Seasons pass


I hope technology never catches up with the trusty old season’s ticket.

You know, some kind of fingerprint or retina detection device at the turnstiles, hooked up to a central database.

It’s not out of the question.  After all, stadium security would love to better identify miscreants whom CCTV might’ve previously pinged for stacking their empty beer cups (yes this is an ejectible offence, at least it is at the cricket).

Although the first game I remember attending was the ’81 Prelim Final, to my regret a smallish stash of deteriorating Footy Records is the only record of my spectating career until 1989, when my collection of membership cards begin.

I’m somewhat proud of my unbroken chain, even if the club‘s records short change me by five years.  My slab of cards are safely lined up in date order in a small box in my bedroom drawer – a not-so grisly version of Dexter’s blood slides (granted the 1999 wooden spoon year was murder).

What the old cards lacked for creative design, they made up for in authenticity.  Edges resembing Joffa’s smile were a badge of honour.   There was no fudging one’s hardcore bona fides, the gate attendant saw to that.

Although in the days before barcodes, I’ll never forget the brouhaha caused by my late father’s card being punched incorrectly at Waverley.  Several weeks down the track things got a little hostile at the turnstile at Vic Park.  After a few pre-match nerve settlers, it wasn’t a wise move by the blue coat to take his honesty to task.  A willing exchange ensued, but thankfully another whole punch was avoided when he simply snatched back his card and marched on through.  Issue settled!   As someone with an aversion to confrontation, it was an unsettling preliminary to the main bout.

When Micky McGuane was jigging around the ‘G at his best, as the previous year’s Copeland Trophy winner he became the first player to adorn a season ticket in 1993.  Subsequently there have been a few unexplained exceptions.   For example, Paul Licuria can probably count himself unlucky to have been bumped for Josh Fraser in 2002, and a couple of times Chris Tarrant’s unprecedented popularity with (female) fans had the marketing and membership department in his thrall.  At least the great Dane this year (bad luck Pendles) has some merit, even if Copeland trumps Charlie according one-eyed ‘Pies.

There have been low points.  Little went right for Collingwood in the late ‘Nineties, and in 1998 the card featured the logo of would-be telecommunications giant Viatel.  The newly signed major sponsor went belly-up before a single card required scanning.

More annoyingly, by 2002 the fixture was no longer a fixture.  In the age of playing anytime, anywhere, it was kinda handy to have that information in your wallet rather than a stagnant magnet on the fridge at home.

There are of course two priceless season tickets.   Hopefully Swannie, absent from last years’, is the lucky charm to make 2012 another collectible for the grandkiddies.  Notwithstanding luck has yet to enter the equation, and if things don’t pick up soon there might be a few disgruntled members frisbeeing their cards into the Yarra Park ether.

I must say, whilst memberships are trumpeted as the be-all end-all by clubs, to me they have lost some of their lustre.  A plethora of membership types to suit every demographic, including the dubious 3-game variety, have seen to that.  I’ve even been unreliably informed GWS have an interstate baby pet rock category.  Consequently, no longer is ‘show us yer membership’ much of a comeback to clueless loud mouths.  As for the Grand Final and blockbuster games, a Magpie membership is often worth less than the plastic it’s printed on.

That said, my season tickets are possibly my most precious item of Collingwood memorabilia.  At least on a par with my jar of rancid Victoria Park mud from the ground’s farewell match in 1999!

Good times;                                     Bad times

About Jeff Dowsing

Washed up former Inside Sport and Sunday Age Sport freelancer. Now just giving my stuff away to good homes. Not to worry, still have my health and day job. Published & unpublished works fester on my blog Write Line Fever.


  1. Dave Nadel says

    But at least membership tickets still admit you to the ground. I took out social club membership in the same year that you did Jeff. I have 23 very attractive medallions. In the days that we still played the majority of our games at Victoria Park they were essential as they admitted me to the social club where the drinks and food were better than anywhere else on the ground and the atmosphere after the game (at least when we won) was pretty special.

    In more recent years the medallion got me into the Hassett Room which allowed a pre-game meal and drinks. This still gave me a place to meet my friends, but unfortunately the catering was by Spotless O’Brien which meant that it was overpriced crap.

    Once the Ponsford stand was rebuilt some Collingwood members got fantastic seats. We got ours by joining the Legends Club, which gave us fabulous seats and access to Grand Final tickets. But admission is via the Legends membership card not the medallion. The food offered members is the usual Spotless crap unless you pay a lot extra to book a table at the Harrison room which is available before Collingwood Home Games. I treasure my medallion as a symbol of my Collingwood loyalty but it doesn’t seem to serve any function. It probably ensures my elligibility to attend the stage managed exercise that Eddy stages in place of the Annual General Meetings and elections that we had during the first decade of my membership.

    I still collect Collingwood Medallions with the same pride that you collect memberships Jeff. But I feel a bit like a numismatist. Coin collectors still exist but where they once collected tokens of major importance they now collect pieces of metal with very limited use value.

  2. As someone who’s only prepared to take out a budget commitment I do feel for those like yourself Dave who are paying more and getting less than they used to, even compared to the rudimentary old social club that I was lucky enough to visit on the odd occasion. And more galling must be the ‘tightly controlled’ AGMs I’ve heard about.

    Sounds like they should just scrap the pointless social memberships and rename the other ‘Legends Social Club Membership’ or something to that effect.

    I reckon some MCC members must also question the value of their medallion nowadays. I can’t believe that rather than nominating a club of choice to allocate options on GF tickets they’re forced to camp outside the ground in a line that extends beyond the Hilton at 5am on GF morning.

  3. Great stuff Jeff. Looks like 1999 was the final time they clipped the games out. You’re spot on…an accurate way to gauge one’s hard-coreedness!

    Got a backlog but not near as complete as this. Very impressive and great to see your consistency.

    Cotchin was on our ticket last year and he won the B&F, this year it’s Dusty so we’ll wait and see. Got to love the understated 1990 ticket…. I note most if not all games appear to be clipped out? Must be a favourite.

  4. Also, I’d have to add that it sound like Collingwood’s sheer size may have made social club membership somewhat meaningless. Off the field we’re unlucky at Tigerland, but having Punt Road, including new social club facilities available after MCG matches really makes you feel part of the club. All interstate matches are shown live at Punt Road social club for SC members also which is great to get to.
    Over and out!

  5. Jeff Dowsing says

    Thanks John. Only games I missed in ’90 were the interstate games and a couple others that clashed with my own footy. Oh and one other – the goddam Grand Final!

    I can imagine you have a great setup at Punt Rd, unlike the clinical Westpac Centre or the necessarily neutral themed facilities at the ‘G. It’s those kinds of things that keep fans loyal and passionate about their club through the lean times.

  6. Stephen Cooke says

    Jeff, I really miss having a notch put in the card before entering the ground. It’s all scanned now of course. It used to be a badge of honor seeing how many notches you could get by year’s end.

  7. Can any one help me out? i am seeking 1x 2010 Collingwood Membership Seasons Ticket in good condition wil pay good money for it .
    Regards Glen

  8. I have one Glen but not sure if I can part with it! Don’t think I have another but I’ll check.

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