Should Richmond fans get an exemption?

29 Comments 30 April 2014

I’m talking to Tigers fans here… Have you had enough? I reckon I’m just about done.

Since the Bulldogs loss in round 3, I’ve been giving serious thought to choosing a new team. If you’re honest, I know you’ve thought about it too.

When I tell people I’m a Richmond supporter, I always get the same response. ‘Oh, I like Richmond’ (said with a liberal amount of pity). They think they’re being compassionate but all they’re really doing is reinforcing the fact that we’re no threat to anyone. You ‘like’ Richmond because more often than not, we roll over and gift you four premiership points! Do you think people walked around in the ’70s saying ‘I like Richmond’? No way. People hated Richmond because they were ruthless bastards that could grind other teams into the ground.

Those days are well and truly gone and for about 20 years it’s been embarrassing to say you follow the Tigers and that doesn’t look like changing. Switching footy teams is a cardinal sin, I know and it’s not a decision I will make lightly (my Dad used to tell me if you did your hands grew out of your grave to take a mark) but haven’t we all suffered enough?

I have consulted friends and they’ve been universal in their condemnation of changing teams under any circumstances (except Fitzroy folding in 1996 which is how I came to be a Tigers fan). Without doubt, changing religions would cause less raised eyebrows than changing footy teams. But imagine what it must be like to barrack for a club that doesn’t settle for mediocrity. A team with a winning culture. A team that actually does have a five year plan and can execute it. A team without Tyrone Vickery. Why do I keep barracking for the Tiges?

Last year when Richmond fans packed the MCG for their first final against Carlton, the roar that reverberated around the ground when Cotchin kicked that goal in the first quarter was chilling. It’s the most exhilarating feeling I’ve ever experienced at a sporting event. But why was that? Because Richmond is the greatest club of all or just because the fans had 20 years of pent up frustration to get rid of?

The team may be poor but Richmond fans are elite, you have to say. Despite endless frustration and embarrassment, we still buy memberships and support the team. Don’t we deserve better?

If you’re a Tigers fan, are you also having a crisis of faith? Can I search for fulfillment elsewhere or do I need to rediscover my faith?


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Jeff is a singer, comedian, writer and video producer. In 2009, Jeff began hosting a new comedy show on Triple M called the Peanut Gallery. He also presented guest spots on Eddie McGuire’s Hot Breakfast and took over the hosting duties from Eddie over the summer break. Jeff is the lead singer of Melbourne band Robot Child. Their debut album One More War launched in April 2014. Jeff also produces funny online videos for companies such as QANTAS and Mother. His youtube page has had over 300,000 views. As a writer, Jeff has had articles published in The Age Sport section, MX and on The Herald Sun website.

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29 Comments so far

  1. Chris says:

    I don’t even watch/support AFL (I follow the Rabbitohs in the NRL) but I loved this article and the video.

  2. Koops says:

    I hear your pain, and I share it. Love the Tiges, but why? Why subject myself to this pain, frustration and humiliation EVERY SINGLE YEAR? Am I crazy? Stupid? Worse – some kind of closeted Collingwood supporter?


  3. rob says:

    i so feel you buddy!, im 34 years old and i went to those games when dunstall kicked 17 goals and geelong got us by 157. i used to go home after a game and my brother being a fellow tiger tragic would ask “so how much?”, and i would reply about 35 points in a semi optimistic tone, he’d say “nice”. Obviously another loss, it was so engrained that there was no question who’d won. Im sick of it, the constant battle to just look competative. But what frustrates me more is, “oh look Port Adelaide, what a great story”. PISS OFF with ya bloody port how can they make it look so easy……

  4. Bod says:

    Well, I changed supporting from Essendon to Footscray about 10 years ago.
    Essendon were boring. They won.
    Footscray were wooden spooners. They needed support. And I love them now.
    Will change to another ‘down and out’ team if they win a premiership.
    It’s good character building supporting a team that specialises in the lower reaches of the ladder.
    Toughen up, and keep supporting the Tiges!

  5. far out did you kill a cat. Fitzroy, then Richmond?

