Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Beware Of Greeks Snaring Gifts

THIS IS a wonderful time of year to be in Melbourne, just as everything is waking up for spring. What the councils’ green shirts these days disparage as “exotics”, by which they mean anything that isn’t native, are coming into bloom, so there are sprays and cascades of blossoms and scents spilling over second garden fence. By the first Tuesday in November the roses will be all over Flemington and for a month or two after that, until the first of the north winds bake the Christmas roast before it goes into your oven, there is probably no more congenial location on the planet. The AFL Grand Final is a handy human marker for this annual transformation, a reminder to check the tent and stop by the op shop for a $1 frypan you will not mind ruining over the coming summer’s campfires. This year’s contest, Collingwood v. Geelong, will probably be a fine match, as both their encounters this season have been, the Cats taking both. The first regret of this otherwise splendid season will be that footy is not a game where both sides can lose, as neither Grand Final contender commands the slightest affection at the Billabong.

The second annoyance to soil the season also has to do with footy. It is Andrew Demetriou, who heads the AFL and is seen and heard at Finals time much more than in any other month. You can dislike him instinctively for his looks and mouth, surrender to visceral sentiment and detest the mere sight of a man whom the Great Bunyip fashioned in the image of a proctologist’s butt plug. But that would be a waste of prejudice, because there are so many other, far more reputable reasons to loathe him.

If you are a Tasmanian, it will be for denying your state its own footy team. There are 400,000 Apple Islanders and their passion for the sport guarantees a new club’s success, especially with the government incentives that continue to be tossed on the table.

Bugger them, says Demetriou, who next year will have overseen the birth of two new clubs in parts of the country where the local preference for thick-necked men running each other is unlikely to be shaken, not in a donkey’s lifetime.

In Melbourne, sit through the AFL’s next Green Round – yes, there is one, often played under lights – and try not to conjure the number of homes that could be powered with the rendered fat from Demetriou’s head. If Meat Loaf fails to make this weekend’s game, a guillotine and tumbrel would make splendid half-time entertainment. It would be like snapping the eraser tip off a thick pencil. This being Melbourne, any number of older ladies in the stands will already have brought their knitting.

Or try the Welcome to Country ramble that precedes the Indigenous Day round. Ignore that possum coat and the rent-a-blackfella platitudes tumbling out before the first bounce. To maintain that certain air which tokenism exploits when good manners are present, concentrate on the smoking fire and draw joy from the thought of Demetriou being tossed upon it.

And if none of those options are quite up to what the ardent barracker believes a fit fate for the wretch who is wrecking our great game, consider what the little bastard did today, when he sold out the clubs to Julia Gillard and Andrew Wilkie.

The Western Bulldogs draw 40% of revenue from the pokies, according to the club’s president, and its future, like so many other clubs, depends on those machines. There was a revolt brewing, with Hawthorn’s Jeff Kennett directing some of the spleen left over from the weekend’s heartbreaker at Nanny Wilkie and his belief that human weakness can be remedied with legislation. And then came word that the clubs should stick a sock in it while Demetriou extended a conciliatory hand.

And why, for what what reason did Demetriou lead the AFL's about-face? Because he is concerned for these armies of problem gamblers, who are to be slightly inconvenienced on their roads to ruin, for that is all the practical result of loss limits will be? If Demetriou cared about degenerate punters he would have vetoed bookmakers’ club sponsorships.

No, Demetriou is debasing football and the clubs in order to secure and preserve government monies that help him do further damage to the sport. In Queensland and South Australia stadia are being spruced up with government dollars, nice Labor government dollars.

Demetriou’s plan to force Aussie Rules down northern throats is stupid, but the man pushing it is nothing if not sly. If existing teams are being stripped of talent by the need to staff two new squads, what is to him? He is running a business, and like any tycoon with hand extended he knows on which side his bread is buttered, if not the game’s, and which governments not to irritate. So he will sell out the existing clubs to push his ill-conceived expansion.

That’s the modern game for you. Still great on the field, but an increasingly sad spectacle elsewhere.


  1. Bunyip, I'm with you but I can't wait 'til the tallow for your lyrical wax really comes from that proctologist’s butt plug.

