my wife and she reckons I must have written it for you.It is exactly how I feel about what is happening to our game.
    The credibilty of the AFL is seriously compromised by the fixed fixture and unnecessary rule changes.For goodness sake why don’t they just let the game evolve naturally – the paying public are being manipulated and will only put up with it for so long.
    I like your style Andrew – keep up the good work.

  17. I’m completely with you Andrew. I’m sick of footy too.

    I have long found ridiculous the AFL’s efforts to keep itself newsworthy over summer. Five years ago this showed itself in unending beefcake shots of Shane Crawford, or breathless reporting of anybody from Collingwood (but especially Nathan Buckley) doing absolutely anything from breaking wind onwards, or the latest world-saving wisdom from some guy called Kevin something who apparently coached Essendon in his spare time from negotiating world peace and saving the environment. But that was merely boring, as are the ongoing AFL summer media showpieces (such as the drafts and trading period, and the pre-season comp which as Andy D admitted recently serves no purpose besides clogging up the news cycle). The Nixon and Fevola sagas are a whole new low in this regard.

    But even in-season I am now really starting to resent, and question, the hold of the AFL on my daily life. Last year, a difficult one personally, on a couple of occasions I allowed matters AFL to invade my thoughts with that AFL-patented sense of entitlement, like the public bar bore yapping in your ear when all you want is time to yourself.

    Once I was staying at a mate’s place and his son introduced me to the wonders of Google Earth. So there I was, giving them the e-tour of places I’d lived and telling stories, when I hit ‘return’ once too often and found myself back on Google’s home page. There, in their news column, was the report of my team’s latest match. I had blissfully forgotten they were playing. They had lost, but was that the point? Even if they had won, why did I need to know then instead of waiting to read about it in the next day’s paper?

    Then, at the writers’ festival, I had given up on the Sydney-Carlton elimination final at half time as I settled down over a cappucino and waited for a Shane Howard ‘jam session’ to start in one of those bars on Fed Square half an hour later. Carlton’s season was over and all I felt was relief. Then, as I got up to follow the masses to the room where Shane was appearing, I looked out of the window onto Princes Bridge and there was a bloke, in blue and white from head to toe, with a tranny to his ear, going absolutely ballistic. So I dash back to the car, and find that Carlton are in front. No time for further details, rush back to Fed Square, and for the first half of the concert I’m getting my breath back and for the second I’m thinking more about whether Carlton hung on more than about the music I had paid to listen to.

    And we all know the rest. This year, that won’t happen. If I’m doing somethine else any time this season, Carlton can take a queue ticket and bloody well wait in line.

  18. Good Stuff Starkie!
    With you on those points.

  19. im the wife of a mad roosters” NRL’ supporter , took a few years but im converted i actually enjoy the game and love too watch my hubby get wound up over his team ect, what im absolutely fed up of is how the media coverage of the players private lives is over shadowing the footy games week in week out if one player does anything remotely wrong ( God forbid the young players could be Human) then its sensationalised over n over, on every sport show all wk long Everyone has an opinion on what should be done how the players should be punished ect,ect its just ridiculous and getting worse, is it too much to ask that football shows actually talk footy!!! n let up on the gossip

  20. Hear, hear, Angie.

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