The end of the Paul Roos love affair

Paul Roos made it clear on Monday night on AFL 360 that there was a negativity problem within the Melbourne Football Club. That’s obvious to anyone who has watch Melbourne for a second since 2007. Now Roos says the problem is coming from the fans.

The love affair is over. When the Demons landed Roos I was potentially one of the ten most excited people in the 129598-394c03e0-b7db-11e3-ada0-f27aaeaffaebcountry. We’ve got a premiership coach, a list that is slowly getting better and fans who are starved of success, our luck is about to change.

I wasn’t expecting Roos to deliver us a flag but I was expecting a finals appearance. Coming into this year I thought that eight wins was a pass mark. When Petracca went down I lowered it to five. Technically Roos should get a pass mark, and he would have if not for the mortal sin he committed in placing the blame on the people who keep the club alive, the fans.

I’ll be honest, I’m not a member. Not for lack of want, but there are other things that I need to take care of in my life. But that doesn’t mean I’m not entitled to an opinion, an opinion until a few days ago I didn’t have.

I’ve loved the Dees for as long as I can remember and for the first time in a long time there are rays of hope. Sadly with the rays of hope remain the inept performances we’ve been made to stomach over the last eight years.

When a team isn’t performing fans have the right to be negative. I’ve not seen a Melbourne membership in the microwave, so at least we aren’t Richmond, Carlton or Essendon in that regard (all of those clubs have memberships I have seen microwaved in 2015).

I was high as a kite when we beat Geelong and Collingwood because it was a sign that we’d turned a corner. Even after falling over the line against Brisbane I was happy because it’s a game the old Demons would have lost. Essendon and Carlton, now those are games that I’ve come off feeling like supporting Melbourne is a chore rather than a gift. That’s not to say I’d change it for all the premierships in the world but that I’m a normal fan with normal expectations.

Paul Roos has done good things but he’s out of touch. The answer isn’t the fans, the answers is what he has the team doing on the field. Not conceding is fine but it means nothing if we aren’t scoring with regularity, which we aren’t. He’s too focused on the style that won him a flag in Sydney, and let’s face it, the game has moved past that style of football.

Expert opinion was that Roos shouldn’t coach again. I wish I’d agreed with them.

We’ve been waiting 51 years to win a flag. Of course everything isn’t fine with the fan base, but that’s part of the responsibility of being a fan, taking the good with the bad.

If Roos looked in the mirror or into the eyes of those around him the problem would be obvious – the club support a culture of losing. The leader of the pack is trying to pass the buck on to the people who love the club the most and he must see the consequences of his actions. Simon Goodwin loves attacking footy, so must be instated as soon as possible.

Thanks for trying Paul but please don’t let the door hit you on the way out.


Demons demonstrate destructive disposition

Melbourne went in favourites to beat Essendon yesterday afternoon and demonstrated in the best way possible that they can not be trusted with such a tag.

The line has been drawn in the sand. Yesterday was the loss that demonstrates that Paul Roos’ tenure at Melbourne wouldn’t be successful if it ended today. How you can have 25 scoring shots, only manage sixty points and get beaten

Sadly this photo is still relevant.

Sadly this photo is still relevant.

by the least stable (off the field at least) team in the league is beyond comprehension. Kicking has long been an issue for the Demons but Roos doesn’t want to see it. Instead we get the line about a young squad. It’s not 2008, I’m not interested in that or the honourable loss talk anymore.

Not to suggest that I’m the world’s greatest predictor of sporting results – but I saw this coming. From the second Essendon got walloped by St. Kilda last Sunday afternoon the writing was on the wall . I wanted to believe that after a lifetime of frustrations I’d be proven wrong (so I tipped us).

Supporting Melbourne is, at the best of times a bi-polar experience. Promising wins and devastating losses are nothing new, and certainly nothing new in 2015 (Geelong in Geelong / GWS in Canberra). So why does this bother me?

These are the games that we need to win if we are going to be taken seriously heading in to 2016.

Last weekend there was talk of Essendon not winning another game in 2015. If they were playing anyone else this weekend they would have lost and probably been comprehensively thumped. Of course Melbourne lost, it was the most Melbourne thing they could possibly do. Why bother having the great hope that things are going to change with the flick of a switch?

False dawns. Two words that perfectly sum up every Melbourne supporter experience I’ve ever come across. What is Roos doing if he can’t see that our kicking needs work? I know the weather was bad, but Essendon were able to negotiate it and we should have been too. Where was the fluidity we showed against the Gold Coast and Richmond when everything was fantastic?

There’s no denying we’ve got a great crop of young talent, but that’s little to smile about when we drop points like we did yesterday. Our time has been coming since the start of the 1970s and the reward we’ve got is a couple of thumping Grand Final losses for our troubles. Wonderful.

What is the club trying to achieve this season? I usually try to steer clear of the doom and gloom talk but yesterday really puts things in perspective. We aren’t good. Worse than that, we aren’t reliable and we aren’t going to be for a long time.

A few blokes have 30 touches for a few games and they think they’ve got the world figured out? We have some strong multiple goalkickers and we think they’re going to kick five every week? We have a strong run so we don’t need to worry about giving the ball to a man who is under pressure and only going to turn it over? The ineptitude that has been bred in the Melbourne Football Club truly knows no bounds.

You could put Nat Fyfe in our team next week and he’d forget how to put his shoes in. The culture in the club is unacceptable and worst than that it’s offering success in nothing more than mediocrity.

