What my Footy Club means to me

‘It’s just a game’. Is it though?

We are a funny lot, us footy folk. The game elicits such emotion, dedication and debate. With the fiercest of loyalty, we stand by our club, no matter what. In the most glorious of victory, and the most inglorious of defeats, you stand by your mob. The Sydney Swans are my footy club and the attachment to my footy club grows as each year passes. After recent events, I have heard on more than one occasion, that footy is ‘just a game’. Is it? Is it though?

My footy club is known colloquially as ‘The Bloods’. I am not sure whether or not it is this term which provides some type of deep subconscious connection to the past, or not. What I do know, is that when jogging around Albert Park Lake, I would up the ante as I approached the Lake Oval, spiritual homeland of my footy club. This was my way of showing respect to the men and women of the South Melbourne Bloods. One of the most influential figures in my footy club’s history, Richard Colless, once posed the question ‘Why are the Bloods so bloody important?’ The answer: ‘It’s in the Blood’.

As a Swans member of recent years, I have had it pretty good. I know that. But, there is nothing like Grand Final defeat to evoke sentimentality. There is also nothing like Grand Final defeat to encourage perspective. I have seen my footy club play in five deciders over the past eighteen years. I am lucky. I have seen two premierships. When reflecting on the fact that my footy club have won only five in our existence, I quickly realise that I am actually very bloody lucky. For me, being Red and White is a way of life, and this is what my footy club means to me.

As a preadolescent, my English teacher introduced us to David Williamson’s brilliant satirical play, ‘The Club’. Attempting to explain to a room full of unappreciative and disinterested day-pupils, that footy is akin to religion for some, bore no significance at the time. It does now. As Cheryl Critchley so eloquently depicts in her wonderful book ‘Our Footy’, like religion, ‘footy fans pay homage at the temple of their favourite team’. It was my first show of reverence at a Sydney Swans home match that really set the wheels in motion. This felt right.

Footy makes you do funny things. After a win, I can often be seen through the living room windows, performing my victory dance, to the tune of ‘Cheer, cheer the Red and the White’, accompanied by some simulated trumpet work. After a loss, what may appear to be an unhealthy affliction to some, provides a brief grievance-like period which I assign to being ‘character building’. I am sure that footy supporters all over the country can relate to these conflicting states of mind, which completely depend on the result of the match.

My footy club has inspired me to commence writing about my passion: my footy club. As someone who is reasonably new to this caper, I have found that pouring your heart out onto a page is incredibly challenging, but equally fulfilling. From writing, I gain a sense of calm and personal wellbeing. Experiencing these feelings of exuberance and accomplishment, which I feel bring me to heights never before scaled, would remain dormant if not for my footy club. My footy club has taught me to engage in debate with a thoughtfulness and consideration for the opposite opinion. And trust me, footy sparks some impassioned debate. If you are not prepared to listen to all points of view, you will be quickly cast aside.

Most importantly, my footy club brings my family closer together. My wonderful wife and I live in Tasmania. My immediate family do not. An annual pilgrimage to the Sydney Cricket Ground brings with it, the priceless moments of unrelenting love and togetherness. The organisation, the anticipation and ultimately the weekend spent with loved ones are a rare thing of beauty, truly something to cherish. Nine of us attended this year’s Grand Final. Although the result didn’t go our way, we have memories that will last a lifetime. Two years ago, I witnessed a premiership first hand. My brother alongside, I was ecstatic. Remeberance of near-hysterical phone calls to my wife, my dad and my dear old nan will never leave my soul.

I love my footy club. It is a part of who I am. We are a club who have faced traumatic times, now enjoying a sustained period of success. Martin Blake described the Swans as ‘the most combative, relentless and honest football team in the modern era’. This is why the Bloods brethren are in adoration of our boys. I know there will be periods in the future when we will not have it this good. Yet, I know that I will still abound with pride every time I see my Swans go into battle. I look forward to many more life-filling memories made through days and nights spent at the SCG, MCG or wherever bloody else, I don’t really care. My footy club fills my heart with a passion for life that cannot be underestimated. I love my footy club, and in the famous words of the great Brett Kirk ‘it’s all about the love’…

That’s what my footy club means to me. What does yours mean to you?


About Joe Moore

Learned the art of the drop-punt from Derek Kickett as Jamie Lawson watched on. And thus, a Swan for life. @joedmoore1979


  1. Neil Anderson says

    What does your Footy Club mean to you? I could probably write a thesis many pages long like most Almanackers to answer, but it is the ‘comments’ section so I will be brief.
    First of all congratulations on coming out and declaring your love for your Club in true ‘Kirkian’ style. Most writers don’t use the ‘l’ word in regard to their team that often. Also I was glad to see I’m not the only one who gives a rousing rendition of the Club song complete with trumpet solo…behind closed doors.
    Barracking for the Bulldogs is in my blood but not in my genes. No-one else in my family follows the Bulldogs like I follow the Bulldogs and that is why discovering the Almanac has been so beneficial for me. I agree with you that pouring your heart out on these pages can be challenging but oh so fulfilling.
    You talk about having a good run with victories in recent times and if you miss out occasionally, you can handle the loss…sort of. As Bulldog supporters we haven’t had a good run but we live in hope that the tide will turn and in the meantime we celebrate any win against the odds.
    Is it like a religion to follow a Club from birth with so much devotion, particularly if you were born in Melbourne over sixty years ago when footy meant suburban warfare?
    As some wag said a long time ago when asked was it like a religion, he said, “Hell no! It’s far more important than that!”
    If you are writing a serious piece on what our Clubs mean to us, I refer you to the Bulldog Tragician website for the best study of what it means to be a Bulldog supporter.

