My football team sucks. Give it a thousand straws and a factory full of Hoovers and it couldn’t suck more. Because of this, life is utterly pointless.

A random picture of a man which somehow found its way onto this story. Pic: Mark Evans

Have you ever watched The Footy Show and dribbled your dinner down the front of your finest shirt as your brain completely shuts down from the overload of inanity? That’s me right now, numbed by a season of football pain.

Technically, all is not yet lost. If my team wins by a handsome margin, and the two teams above them lose, and Jupiter crashes into Uranus, and Rove McManus says something funny, then maybe, just maybe, they might just flop into the finals.

Won’t happen, but.

As surely as it’s bad grammar to put a conjunction at the end of a sentence, my team will play no part in September.

As surely as the Labor party will contest the next Federal election, my team will contest a completely pointless match this weekend which is bound to end in ignominy.

It’s over. Kaput. Because of all this, I can’t really think of a reason to get out of bed anymore.

Oh, I’ll squeeze a week or two out of the blame game to keep me going. That game is reaching fever pitch at this very moment on online forums, which is more than you can say for any game my football team played this year.

Blaming stuff is more fun than chasing seagulls. It’s the coach’s fault for being stale, the senior players’ fault for not setting the right example, the young players’ fault for not improving quickly enough, the club CEO’s fault for not commanding the respect of the boardroom, yada yada yada.

Personally, I blame the janitor. His skill set was a little dusty this year and he just didn’t get as many garbage disposals as usual.

I suppose I could look inwards for fulfilment. As a bald, middle-aged and increasingly flabby suburban father, what don’t I have to look forward to?

Seriously, there is much more of importance in my life than the performance of a team full of blokes who think a sushi train is a form of public transport made out of fish.

There’s… umm… well there’s… y’know… umm… umm… other sport!

It’s only six weeks till that thrilling car race between two heavily taxpayer-subsidised dying car brands on a mountain near Bathurst which is really just a hill.

Then there’s the Melbourne Cup, where you get the chance to cheer for those brave Australian horses running 17th as their French counterparts whoosh by.

The Boxing Day cricket Test should be a beauty this year. We’re playing the might of Sri Lanka.

Oh, who am I kidding? Life without your team in the football finals is a whirling maelstrom of despair, a predicament as bleak and meaningless as Parliamentary Question Time or a low budget Australian film.

Still, I suppose things could be worse. I could be a soccer fan.

Twitter: @antsharwood

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72 comments

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    • craig2 says:

      12:15pm | 28/08/12

      Yes, I suppose your right ant, my broncos suck and after 7 straight losses, I’m beginning to think what is the point of playing in the first week of the final and getting knocked out? Both our teams form suck at the moment so prelims or finals, both are no chance to win irrespective.

    • Borderer says:

      12:50pm | 28/08/12

      Try being a Parra fan…. they sucked so much they should be sponsored by dyson.

    • Little Joe says:

      01:18pm | 28/08/12

      I wrote last week ...... “I would rather watch the Suns play than the Broncos.” Never closer to the mark than on the weekend.

    • Seb says:

      07:28pm | 28/08/12

      Well, you see now, i’ve been following Souths for my whole life, even when they were kicked from the comp, and after they received the wooden spoon year after year. Now we are coming third!
      But this isn’t a gloat, no…well just a little, but we might not win the comp, and thats the point of sport. You get knocked down, u get up, and the other 15 teams in the comp have that saying: “there’s always next year”

    • fortuna favet fortibus says:

      12:16pm | 28/08/12

      You sure it isn’t ‘sexy’ Ant, it appears to be your word of the month?

    • Victor says:

      12:19pm | 28/08/12

      Its worse being a Raiders fan, Seeing your team make the 8 nearly every bloody year only to bow out in round 1 evertime. ><

      Only shimmer of hope this year is we are one of the few teams currently in form.

    • Tubesteak says:

      12:19pm | 28/08/12

      I’ve been following the Penrith Panthers since the early 80s mainly because my best friend at the time followed them (he was from Penrith).

      Being in finals contention is a rare event for the Panthers.

      I’m usually happy if they are not wooden-spooners.

