News Flash: Floreat Pica Society Spy escorted from closed Carlton training session!!

This morning a colleague (lets call him Agent 86) and I had a business meeting in Parkville. 86 is originally from the USA and like most of us blokes is sports mad. After 9 years in Melbourne I regard him as a true blue Aussie and he loves his footy, sport, beer and most secret men’s business – [As evidence for his first AFL game we were guests in a corporate box. At ¼ time I dragged him away from the free Crownies and we ventured into standing room behind the Pies cheersquad so that he could experience the true spirit of footy. It was worth noting that the lure of Party Pies and those free Crownies were the only things that got us back upstairs to the box]. He also has a great interest in sports stadia and VFL history, so when we walked out of the meeting we just had to walk across the road to visit “Princess” Park. One day in the mid 2000s we took a lunchtime trip out to Vic Park to soak up the atmosphere of the Holy Land, and whilst in Perth on a business trip, we swung the rental car past the WACA and Subi for a quick visit, so why not drop in on the cheats from Parkville.

As any of the 40+ year old FPS Faithful will know, this ground holds many memories, most of which would provide the mental health industry with enough fodder and cash for eternal prosperity. So it was with much trepidation for my state of wellbeing and the fear of upsetting my breakfast, that we approached the outer forward pocket turnstiles. I checked to make sure my wallet and valuables were secure (you never know with these Carlton types). As I launched my first step into the stadium, I had this inexplicable medical affliction causing an instant urge to clear my throat.

I soldiered on and as I walked up into the terraces the sight of the obscene John Elliott Stand and the rickety old wooden tinder box hit me in the face. Strangely, my immediate reaction was not one of fear or despair, there was nostalgia, confidence and nobility. My memory went back to the early 70s with visions of Macca, Thommo, Price and the Richardsons in the traditional “white” shorts away strip. Gone was the loathsome Heatley Stand and evil Social Club, where their years of cheating and scheming was no doubt devised.

Amid the reminiscing I realised that Carlton were actually out on the ground training and there was a small crowd of about 30 school kids watching them go through their boisterous paces. Given their irrelevance to the moment, I returned to my memories and had visions of Ricky Barham right in front of me kicking his 5 goals against Hawthorn in his first season and then, as always, Daics appeared. With his 7 goals running rings around the Flying Doormat & Kenny Hunter on the day where the unusual but never forgotten cry of “Long Live Hannebury” echoed through the scoreboard end crowd when he kicked his running goal to sink the Blues. Daics popped up again with 7 big ones against the Roys in 1990, including another of his 70 metre torps.

After a minute or two of talking to 86 about some of the history of the stands and the epic battles against three foes, I was about to wander around to the sacred Stan ‘The Man’ Magro wing. Now that was a day! As a 15 year old I arrived just on siren time (after high-tailing it after my morning game of footy) and the only viewing point was standing on a handrail on the stairwell that led up the terrace area of the big dipper stand on the outer wing. When Stan ironed out Jezza, I was ten metres away and had a perfect view of the whole incident. My efforts that day were worthy of pre-qualification for the Australian Olympic Gymnast team as I balanced on the handrail, my hands raised high wildly appluading and verbally battling with 50 or so Blues’ members who were baying for blood!

I returned to the now again, and as we stood there in our suits with our laptop bags, we were about to wander around to the Magro wing, when we noticed an official looking bloke dressed in Navy Blue attire walking our way with intent. As he approached I recognised him as Footy Admin Manager (andformer recruiting manager, who I’m sure had a hand in the sly devious underhanded cheating recruitment of Kernahan, Bradley and Motley in the mid 80s), Shane O’Sullivan.

“Are you guys with anyone?” he asked us with a Kaos-like interrogative tone.

“What” we mumbled with bemusement, and followed with “nah, there’s just us two”.

“No, are you with anyone , you know a club?” his words stumbling not understanding that we had zero interest in Carlton itself.

“No mate, we’re just checking out the old ground” I said.

“This is a closed training session” he blurted out as he finally cut to the chase.

“Oh well mate the gate was open so we just walked in. We’re not with anyone, but you are the hated opposition, I’m a Pies Man, but we’re nothing official” I said.

“You’re going to have to leave, that’s the way out there” he bluntly instructed.

“Yeah, we know, that’s the way we came in”.

So, there it was. 86 and I were accused of being Spies and were booted out of an official closed training session!!!

Even given the curious eviction, 86, with his relentless AFL curiosity intact asks, “whats up with that? It’s not like we were heckling or taking photos”…… I said, ” Mate, its Carlton”

On the way out I was thinking about a closed training session. I might write a quick note to the Blues with some advice. I know Sticks is not the sharpest President on the golf course, Turncoat Swanny is usually distracted with counting his “defection money” and Juddy is busy entertaining umpires and filling the paper recycling bin, but surely there’s someone with some time or brainpower to put a lock on the gate if it’s a closed training session!

Go Pies & Floreat Pica.

About Ramon Dobb

A footy and cricket fanatic. A lifelong passionate one eyed Mighty Magpie fanatic. My writing is unashamedly written with one black & white eye open only - so please don't take offence, it's nothing personal, it's just the black & white way! Also a lifelong player and member of Washington Park Cricket Club, the Mighty Sharks. My 15 minutes of fame includes regular contributions to Hot Pies, the 1999-2004 Fanzine, and regular contributor to the Coodabeen Champions weekly competition from their heady 3RRR days. Go Pies and Floreat Pica.


  1. John Butler says

    FP’s the Collingwood ASIO?

    Sounds like security was being run by ASIO.

    Mr O’Sullivan will be reprimanded.

    He forgot to charge you admittance.

  2. Dave Nadel says

    Thank you for stating the Carlton etho$ so well, JB.

  3. John Butler says

    That’ll be $5 thanks Dave.

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