The culture at the club is all wrong. We’re being asked to expect miracles when for any other club it would take nothing more than a consistent effort. We’re too busy ripping blokes on the field rather than ripping the structure we have off it. That’s how we’ve come to this. A belief that we’re in a better position than we are.

It’s not difficult for Roos to fix but I fear he has no interest in delivering the home truths that are associated with the task. Our communication is awful. On and off the field there is little positive talk unless things are going perfectly. Everything needs an excuse, everything is going to be better soon. Forgive me, but I’ve heard this roughly 743 times in my life.

For the first time in the Paul Roos era I’m concerned that we’re letting the world continue to pass us by. He’s said it himself “Our best footy is streets ahead of last year, our worst is just as bad”.

Yesterday was worse than bad. Thanks Melbourne.




Deebacle 2015

I have no idea what the Melbourne Football Club are going to do this year.

What I do know is that we aren’t winning a Premiership. I also know we need to score more points and we have the weapons to do it.

Angus Brayshaw should be a shining light for the Dees this year

Angus Brayshaw should be a shining light for the Dees this year

I fell for it with Jack Watts, Tom Scully and Jack Trengove. They were all going to be the one who turned the fortunes of the Melbourne Football Club around. As much as I love you Jesse Hogan, I’m not going to put you in the same category. Not because I believe you don’t deserve to be there, purely because the pressure of Melbourne is a miserable thing to lump on anyone.

We have a great core of young players with one thing in common. I want to see more from them in 2015. Jack Viney, Jay Kennedy-Harris, Christian Salem and Dom Tyson all need to be playing at their best every week if we are going to see progression.

We should have won more than four games last year and we should win more than four games this year, but who knows? Preseason is a great indicator, even though the wins and losses don’t matter as much. We could have beaten Freo, where we put up a good fight all day. We should have finished the Bulldogs off a lot sooner than we did. Essendon was summed up by the losing turnover – some days it just isn’t going to happen.

At the end of last year I thought we could win seven or eight games. Within half an hour of Christian Petracca being ruled out for the season I adjusted that to being happy with winning five games. Being happy with being awful is enough to make me miserable before a Matt Jones kick in anger.

I just want something to smile about on a regular basis. We haven’t made the finals since Channel Nine had rights (2006), and with the exception of the first half of 2010 and roughly half of our games in a horribly inconsistent 2011, we have not looked like breaking the drought.

We also have a great group of older guys, but they aren’t getting consistent help. Dawes, Nathan Jones and Lumumba need to have career best years. I’m also looking forward to seeing what Stretch and Brayshaw can do.

Over to you Melbourne. Even if you can’t make me smile every week the Robbie Flower Wing is another stunning example of why I will never stop loving you.

Deebacle :: 2013 release

A few weeks ago I wrote a wonderful post how despite the fact that Melbourne were absolutely terrible, the belief that I had wouldn’t drop. What a long time a few weeks is in sport.

Remember Robbie Flower? He actually cared

Remember Robbie Flower? He actually cared

“Neeld gone, In comes Neil Craig” read the text I received just after nine this morning. My prompt response was filled with choice words that won’t be repeated here and the proclamation that we will not win again this season.

Not only do I wish that were a lie, but I wish I cared enough to care.

The sporting landscape is packed for the casual fan, so when you compulsively need a team to support, there are always five or six different leagues on the run.

I’m lucky that I live less than 15 kilometres from the MCG and can jaunt across whenever the mood strikes to view one of the longest standing passions of my life.

The mood has not and will not strike in 2013, in fact the last time the mood struck was for the simple fact I got to have a kick on the G’ after the game, before that? I have no idea.

The product is insipid, the management is questionable if it exists, the results are predictable, and even our social media channels are deluded, going as far as to call a 100 point loss a “tough afternoon”.

Let’s call it what it is – A business playing in a world where they don’t belong.

Does this mean I’m going to be taking my love elsewhere? Nope, simply put I’ll watch on the idiot box if I can and keep one eye on my phone if I can’t watch, in hope of a miracle.

I mentioned above that I live close to the home of football, yet there is a team who play their home games 16,935 kilometres who I’d much rather invest my time in.

I use the Boston Red Sox as little more than an example. Sure I can’t get to Fenway Park as often as I’d like to, but you know what I do get out of them? Respect.

Melbourne are in year 49 of a very boring premiership drought, where they are yet to flirt with winning on the last Saturday in September. Yes there have been two chances to buck the trend in my life, but when you lose those games by an average of 78 points, I don’t think that counts as giving it a good crack.

I look forward to seeing who we bring in next year, because I’m sure they’ve got some good ideas to take us forward, but given half of the current squad don’t want to be there, I see them suffering the same fate as Neeld.

As long as there is a Melbourne, I am Melbourne.

When I made the move south in 2011 I was overjoyed at the prospect of making the trip into the city every week and watching us make the move north in the standings, because let’s face it, that’s what I’ve waited my whole life to see.

Looking back I can see that hope really does spring eternal.

This may also seem very rash, but I’ve known we’ve been rubbish for a long time, and I have no regret in venting the frustrations at our current plight.

The only real regret I have is buying my Niece and Nephew Melbourne gear when they were born, because they have no choice but to follow the mediocre path I have traveled for 25 years.Maybe if the club wasn’t so accepting of the low bar they have set themselves then they might get somewhere.Cheers to another 25 years of misery if we make it that far!




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.