The Lone Supporter

by Chad Woodbine



Here, in South Korea I have a great life. My job is easy, I’m newly married – with all the wonderful things that come with that situation and my mother in law is my beer supplier. But there are some things that I don’t have. My wife knows that and she does all she can to support me, and to help me to get by without.

She has learnt to kick the footy with me and we go the park to play kick to kick whenever I feel the need. Of course there is an ex-pat community here, with the usual young ones drinking till dawn, but I don’t fit in with that community, they are here for mostly a year to teach. I am here for longer. I am different and they can smell it, see it. I miss the Doggies, I miss my mates, miss the drops of Melbourne Bitter falling from the long neck into my mouth as I watch the footy on the box at home.

The footy coverage here is limited to four matches per weekend and up until next week only one Doggies match has been on TV.

Losing is hell over here too.

In Melbourne I have friends who are fellow Footscray supporters or they are sympathetic purely because they are mates, they know the game, they know they could be down next week. They watch the game with me and cheer and scream and hurt when I do. They talk about the good points of the game and we take heart together.

A week is a long time when you lose, a week in Seoul is an eternity. You sit and read the headlines, you read articles by the “experts” and wonder what they are really trying to say, or if they are just talking out of their arse. You read your team website. There are only so many opinions that you can get. You are isolated, you are worried.

Mid-week is a time to talk about last Sunday, talk about mongrel umpires, bad decisions and where it all went wrong. Mid-week I used to have a beer with a mate and talk about the selections, who would be in who would be out, what effect it would have. I would talk about who was going to last another year who wouldn’t (I would always say that Terry Wallace would get the sack maybe I’m right this year). By Thursday we are all giving each other crap and bagging players, the bravado is up and the confidence is returning.

I do this with my wife on Friday arvo, have a couple of beers on the balcony and then cook dinner. She laughs at the right moments, she knows what I’m talking about, she is happy that I’m happy.

I called a mate for a couple of minutes today, just to say “hey”. There was about thirty seconds of “what have you been up to” and about ten minutes of talk about footy. We talked about Aka and Geelong last week, we talked about the Dogs being a bit loose. I felt a little better.

This afternoon my guts started to churn, I kept thinking of the game. What is going to happen, will there be another incident like the Gia’ hit on Kozi? Will it be the arm wrestle that Eade is expecting? Every year I have relished this game with the saints, have looked forward to it. This year I am worried, I won’t get to watch it for one, and we aren’t looking too good at the moment as well. The saints are up, the Doggies are nowhere at the moment. We may win, we may lose, online radio is all I have and I will be listening and hoping. Sueun will be my only supporter.


  1. Sharalee says

    Ohhhhh we miss you here mate just not the same. I have been tipping the doggies for ya. Loved the article keep writing!!!!!

  2. Phil Dimitriadis says

    Hey Chad,

    enjoyed the piece mate. Reminded me of when I was living in Greece 1996-98. No Internet made it hard. My brother used to send me the sports section of Monday’s Herald Sun every couple of weeks so I could keep in detailed touch. Phone calls were mandatory on the Sunday night. Just couldn’t wait. When you are far away nostalgia for footy, and yes Melbourne Bitter,among other things. becomes magnified. Keep em coming buddy.

    PS Damn those Dogs need a key forward to straighten them up!

  3. chad woodbine says

    Hey Phil,
    thanks for reading it ;). I was thinking about that when I was writing the piece and how hard it would be to catch up with the footy without the internet and cable tv. I have to admit that it is nostalgia mostly I was talking about, the reality was very different at times. End of this month is one year over here already too! I also wanted people to understand just how awesome my wife really is. Footy has become the symbol of all I miss about Melbourne (and melbourne bitter).
    Doggies really are nowhere. They have proven that they need the full forward… now what to do?

  4. You have gotten your wish with Barry Hall. Hall for Coleman Medal in 2010!

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