Where did you get the ‘Nac?

by Andrew Gigacz

Last week’s Melbourne launch of the fourth Footy Almanac was, sadly, the first one I’ve not attended. A pre-arranged junket to New Zealand meant that I was holed up in an Auckland hotel at the time Gerard Whateley was unleashing the 2010 Almanac onto passionate Pies, sorrowful Saints, flummoxed Footscray fans and contemplative Cats. Requests to J. Harms and P. Daffey for a  Hollywood-style live satellite cross to my boozy, coke-loaded, party-trashed penthouse fell on deaf ears.

But, while you can take the footy fan out of his footy comfort zone, you can’t take all footy comforts away from the footy fan (or something like that). Being 1600 miles from Almanac headquarters didn’t mean I had to forget about footy.

So when, as I wandered through the streets of Auckland’s CBD, I came across a Borders bookshop, I thought it might be interesting to duck inside and check out the Sports section. I was curious to know if I might find any books at all that covered the topic of Aussie Rules. The sports section comprised a fairly large double-sided set of  shelves. It came as no surprise to see that almost one full side of the cabinet was devoted to rugby. On the other side there was a respectable cross-section of cricket tomes and a few books on soccer.

Initially, I couldn’t find anything AFL-related but a thorough scan eventually yielded two books. Probably about the number I would have expected. But what I didn’t expect to see was one of the two titles on display. It wasn’t totally unexpected to see a couple of copies Nathan Buckley’s autobiography on display. He’s one of the games modern icons and let’s not forget, the Magpies’ next coach. Even New Zealanders know about Collingwood.

But it was the second title that really caught my eye: Gus Smarrini’s “The Best of Team Talk”.

Now, I don’t have a bad word to say about Gus. The man has a fine footy mind and I’ve had the pleasure of exchanging greetings with him at a Footy Almanac lunch or two. But I frequent many bookshops throughout Melbourne, both new and secondhand, and I could not recall ever having seen Gus’ book before. So how it came to be one of only two Aussie Rules titles on show in Borders on the other side of the Tasman is somewhat of a mystery to me.

Gus, I’m sorry to say that I didn’t buy that copy but I will do so when I see one next in Melbourne. Besides, I wouldn’t want to deprive your New Zealand fan-base the chance to grab a copy.

While Smarrini’s opus was available, there were no Footy Almanacs to be seen. Perhaps on my next visit.

But the whole episode got me thinking. With the ever-increasing popularity of the Almanac, it is appearing in more bookshops and, indeed, becoming more prominently displayed within them each year. I’d like to know just how far the Almanac tentacles have spread. I remember seeing a copy of the 2008 edition in the window of a Port Fairy bookshop just after its release.

I’d like to hear from fellow Almaknackers and Almanac fans in general: in what far-flung places have you uncovered the Footy Almanac?

About Andrew Gigacz

Well, here we are. The Bulldogs have won a flag. What do I do now?


  1. Also saw copies of the Almanac for sale at the Clifton Hill Primary School fete one year.

  2. I saw Elvis walking through the main street of Burnie at 3.30 am the other morning. I’m sure he had an Almanac in his hand.

  3. Is it true that he was carrying the first (2007) edition and mumbling something like “their early stuff was much better”?

  4. Dont worry Gigs, due to exams i couldnt make it to the launch either and we all know how much we must have been missed! lol

    I saw a copy of the Almanac in the paws of Pendleburybear- i guess it was a little light reading before bed? :)

  5. #4. Danni – I heard he bought when he found out there was a photo of you in there.

  6. 5- why would he need my photo? he sees me everyday! :) wait..you do know that its the name of one of my teddybears and not a nick name for the real Pendles right? lol

  7. The local newsagency up here is getting 2010 Almanac’s in stock fairly soon.

  8. Josh, go back to your English teacher and ask her/him about how and when an apostrophe should be used.

  9. My English teacher actually has the flu at the moment and she hasn’t been in for a week, so there is my excuse.

  10. Some poncy English git got engaged yesterday. When they played an interview on the 7.30 Report I’m sure I saw a 2009 Almanac on the bookshelf behind him. Perhaps our PM could gift the happy couple a Bunnings voucher and a copy of the 2010 Almanac.

  11. David Downer says

    I’m doing my best to send it to such far flung outposts you refer.
    A colleague of mine is moving back to her native Argentina this weekend and takes with her a signed copy of the 2010 ‘nac. So next time anyone’s in Buenos Aires and happens to find this year’s publication in the two pesos bin at a street stall – she obviously wasn’t much of a fan. Debateable whether much of our collective prose translates to Spanish either. I assume this is the almanac’s next step on the path to world domination – launching the book in various languages?  The Latin version would be something to behold!
    Another mate of mine is smuggling a copy through the outer badlands of Malaysia as we speak (the kidnap capital of SE Asia apparently). He’s en route to LA – where I assume it will eventually land in the hands of Jay Leno or the girls on The View and cop some through global endorsing.

  12. Dips,
    David Cameron might have been better off with an Almanac behind his photo with “‘er indoors” than the much maligned painting of nudes.

  13. Wadda ya meen some poncy English git Dips?

    He’s gunna be the King of Ireland one day……and the King of Awestrialeea.

    Rule Brittania, Brittania rules the waves…….

  14. I donated my copy from last year at a Latvian hostel to a Dutch centre half back.

  15. Pamela Sherpa says

    I gave a copy to Chris Gayle last year and when he made his triple century the other day I thought to myself -“He must have read an inspiring report in the Almanac before he went out to bat”

  16. #13 – Phantom – what goes around comes around. The Poms once ruled the waves with an iron fist and no decency. Now the only waves they rule are waves of their own sh…

    Long may they wallow in it!

  17. Dips,

    I refer to the English flag as ‘the butcher’s apron.

    I’m with you, just dangling the bait.

  18. And long may you keep dangling, Phantom.

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