Tickets on himself

There was also the little in-joke buried in the lyrics, only able to be enjoyed by Tickets and his co-conspirators. His heart actually was going to go on. It had taken a while, but an exit plan was now in place. He’d deteriorate all the way up to the Grand Final show and then, almost from his death bed, fly off to the Netherlands and to a cancer trial which offered … well, not much more than a breath of hope, but a breath nonetheless. From there naturally he’d respond positively to the treatment, miraculously even, and doctors would observe a reduction in his tumours. While Tickets observed the insides of coffee houses and naked women in shop windows.
– Tony Wilson, Players

It’s like a volcano, now.
Fair dinkum.
This energy.
Lying still.
Yet pressure building.

Through times of disbelief.
Quiet disbelief.
Tickets coaching Essendon defiantly in Perth.
#standbytickets becoming a thing.
What the hell happened?
At Essendon?
To questioning?
Aren’t adults responsible for their own decisions?
Aren’t these players adults?
Why are parents being briefed?
What the hell has happened?

And yet aren’t staff of any workplace responsible for creating a safe workplace?
Where is WorkCover in all this?
Where is the union?

Hang on.
When did daily injections EVER become a good idea?
No. This stinks.
And what do you mean you can’t guarantee what was injected?
Weren’t you, Tickets, responsible for these young men?

And now you refuse to take any responsibility?!?
What sort of self-serving political animal DOES that?

Almanac stories of glorious footy communities abound.
The good of footy as a community.
Individuals mucking in.
Lending a hand.
To keep a place afloat.
To give others connection.

But Tickets, your actions suck life out of community.
And worse. It continues.
You’re deluded.

Essendon money pays your massive paycheque in European exile.
How is that helping Essendon footballers?
Or the Essendon footy community?
And how does it help the Essendon footy community to fight a legal case on technicalities of joint versus independent ASADA/AFL investigations?
When you can’t even guarantee with what those young men were injected?

  • Your actions.
  • Your choices.
  • Continue.
  • to.
  • defy.
  • belief.

Today, Tickets you have appeared on my screen one too many times.

Without contrition.

On the course you’ve chosen, this has a LONG way to run.

But I’m done.

You are a caricature of a politician now.

Preoccupied with polishing an ego.

We don’t need your ego.

There are bigger things.

Many bigger things.



About David Wilson

David Wilson is a hydrologist, climate reporter and writer of fiction & observational stories. He writes under the name “E.regnans” at The Footy Almanac and has stories in several books. One of his stories was judged as a finalist in the Tasmanian Writers’ Prize 2021. He shares the care of two daughters and likes to walk around feeling generally amazed. Favourite tree: Eucalyptus regnans.


  1. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Nicely executed Wilson tag team. There’s no polishing that Hird now.

  2. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Totally agree OBP and what a shame that a great player is going to be remembered as a self centred thought he was above the law, with no principles moron

  3. Very very good, agree with the sentiments.

    Proponents of rhyming slang is heaven with names like Hird and Dank playing major roles in this saga

    Polishing indeed

    Any idea that this advanced legal action is being done by Hird et al to protect the players is now completey fanciful. Essendon are about Essendon, the players are incidental


  4. Lovely work E.Reg

    People are probably sick of me banging on about this, but as I’ve said many times; the club implored me to stick by the players, to keep the faith as the smoking gun would be produced in due course.

    If their smoking gun is procedural technicalities, the current Essendon administration should (but obviously never will) resign in disgrace, and as the People’s Elbow says; find people with the passion and balls to burn the club to the ground and start again.

    Fuck off Hirdy, Little and co. You’re killing a proud – and once even (begrudgingly by some) – respected club.

    Now, time for my medication…

  5. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Like Sean, totally agree with the sentiments E.r

    If only one of the now-non-Essendon players would break ranks, that would make it interesting. (Did Kyle Reimers get a Show Cause, is he playing local footy somewhere? What about Port and Monfries – what are they thinking?)

    I’m now waiting for the unexpected plot twist. Hird and Co were so certain that once the truth came out, all would be forgiven. What if there is indeed the anti-smoking gun, the super-alibi, and if so what could it possibly be? (Burden of proof?)

    Having proceedings halted permanently on a technicality would be the worst possible result in my view.

