Zager and Evans Cup

Zager and Evans Cup

 

I look forward to seeing Bucks lift the cup up in 2040. After a 30 year apprenticeship Eddie, shaking his walking stick defiantly snarls through his dentures:

“I told you so!”

If I’m still alive it will be a moment to savour. A triumph of nepotism, sheer bloody mindedness and an audacious unwillingness to stare facts in the face until every last seat in the Ponsford is empty, bar Joffa’s perhaps.

 

I obviously don’t see the big picture.

 

It’s the first time since 1978 that I have not attended a Collingwood game. Even then the only reason I didn’t go was because I was living in Tassie. Kids were screaming ‘Baker and Carman!” as they climbed on each other’s backs trying to take screamers in the playground.

 

Drew Morphett was a fresh young voice/face on the ABC, as were Graham ‘Smokey’ Dawson, Peter ‘Smooth’ Booth and Tim Lane, who would occasionally lapse into gratuitous vowel stretching, seeing as ‘God Save the Queen’ still closed the ABC coverage every night.

 

Around the groundsmen still existed. The ABC had ‘Skeeter’Coghlan, Ian ‘Clelo’ Cleland and Clark Hansen.

 

Over at 3KZ the Captain and the Major relied on names like Bobby Henderson, George Ferry, Frank Considine and Roy Simmonds to relay the news from the sacred grounds around Melbourne and Geelong. Harry Beitzel, Bill Jacobs and “Can you hear me Harry” (Tommy Lahiff) led 3AW’s broadcast while being kept abreast of the action elsewhere by the likes of Hugh Mitchell and later Gary Bryce, ‘Big’ Al Martello and Johnny Murphy.

 

I loved footy then. I loved hearing the crowd roar through the wireless as they went down to the wire. I loved not knowing everything that happened. I loved the mystery of those round the groundsmen and how they concisely had to share a picture and tell a short story without the aid of replays and instant technology. It allowed my imagination to stir.

 

I haven’t read a book in over a year. I don’t plan to. Perhaps that’s why I don’t write as much as I used to. The written word has been replaced by conversation. I want to talk to people without feeling the need to write about it. Plato knew how deceptive the written word could be, devoid of the countless expressions afforded by a face, the tone of voice, so difficult to convey convincingly on the page.

 

I can’t remember a time in my life when I’ve felt happier and at peace. Footy and reading has been replaced by painting and weeding. Who’d of thought that two years of sobriety and a detachment from CFC could do this?

 

Yet, part of me still cares. I watched games on TV and have learned to enjoy the radio again. I prefer 3AW as Tim, Lingy, Richo, Caro and Lethal provide an honest mix of entertainment, info, passable jokes and football insight without the bullshit hoopla. I wish Lethal could be made Director of Coaching at Collingwood. He knows what it’s like to come in as an outsider, break a 32 year premiership drought and still be considered a “Hawthorn person” even though he was offered a job for life in 1990.

 

When I heard the news today my first thought was that Bucks and Eddie ought to rename themselves Zager and Evans. If Bucks coaches Collingwood to a flag, he and Eddie will keep their jobs until the year 2525 – if man is still alive.

 

You could imagine Bucks at the 2040 post-game presser – “We finally got to know the unknowns and execute them as we would have liked.”

 

There’ll be Pie fans who would be prepared to back Bucks and Eddie until then. “Side by Side” cos Eddie says so, otherwise you are disloyal. I guess it doesn’t count that I attended almost every game in the lean years of 1982,85-86-87, 1999-2000,2004-5, 2015-16?

 

I fear however, that the offices of the Holden Centre may resemble Hitler’s bunker if the Pies are 5-10 heading into a cold and unforgiving July in 2018.

 

I hope they know what they are doing.

 

I hope I’m still alive in 2040.

 

About Phillip Dimitriadis

Carer/Teacher/Writer. Author of Fandemic: Travels in Footy Mythology. World view influenced by Johnny Cash, Krishnamurti, Larry David, Toni Morrison and Billy Picken.

Comments

  1. Phil – glad that peace has descended upon you. When you know the secret let me know!

    Tough call by the Pies to reappoint Bucks. I actually think it was probably the right call. Not that I’ve given it much thought. But probably Eddie needs to move on. New blood and all that. Bucks was a bit stiff this year with injuries and a few blokes just not getting it right. You have the engine at Collingwood. Now you just need the doors, boot and bonnet.

  2. I like your crystal ball scenarios Phil, funny albeit depressing as they are.

    The lengths Ed went to justify extending Bucks said it all. I had to laugh at the spin – ‘the easiest thing in the world would have been to sack the coach’. Ha, except if you’re any other man but the one owning the mouth these words exited!