    • JoniM says:

      01:41pm | 28/08/12

      I have been a Panther since their 1967 debut year, Tubesteak.
      You have hardly experienced any pain as yet, young fella !
      You got the great years of 1991 & 2003 , but I’ve also had many more of the wooden spoon or near as wooden years !
      Could be worse, I guess ! I could have picked Cronulla rather than Penrith in 1967 ! Now there’s some stored up misery !

    • Tubesteak says:

      02:02pm | 28/08/12

      JoniM
      It’s swings and roundabouts. Share their good and their bad and don’t let it get to you. 1991 was a great year.

      I like seeing Brandy Alexander on Fox Sports, too. Good to see him get a career after the game. If he was born 10 years later he’d be rolling in money.

    • Budz says:

      02:25pm | 28/08/12

      From a Warriors fan:
      Quit your damn complaining! You got a premiership within the last 10 years so you have no damn right!

    • kaff says:

      04:44pm | 28/08/12

      Speaking as a Cronulla fan who lives in Penrith, I heartily concur with JoniM!

    • JoniM says:

      05:13pm | 28/08/12

      Fair dinkum, kaff !
      I live out Penrith way and work in Cronulla.
      I see pain in the people’s faces down here in the Shire !
      Those poor miserable bludgers ! Even their own TV show doesn’t brighten them up !
      All those years with good teams and Johnny Lang coaching for no result. He then goes to Penrith and snares his only comp in 2003 !
      Anyway, looks like you will get your revenge next year, pinching our only decent players. Cronulla will have more Penrith juniors than Cronulla juniors next year !

    • M says:

      12:20pm | 28/08/12

      Australias latest greatest rider had a potentially career ending injury and you’re writing about some hack football team?

    • HappyG says:

      12:53pm | 28/08/12

      Didn’t he announce he’s retiring this season? If indeed the injury was “career ending” it was for a few races at most.

    • M says:

      01:17pm | 28/08/12

      The crash has ended any chance he had at clinching the championship.

      Besides, I’m surprised at how little attention he recieves in the MSM, considering he’s thoroughly trashed the reputation of the most successful rider in history.

    • RJB says:

      01:36pm | 28/08/12

      Yes but Chris Holder has healed well from his rib injury and went on to win the British Speedway Grand Prix round last Saturday night. This young Aussie rider is a real chance of winning this year’s World Speedway Championship.

    • JoniM says:

      01:44pm | 28/08/12

      You mean Damian Oliver has had another fall ?

    • Shane* says:

      01:49pm | 28/08/12

      Why bring that up in a column about sport?

    • M says:

      02:31pm | 28/08/12

      Well played shane.

    • SM says:

      12:23pm | 28/08/12

      win by at least 14 (albeit vs the storm) and have the raiders lose in NZ and you’re in

      not that far fetched Ant

      $3.40 on betfair suggests it’s a 29% chance of happening

    • PW says:

      01:28pm | 28/08/12

      The Warriors are currently the worst team in the comp, bar none. The way the Raiders are going it will be little more than a training run.

      The Tigers and their supporters would be better off rooting for the Panthers on Friday night in Brisbane.

      Ant: Dunno about the Dogs leading the Panthers 42-6, as it hasn’t happened in many decades, if ever, but the easybeat Roosters hitting 32-0 with 38 minutes left against a team supposedly trying to make the finals was pretty sleep inducing, and not only that, it really happened! Must have been karma.

    • PW says:

      03:40pm | 28/08/12

      SM: Actually 29% plus Betfair’s margin. Poor odds if you ask me.

      They have to beat Melbourne (who have a minor premiership riding on the game), and have either the Raiders or Broncos lose AND if only the Raiders lose they have to make up a 14 point differental deficit.

      The Titans and Knights also have a miniscule chance if the Broncos and Tigers go down, especially if the Broncos are defeated heavily.

    • SM says:

      04:08pm | 28/08/12

      @PW

      Not right about the storm and the minor premiership - Dogs are 4 points clear

    • SM says:

      04:11pm | 28/08/12

      @PW

      I stand corrected, Storm can still win the MP, dogs 2 points clear

    • Bill says:

      12:25pm | 28/08/12

      Things could be even worse - you could be a Collingwood fan!

