Re-writing the laws of Maths: The bare-faced cheek and bulldust spin doctoring about names on jumpers

I don’t have a strong opinion either way about player names being on the back of jumpers.

I can’t really see the point personally, and having attended the game on Easter Monday, it does nothing to help a fan pick out who is who from a distance if you aren’t sure of some players.

Similarly, having watched a few games on the TV, it may have helped a bit, but the commentators usually told me who was who.

So, I can’t see it helping much, but I also don’t see it as the end of the game as we know it and a rush towards an NBA style look.

(Of course, I understand and accept the move isn’t aimed at me as a spectator to aid in my enjoyment of the great game. It’s aimed at merchandising and selling more stuff, so at least we should be honest.)

As with issues like countdown clocks and the status of the roof at Etihad, I fear my views on hanging onto the old stuff about the game seem more and more outmoded.

But regardless of what transpires, I do have a strong feeling about being lied to. I also have a strong view about maths, having a high level of respect for the science of mathematics as I struggled with it so much at school.

Below is a verbatim extract from an article published today on the AFL’s website about the positive reaction to the names on jumpers:

THE AFL is set to investigate the permanent use of player names on jumpers following a “very positive” response from fans throughout the round five trial.

The AFL said immediate fan reaction indicated an appetite for the concept.

“The feedback across the weekend has been very positive and now we plan to gauge the views of the fans directly via a survey before determining next steps,” an AFL spokesman told

AFL Media monitored fan responses across its social media platforms from last Monday when the jumper designs were unveiled and throughout the Easter round in which they featured.

Almost 4000 responses from fans were gathered across a number of platforms.

The immediate response was positive with 62 per cent of social media interactions tracked between Monday and Wednesday last week complimentary of the concept.

After the named jumpers made their debut on Thursday night in the Brisbane Lions-Richmond clash at the Gabba, the social media feedback from fans changed.

The sentiment dropped to 40 per cent with the majority of comments claiming the lettering was too small to be effective in a live game.

Across the entire period from last Monday to this Tuesday, positive sentiment on the topic sat at 48 per cent, with plenty of interest from fans

What the? Without being too subtle, what the sam-hell part of 48% liking something is “very positive”?

To summarise the article, before it happened, 62% thought it sounded OK in concept, but once it happened in real life, only 40% liked it.

On average, 48% thought it was OK in the before and after group.

I always thought that being positive meant something was seen as good? So, once people saw the change, well over half didn’t like it?! And that’s from a reasonably small sample size of 4000 people, and only those who bothered to use social media to talk about it.

And that’s a positive response from fans nationally? Spare me.

Forgive my old fashioned look at maths, but isn’t getting 48% a fail? If you launched a product and over half the populations didn’t like it, would you see it as a success?

Dear AFL, if you are going to lie to me, and I know you are, could you please have the decency to just lie to me, and not treat me like a complete and utter moron with a story that brings up as many clichés about driving trucks through holes and Swiss cheese as you want to mention.

Can you imagine if elections or exam results were decided like this?

Maths is an exact science. (Unless you really want to sell more jumpers.)

But this takes the cake. I imagine the league could spin it and win it both ways. If support dropped from 62 to 40% upon implementation, they’d announce they’d look into why the drop and continue to fiddle with the concept, retaining it until it just became part of the fabric. Or, if support dropped from 62 to 40%, (which it did), then they’d just lie and say it was overwhelmingly positive?

Iraqi Information Minister, come back, all is forgiven.

Heads I win, tails you lose. What a crock. Not only does the AFL ignore us, they cannot add up and spin a bulldust story with any flair.

I give up.




About Sean Curtain

"He was born with a gift of laughter, and a sense that the world was mad". First line of 'Scaramouche' by Sabatini, always liked that.


  1. MGLFerguson says

    That was decidedly Orwellian.

  2. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Does anyone have any first hand knowledge of the people responsible for putting out this sort of drivel ?

    Are they “footy people” or “marketing dudes/dudesses” ?

    Was the Almanac included in the “monitored fan responses”?

    Would they even be aware of the Footy Almanac?

  3. “You are a slow learner, Winston.”
    “How can I help it? How can I help but see what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four.”
    “Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.”
    George Orwell, 1984

    Thanks Sean. It is now beyond ridiculous.

  4. The game has survived for over 100 years without names on the jumpers. So why start now?
    There has been no demand for it.
    Last weekend’s experiment was a massive waste of time and effort. Surely there are bigger issues that the AFL should be concerned with?

  5. Luke Reynolds says

    What Smokie said…

    The back of jumpers are already cluttered enough with the sponsor and the number. The number is easily seen from the top deck of the MCG and is all we need.

  6. Cat from the Country says

    Remembering players name s is good for our brains, as we learn our new players names. Sometimes we get it wrong, but we soon learn.
    Who pays for the new jumpers?
    Clubs have better uses for their $.

  7. John Butler says

    Names that small are only designed for TV, No help at the ground whatsoever.

    The one that still gets me is the countdown clock. The sense of anticipation before the first bounce completely destroyed. Another chapter in AFL marketing’s’ war on silence at the footy. It seems to terrify them.

  8. MGLFerguson says

    …Who pays for the new jumpers…?

    Why, fans do. In droves.

    Think like an AFL exec. Imagine the horror of an unadorned Matthew Scarlett #30 jumper, purchased a couple of years ago for $130 ( counting the $10 surcharge for applying each digit), being able to be recycled this year as a Nathan Vardy #30 without being able to book any additional revenue.

    Names on the back of jumpers means up-to-date fans need a new jumper when old favorites retire. Or moves to another club in free agency.

    And while V-A-R-D-Y may only have five letters, each letter surely has to be worth an extra $5 at the Team Shop.

    Now imagine the pain of a Josh Hunt #8 becoming a #8 Jake Kolodjashnij…

  9. The whole issue of names on jumpers is like clubs having 3-4 different jumpers to wear depending on who/where they play. It is simply a money making marketing ploy.

    Showing my age, i recall watching footy on black and white TV’s in the 1970’s. If Essendon played Richmond, or North Melbourne played Collingwood, you could tell who was who, as the home team wore dark shorts, the away side, white shorts. There was no need for a range of different designed jumpers, let alone players names emblazened on them.


  10. Stainless says

    It was good to see that bloke “Walker” rescue Geelong in the last quarter on Monday. Lucky we could all see what his name was or we might have confused him with Tom Hawkins!

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