    In all this Fonzie Trump accepted no blame as the Grand Overlord. Nor is the Board at all held accountable, despite reaching the point of three reviews and a significant overhaul of the core business of football (which for the past 5 years the hand picked/self picked unopposables seem to have forgotten.

    The strangest aspect is you’d think Ed would have left no stone unturned to ensure Bucks had every chance to succeed. Instead he’s been hamstrung by a dysfunctional, sub par football department, some very bizarre recruiting and a yearly injury toll that goes beyond the realm of simple bad luck.

    Yes, Bucks needed to lift his game too. And I think he has. There’s signs the ship is turning round. But the whole scenario puts Bucks in an invidious position. Had Ed not been so selfish and had the self awareness it was time to walk away after 20 years then there truly would be a fresh gust of hope sweeping through.

  3. E.regnans says:

    It’s a strange one, Phil.
    Evidence-based decisions are the bread and butter of organisations and professions everywhere.
    I guess supporting evidence must exist.

  4. All the problems at Collingwood – real and imagined – begin and end with Eddie McGuire.
    20 years is far too long.

  5. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says:

    Hope you make it to 2040 Phil, and I’ll begrudgingly let you have one flag between now and then, probably 2030, coached by Carla McGuire.

  6. Phillip Dimitriadis says:

    Thanks folks,
    Dips, who would have thought after 2010 that our respective clubs would be in this position? Collingwood the emerging dynasty and Geelong the also rans. Goes to show well-managed clubs bounce back quickly. Cats’ consistency has been eye-opening. Reckon with an ounce of luck you can pinch it this year. A big finals series by Tomahawk and Selwood’s return could swing it for you.

    JD, we are developing some young talent – isn’t every club? 2016 was similar. Played well against strong clubs and dropped games to Carlton, Essendon,St Kilda. Not good enough. They’d want to get a good start next year. Fans like me are sick of the bullshit 2 man crusade at everyone else’s expense. Ponsford Stand is conspicuous by the amount of empty seats each week. Club is badly divided and this decision will make things worse. No wonder Scott Burns pissed off to Hawthorn. Why would he stay?

    ER, Take me back to the days when we were losing Grand Finals !! At least the season lasted beyond July. Evidence is damning not only because of results, but because too many fans are tired of the club being held to ransom so two men can succeed and bask in the glory, eventually, maybe to claim they were vindicated. Good luck with that strategy.

    Smokie – if Eddie had any integrity he would step down and let Buckley coach without his protection. If he succeeds, great, if not, let someone else have a go. 20 years way too long as you have said many times.

    Swish – Sources tell me that Carla is already being prepared for the next succession plan should 2040 not work out. The only dynasty left at Collingwood is the McGuire family and his acolytes. Start building those bunkers Eddie !!

  7. John Butler says:

    Phil, as a Carlton fan, I can only say I’m completely at peace with Collingwood’s current direction. I’m confident Bucks is the man. The man for what is yet to be established.

    And Eddie will make a splendid future CEO of the John Elliot Institute of Administration. If he isn’t already.

    If you want to rejuvenate your football mojo, have you considered donning a shade of Navy Blue? C’mon, you know you want to. :)

  8. John Butler says:

    PS: if you want to take up my last suggestion, I’d be happy to write you a character reference.

    We are the new, inclusive Carlton, after all.

  9. Phillip Dimitriadis says:

    JB, it’s happened. Eddie has become our John Elliot. We’ll be playing for the Elliot/McGuire Cup soon I reckon.
    Your offer to join the ‘new, inclusive Carlton’ is flattering, but I can’t reverse history. Wish I could sometimes !!

  10. DBalassone says:

    As you know, I’ve been a big critic of Bucks the coach. But strangely enough over the last 6 weeks or so, I’ve started to come around. If we can tighten up our defensive strategies, I think we have enough talent on the list to challenge.
    Good effort in not attending a game this year. Sometimes, I wish I wasn’t so delusional – we could be 0 and 21 and I would still rock up to the G for the final round & get emotionally involved. I was as happy as larry on Saturday midway through the third term – but then 15 minutes later when the Dees made their charge, I was a nervous wreck.

  11. Phillip Dimitriadis says:

    Cheers Damo,
    Not sure what sort of collective amnesia has afflicted Pies’ fans over the last 6 weeks. While I agree, to an extent, that there were some positive signs, the fact remains that we get scored against too easily by pushing up too far. Has been the case since Bucks’ first game as coach. The defensive strategy has to change or else it will be more of the same. We need a to start well next year or the blow torch will understandably be on head coach and President.
    Could this be a case of Eddie’s last stand or to quote Ted Parker from The Club “The Great Leap Forward – Boom or Bust” ?

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