Views From Other Footscray Fans
Here are the views of another aggrieved fan – So to read PJ Zee’s extract just click the link.
Sympathy Number Ron by (From chapter 25 of ‘Sympathy Number Ron) by PJ Zee
SYMPATHY NUMBER RON
Views From Other Footscray Fans – PJ Zee
(From chapter 24 of ‘Sympathy Number Ron’)
It was Saturday; time to unwind.
Time to kick up your heels.
Time to relax.
Some people spent their Saturdays taking massages to uncoil the knotted tension in their muscles and bones, and others did yoga. The serene burnt incense, lit candles, and swayed blissfully back and forth to the rhythm of meditative chants. You could try the spirit-soothing tranquillity of transcendence, the pincushion mimicry of acupuncture, or the conformity of the fashionably safe palates. Unimaginatively, you could also just sleep. But for the majority of people, the best way to unwind on a Saturday – for the most part – meant doing pretty much one thing: slumping on the couch, taking an aspirin, and sighing with relief that you now had two days in which to convalesce. That said – for the majority.
Come Saturday, and wound tight by the frustrations from their own working weeks, Ron and his friends, Neil, the ‘other’ Neil, and Mike also spent their day trying to unwind. Where other people spent their day unwinding by taking massages or doing yoga, Ron and his friends, Neil, the ‘other’ Neil, and Mike spent their day, well, I guess you could say, by doing pretty much the same: screaming diatribes at a bunch of knuckle dragging footballers (although technically, Neil – going through a phase at the moment, and sometimes moving his midweek yoga to the weekends – did both). And today, Saturday, restocked with lashings of Vortex Gold fuelled rage, armed to the teeth with an arsenal of blood curdling obscenities, and looking to drop a payload of simmering hate the first chance they’d get – well heck, they were looking to pick up from the very same expletive from where they’d malevolently left off.
Sport is one of the last remaining forums where it’s still acceptable for seemingly intelligent men to lose themselves for an afternoon and go absolutely hog wild, without fear or spectre of being institutionalised (notwithstanding that heavy metal concerts are the top dog of this realm.) Ron was having the fellas around this evening to watch their football team, Footscray, play some other mob on the tube.
Now that’s not quite correct.
Ron was having the fellas around this evening to watch their football team, the one formerly known as Footscray, play some other mob on the tube.
Some years back, no thanks to the infernal wisdom of clubs presiding administration, it was decided that in the best interests of the club’s marketability, it was necessary to re-badge Footscray as the Western Bulldogs. No matter how compelling the reasoning for this change may have been, Ron knew the unconscionable fact was, that tagged incriminatingly to the tail end of it – if you’d cared to take a look – you’d undoubtedly find the filthy, skid-mark shit stain, of a mercenary dollar sign. Mindful of this cynicism, the clubs administration postured to meet the aggrieved supporters halfway, and as a compromise suggested that the former name could still be represented in some way. This was achieved, albeit cursorily, by the placement of a miniscule ‘ffc’ (an acronym for Footscray football club), high on the back centre of the jumper. Needless to say, none of these machinations sat well with Ron. Though the media and the football community (and oh, not to mention the Marketing fucks) immediately embraced the new model (the Western fucking Bulldogs), he and his friends Neil, the ‘other’ Neil and Mike steadfastly resisted. They held their ground with the same unwavering verve as the disenfranchised PLO, and having just stopped a notch short of enacting a blood pact in doing so, still vowed that it would take nothing less than the wherewithal of a drilled army platoon to have them move. Or so it was motioned.
In the first season after the ‘think tanks’ of marketing stole – repeat: stole – his beloved football clubs name from him, Ron swore never to watch the game again. After realizing how empty his life was without it (half time – Round 1) he decreed that it was time to accept their puny tokenism and recognize the anagram they put on the back of the jumper as somewhat of an olive branch; and then with renewed enthusiasm and soaring spirits, he duly moved to reconcile himself with his beloved club. Well, it was more like changing channels on the remote and picking up where he’d left off: screaming his sorry arse at a bunch of knuckle dragging footballers. But he had something up his sleeve.
He would create his own illusory world, and snuff out all references to the new model. If asked at work whom he supported he’d say ‘Footscray’, in the proudest voice he had. When infuriated by the predictably leaden-skulled response: ‘Huh … oh you mean the Western Bulldogs’, he’d first stop to think, Jesus, these fuckers couldn’t remember a National fricken Institution, let alone the last time they had a goddamned crap, and then he’d agitatedly add, ‘Yeah like I said: Footscray’. Finding that he was expending too much rage whilst correcting people with the energy sapping terse model, he decreed to replace it with plain old generic disregard instead. Ron also adopted the peculiar practice of using whiteout to obliterate the Western Bulldogs reference in the print media, the same way despot Governments censor words when circulating propaganda. Before reading his Monday morning paper, he would ceremoniously carry out this practice and once the whiteout dried (which was another frustration) he would replace it with Footscray. This function was carried out in the review of the game, the ladder, and the scoreboards. He seldom bothered with the statistical pages; mainly because Footscray seldom had players good enough to make it on these lists, so that for the most part wasn’t a problem. Once completed, and much to his ‘when-will-this-fucker-ever-dry’ relief, he would then kick back from his desk, recline deeply into his chair, and slowly savour Footscray’s most recent … err … loss. But not before he carried out one last burdensome errand: gesturing a hateful single finger insult to all the marketing fucks that had stolen his clubs name, whilst mentally declaring ‘You can steal our clubs fucking name, but you’ll never steal our supporter’s fucking spirit’, and he’d leave it at that. Actually the truth is, he did it for a couple of weeks and then grew tired of it.
Anyway, that was just rhetoric. The ball had just been bounced and battle was about to commence.
“Oh fuck, get in there,” Mike.
“Oh fuck, get it out, get it out,” Neil.
“No fuck Jesus, get it in,” the ‘other’ Neil.
If not for the bloodthirsty hate and frenzied rage being at the very heart of these diatribes, you’d be forgiven for misinterpreting them as a very disturbing episode of sadomasochistic homo-erotica.
“Grab him, grab him … Oh fuck meeeeeeeeeeee,” the ‘other’ Neil.
“Jesus H fucking Christ, pick up the fucking ball you fucking dolt,” Neil.
“You ought to be skull fucked Croftie,” Anonymous 29.2.05.
“Kick it to stinky, kick it to stinky,” Mike.
“Yes Yes Yes … oh fuck no,” Anonymous 29.2.05.
“Chrisssssssssssssss,” all of them.
“Have a go you fruit,” Neil.
“OH FUCK,” all of them bar the ‘other’ Neil who always left early when they were losing.
Most Footscray games ended with a resigned coupling of the words ‘Oh’ and ‘fuck.’ They hadn’t won a premiership for 50 years; lost twice and much as they won; seldom got a real go in the media; seldom got a prime time Friday night fixture, and most tellingly, never got to play on the main stage on Grand Final Day (which, kind of helps to entrance bloated corporate sponsors, and therefore have money to keep your better players, and therefore, maybe, just maybe: have a God awful even chance). Truly, it was a sad mothergrating state of affairs.