    PS eat ’em alive!

  6. Paul Smith says:

    Sorry my fellow Tiger masochist but the only thing that will alleviate you of this mortal suffering is death…

    Religion is just make believe rubbish whereas following Richmond is the ultimate test of faith any human can possibly have to endure…

    Stay strong, keep attending church (M.C.G) and pray that our Lord and Saviour (Tommy Hafey) shall end this wretched crusade that has been waged against us…


  7. Justin says:

    Yeah, I’m hearing you, I bleed Yellow & Black and the blood has all but ran out.

    Pulled out my 1980 duffle coat with all the names, badges and autographs that’s been in storage for 30 years a couple of days back, sometimes you just have to wonder, 2 young boys of my own, thank goodness for Melb Storm and Melb Victory lol, at least they know what it’s like to follow a team that wins the big one.

    How many times can one sit and watch the 1980 Grand Final, be nice to have another to watch,

    ahhh, the dreams.

  8. Mike says:

    I live in Sydney and have supported the Tiges since the late 70’s when my dad took me to watch Richmond v the Hawks in a game at the SCG. Richmond won (it was the 70s – we always won). I though that’ll do me – yellow and black all the way. Even the arrival of the Swans couldn’t sway me (my daughters constantly bait me over that).

    Quite often I wonder how I’d feel about footy if the Hawks had won that day instead………..

  9. Red Rooster says:

    We just picked the wrong team from the box of chocolates. I’ll support them always, but I do agree its heartbreaking to watch and hear people say we’re the best at coming 9th!!!

  10. Rock Wallaby says:

    What are you whingeing about?

    Try being a South Sydney supporter.

  11. Jonathan says:

    Hey Buddy,

    I too feel your pain.
    I was a little’un in the 70s when we won finals, and remember that day Sheeds came off the ground after he ensured one of the premiership wins for the Tiges. His toothless smile said it all. I had a poster of Royce Hart on the wall.
    Now, my kids laugh at me when I sit shouting at the TV screen. I took them to the G a few years back to see if they could also feel the love, but we lost by 102 points to St Kilda. Nuff said.

    They say you’re more likely to leave your wife than change your team.

    I went to a game in Perth today between WCE and Freo, and what I learned was that Richmond fans are actually much better losers- being so experienced. My brother and niece were very dark to lose to Freo- almost inconsolable. Had it been a Richmond loss I would have made some silly comment and moved on. In fact I had done just that earlier in the day on finding out about the loss to Geelong.

    We need you and your humour to help us through, this is what we do best. One day (hopefully in our lifetimes!) the Tiges will again be great, but for now we are there to show others how to cope well with defeat.

    Don’t lose heart.

  12. Paul says:

    And wait for it. On the weekly match review Hardwick will beam, “Yes, we did most things right, just a few aspects, like constantly turning the ball over, that we have to work on next week. Its always next week !”

    • TigerMan says:

      Dont forget Dimma’s favourite Paul, “our best would beat most teams” or “despite getting no kicks marks or goals Jack and Deledio did exactly what was asked of them”

      • Jeff says:

        Oh my god, this is so true. I just always hope that’s just for the media and not his real thoughts. It’s so infuriating hearing how everything is on track and heading in the right direction all the time.

  13. Brendan says:

    I know how it feels – luckily I can still remember the 80 grand-final – just. I have two boys 10 and 6 who are now Tigers as well and I watch them get crushed and wonder if I’ve done the right thing. However it teaches them patience, perseverance, humility, long suffering and loyalty. Stick with it and never, never give up.

    I would change religions before ditching the tigers (by the way I am a church pastor – yes I pray for the Tigers – and no my prayers have not been answered… yet) Go Tigers!

  14. The fact you’re even questioning whether or not you should remain a Tigers fan says enough – change clubs, get lost, we don’t need any passengers and we’re better off without weak people like you.

