The Carey Effect: How Bombers fans can reconcile with Hirdy

This is isn’t about forgiveness. This is about acceptance. Acceptance that what we hold to be sacred can sometimes turn out to be total bullshit. The tooth fairy doesn’t exist, smoking banana skins doesn’t get you high and your childhood hero isn’t The Best Bloke Ever.

North Melbourne supporters spent most of the late nineties locked in a vicious debate with the rest of Planet Earth. Wayne Carey is NOT a wanker! In hindsight it was a battle we could not possibly win based on the available evidence at hand. Which was (and is): Wayne Carey IS a wanker!

But this could not be! The man was our saviour. He lead us to the promised land. He couldn’t possibly do wrong.

So when the alleged sexual assault charges piled up and the football community united in their almost universal hatred for The Duck, North fans resolutely defended him with everything we had.  We fought them in the classroom. We fought them in the pub. We fought them by the water cooler.

And more often than not we came out with a bloody nose. But fuck it if we didn’t land a few of our own. Forever outnumbered, this was just Aussie tall poppy syndrome at its best. Us against the footy world with our fearless leader by our side.

(Sound familiar Bombers fans?)

And then came The Reckoning. Of course, The Duck betrayed his best mate in the worst way possible and brought the club almost to the brink of extinction. And every one of us Shinboners with bloody fists had to finally concede defeat. It was all for nothing. It turns out, the bloke we’d been defending all this time was, in fact, an historically ENOURMOUS wanker.

For Hirdy, The Reckoning has now come and gone. He fucked up royally. There is no deflecting from this. He can hold as many  weird “Declaration of War” press conferences as he likes.

At the moment, Bomber fans are rightfully angry, but not 100 per cent sure who to direct their fury. Like Grandpa Simpson yelling at clouds in the sky.

Dank? Satan!

The Weapon? Treacherous bastard!

Demetriou? Stitch up merchant!

Hirdy? Ahhhhhh….I’ll get back to you on that one.



The cure for their turmoil is acceptance. The best course of action for Essendon fans is to come to terms with the fact that their saviour, their warrior, their seargant-at-arms may just in fact be a bit of a knob.

But hey, that doesn’t mean the world is going to end! You can still love the bloke. You can still worship at the altar of his footballing magnificence.

Speak to any North fan (if you can find one) and they are now quite comfortable with two certainties in life: a) Wayne Carey is the greatest thing to ever happened to the North Melbourne Football Club and b) he’s a wanker.

Sure it took a long time to reach this point, but we’re all better for it.

Ok, so Hirdy let sports science mavericks infiltrate the club and push the envelope way too far on his watch, but does that mean he didn’t captain one of the history’s most dominant teams in 2000? No it doesn’t.

Sure, he injected himself with a tanning drug, but does that mean he didn’t play one of the greatest individual quarters in the game’s history against the Eagles at Etihad Stadium in 2004? No it doesn’t.

Here’s another myth, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Bloody oath you can.



This love/hate relationship is no more evident than when it comes to seeing your favourite bands live.

You put down your hard-earned cash, grab a seat a few rows from the front, take in a warm cup of beer and see that the lead singer of your favourite band is  wearing a pair of moccasins ironically.

Ah shit! This talented songwriter I’ve been investing all my emotional time in is actually a pompous dickhead!

But  when this revelation arrives, what do you do? You don’t storm out of the concert in a hissy fit, you stay and enjoy the music and then you buy their next album and the one after that.

You compartmentalize the fact that your musical hero is an insufferable twat from the fact that he can also write a ripping tune.

Sure Axl Rose sacked everyone of his bandmates and wears his hair in cornrows, but does that change the fact he helped write  the world’s greatest hard rock album?

No it doesn’t.

It’s a long road Bomber fans, bit you’ll get there


  1. Very well put, Dan. There were no end of Eagles fans who defended Ben Cousins and still think he should never have been traded to Richmond.
    Having some personal experience in the matter I just thought he “was a knob” as you so eloquently put it, and that we were better off without him until he had learned his life lessons.
    My only quibble with your article is that you put your statements in the present tense. Everything I have seen indicates that Carey has made the tough personal journey of acceptance and growth. Others haven’t. To whit:
    – Carey was a knob.
    – I was a knob.
    – Cousins is a knob.
    – Hird is a knob.
    Mind you narcissistic personality disorder is a qualification for big business CEO’s. Stockbroking needs him.

  2. I can identify with the gist of this wholeheartedly

    There was a time when Mick Blamehouse was the much loved coach of the Pies, took us to the holy land and we’d defend flaws that were magnified by 100 to non Carringbush appreciators. Then by late 2011 his infamous footy show appearance was the beginning of the end for me.

    And, as much as it pains me, Morrissey has proved himself a bit of a knob time and again. Though I can still listen to Moz. Mick just makes me want to peg a shoe at the TV.

  3. Dan

    It’s like saying “He might be a wanker, but he’s OUR wanker!”

    Same approach fans take when they boo a player until he switches to their club, then becomes a hero, or vice versa

    I am sure there are Saints fans uncomfortable with Milne’s actions, just as much as so many cricket fans hate Watson

    Expecting players to all be fine upstading members of the community is wrong.

    As a player, Hird’s right up there for me and Carey is a freak. Both knobs? Sure, and those things can co-exist. I didn’t like Brereton much when he played (like him now) but would have had him at my club in a second


  4. Is Stuart O’Grady a knob ?

  5. Warnie, was a knob’s knob, is a knob’s knob.

    The Greeks came up with the word hubris about 3000 years ago. Someone might one day write a history of the knob. They’ve been around 3000 years or so.

  6. David Zampatti says

    Just watched the Hird doorstop, and he said “it’s time to move on”, or variations on it, about 20 times. It was Nixonian.

    There’s more to come.

  7. The exact moment James Hird’s defiant stance fell apart? When Sam Newman unequivocally backed him to the hilt on The Footy Show! Knob on knob

  8. Mike Tyson was convicted of rape and spent three years in prison. Didn’t stop us from watching him.
    People were saying, sure, he’s a rapist, but I love watching him fight.
    Having talent has nothing to do with being a fine human being.
    Making mistakes has nothing to do with being a fine human being either.
    And there is punishment.

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