The Chorus and the Agon: The Blue and White Chorus Played a Role


by Stephen Alomes


At most footy matches, cries of “Ball!”, exclamations about free kicks rightly or wrongly awarded and even Bronx cheers for ‘richly deserved’ points (rather than goals) don’t add up to very much.


They allow us to get things off our chests and to play to the peanut gallery, usually from the other side, in the next row. In fact, in the era of earphone radios even that byplay is less frequent as well as often less witty.


I know that all my modestly audible observations from row O in Q14 on Saturday about Collingwood kicking for the boundary line, when they should have been pinged but weren’t, were less than influential.


Yet, as the distinguished theatre scholar and discerning football observer , Peter Fitzpatrick, has written in his powerful article about the agon of footy as in the tradition of the ancient Greek drama, ‘Football as Theatre’ (in High Mark, 1998) , the chorus has a role. Even if ‘the degree of this collaborative influence’ varies, those ‘moments of choric unanimity’ are often influential.


So it was on Saturday. The surprisingly large Geelong presence in the crowd, from the members to the finals followers, gave voice to their passions. In fact, they did not neutralise the deadening slow ‘Colll… ing…wood’ chant (as has been done at other matches through merging it into a long boo).
Instead, the Cats’ chorus outvoiced the Magpie chant. At times the action has its own determinants. If the chorus has a role then the Cats’ chant – and the silencing and then retreat of the Collingwood chant, even in the third quarter – helped the Cats players in the agon of conflict. The black and white silence similarly played its slight role in contributing to the final result..


PS My voice is recovering.





  1. Thanks Stephen.

    The Geelong supporters came of age a little I reckon.

    Search geelong chant on youtube.

    Go Cats!

    (PS: my voice is not recovering)

  2. Steve Alomes says


    Thanks for that Youtube link.

    Interestingly, it was the more traditional shorter and repeated chant which nullified the opposition chorus earlier in the match.

    Perhaps with shades of irony not always visible to the monotoned, came the long, slow chant on Youtube in the last quarter.


  3. Loved it.

    The chant at the finish of ‘Fearless’ Pink Floyd Meddle is from a Mersyside Derby. I think it is on YouTube.

    Check it out. The Everton clap it is haunting.

    (I think our chant may be haunting a few Maggies. Oops.)

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