La Douleur

Wake me up on September 7. You’ve got my #sackmalthouse lotto entry for July 27. The struggle continues.

The Malthouse Era is coming to an end, as it should. Ratten was never going to be The Man and amazing as it sounds, after that close Semi Final of 2011, the Blues would be back to the promised land. To grab the glittering prize, a proven winner was needed. Yet the terrible decision was made on Malthouse, a shockingly retrograde step, a broken bitter caricature of his former self.

It is perfectly clear that after two rounds everyone, even the die hard supporters, have given up on Carlton in 2015. Yes, it’s as bad as that. It’s not even winter, it’s not even really cold. The sauce has barely touched the pie of the season and yet, you already feel like giving up and hoping it goes by quick. What a great way to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the glorious 1995 season. Oh, thankfully it’s an England Ashes this year to distract from the weekly two hours of hate…

Despite the promising performances in the opening stages of both games, the ineptness and the hopelessness of the remainder of both games was absolutely shocking. Against a team that might be rather middling and a team that hasn’t proven itself. Nobody has faith, not even the players, no matter how many times they’re walked out to the media to read off the club marketing script.

Part of it is a negative, defeatist coach that has infected the playing list and the club with his bitter attitude and war with a gleeful media. Part of it is recruiting mistakes of the past. But most importantly, it’s because the club badly needs to reinvent itself.

Despite the brief glimpses of sunshine that was 2008-11, over a decade of hurt continues. From the salary cap scandal onwards, to the continually bad recruiting, to the wooden spoons, to the Fevola circus, to the always-botched quick fixes derived from a previous time when Carlton reigned supreme in the free market world of football.

Carlton has never understood and never grasped the socialism of the modern day AFL. Quite understandable, as its nowhere to be found in the club’s DNA — this the club of Menzies, Fraser and Elliott, after all — but it will have to understand and learn how to operate in the modern football world or remain in the mire for a very long time.

A quick look at social media displays the negativity and the hate. The Blues are in pain again and it shows. The pain, the negativity of the club and the coach and even the boys in Blue on the oval have wrecked a hurt fan base.

Malthouse will be replaced with hopefully, just hopefully, a coach with an understanding of modern day footy.

But the club itself will need to be reborn. The Blues have a glorious past, but a past that has tied it down and influenced poor decisions, putting on the shackles to the gloom. Even the glimpses of gold during The Ratten Era were tinged with recent hurt and old ghosts, keeping the Blues away from true glory. The old ways no longer work, something that the club somehow has not yet understood despite the pain of the 21st century. Carlton needs to figure out what it stands for in the year twenty fifteen and it needs to stand for something that works.

The reinvention needs to happen before the Blues can recruit and develop appropriately. Before the Blues can win back its barrackers and boost memberships. Part of the reinvention by the way, is for the club leadership to listen to its barrackers – they haven’t listened to my complaints about interstate membership, by the way…

Changing back to the old jumper and crest was a terrific idea, to expunge some of the 21st century pain. It was the right decision but one feels that such a decision could only have been made, because it was an idea that ties back to the happier past. Some decisions need to be made to banish the past. Not the heritage, but the past.

The past ways that no longer work, they haven’t for such a long time, yet still influence the club’s thought processes. The idea that the club can buy, beg or steal great footballers, not have to develop them and win premierships, and that means everything else takes care of itself. The belief that success is obtained by the wallet and chutzpah, not developed planning and strategic development.

Sixteen premierships in the past won’t win a seventeenth. It’s well past time to say goodbye to several ghosts of Princes Park, the ones that still think it’s nineteen-something and they’re masters of the footy universe. Not breaking away from the past and such dated thinking will only cause more pain.

Er, and that means we need to figure out what Carlton stands for in 2015 and how that fits into the modern footy business. Answers on a postcard in a tweet, please.

About The Philby

Inconsistent contrarian. Barracker of Carlton FC and South Adelaide FC. Resident of Sydney. Holder of the record of shortest umpiring career with the South Australian Cricket Association.


  1. John Butler says

    Philby, much I agree with here. But a couple of things I don’t. My response is going to be much longer than a tweet.


  2. Philby, I am a cricket umpire and you MUST expand on your cricket umpiring career. The shortest I ever heard about was a bloke in the Merks, here in Melbourne, who was paid before the game started and he pissed off before the match started!!!

    I thought the first three paragraphs described the situation at Carlton very well.

  3. The 21st century saw Carlton get their first wooden spoon. You have almost equalled your longest period with out wining a flag. I’m not a Carlton fan by any stretch of the imagination but having had along association with suburb of Carlton have paid attention to the Bluebaggers travails. For a while, under, Brett Ratten, it seemed the club was starting to produce on the field, then Ka-boom ! He’s given the Tijuana Brass, replaced by a grumpy old man who’s best days are a memory. How your arch rivals from Carringbush must chortle at this event. Sure they’re not travelling well, but at least they realised Malthouse was past his prime. Sorry Philby along winter beckons. A new coach must be high on the wanted list, and how many of the current tam, apart from Murphy, Gibbs, maybe Kreuzer, if he’s ever fit, can give hope for the future. Good luck, your team needs more than that, a whole rebuilding from top to bottom. Oh well it’s not al gloom and doom this winter, as you said there’s an Ashes series.


  4. Sack the bastard.
    Jock McHale

  5. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    We’re the rest. F— Carlton

  6. The Philby says

    John – I’ll accept a YouTube vlog.

    Phil – I’ll have to write up on it one of these days. Not as bad as that bloke, of course! Ended up only umpiring a small handful of junior grade games (rather ineptly, admittedly) before getting into quite an argument with a former Test umpire half way during a game. I was an angry young man at the time. Spent more time training at Adelaide Oval than umpiring… Thanks for good feedback.

    Glen – I’m starting to believe the conspiracy theorists. Malthouse is a plot from the dastardly villains of the ‘wood! I don’t think the playing list is that dire – there’s a few others in the team that I can see coming up through the ranks – but yes, a lot of rebuilding awaits on the field.

    Peter – I did put my #sackmalthouse lotto entry in for after Game 715…

    Swish – mate, I still don’t know how to respond!

  7. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    As long as it’s with a smile Philby.

    (Was the argument with MG O’Connell or Col Egar ?)

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