    I’d have some sympathy with a result that treated the players leniently (although others such as Ahmet Saad and those from other sports that aren’t as prominent would thus have a grievance), but only as the outcome of “due process” (however long that process takes? – perhaps another question)

    Otherwise, what is next, a legal challenge by the clubs to the Salary Cap/drafting rules (to which they have presumably agreed as part of their licence), or the uneven fixturing?

  6. Good work, Euca…

    My over-riding sympathy is for the players.

    As for Essendon and Hird, with each passing day I find
    their actions and responses increasingly distasteful.

  7. Luke Reynolds says

    That’s the best hashtag I’ve seen in a long time.

  8. matt watson says

    I begrudgingly admired Essendon throughout the Sheedy years.
    I begrudgingly admired Hird for all his skills and grit.
    I still hated Essendon but accepted that it was an envious hate.
    Now I just hate them, with spite.
    The club is not bigger than the individual at Essendon…

  9. Dave Nadel says

    Tommy Hafey was a great coach because he cared about his players. Prince James’ greatest sin was that he didn’t. No coach who cared about his players would allow them to be injected with substances without first knowing what they are, whether they were legal and most of all whether they had side effects. Hird should not be allowed to return to coaching whatever ASADA determines.

  10. E.regnans says

    G’day all – thanks.
    Phil – no relation. But i’m a fan.
    Dave – super point, superbly made.

  11. Keiran Croker says

    I’ve just been watching the Lance Armstrong doco on ABC. Some remarkable similarities! Just saying!

  12. David – I read an article on the Age website about Hird and Essendon’s technical arguments to the Federal Court about the structure of the investigation, and I had a similar visceral reaction to you. I even thought about writing something similar to your piece.
    Then I thought why waste time and energy on hate and loathing?
    Hird, Little etal are beneath contempt and karma will look after them if the process doesn’t.
    I wrote a piece about my frenzied booing of Jobe Watson at Subiaco when the corruption first became public. I regret that my abuse was poorly targeted. The players were duped and misled.
    Hird and the Club Management had a much higher duty of care to know what their agents and contractors were doing. The ‘rogue agent’ argument about Dank does not wash because they knew the risks they were taking with both legality and the player’s health and wellbeing. They had a much higher duty to check and require formal accountability.
    If Hird ever steps on Subiaco Oval again I will be on the fence screaming abuse for 3 hours until this arrogant stain is removed from the game. For 1 year, 5 years as long as it takes. But not at the players. They had reasonable excuse for trusting what proved to be conmen.

  13. Dave Brown says

    Last time I went on a footy trip to Melbourne, Hird was playing (yep, it’s been a while) on a Friday night. My, by then, boozed up companions were booing him and calling him all sorts of interesting and physically improbable things. I counselled them at the time about how they should be treating it as a privilege to see a champion in full flight as he went on to be the difference between the teams that night. It is clear to me now that they were, idiot savant like, dipping into a much deeper well of wisdom. If only I had known.

  14. E.regnans says

    K Crocker – I reckon there are interesting parallels in the apparent reluctance to question a deity. Of course much remains to be uncovered in this local case, but the whole #standbyhird movement represents an obvious link with the standbylance movement. Blind faith is tricky, as it cannot be argued against (as we see with other deities or even with matters of science).
    There’s a regrettably long road ahead.

    PB – I met with the Jedi council overnight Tuesday regarding this one. Yoda IS on the record that fear leads to hate, hate leads to anger, and anger to the Dark Side. But he also felt on balance, it was worth exploring feelings. Good points you make.

    DaveB – he was a gun player. No doubt. A gun.
    Unfortunately playing reputations buy places in other facets of the industry, whether deserved or not (e.g. media, football staff, etc etc). Can’t imagine anyone else as a debiut coach being treated the same way.
    “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”
    – George Orwell, Animal Farm

  15. E.regnans says

    PB – to be fair, it’s not so much hate and loathing.
    More bewilderment. And increasing by the day.

  16. David- Probing and thoughtful, as always. It is a murky mess, and I’m suffering Bombers-gate fatigue. It is shaping up as the AFL’s Vietnam war, if this is not too crude a metaphor.

  17. He’s not, is he? #ofcourseheis

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