Ventilator Blues

In late 2013 post the insipid loss to the Western Bulldogs in a game which held everything for Carlton and nothing for their opponent, I declared that should the Blues somehow fall into the finals that it would be utterly undeserved.

Of course, the side somehow managed to bluff their way into September courtesy of Essendon’s exclusion and a miraculous last quarter surge against the Power, another performance hitherto so inept as to resemble an amateur outfit.

That it took a 39 point deficit to rouse the team in a game which held no significance for Port was startling. In fact, in their last six games Carlton has gone behind by at least a five goal margin at some stage of the match regardless of the eventual result. They are the statistics of a basket case.

Despite the good fortune of meeting a side which they had the wood over in the Elimination Final and the accompanying drama associated with it, more instructive was the dismal failure to remain competitive the following week against a tired and wounded Sydney.

That display encapsulated the Carlton of recent times; too easily satisfied and too easy to play against. Sadly for the supporters, the Blues are far too predictable to boot.

That last point seems lost on the hierarchy, with Malthouse claiming to have not seen the Sunday night capitulation coming, that the team had shown some good signs in the preceding two matches.

They say an addict can never recover until they confess to having a problem. Carlton is the bloated archetype of a Hollywood star that checks out after three nights at Betty Ford, claiming to have seen the light.

President, coach and captain have all delivered trite declarations following the latest episode, yet until the core issues are addressed the relapse is but a formality.

The core issues at this club are mountainous.

From the top, a swollen board bereft of innovation and hamstrung by the desires of billionaires with conflicting ideologies. A football department listless after eons of under par recruiting and led by a coaching staff long of tooth and short of creativity. A team shaped by a culture of acceptance that holds no fear of repercussions for poor performance.

Finally, an ageing supporter base so lethargic from years of being fed gargantuan portions of lying, cheating and false dawns that apathy has replaced passion.

The club this season celebrates its 150th year, but it is a posthumous commemoration. The Carlton being feted on its memorial birthday died long ago, and its spirit barely lingers.

The powers that be see this week as an opportunity against the lamentable Melbourne team to make amends for past sins. Whether they make it through this hurdle is totally immaterial.

Just like the user, until they admit their shortcomings everyone knows what the future holds but for the addict themselves.


  1. The Wrap. says

    Sounds like they’d benefit from a trip to confessional at St Carthage’s Franc, eh? In the words of Ted Bullpitt – they’re a bloody shambles. I know quite a few Bluebaggers, and most of them follow the Ammos, weed the garden or retire to a villa in France or Italy for the Winter during the Footy Season. Quite frankly, I can’t see them booking in long term to the Betty Ford Clinic. Sticks said he was chucking it at the end of last year. Then he was staying on for one last term. Now he’s taking a step back from centre stage. You can read into that what you will — and when they write the memoirs of the dying decades of the CFC I’m sure it will all come out — but in the meantime they’re in palliative care. And it ain’t pretty.

    The saddest part of it is that it’s not even funny any more.

  2. What is happening to Carlton is very sad. Really, really sad. Horribly sad. Very, very, very, very sad. So sad that it makes something that’s not very sad, sad. I’m beside myself with sadness. Its overwhelming me…………………I’m really, really, really sad.

  3. daniel flesch says

    Come on you Bluebaggers with the blues , get a little perspective. 16 VFL / AFL Flags – more than every other team bar the Peptides. If you’d won only one Flag like the Scraggers or the Haloes , or even just four like the Shinboners i’d feel some sympathy. A historically successful club going through a low period. . You’re like the Libs. – if you’re not on top you grizzle and say it’s not fair. How’d you like to be Bulldogs supporters or (shudder ) Demons fans ? Like i said – perspective.

  4. I can’t forget Carlton in the seventies and eighties.
    Back then, every premiership was won via the cheque book, but Carlton’s money never ran empty. They kept winning premierships.
    They were a club built on arrogance.
    Then they cheated and poached Denis Pagan.
    Carlton ruined his legacy.
    Carlton ruined themselves.
    Back in 1998, Steven Kernahan was having a beer in the Ascot Vale hotel. A Blues fan chatted to him for a while and asked for an autograph. Kernahan wrote a note and sealed it in an envelope.
    ‘Don’t open it until Christmas,’ Kernahan said.
    The Blues fan pocketed the envelope. He was chuffed. Kernahan’s message, the Blues fan said, had to be good news.
    Whatever Kernahan wrote, it wasn’t good news…

  5. John Butler says

    Franc, that seems a reasonable assessment of much that has gone wrong.

    But I’ll differ re the supporters. No lack of passion in the crowd at games or the general populace. But is the club harnessing that passion? Not sure the club has done anything but react to fans anger for a long time. Little real engagement except in crisis.

    Wrap, perhaps you should look to your own before pronouncing death on the Blues.

    Dips, sarcasm duly noted.

    IronMike, what an unadulterated load of horseshit.

    Daniel, quite right. A bit of perspective please.

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