Oh To Be An Arrogant Magpie!

An arrogant Collingwood supporter. How I wish I was an arrogant Collingwood supporter. Unfortunately, being fifty years old and having supported Collingwood since pre-birth (my mother tells me I went to a post-season night game while still in the womb),  there has been only one premiership in my lifetime. And that was twenty years ago. The team we defeated in 1990, Essendon, has won two premierships since then. One premiership in fifty years. How can you be arrogant with that sort of record? Even Melbourne has won more premierships in that period, and they haven’t won since ’64.

Three weeks ago Collingwood was a game clear on top of the ladder. Last time they had been in that position was in 1990. Looking good! Will give it a shake! Must be close to premiership favourites. That wasn’t me talking. That was people trying to rev me up. But I wasn’t biting. I had precedent on my side. When Tony Shaw was coach I think we used to win the first five games of the season and then lose the next seventeen. It probably wasn’t all seventeen – it just felt like it. Year after year. In ‘02 there was an honourable grand final loss to Brisbane. The following year a very dishonourable one to the same conqueror. In ’07 there was an honourable preliminary final loss to Geelong. In ’09 a very dishonourable one to the same conqueror.

At the turn of the century it was the Essendon supporters who were the worst. Their arrogance knew no bounds. And it seemed they were everywhere. Fortunately, “the greatest team ever” was only able to claim one premiership. Essendon supporters have since gone back into their shells. Then there was Brisbane. Mind you, you had to be unlucky to actually encounter one. Maybe it was just their players who exuded arrogance. For example that arrogant Lynch picking on poor Rhys Shaw. Or that arrogant Jason Akermanis picking on everyone, including his own coach.

Now it is Geelong supporters. But theirs seems to be less about arrogance. It is their smugness which grates. You read it everywhere on this Almanac website. I blame John Harms and his book “Loose Men Everywhere”. For years they had sought the sympathy of the supporters of successful teams. Look how downtrodden and deprived we are. Don’t you feel sorry for us? Look at all those grand final losses in the 1980s and ‘90s. Surely having suffered so long we deserve some success? And so when Geelong flogged Port Power in ’07, other Victorian-based non-Geelong supporters almost celebrated with them. And the following year when they lost what they should never have lost, there was another wave of sympathy, so when success came again in ‘09, it was only the St Kilda supporters who wished those provincial boys any ill.

Here we are, half way through the season and Geelong are a game clear on top of the ladder. And I have to put up with those afore-mentioned Almanackers,  you know who you are Mr Flynn, Mr O’Donnell and the rest of you smug lot, with your little side conversations about how different it feels going into a game expecting to win and how even if you don’t win this year you still have the satisfaction of those two premierships in the last three years but it would be okay if you did win and isn’t our recruiting manager deserving of a knighthood and how good is the sperm of those past players?

If I was an arrogant Collingwood supporter, I would be gloating about the win over the bulldogs. But all I see are the last six goals. Like those last eight goals a couple of rounds earlier. Or those tin-arsed Fevola goals just one week earlier. I see our Captain being beaten in one-on-one contests by a specialist full-back, being moved from him and being beaten again. I see our will-o-the-wisp forward going for a late game speccy when a simple shepherd of his opponent under the ball would have had him running into an open goal. I see a margin of just ten points when it had been forty-eight. I see a danger game on the Queen’s birthday, in the MCC members surrounded by arrogant Melbourne supporters who treat the members as theirs and how dare Collingwood supporters be allowed entry at all let alone be allowed to join. I see Collingwood second on the ladder but know how easily they could fall. And I long for the day when I too could celebrate a premiership, not as a first premiership for thirty-two years, but as a premiership we deserve having won the previous year, and maybe even the year before that. I long for the day when I truly can be an arrogant Collingwood supporter.

About Andrew Fithall

Probably the most rational, level-headed Collingwood supporter in existence. Not a lot of competition mind you.


  1. Dave Nadel says

    Excellent post Andrew.