  2. Professor, you are a man of my heart! I too can't stand that socialist twit Demetriou! The way he has ruined our great game with his bullcrap commie policies, with his touchy feely green rounds, social harmony programs, and so on! What really pissed me off was when the Greek socialist dragged Robert Dipierdomenico through the mud and made him grovel in front of the media all for jokingly saying that Gavin Wanganeen's skills "weren't bad for an Abo!" Time to get rid on him, and replace him with someone who appreciates the traditions of the game- Jeff's no longer Hawthorn President, what a perfect match!

  3. You have, as always, said it far better than I ever could. I'm a life-long footy tragic and AFL member and decided only last week that I can no longer justify sending a single dollar more of my hard earned to support what that utter FatHead is doing to the game. Especially if any of it goes to pay his salary.

  4. Andrew Demetriou, is just angling for a spot in the Labor Party, that why he is happy to agree with every thing they say.

  5. Was talking AFL on Friday night with a mate who actually works part time for Port Power (and hence he was strangely hostile when I suggested the bottom two clubs each year needed to be dropped...)

    I made the arguement that the AFL is actually in a bad place and is going to find itself in a lot of trouble in the near years.

    Sure it is adding clubs and expanding the comp but that causes it's own problems. My friend (after ironically insisting that the GF MUST ALWAYS be on the last weekend of Sept and that thsi October thing was a mistake) was very happy about the expansion and discussed having Port Adelaide enter the comp as a seperate team.

    Sure, but how long a season do you want? Shall we start the pre-season next month so we can get the home and away games done in time? Keep throwing clubs into the comp and it will get to the stage when all clubs can only play each other once and boo hoo to any home ground avantage if you get the draw wrong.

    And on what grounds do these new clubs deserve to be there anyway? They haven't won the right by years of skillful domination on the field so as far as my research shows it was all a case of having money, a shiney stadium and, ummm, money.

    Money... which brings me back to the two SA clubs. Both are strongly rumoured to be a bit tight for cash and there has been arguements in the local press that without money they cannot complete with the bigger, richer clubs. However if they continue to largely suck on the field their membership will drop and hence less money and death spiral. If anything I would argue that SA/Adelaide has reached it's peak of 'serious' AFL fans (ie the through thick or thin season ticket holders) and everyone else is just casual fans whose investment in the game is a club beanie and free to air television.

    Which brings to the farce of Adelaide Oval. the arguement is that moving football to this venue will bring in more fans and the increased gate takings will boost the bank statements of the troubled clubs. Will it? How? The casual fans are not going to games now so once you get past the novelity of sport at Adelaide Oval do people honestly expect increased long term ticket sales?

    To my mind the AFL needs a two tier system where 'not good' clubs can go and fight in Div 1. It must be a AFL Div as the gap between state based and AFL grade football is like the gap between Gillard and Rudd's friendship bonds. Without the ability to promote or demote clubs based on their on field performance, throwing in more clubs into the mix will just result in more and more games that are complete one sided farces while the same 4 clubs finish top every year.

    Our Billibong Bound Buddy is right, the structure and plan of the AFL dream is not in a good place, but unlike him I believe the entire castle is a lot worse then he thinks.

  6. I'll drink to that Andrew V - El Jeffo for AFL presidente - your namesake strikes me as being a right & proper prick.

  7. "If Meat Loaf fails to make this weekend’s game, a guillotine and tumbrel would make splendid half-time entertainment"

    I laughed so hard I spat tea at my monitor

  8. As an expatriate Melburnian living in Sydney since 1971, and a (sob)Richmond supporter for ever (season ticket in 1947), I heartily support the Professor here. Never has the VFL, er AFL, been run so badly. Give the game back to its supporters. As for a Western Sydney team, what a laugh! Tassie could support two clubs before a second Club is needed in Sydney. At leqst they know what the term "footy" really means. The Swans are obviously keeping their options open judging by their keeping the letters SMFC at the top back of the jerseys. Not that I've ever thought they were other than South Melbourne anyway, the home of Ron Clegg, Freddie Goldsmith and Bobby Skilton.

  9. Demetriou has some very solid Labor connections. Unlike Paul Keating, he is still friends with Don Watson. Apart from this, the AFL is a nest of Labourites. His noises would have earned him brownie points among his Labor comrades.