Every heart beats true

I long for the day Mark Neeld does this

I long for the day Mark Neeld does this

For as long as I can remember a big part of my sporting obsession has been the Melbourne Football Club. Reports in the media this week comparing us to the 1996 and just prior Fitzroy sides has put enough doubt in my head as to how long this can stay the case.

Dear Melbourne FC,

First and foremost I would like to say that I can see what you’re trying to do and I like it. Where most would be writing you letters to complain and show their discontent with our current situation I’m happy to do the opposite. My sister made me support Melbourne, and while I didn’t understand the importance of this decision or lack-thereof at the time, I’d like to thank the club for shaping some aspects of my personality, mainly how things going wrong can help build character, because if there was ever an expert, you’re it.

Growing up my favourite player was none other than Jim Stynes, if only for the reason that he shares my birthday. Jimmy represented what I saw in the club through my young eyes, always having a crack and never giving up.

If I were your typical miserable fan, I’d make a sarcastic remark of “oh how that’s changed now I have perspective”, but you’ve shown me that it hasn’t.

Sure there have been some performances that have been lacking in substance this season, but that happens for every club, just ask Nathan Buckley.

My dad and I often joke we are in to year forty something of Barassi’s five-year plan, so I beg you to please stop putting time frames on things.

Yes, things are rough now, but the loyal fans will always be there, even if they aren’t at the game. My Niece and Nephew were both the recipients of Melbourne gear before they walk, and twice this season I’ve had to tell them they have no choice in who they support because somebody made that decision for them and a football team is forever. At least my Nephew can recognise this and say “I’d never support the Bombers, Nobody likes them and they’re bad guys”,  seriously that’s priceless from a four-year old.

The 2000 Grand Final should be the highlight of my life in Red and Blue, but it was anything but. A day that exposed me to the emotions of the game and saw me in tears five minutes into the second quarter.

It was false hope and nothing more, a hope which lead me to believe that at worst we’d win it all by 2004.

That didn’t really work out did it?

Is it the players that we recruit? That depends what you want to believe. My sister and I used to joke that you could put any player in a Melbourne jumper and they’d be heading down the career slope.

Then we signed Mitch Clark.

Don’t get me wrong, Mitch is one of the most exciting players I have ever seen don the Red and Blue, but his two injuries against GWS have taken the humor out of that joke, so perhaps rest him against them from now until eternity?

I know how tough the job is that the club faces, and I’m not talking on field. The guys and girls in the front office who have to turn up and slog it out every day, putting on a brave face, promoting the club, manning the social media channels, I’ve been there for a losing team and as the saying goes there are only so many ways you can skin a cat.

This weekend may have seen us lose again, but we’re not at the bottom of the ladder and the signs were impressive. They key is to find the confidence within. All of the players on our list got to the AFL level because they knew that they were good enough to succeed.

Is success all that matters? Obviously not, otherwise I and I assume thousands of others wouldn’t be hanging around to see how things turn out for the oldest club in the land.

I love it when we win, I can’t help but feel a stab of pain when we lose, but I’ll head in to next week knowing that is the only game that matters, because that is what sport, and you, have taught me.

While there is a Melbourne I will be a Melbourne fan.

I’m looking forward to whatever next week brings us.

Yours Faithfully,

X.T.G Player.

 

Broad-Casting

Over the last month there has been extensive discussion within Australian media circles on the potential results of American style broadcasting in a country where the concept of commentators for teams seems so foreign. Here’s why it’s the only way forward for Australia.

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When Richmond took on Collingwood in Round Four of the AFL premiership season earlier this year, viewers had the option to “Press red for Ed”.

No, pressing the red button would not bring up a picture of the Collingwood presidents reaction to their blown lead in the 2010 Grand Final, but give viewers the opportunity to hear a Collingwood based commentary team.

I only heard a small amount of the commentary and despite the fact I’m a long way from a Collingwood fan it was one of the best things I’ve heard in Australian sport.

It wasn’t the best in terms of commentary, but it was the best because I had a commentary team who had a much deeper understanding of the Collingwood Football Club then the average commentator.

Earlier this week the Herald Sun revealed that the AFL are hoping to broadcast their own games by the end of the 2016, which again throws open the window for team based commentary.

Imagine this, the Western Bulldogs are playing in Brisbane on a Saturday night and rather than listening to the likes of Brian Taylor and Richo, I have the chance to listen to Marcus Ashcroft and Bernie Quinlan.

If I’m a Brisbane fan (which I’m not, but I have a soft spot for them), then that’s going to be my preference any day of the week because I’m going to hear more positives about my team from people who had the history that I know inside and out.

This isn’t to say there is no room for journalists in the broadcast box, with Vin Scully from the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball being the perfect example.

Scully never played Big League ball, working as a journalist and beginning his career with the Dodgers in 1950.

Wouldn’t that longevity be something to see in Australia?

This is a technique which has already been explored in the lower tier sports in Australian, with the ABL, AIHL and NBL all having team specific broadcasters.

Through these broadcasts we can also see an increase in revenue for media organisations, with companies such as Hewitt Sports reaping the rewards. HSN have had broadcast rights for AIHL games while the Brisbane Bandits have two innings per game called by HSN Beat Writer John Grey, in what has become known as the “Hewitt Sports Hangout”.

Sport has turned from a game into a business over the last three decades, and the best way for this transition to be complete will be for leagues and teams to break away from the current broadcast mould and display the independence fans should be so desperately craving.

Do you have a favourite franchise based broadcast team? Do you have suggestions on who the best team could be in your favourite sport? Let me know below.