    Arrogant Collingwood supporters existed during the first forty years of the twentieth century when we really were the strongest most successful team in the VFL. In the last forty years of the twentieth century (and the first ten of this century)arrogant has been replaced by anxious.

    In 1990, sitting in the Southern Stand at the Grand Final I didn’t really believe we had won until Monkey kicked our final goal. At that point we were eight goals ahead and most commentators had given us the game at least thirty minutes earlier. But I had seen Collingwood wrest defeat from the jaws of Victory so many time in the preceeding 32 years that I couldn’t believe that something wouldn’t go wrong. (Neil Crompton, Barry Breen, Ron Barassi and Ted Hopkins, Wayne Harmes and the blind boundary umpire, etc.etc.)

    That was 1990. 2002 and 2003 were still to come. I know very few arrogant Collingwood supporters. All I know are anxious Collingwood supporters like you and I, Andrew.

  2. Andrew Fithall says

    Thanks Dave. In 1970 did TH have to submit a sample? Has it been tested? He never did anything post that game. And I have had independently assessed via sophisticated mapping and GPS technology, the actual location of the ball in 1979. It was 3.724 metres outside the boundary.

    Having read my article, my Geelong-supporting wife asked if I needed a hug. Still they patronise us (or is that matronise? Or uxorise?) when all we are looking for is success.

  3. John Butler says

    It was in I tell you!

  4. John Butler says

    Honest injun it was!

  5. John Butler says

    You can do anything with Photoshop nowadays.

  6. Smug??? Moi!!

    Andrew – my cousin who is some years older than me and largely responsible for my family’s Geelong support said after the 2009 Grand Final win:

    “They can’t hurt me anymore.”

    Cats people aren’t smug – just rather pleased. Surely you can understand that?

  7. Danielle says

    Andrew, interesting piece :)
    Looks like you have broken my record, i went to my first Collingwood game when i was one.
    i don’t think i am an arrogant Magpie.
    While i love to win and bask in the glory, i only do so because i want to while i can.
    Only Collingwood can set your hopes high and send them crashing right down.
    Grandfinal 2002,i never thought i would be the same again.
    2003- don’t even go there.
    Then all the semi finals lost against Geelong, hell we Collingwood supporters have been through a lot and let me tell you, my heart is tired of breaking. :(


  8. Andrew Fithall says

    Like the cat that’s got the cream Dips.

  9. Andrew Fithall says


    I hope you don’t have to wait until you are thirty to celebrate Collingwood’s first premiership.

  10. johnharms says

    Neither do I Danni, I hope you’re 79.

  11. Danielle says

    10- omg! JTH!! don’t say that!
    i want to be cute and pretty when we win! not OLD!! :(

  12. Steve Healy says

    you’ll still be cute and pretty in the bingo room

  13. Danielle says


  14. Andrew, there is a difference between smugness and well-placed confidence :p

    Seriously, though, I do want to punch several of my fellow Geelong supporters in the face – I hope I’m not as bad as them!

    Besides which, 2008 was a perfect example of where arrogance lands you. I hope I wasn’t the only one to learn from that … (*hint HINT*, Geelong players!!!)

  15. smokie88 says

    For a second there you almost had me sympathising…
    But you are correct: there are plenty of adjectives I would use to describe Collingwood supporters before I used the word “arrogant”.

  16. I think Collingwood supporters get the arrogance bum rap from Eddie. He exudes and enables it with his constant bleating about how badly done by they are. When they have more advantages than any other club in history!

    Then again, perhaps the perceived arrogance may well be the difference between their perception of their abilities compared to the realities of their playing group.

    Oh, hang on. I just looked up the definition of arrogance in the trusty Macquarie dictionary…

  17. Herb alias Tim says

    Andrew, Harmes jumped the fence with ball in arm bought a pie and jumped back again and still wasn’t called by steve wonder the boundary ump !!! Melbourne game showed why we have to keep a lid on any expectations !!! Is is true Ted H is a mate of Ossie Osborne, Keith Richards and others like St.Kilda Mark from todays sun !!!!

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