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.