    • DemonDiva says:

      01:46pm | 28/08/12

      Try being a Melbourne fan, then you’ll know what the pain of being godawful feels like. Constantly.

    • Bill says:

      02:17pm | 28/08/12

      I still remember the look of absolute disbelief and shock on the faces of the dees’ fans in the crowd at Waverley when Gary Buckenara kicked the winning goal in the ‘87 Preliminary Final after Jim Stynes ran across the mark. As a Blues fan, I don’t normally show sympathy for other supporters, but on that day I couldn’t help but feel the pain too.

    • pa_kelvin says:

      04:27pm | 28/08/12

      or a carlton fan..

    • pa_kelvin says:

      12:25pm | 28/08/12

      You must follow the Tigers Ant….....Dont despair ,I for one haven’t given up yet.. All the planets are meant to aline just right come saturday…. smile

    • Bill says:

      12:42pm | 28/08/12

      Actually Richmond are three games out of the eight with one game to play this weekend. I don’t think the planets will be much help at all…

    • Mr Marx says:

      12:25pm | 28/08/12

      Don’t worry Ant, ‘Finals football’ is merely a cog in the Australian sporting socialist fantasy wheel where salaries are capped, moving team for more money is evil, winners aren’t really winners until they win the winners final thingy and being terrible is rewarded with lots of good young players, because everyone has to have a turn to win.

      I wouldn’t get too down mate, the system will ensure you get your socially engineered success quota in time which in turn creates the most fickle fans in world sport.

      For such a right leaning country, Australians sure do love their sporting communism. Weird.

    • SM says:

      12:42pm | 28/08/12

      premier league fan?

    • Al B says:

      12:52pm | 28/08/12

      Its an incredibly anti-competitive way of running sporting competitions, i agree Karl. I just wish world football in australia would not be so quick to mimic these local, self proclaimed ‘football codes’. Better ways of doing it than some warped sporting welfare state.

    • Michael S says:

      01:18pm | 28/08/12

      In English soccer, there’s only a couple of teams that have a chance of winning the title; and the rest are just playing to stay in the top division.

      Promotion and relegation would never work in any Australian competition. The travel costs would be prohibitive, and any team that got relegated would be more likely to go bankrupt within the next year than to go back up.

      Without finals, once the chance of finishing top is gone, there’s nothing to play for. Often the top team is well and truly decided long before the regular season is over. There’d be little interest, and a season would wind down rather than build up.
      The Australian sporting market, with so many different codes against each other, is far too competitive for any code to risk that happening.

    • Al B says:

      01:47pm | 28/08/12

      Michael i think u are correct for salary capped leagues. But two divisions and pro/rel could work under a more open market system.

      Where small clubs can be small clubs, rather than being forced to be on a fake level playing field. A minimum wage in the a-league cap just prevents the chance to make it viable. Travel costs is the no.1 issue, but nothing is prohibitive if its given priority over enforcing a minimum wage (maybe?).

      It would be worth doing for football in oz in the long run, setting a great base with a two division A-League ...keep at 10 in div 1, once they can find 8 to run very basic A2 teams bring them in. Its not completely unfeasible to do it, provided the conditions are right for football’s own version of the small to medium enterprise to flourish, in reality not some socialist delusion.

    • Tim says:

      02:10pm | 28/08/12

      Yeah,
      It’s so much better when the owner with the biggest wallet wins every year.
      It’s truly the way sport was meant to be.

      Weird that the rest of the world just don’t accept it.

    • Al B says:

      02:54pm | 28/08/12

      Wallet is never everything in football, plenty of ways to be successful in a proper league system, especially development leagues like ours. And nothing wrong with a bit of financial influence, better when its the expression of a club’s terrace popularity though. The plaything clubs make things ‘interesting’ at least. Not all these super clubs are the same in football.

    • Mr Marx says:

      03:24pm | 28/08/12

      At least football is a reflection of life where the biggest wallet does tend to win.

      It’s real. The frustrations, relegations, dramas and paranoias are real. Major teams can go bust (Glasgow Rangers) and have to start again. Teams can disappear. Nothing is safe. That’s the real world. Risk and reward.

      The Australian sporting landscape simply isn’t real. It’s entirely manufactured to produce a specific business outcome year in, year out.

