Old school footy books

Footy books. I have hundreds of them. Sourced from op-shops, fetes and second hand book stores. I even shell out for the odd new book. My books don’t just sit their gathering dust either, I give them a good working over where possible.

 Read the full yarn and see some cracking books from the past here.

About John Carr

First and foremost, I'm a Richmondite- 5th generation and dyed in the wool. I love the club, but also have a love for the game itself, and love to explore the cultural and social aspects of Australian Rules football. I am married with 4 kids, and also have a love of music, and run a small recording studio http://theholybootsfootballemporium.wordpress.com/


  1. Martin Reeves says

    I used to pore over my copy of ‘Grand Finals – Victorian Australian Rules’ Greatest Moments’. Great publication, don’t think I’ve got it anymore. Good find.

  2. Love old footy books. My oldest one is The Footballer annual from 1878 which was the second year of the VFA and 19 years before the VFL was formed. I also found copies of the 1875, 1876, 1877, 1879 and 1880 annuals and photocopied them for the State Library in the 1990’s so they should be available for anyone to read who is interested in the formative years of the game.

    I grew up admiring Skilton, Hudson, Stewart, Barassi, Whitten purely from what I had read about them as I never saw any of them play. I don’t know how many times I borrowed Ron Barassi’s Football Book, How To Play Football or the History of the Brownlow when I was in Primary School in the mid 70’s.

    You can never have enough good footy books and I think the Almanac is one of the modern day continuations of that great genre.

  3. Andrew Starkie says

    A full-forward line made in heaven: Blight, Wade, Cable

  4. Absolutely wonderful, JC. I got goosebumps reading it.
    As a kid in the 60’s I had some sort of footy book (don’t remember the title) like “Footy Greats”. A4 with a full plate black and white photo of a ‘star’ with a couple of pages profile alongside. As a South Australian I don’t think it was all VFL.
    I remember it had the famous photo of Hayden Bunton Jnr being chaired off (hands clasped in triumph) with blood trickling down his face – from Swan Districts first flag in 1961. By the time I saw Bunton he was Captain Coach of Norwood in the SANFL in the mid 60’s. I was fascinated by his mixed Vic/WA/SA history, and the story told how his father drove him to Moana Beach to run through the water to strengthen his legs after recovering from polio.
    Funny how little stuff sticks in my mind nearly 50 years later.
    I’m pretty sure that the book had the famous Hayden Bunton Senior photo of him gracefully in mid air in the old Fitzroy jumper and the ball tucked under his left armpit.
    I reckon there was a posed photo of Kevin Murray lining up a drop kick.
    The rest escapes me. But I would love to know what the book was so I could try to find a copy.
    Wonderful, wonderful JC. Memories are often better than current reality.

  5. haiku bob says

    great stuff JC.
    i can now smell the dog-eared copy of The Courage Book of VFL Finals on my primary school library shelf. the only book I think I ever borrowed.

  6. Thanks John.
    A great link – but be warned readers, you’ll get lost for hours in the magnificent images!

  7. John Carr says

    Hey guys,
    Martin, I hope that bought back some good memories for you, as it did me whilst putting it together.

    And aussie80’s, I love your point about the almanac being a modern day continuation of great footy books, both the actual book and online material. Thanks for the heads up about those very early books in the library, will have to make some time to get in there.

    And Andrew, Blight, Wade and Cable is frighteningly good!

    Pete B, have to admit to the odd goosebump myself putting it together. I know the Bunton picture you’re talking of, mid air, looking every bit a champion- an athlete before his time. And that pic of Bunton jnr is a classic too.

    Haiku bob, I have to admit sticking my nose into the book and taking a strong whiff of the past. Books don’t smell like that anymore. And crio, the photos I omitted! I barely scratched the surface. Picked the ones that made an impact on me as a kid but there are some pearlers I omitted in the name of keeping things compact!

    Cheers guys

  8. I still have a copy of Hooked on Football by Dermie in the bathroom, for some reason when I was a kid I wrote numbers on shorts and sleeves of some photos. I also know my Uncle had a copy of Brian Taylor’s 1990 Collingwood diary as well which I read once or twice, not sure if he still has it now (probably either deep in storage or on a bookshelf in WA). Perhaps I should look harder in the charity shops to find these reads, it’s about time to update the library.

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