  15. Tim says:

    I used to like cutting myself, but then I started following Richmond instead… I’ve been a loyal supporter for 20 years, and I too find myself in the depths of despair every week, cussing my way through the latest insipid performance. And yet, like queuing at the supermarket checkout, I know that as soon as I switch lanes, the one I was originally in will start to move twice as quickly. And I don’t wanna miss out on the next successful Tiger era, cos it’s gonna be better than sex heroin if/when it happens. Also, when I start to get a bit maudlin and self-pitying (every weekend, like every tiges fan) I think about St Kilda and the Bulldogs: one flag each in a century. How the hell do those poor pricks keep the faith? At least we’ve got a few mouldy pennants and grand final vids to look at. Tiges til I die.

    • Jeff says:

      Point well made. I wouldn’t wanna miss out on a premiership tilt at Tigerland. Would be bigger than Ben Hur.

  16. Tiger says:

    I am a third generation Tigers supporter/member. I was born in 1976. I have no memory of 1980. My entire love affair with Richmond has been one of giving (money and membership) and not receiving (a flag). Punt Rd is a magical place and there is something deeply emotional and almost spiritual about being a Richmond person. I believe Brendan Gale and Damien Hardwick are great football people with football and management intellects but there are not enough of the same ilk around them. The current football department appears to be as good as it has been for some time however, the board needs to be overhauled and apart from Brett Hartley, the recruiting department is a disaster and has been for well over a decade. When one considers the current list, there are six players tops who you would consider premiership type players. Just not good enough. And it has nothing to do with two expansion teams and all the other rubbish excuses that have been sold to the Richmond faithful. It´s a case of mediocre people producing a mediocre list. Of course the team is the symptom. The cause is deeper within the club and its culture. And as long as we keep addressing the symptom, the cause will remain and Richmond will never recover. Let´s cut our losses, get over the past, stop living in former glories and celebrating playing stars of yesteryear. It´s time to correct the cause, keep the right people who are already in the right positions, put the right people in the remaining positions and rebuild from the ground up. It´s the only way. Love ya, Tiges.

    • Jeff says:

      This is a pretty accurate assessment. I do like Benny and Dimma. And the Tigers fans are the greatest.

  17. DC says:

    Don’t worry, the club will continue to put more people on the payroll to create pretty logos and shiny things for you to make your decision to keep financing them look less painful than the delusional habit that it really is.

    As the old saying goes, “Never give a sucker an even break” and we haven’t had one for a while – and we are still suckers.

  18. westiger says:

    Have been a Tigers Supporter for Gulp!! 50 years!! OMG…as bad as we are and have been, I will still always barrack for ’em, but boy is it difficult… What was written in the article about how people say “they don’t mind the Tiges” has always grated on me. I want to hear they hate us, because it means we are good again and kicking clubs up the Kyber…Oh well…Dimma will explain it all for us again next week!!!

  19. TigerMan says:

    I well and truly feel your pain. Platinum member, Rioli member contributed to SOS and FTF. Brought a tile, memberships for wife and kids past 22 years and have seen them play in every state more than once but over the past month, have started to doubt my faith. Whilst we have players of the calibre of Vickery,S Edwards, Grigg abd 3/4 others, we are well and truly f****d. Still we are only another half forward flanker away from a premiership, so lets make sure we recruit Knights, Thomas, Miles, Gordon, Arnot, Dea, Helbi, O’hanlon etc

    I will be truthful and say I went to Geelong v Freo final last year at SS and brought a Geelong scarf & cap and I have been wearing them a bit more often than I care to admit of late……

    • Jeff says:

      I’m really not sure what to do. EVERYONE tells me I can’t jump off but I’m not sure there’s any light at the end of the tunnel. Years and years of mediocrity and now we seem to be accepting of it…

  20. michael says:

    i’m a lifelong tiger fan. I routinely lose footy tipping comps because I can’t bear to tip against them. my youngest daughter has followed me under the spell of the yellow and black and i’m happy to preach to her the value of loyalty through the good and the bad.

    however! the pathetic display against Melbourne when supposedly playing for tommy hafey was despicable. that made me even more sad at the death of t-shirt tom!

    thanks…I needed to get that out of my system.

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