      This is why the CEO’s of the NRL and AFL are paid better than 95% of their players.

    • SM says:

      04:47pm | 28/08/12

      @Mr Marx
      “At least football is a reflection of life where the biggest wallet does tend to win”

      That’s a very narrow-minded view of “life”

      Go back to watching your Man U videos now…

    • Mr Marx says:

      12:26pm | 28/08/12

      Don’t worry Ant, ‘Finals football’ is merely a cog in the Australian sporting socialist fantasy wheel where salaries are capped, moving team for more money is evil, winners aren’t really winners until they win the winners final thingy and being terrible is rewarded with lots of good young players, because everyone has to have a turn to win.

      I wouldn’t get too down mate, the system will ensure you get your socially engineered success quota in time which in turn creates the most fickle fans in world sport.

      For such a right leaning country, Australians sure do love their sporting communism. Funny.

    • Andrew says:

      12:26pm | 28/08/12

      Ant, as a soccer fan i think i can help. I have been a fan for all my life of a socttish soccer team (not celtic or rangers) this means that i have little to look forward too especially as they have been playing worse and worse every year but then they will make the cup final (which they haven’t won for over a 100 years getting us all excited and then will surrender meekly to their biggest rivals by letting them put a barrel of goals past them). At least the tigers have won a premiership in the past 10 years.

      However, upon reflecting it one day i realised that this is what supporting a team is all about. Could you imagine how boring it would be to support a team that wins all the time, the constant happiness at the results will turn into a case of boredom.

      No, supporting a struggling and volatile team is what being a fan is all about, the constant highs and unexpected victories cause you to feel the happiest you think you can feel only for them to play the bottom team next week and get beat and you wonder what the hell is happening.

      To be a fan is to experience the highs and lows of a team and ride the experience with every rise and fall on the ladder and ever point for and against on the scoreboard.

      Don’t be annoyed, embrace it for what it is, the roller coaster life of a sports fan.

    • Al B says:

      01:01pm | 28/08/12

      Every team has its own version of what success is. European football understands this, its a part of its appeal and also helps spread it to a more national footprint. Not all teams have to come from capital cities with second divisions.

      In Australia we don’t allow that ...level playing fields being the aim. Better to let the small clubs be what they are, same for super clubs and ambitious mid-tablers. All part of the appeal of European football, even with some two team leagues like Scotland. Strayan sport just doesnt “get it” yet and prefers to think its more than it is ...Greatest Game(s) of All haha ...really it is very much contrived… designed so that everyone will get their turn at winning. I hope Gallop is not bringing more of this thinking to the FFA.

    • Davo says:

      12:38pm | 28/08/12

      Or a Parramatta fan…

    • HappyG says:

      01:00pm | 28/08/12

      @Davo have you noticed in the Daily Telegraph that the coverage of Parramatta is 4 - 5 times more than any other team? They have just won the wooden spoon for God’s sake and this paper wants to report all the news about them to the exclusion of all others. Why is that ? Imagine what they would do if they were actually successful. Fortunately we don’t have to worry for at least the next 10 years.

    • SM says:

      02:04pm | 28/08/12

      Daily Telegraph heartland is western Sydney

    • HappyG says:

      03:33pm | 28/08/12

      @SM. So why not give equal coverage to Penrith, Wests Tigers or the Bulldogs then ?All of these teams did better than Parramatta this year….......the Dogs will even get the minor premiership.

    • Eden hazard says:

      05:04pm | 28/08/12

      @Dm, exactly. Working class conservative morons the worst kind. The uncle toms of their class, that king bogan ray hadley is their king too. Plus league is a shit game run by fools! They think they’re the centre of the universe but it’s a minor code everywhere except PNG! What a boast that is!

    • Michael S says:

      12:58pm | 28/08/12

      I support GWS Giants, an AFL team that has won two games ever. Most of the time we play in front of near-empty grandstands and get belted.

