The fourth jumper


Earlier this season, back in June, I wrote a piece called Three Jumpers.


It briefly re-visited stories from some time ago about two footy jumpers that have meant a lot over the years, and then concluded with a new story, about a third jumper.


All the stories are ultimately about remembrance and family. A brother, a father, a daughter. Footy’s just the oval the stories are written upon.


Earlier this decade, about seven years ago, I met a football coach unlike any other I reckon. For starters he kept his instructions straightforward, and repeated them over and over each week. Play the ball, not the man. Don’t argue with the umpires. Don’t get sucked in by opposition niggling. We’re fitter than they are. They’ll run out of puff. Go long with the wind.


He is coach of a club that plays in a league for players with intellectual disabilities. Over 25 years the league has seen its share of triumphs and tragedies.


The club took me under its wing during a time when I was a little adrift. I joined the committee, became a goal umpire, even helped with training drills for a while (wearing the second of the three jumpers, an old jumper of my father’s which coincidentally was the same colours as that of the club). I wrote about the club and the league for The Big Issue,  The Footy Almanac and


The coach read the stories, and others of mine. He read Three Jumpers and sent it to the club’s players and supporters.


A month ago, early July, the coach invited me to a curious occasion in this footy-season-that-is-not-a-footy-season. “Our home ground is getting a new scoreboard. Some of the players will be there to see it arrive.”


It was a cold sunny morning. Underneath my old club jacket I wore my third jumper (a green, gold and blue get-up bought recently from an opp-shop by my daughter). The players wore team hoodies.


The coach took me aside after we’d watched the scoreboard arrive and while the players were having a kick.


“I’ve got a jumper for you. Brand new.”


The FIDA Seagulls’ Indigenous and Special Event games guernsey has been designed by Indigenous artist Simon Tjurpurrula, from the Yuendumu Community, Central Australia.



Artist Simon Tjurpurrula. Photo Courtesy of FIDA Seagulls website.


The design is titled Water Hole Dreaming. Every jumper has the number 17 on the front bottom left corner, a tribute to a young player, Dan Oakley, who died July six years ago. Dan’s parents continue to be sponsors of the club and their connection with Redrock Artbank led to the creation of the jumper.


Standing on the home ground that sunny morning I doubted I deserved such a gift, such a privilege, given that no player had been presented with the jumper yet (because there have been no games) and that my involvement with the club has waned a little of late.


But the coach was adamant and I was quick to try on the jumper. My first ever brand new jumper.


The fourth jumper.


Thank you Rob, thank you FIDA Seagulls.



Sunday morning at the Fearon, Williamstown, ready for kick-to-kick.



The jumper front and back [source: Williamstown Seagulls FIDA]


Find out more about the club on the Williamstown FIDA team’s website HERE.


This story was first published at Les Everett’s




To return to the Home Page click HERE


Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


Do you enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.

Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE
One-off financial contribution – CLICK HERE
Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE


About Vin Maskell

Founder and editor of Stereo Stories, a partner site of The Footy Almanac. Likes a gentle kick of the footy on a Sunday morning, when his back's not playing up. Been known to take a more than keen interest in scoreboards - the older the better.


  1. Looks good on you Vin. I remember reading the story of your father’s jumper. No pics of the new scoreboard?

  2. Great stuff, Vin. You wear it well.
    It is a great looking jumper.

  3. Peter Fuller says

    It’s a superb jumper and the model does it justice. You are unduly modest in describing your role with the club. I’m grateful that you enabled me to have a minor role with Willy FIDA for a couple of seasons so that I could get a hint of what a gem of a bloke Rob Klemm is.

  4. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Four Jumpers is a better nickname than Two Dogs, Vin

Leave a Comment