What’s left for Fitzroy supporters? It’s been over 20 years since Bernie Quinlan was replaced by Dipper as the boundary rider on channel 7. Chris Johnson has retired. Doc Weildon, I assume, is doing hard time in a maximum security prison somewhere. The Roys are just a memory now. What little is left has all been tastefully arranged in a mini Fitzroy Museum at Etihad stadium.
Do people know about the Fitzroy Football Club museum on permanent display at Etihad Stadium? I didn’t until I scored an invite to an A League corporate event there last week as Waleed’s date. I loved it (the exhibit, not the date). If you’re an old Roys fan, it’s fantastic footy nostalgia.
First, dazzled by some of the old jumpers and supporter gear, you will ask yourself ‘why didn’t I buy some of this stuff in the 80s and 90s and put it aside?! I knew those ‘outer squad’ jackets with leather sleeves would make a comeback!’ Then you’ll wonder how Paul Roos’ managed to have two children despite wearing such incredibly tight shorts for his whole career. You’ll be confused by the decision to colour in the 1913 premiership team photo and give all the players rosey cheeks. And finally, you’ll wish it was 1992 again so you could go and see the Roys again with your dad. That was my experience in a nutshell anyway.
There’s a lot of history in those cabinets. Not so many premiership cups (8 in 113 years not a great return…) but a lot of history and lots of photos and memories. It’s reminder of just how tragic the club’s demise was in 1996.
The most fun you can have at the Fitzroy museum at Etihad Stadium is playing ‘how many of the misfits from Fitzroy’s last team in 1996 can you name?’ I struggled (even though I was there for most of that last season). ‘Mark Zanotti, Brendan McCormack… that bald guy…’All my childhood ‘Fitzroy friends’ went separate ways when the club folded in 1996. My closest mate, Clint, lost interest in footy altogether and now only occasionally goes to a game (about once a year) with his mate who is a Demons man. Peter, a guy I used to flip pancakes with, dutifully followed the new incarnation of the Lions and committed to being a Brisbane Lions fan. I tried to do the same thing for a while but could never recapture the same feeling of barracking for a local, suburban team starved of success. So I joined the Tigers and have never looked back.
See my full gallery of photos from the Fitzroy museum at Etihad stadium on the Hash It Out facebook page. Even if you’re not an old Fitzroy fan, you may enjoy the selection of mullets and 80’s knits.
Who was your favorite ‘Roy Boy’? leave a comment below…