Nallei Jerring – My Footy Story: John Harms

My Dad was born in the Riverina in southern New South Wales in 1931. He played a lot of sport, especially tennis and cricket. He barracked for Geelong because his whole family did. His father had lived in Geelong from 1913 until 1925 and that’s when he got the passion for the Cats.

My Mum is from the Lockyer Valley in Queensland. She grew up on a potato and watermelon farm at Tent Hill. Her father played rugby league. He was a nippy little winger.

I was born in Queensland but when I was very young we went to live in Victoria. I was given my first Geelong jumper when I was about five. I used to listen to Geelong play on the radio, and watch the replays on TV, as well as read about footy in the newspapers. I also played junior footy in Shepparton.

Our family (I have three brothers) watched the footy replay every Saturday night and we watched World of Sport on Sundays. Often my Mum would make sausage rolls for us to eat while we watched our old black and white TV. Sometimes she made hot dogs.

We used to play kick-to-kick after school. We collected footy cards which came in bubble gum packets.

However, when I was in Grade 5 we moved back to Queensland. At first this made me sad, because I wasn’t able to follow Geelong very easily, but I soon settled in and played rugby league for Oakey Junior RLC.

So I grew up following both footy and rugby league.

The team I have most loved in any sport throughout my whole life is Geelong. I wrote a book about being a footy fan called Loose Men Everywhere. After that book was published in 2002 my wife Susan and I moved to Melbourne and I was able to go to the footy nearly every week.

In recent years the Cats have been a fantastic footy side. They’ve won three premierships.

By coincidence our three children were born in those premiership years: Theo in 2007, Anna in 2009, and Evie in 2011.

They are starting to love footy as well. Of course we all barrack for Geelong.

Footy has always been fun for me. I have always enjoyed meeting people through footy. I also love the game. I love how spectacular and exciting it is and how skilful and courageous the players are. And I love writing about footy.

Footy is just fantastic.


About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and He has written columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, Play On, The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story and Life As I Know It (with Michelle Payne). He appears (appeared?) on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted [email protected] He is married to The Handicapper and has three school-age kids - Theo, Anna, Evie. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst four. His ambition was to lunch for Australia but it clashed with his other ambition - to shoot his age.


  1. Cheryl Critchley says

    They are great memories John. Ours was a fantastic footy era to grow up in ie the 1970s and 1980s. Footy was a lot more pure and it was more about the game than the politics. It is a different game now; good in some ways, not so good in others. But we all still love it!

Leave a Comment