      But one thing our club has, that many clubs near the bottom of the ladder don’t, is hope. Just because the team isn’t currently winning games doesn’t mean we don’t have heroes. Some of these kids are going to be champions.
      At the beginning of this season, no-one had heard of names like Adam Treloar, Stephen Coniglio, Jeremy Cameron, Dylan Shiel and Toby Greene - but the way they have developed this season, you’ll be hearing a lot more of their deeds as future seasons unfold.
      And, in an event virtually unheard of for a team that comes last, the Giants have re-appointed their coach for next season and everyone’s rapt that he’s staying on.

      Of course, this is the Giants’ first season of existence; and under other circumstances one wouldn’t stay positive at the end of a wooden spoon season.

      But at the half-way point of this year, my old club (Essendon) was top of the ladder; and I was having thoughts of how the Bombers, unencumbered by my support, would win a premiership and how I would react to seeing the Bombers in a grand final without supporting them. As it turned out, I needn’t have worried.

    • Bill says:

      01:16pm | 28/08/12

      Keep the faith, Michael. There are some very good players on the GWS list and a maestro like Sheedy will have them running rings around the opposition in a couple of years.

      BTW - sesnsational effort to for the Giants to get 10,000 paid up members in its first year of existence. That’s more than most of the Sydney NRL clubs!

    • Little Joe says:

      01:28pm | 28/08/12

      Actually there is a lot of hope for GWS and Suns ...... more than Bulldogs and Dees ...... even the Bombers.

      Imagine being a Richmond supporter ..... another could have been year.

      My team ..... the Saints ..... are all too old now and simply do not have the legs.

      Ps. Treloar and Shiel were in my superlegue team.

    • Rickster says:

      04:17pm | 28/08/12

      yeh Joe my lad is a Saints fan….........get ready for a life time of heart break.

    • Kaff says:

      04:48pm | 28/08/12

      I made the leap from the Red and Whites to the Orange Army and, aside from the fact that the Swans have the Good(e)s to make the finals and possibly the Grand Final, I am not sorry I did so.

      Futures looking really bright.  Love that Toby Greene.

    • Grinner says:

      05:10pm | 28/08/12

      Those complaints about how “everyone gets a turn” (not a bad thing anyway, sport is not life, it’s also entertainment), exactly as above! When are stkilda, dogs, Richmond, port, melb and a few others going to win their next flag!? Half past never probably.

    • Catsman says:

      06:36pm | 28/08/12

      I’m a cats fan so I’m happy smile! But I like giants too, I’d be happy to see them do well, just not better than us. How good was Carlscum losing to GC!?

    • Tim says:

      01:03pm | 28/08/12

      The Raiders won’t be losing this weekend Ant.

      In fact, we’ll be winning and getting a home semi final when the Sharkies lose to NQ.

    • David says:

      01:16pm | 28/08/12

      As a Manly fan I have no idea what Ant is talking about.
      My team always makes the finals and sometimes, such as last year, wins the whole thing.
      I can dimly imagine the meaningless void of despair someone might sink into by supporting a lesser making-up-the-numbers side comedy relief side, like the Tiges.
      Such unfortunates should perhaps take consolation that their lot in life is to provide a wretched contrast that allows Manly fans to continuously congratulate themselves on their good sense in cheering on the sublimely superior Sea Eagles.

    • TimB says:

      01:57pm | 28/08/12

      Indeed. In a similar vein, it’s hard to hear Ant and Chongy’s sobbing all the way from Belmore smile .

    • David says:

      02:18pm | 28/08/12

      Well TimB, just remember back to last year and perhaps you will be able to sympathise better. Or even the year before, wooden spoon wasn’t it?
      Naturally by buying Manly’s coach at least you give yourself the chance to enjoy two finals before starting the off season.

    • HappyG says:

      02:31pm | 28/08/12

      Yeah I remeber the 1997 Grand Final too. Nothing sweeter in sport than wiping the smug, self satisfied smirk off the face of the Silvertails. There’s only two teams I follow - The Knights and whoever is playing Manly.

    • TimB says:

      03:08pm | 28/08/12

      Meh, a minor blip. For the most part (in recent decades anyway) Canterbury are a finals team.

      Indeed as Happy G remembers 1997 fondly, so too do I have happy memories of the 1995 grand final. Good times.

      And if Manly were so concerned about hanging onto their coach, perhaps the board should have gotten around to offering Hasler a new deal instead of screwing around?

