The Back To The Future Footy Panel


by Phil Dimitriadis

I’ve often wondered how Jack Dyer, Bob Skilton, Bob Davis and Lou Richards would dissect today’s game and the culture around it. How would they analyse the style of play and the role of the media in 2012 compared to 1982 when they were considered the authorities? What has changed, what has stayed the same? This is the first installment of a dialogue that takes in the thoughts of the men I grew up with as the voices of the game. Part tribute, part satire, I used to love how these legends would drift in and out of topics as they tried to analyse the game and commented on its stars and characters. Here’s a snippet of how I would interpret their views.

Lou Richards: By golly Bob, it was a ring, dinga ding battle between that purple mob out west and the handbags from Geelong on Saturday night. How about the antics of that little punk Ballantyne?

Bob Skilton: I thought Bawantyne acted disgwacefully Wou, almost bwinging the game into diswepute. The team from Sweepy Howo have had bwicks in their handbags for some time now Wou. They should have known better than to awow a wittle wascal wike Bawantyne to get under their skin.

Lou Richards: Speaking of rascals and pests, by geez Jack. What about Jake King at Richmond. Would he have got a game in your day?

Jack Dyer: Gawd! King wouldn’t have been fit to polish our boots in the Depression. Every time he turns the ball over I turn in my grave!

Bob Davis: Fair dinkum Jack, you must have cost your family a fortune the amount of times you desecrated your own grave watching the Tigers since 1982.

Lou Richards: By golly Bob, the stone masons have to accompany them every Sunday to make repairs. Buying a bunch of flowers has never been so expensive!

Bob Skilton: Bob and Wou, I think you’re being a bit diswespectful to Jack. Although, I must say, watching Witchmond over the last 30 years would be a twial for the staunchest of fans.

Lou Richards: By jingoes Bob, they could’ve had Buddy Franklin and they took Tambling instead! The drains trust at Punt Road have a lot to answer for.

Bob Skilton: That’s wight Wou. Imagine if they had Fwankwin, Wiewoldt and Wiowi in the same forward wine? They’d be a gweat team!

Lou Richards: I tell ya what Jack, what do ya make of all the tattoos on players these days. Body art they call it apparently.

Jack Dyer: In my day we couldn’t afford ink. They are a bunch of pampered menials today. The Internet has made em go mad. Let’s not even talk about social medja!

Bob Skilton: The meedja has wost contwol since Cawey dwopped his dacks in Archer’s bathwoom.

Bob Davis: Fair dinkum though boys, you’ve got to admit that the Internet has given us a bit more to look at since the Truth page 3. Some days I can’t get meself orf it!

Lou Richards: By golly Bob, you’re not wrong. If I had a dollar for every fetish on the Internet I’d buy me own club.

Bob Skilton: I think we should get back to the footy boys. Although, I must say, 2012’s version of Hewen D’Amico would stweak with a fwesh Bwaziwian instead of the Tawiban style favoured in 1982!

Jack Dyer: Gor Blimey! Even the blokes are doin’ that these day Bob. Herringbone footy and herringbone pubic hair. Unbelievable! In my day if you had hair on your chest and hair on your nuts you were a real man. All this stylin’ and profilin’ has put a massive dent in our manly game. There ought be a law against it!

Lou Richards: By golly Jack, imagine going to the barber during the Depression and asking for a back, crack and sack? You’d be chased right out of there!

Bob Skilton: I wouldn’t twust a barber to touch my back, cwack and sack with the wusty bwades they used in those days Wou!

Jack Dyer: It shows that footy not only reflects life, but is life, even in the most superficial ways. These kids have been lucky enough not to experience war and depression. If a bloke came into the club saying he suffered from depression in the 1930s we’d say ‘welcome to the world’.

Bob Davis: Fair dinkum though Jack. Today’s lads are fitter, smarter and more disciplined than we were in our day.

Bob Skilton: That’s twue Bob, but imagine how good we might have been if we had the money and facilities the pwayers and cwubs have at their disposal today? I think we would’ve done awight.

Lou Richards: Well, that’s all we have time for today on Jack, Bob, Lou and Bob’s Back To The Future Footy Panel. We hope you can join us next week for what promises to be another ring dinga ding round of footy and fair dinkum analysis of what life was like then and how it is today.

Some photos of the legends in their prime and in their decline. Great players, wonderful characters.












About Phillip Dimitriadis

Carer/Teacher/Writer. Author of Fandemic: Travels in Footy Mythology. World view influenced by Johnny Cash, Krishnamurti, Larry David, Toni Morrison and Billy Picken.


  1. Andrew Starkie says

    You’re a sentimental old fool, Phil. Funny stuff. Happy Easter, mate.

  2. Tom Clark says

    Phil, are you secretly a Sydney fan? After all their drubbings you’ve made me watch at the MCG? I think you’re giving Skilton all the choice morsels here.

  3. Phil Dimitriadis says

    Thanks Andrew and Tom,

    Bob Skilton used to sound like Elmer Fudd when he got excited. I think he was very underrated as both a commentator and one of the first special comments men, despite his like of the letter W.

  4. Dave Nadel says

    I think you got Jack and the two Bobs accurately but Lou was more than just a straight man, you need a bit more of the ageing larrikin, Still, its a very entertaining piece, Phil.

  5. Phil Dimitriadis says

    You’re right Dave, Lou did have plenty of his own opinions. I only caught these guys in the late 70s and early 80s when they had almost become caricatures of themselves. Was the banter similar in the 60s and early 70s? Wish there was footage I could watch from that era when Butch Gale, Mike Williamson and Bluey Adams offered their views on the game.

  6. DBalassone says

    Good stuff Phil – I can just imagine this. It was great to see Louie honoured this week, but it struck me that there was a bit of overkill about his channel 9 days. It was almost as if he was being honoured as a channel 9 personality. Give me a break! He was only a part-timer at ch 9 for the past 30 years. He was always a channel 7 man to me. I’d rather hear what Peter Landy, Bob Skilton, Peter McKenna, etc have to say, than these channel 9 bozos.

  7. Rulebook says

    Absolutely superb,Phil and a mile better than any footy panels now days

  8. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Damo – Agree channel 9 definitely hijacked Lou’s story. To the true believers he’ll always be a C7 man by golly !!
    Thanks Rulebook – Would love to see what they think of how the game is played and administered today. Don’t think they’d be too rapt with things.

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