Sunday 21st April, 2019
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Bulldogs: Overused overkill. Western underused and superfluous

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One excuse used by the four man ‘Bulldogs Taskforce’ back in October 1996 why we needed to change our name from Footscray to Western Bulldogs- was that Footscray was a restriction on ‘growing the brand’. Our football club is apparently a ‘brand’ similar to dish washing liquid, fly spray or dog food, rather than a deep personal and family attachment passed down from generation to generation.

This was what the Western Bulldogs President of 13 years – David Smorgon was quoted saying in 2008 from the –

What’s In a Name? Plenty:

AGE article from Tuesday 8th June 2008

Here directly below between the unbroken lines is the exact quote from the Peter Hanlon story. The entire article is here as a separate chapter in this website

Smorgon says, because of a belief that the club’s identity was limited, that as Western Bulldogs they could better tap into sponsorship, build coteries and other support from the entire western region of Melbourne, with its 600,000-plus people. “We felt that Footscray was a restriction on growing our brand.”

If so then why is the Western in Western Bulldogs, 90% of the time an invisible faceless word? Western is hardly ever used and only in conjunction with ‘Bulldogs’ following it. Is there anywhere that Western is used singularly without the Bulldogs? – North Melbourne is usually abbreviated to North and South Melbourne was just South. The Melbourne part only ever followed the North and South – which was justifiable as there is already a team named Melbourne.

The Footscray situation is different because Western is supposedly the magnet to increasing our support. Melbourne alone was not the cornerstone of North (Melbourne) and South (Melbourne) – they are and were individual identities with the emphasis on them being North Melbourne and South Melbourne. So why is the ‘Bulldogs’ word used every single time and Western never used independently from Bulldogs? ‘Western’ is to the Western Bulldogs what the North and South are and was to both North Melbourne and South Melbourne. The direction (North and South) is what defines them both, opposed to our case (Western) where our direction is a ‘third rate loser’

THE TWO STAND UP COMEDIANS.

THE COMIC & HIS/HER DEAD PAN ASSISTANT- OURS ARE AROUND THE WRONG WAY!

Footscray as a club now described in two guises

(1) Western Bulldogs
(2) Bulldogs

It is never called just ‘Western’- nowhere will anyone ever see –

(a) Geelong v Western, Collingwood v Western, Essendon v Western etc
(b) Western v Hawthorn, Western v Carlton, Western v St Kilda etc

And when abbreviated the name appears in these formats –

  • W.Bulldogs
  • The Bulldogs
  • Dogs
  • Doggies
  • W.B.
  • The Dogs

And to a much lesser degree as

  • W.Bullies

Never is the club presented in an abbreviated mode as

  • Western B.
  • Western Dogs
  • Western Bull
  • Western Bulls
  • Western Bullies
  • West B
  • West D.
  • West Bull
  • West Bulls
  • West Dogs

Let alone plain Western on its own

So the logic of changing the name from Footscray to Western Bulldogs is not about consolidating a connection with the west. What it stands for is the cause of being Anti- Footscray. It is not about being Pro- Western suburbs or Pro-Western Region or Pro -western ‘whatever’ It is at pure bigotry towards Footscray. If Footscray was a race, religion, nationality, ethnic group, gender, etc it would be considered discrimination, but as Footscray is ‘just a suburb’- there is no crime of ‘suburb phobia’ as there is with racism, and religious bigotry etc. Footscrayphobia isn’t documented like other phobias- but it could be argued that there is definitely a place for that affliction to be medically recorded.

Western is supposed to be the comedian- the bulldogs should be the dead pan side kick. However we have it the wrong way around as Western is the side kick, bulldogs takes the top billing

Brad Johnson article in ‘THE BULLDOG’ magazine

The club’s official publication – ‘the Third Quarter’ edition of ‘THE BULLDOG’ magazine has an article from page 8 about Brad Johnson, celebrating him gaining the great honour of having played the most number of games for the team. The opening paragraph of this article on page 9 begins in this way as shown below –

It’s Round 8 1994. The Bulldogs are playing Collingwood at Western Oval. With eight wins and seven losses, it’s a crucial game in the scheme of season nearing the end point for the Alan Joyce – coached side.

Why is it written that way? One team is being recorded by its nickname and their opponents described by their real name.

It’s Round 8 1994. The Bulldogs are playing Collingwood at Western Oval. With eight wins and seven losses, it’s a crucial game in the scheme of season nearing the end point for the Alan Joyce – coached side.

The correct or consistent way would be to start that paragraph as either of the following –

✓ It’s Round 8 1994. Footscray are playing Collingwood at Western Oval. With eight wins and seven losses, it’s a crucial game in the scheme of season nearing the end point for the Alan Joyce- coached side.

✓ It’s Round 8 1994. The Bulldogs are playing The Magpies at Western Oval. With eight wins and seven losses, it’s a crucial game in the scheme of season nearing the end point for the Alan Joyce- coached side.

The reasons for those two above examples being correct are

Correctness: The fact was that Footscray was our official name, back then in July 1994 not ‘The Bulldogs.’ It was Footscray v Collingwood, not The Bulldogs v Collingwood

Consistancy: It is either the real name or the nickname for both teams. If we need to be referred to by our nickname, then so should the other team. The Bulldogs v The Magpies- although trivialising both clubs when used as the introduction of both is childish- it is at least consistent. There is another chapter on FNWB about the club being trivialised by the over use of the bulldog(s)

Back to ‘The Bulldog’ magazine. Why doesn’t the club call it ‘The Western’ or ‘The Westerner’? That may be a matter of semantics- but this is the emphasis again on the bulldog part of the name rather than the western. If the target audience is the western suburbs/region- it certainly isn’t obvious because all the emphasis is given to the bulldog(s) Western is superfluous.

Western does not justify its existence; or rather it has no opportunity to present its case, because it sits in the basement while bulldogs receive the top billing and neon lights. Western may as well be discarded from the name- because what is the purpose of it? The club could be just the ‘BULLDOGS’ in the same way that North Melbourne was from seasons 1999 to the end of season 2007 just ‘KANGAROOS’. (and without the ‘THE’ in front of Kangaroos).I wouldn’t support that- we must return to being Footscray- being just BULLDOGS is equally wrong as WESTERN BULLDOGS; however the club would at least move up the list alphabetically as below with both the current alphabetical listing and then a revised one should Western be thrown to the doghouse, as these two tables below show.

Alphabetical listing as Western Bulldogs Alphabetical listing just as Bulldogs
1 Adelaide 1 Adelaide
2 Brisbane 2 Brisbane
3 Carlton 3 Bulldogs
4 Collingwood 4 Carlton
5 Essendon 5 Collingwood
6 Fremantle 6 Essendon
7 Geelong 7 Fremantle
8 Hawthorn 8 Geelong
9 Melbourne 9 Hawthorn
10 North Melbourne 10 Melbourne
11 Port Adelaide 11 North Melbourne
12 Richmond 12 Port Adelaide
13 St Kilda 13 Richmond
14 Sydney 14 St Kilda
15 West Coast 15 Sydney
16 Western Bulldogs 16 West Coast

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