    • David says:

      05:41pm | 28/08/12

      We let Hasler go because, honestly, the comp needs to keep some interest and we need a back to back challenge. Besides is it fair to keep the wonderful Manliness of Manly all to ourselves?

      Yes, I remember the drug-assisted Knights winning in 97, thankfully we put an end to the chance of that happening again this year. Or perhaps Tinkler ran out of money to pay the chemist’s bill.

    • David says:

      07:02pm | 28/08/12

      BTW after 95 season Peter Moore boasted about cheating the salary cap (sound familiar to the Dogs? How about their last premiership winning squad as well?)

      Drug cheats and cap cheats may sometimes beat Manly we will just have to be content with legitimately won premierships.

    • Tommo says:

      01:54pm | 28/08/12

      Ant. I understand your pain, and this year I am glad to be not sharing it. As a long suffering fan of the Cardinal and Myrtle, I have spent most of the last few years working out the permutations of how, having lost slightly more than we won during a season, we could mathematically scape into the eight. Fortunately, this year that is not the case. Also, as a a Souths supporter and traditionalist, I gained great satisfaction from personally witnessing the Wests Tigers (note, I know this is not Balmain nor Wests, but some artificial construct for Pay TV, but I digress) being smashed twice in one season by my team (ok, so once WAS golden point, but a win is a win).

      But it could be worse…you could be one of the three Easts/sydney City/Bondi Roosters supporters that turned up to watch Minichello’s 250th…

    • Rickster says:

      03:40pm | 28/08/12

      So your a Carlton supporter Tones never mind mate in the end it’s just grown men playing with their balls and watch the footy show on 22 at least they have live music every week something to watch before your mind shuts down.

    • Dick says:

      04:35pm | 28/08/12

      That’s what I assumed, a Carlton supporter. I’m one, and that’s how I feel. I mean, just missing out because someone else doesn’t win is bad enough, but going on an early footy trip to the Gold Coast is just BS!

    • Ginger Mick says:

      03:42pm | 28/08/12

      Stop your whining, the lot of ya! I’m a North Sydney Bears supporter. I feel rotten every year.

    • Tommo says:

      04:26pm | 28/08/12

      Ah,  but are you not aware that the mighty Bears are running second in the NSW Cup? (They are the Souths feeder club - Isaac Luke played for them last weekend - Roy Asotasi, Scott Geddes and several other first graders have played at North Sydney Oval in the Red and black this year)
      They should (touch wood) be playing in the GF this year.

    • Simon says:

      04:41pm | 28/08/12

      I challenge anyone in any code in Australia to name a greater pain than being a Melbourne Demons fan.  It’s like being booted repeatedly in the guts, head and groin, alternating between the three each week.  Richmond come close, but at least they’re seeing some light at the end of the tunnel now.  We just flat out suck with not much sign of us not sucking in the foreseeable future.

      The curse of Norm Smith is very real.

    • Bill says:

      05:13pm | 28/08/12

      I must say that it’s tough not seeing a flag in 48 years. The dees are better than that. They should completely strip the club down and rebuild, otherwise they’ll never get anywhere.

    • Timinane says:

      05:19pm | 28/08/12

      Premier League just started and next year the Tasmanian statewide league will lose it’s soul as the second most successful club in Australia behind Port Adelaide will leave because apparently only one team can represent Hobart and it’s going to be a brand new side with no history but both Hobart sides could’ve gone 50-50 in this soulless team and league even though they are arch rivals. I’m watching the victory soccer league next year and watching a team called the Knights (because I hate black and white striped teams due to the AFL.) I’m even abandoning AFL because my team applied to have pokies not because of the 2009 and 2010 premiership loses. Soul leave the sports when they make no effort to be a sport anymore, I mean who even understands the rules these days. I understood the rules better at age 3 than I do now.

    • Kate says:

      05:27pm | 28/08/12

      My team are going to sort of flop into the eight, only to be humiliated in week one of the finals if last week’s form is anything to go by.
      I hate Fremantle.

    • Pedro says:

      05:40pm | 28/08/12

      I am a fan of REAL rugby and how do you think I feel about being “blackwashed” by the Kiwis…. and the games against the Argentinians and the Springboks are no laydown…...

 

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