  2. Thanks, Neil. I agree that a thesis is perhaps a more appropriate form of declaration in this case. Also gladdened to hear there is another trumpet man among us!

    I will certainly take a look at the Bulldog Tragician. These are exactly the types of stories that I am trying to discover. I am thinking that perhaps a more formal piece on the impact footy clubs have on our lives, may just be my off-season project.


  3. Luke Reynolds says

    Love your passion Joe. Substitute Swans for Magpies and I would say exactly what you have written. “i love my footy club. It is a part of who I am.” Spot on. Go pies.

  4. “It is a part of who I am”.
    Joe, to me this line just about encapsulates everything you are saying here…
    whether I like it or not (and believe me there are times wen I despise it) it is
    inescapable that North Melbourne is part of who I am.

  5. Thanks Luke and Smokie. I genuinely feel as though the Swans are part of what makes me the man that I am, as you guys do with the Pies and the Kangas. We can’t escape it! Trust me, for a couple of hours last Saturday week I did try….

  6. Very pleased you have found The Almanac Joe. You’ve had a fine debut season.

    Happy to provide theatre and therapy for you in the one place.

    Cheer Cheer

  7. Thank you for your kind words, John.

    I am just so thrilled to have found myself involved in such a wonderfully inclusive and supportive community, which has enriched my life in such an enjoyable way.

    Loving it!

  8. ALTHOUGH I’m a lifelong Geelong supporter, and started following them in 1949 when they were the Pivotonians, long B4 ‘Cats’ came into vogue, these days it’s a league which has me all entwined.
    This is the age-old Bendigo F.L. with which I’m involved. The BFL has been the kick-off point for Geoff Southby, Rod Ashman, Greg Williams, Jimmy Buckley, Peter Dean, Nathan Brown, Greg Kennedy, Nick Dal Santo, the Selwood Bros. — it’s a huge list.
    Even Ricky Nixon!!
    So I’m with you on the club level as I’ve followed the Cats all my life — even during a 13-year stint in Papua New Guinea — but I’m sort of the unofficial historian of the BFlL these days.
    On October 24th we will be inducting another group of BFL stars into the Hall of Fame. I’ll be forwarding the story to Harmsy once the induction has been staged.
    Many Knacker people will recognise quite a few of these Hall of Famers.

  9. Joe,
    It’s a deep love for me. I remember the moment I fell in love with North Melbourne. It was my first game for Oak Park under nines. We wore North Melbourne jumpers. When I ran out onto the ground, I felt like I was playing for North Melbourne…
    Thankfully we won the premiership that year.
    My love for North was born the moment I put on that Oak Park jumper. I will never forget that moment. It was something I’d never felt before or since. It is why my love has never died.

  10. Richard, can feel your passion for the BFIL, it’s great. Looking forward to reading all about the Hall of Fame night, that’s quite a list of exceptional footballers that you have mentioned!

    Matt, that is brilliant. I just love hearing about the connections that people feel with their footy club and why it is so. When such childhood memories are especially influential, it makes for a true life-long love for your team.

    To me, these stories are what footy is all about.

  11. Malcolm Rulebook Ashwood says

    Hi Joe enjoyed your article and I must admit my football loyalties go in the order of
    Adelaide University FC 1 in that I played for the blacks are are still heavily involved on the committee and run our past players organization ( Harmsy ant the knackery involved also ) . Norwood FC are 2nd and I have enjoyed this years amazing premiership as much as any in my life , I am also involved with the club and have a connection with a number of the players . While I will always be a crows supporter I along with a lot of people have lost some interest re the afl for a number and varying factors but basically give me , SAAFL and Sanfl any day over afl thanks , Joe a thought provoking exercise

  12. Thanks Rulebook. We’re obviously all passionate footy folk here, but it’s a question which is not often posed. I found it an extremely meaningful exercise trying to put those feelings into words.

    Unfortunately, I have never been involved with a local footy club. Perhaps that’s something I should look to rectify in the future. Been reading much about Norwood’s flag on here… Congrats!

  13. Neil Anderson says

    Further to our discussion as to why we love our football Club. After today’s events at the Bulldogs you will get a taste of what our supporters go through every few years and why we have to be such a hardened bunch to keep loving our Club.
    Forget about your thesis. There’s enough material in this Club alone to run a seminar.

  14. I actually thought of you today when I heard the news about McCartney, Neil. On top of what’s happening with your captain, I certainly do sympathise.

    My brother is a long-time Seddon resident, so I am fully aware of the passion that exists for the Bullies in the local area. Hope there are better times ahead mate.

  15. Certainly its my local club that gets my love. I’m very reluctant to add up the hours. Unley football club has provided me the majority of my friendship base and a continued involvement in a team environment. Its the most “real” footy you can get. Has to be love.

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