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Dave, Melbourne,Australia 09-10-2016 09:31 PM

50 years following unsuccessful sports team
In this Small Talk forum, I mentioned the drought-breaking championship recently won by the Boston Redsox and how I had been waiting 50 years for my Australian Rules football club, the Melbourne Demons, to break its premiership drought. Before today, I’d never heard of a Melbourne Football Club fan who started following the club before I did (late 1960s), has suffered these 5 decades without a premiership and didn’t have happy memories of their 1964 premiership. But in today’s issue of Melbourne newspaper The Herald Sun, there’s an article about an even bigger loser:

John Gleeson loved his late father Ted dearly, but for one thing - a desire to get the hell out of the Melbourne Cricket Ground carpark and beat the traffic on Victorian Football League Grand Final day in 1964. Ted Gleeson had a feeling in his bones that it just wasn’t going to be the Demons’ day, particularly after Ray Gabelich had somehow controlled the ball on a four-bounce run to put Collingwood ahead by three points late in the game. “But Dad, can’t we still win it?” pleaded 13-year-old John, who unlike his father, had not witnessed any of Melbourne’s five flags from seven Grand Finals during 1954-60. “No, son, we are gone and we have to beat the traffic, so let’s get out before the rush and back home to Little River.” And so they descended the MCG stairs and had reached the outer perimeter when there was a huge roar, which John Gleeson, 65, recalls vividly to this day. “So we were walking out with Dad listening to his transistor when Demon back pocket Neil 'Froggy' Crompton kicked an unlikely goal to seal our victory,” he said. “I said, ‘Dad, we’ve missed it’.” And that’s when Ted Gleeson uttered the words that still haunt his son to this day: “Don’t worry, son, there will be plenty more of those in your life. After all, Melbourne is in the Grand Final just about every year.” Since then, Gleeson has seen Hawthorn beat the Demons by a record margin in the 1988 Grand Final and Essendon beat them up in 2000.
The accompanying photo shows 65-year-old John, wearing his MFC scarf, walking away from the MCG with a frustrated look. The photo caption says: Demon fan John Gleeson still feels pangs of regret walking away from the MCG.

Borderstone 02-22-2017 05:17 PM

Re: 50 years following unsuccessful sports team
Late response here but I'm glad your team finally won. In comparison,
I followed the Phoenix Suns basketball team for awhile between 1991/92 & 1998/99.

Here's a team that played it's first game a feww weeks after i was
born (1968). They've only gone to the finals in 1976 and 1993 and lost both times.

They've made the after season playoffs numerous times,
but somehow the other teams always end up eliminationg them.

At the end of tht fantastic (and heartbreaking) seson of 1992-1993, with the Suns against the Bulls in the end, a book was written here in Phoenix about that 'near' championship season.

At the end of the book, the autor muses on how it took 17 years for the Suns to make
the finals and hopes it doesn;t tke another 17. ....It's now coming up on 24 years this June.

My only guess s to why a team (who turns 50 in 2018) has never won a champions shi can be two things. The superstition that Phoenix teams (especially them) are 'cursed' ...or, it's just the luck of the draw and the playing of the game.

Only the Arizona Diamondback baseball team & the Phoenix Mercury (ladies team) have won national titles. I too wish the Suns would win even one championship. Not becasue I care anymore, but because I'm sick of hearing about how they lose. Them and the Cardinals football team.

Dave, Melbourne,Australia 02-23-2017 04:40 PM

Re: 50 years following unsuccessful sports team

My team Melbourne Football Club still hasn't won the premiership since 1964 when I was 2 years old (and don't remember). During those 53 years, I've seen other clubs break their drought (North Melbourne 1925-1975, Collingwood 1958-1990, the Lions 1944-2001, the Swans 1933-2005, Geelong 1963-2007 and the Bulldogs 1954-2016). I just want one premiership before I die, but as the number of clubs has increased from 12 to 18 and the financially stronger clubs tend to dominate, it has become a much bigger mountain for Melbourne to climb.

Borderstone 02-23-2017 05:36 PM

Re: 50 years following unsuccessful sports team
I will then make the prediction that Melbourne goes all the way next
year and that (hopefully) you will actually be in attendance when it happens. :)

Dave, Melbourne,Australia 08-20-2018 02:36 PM

Re: 50 years following unsuccessful sports team

Your prediction may come true, because my beloved Melbourne Football Club has just qualified for the Australian Football League finals for the first time in 12 years.


I am over the moon with excitement and pride (and relief). My 87-year-old Mum is feeling the same (and she obviously hasn’t got many seasons left). Melbourne last won the championship in 1964 when I was 2 years old. Mum and my older brother started following the club in 1965 and I became a supporter in the late 1960s. My daughters just turned 20 and don’t remember their club playing in the 2006 finals when they were 8.

Dave, Melbourne,Australia 09-27-2018 06:06 PM

Re: 50 years following unsuccessful sports team
The Melbourne Football Club won their first 2 finals in front of 90,000 crowds at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and I enjoyed taking my 20-year-old daughters to their first MFC finals. But my hopes of Melbourne reaching their first AFL Grand Final since 2000 (and winning it for the first time since 1964) came crashing down one game before it when the West Coast Eagles scored the first 10 goals and went on to win comfortably (121 points v 55 points). The Demons looked stagestruck in front of 59,608 people at Perth Stadium (Western Australia’s biggest-ever sporting crowd) and made countless skill and judgement errors that hadn’t occurred in any previous game this year. I watched the telecast at Mum’s house. Despite the frustrating end, it’s been an exciting season and nobody expected Melbourne to finish in the top four as they have. Next Saturday’s Grand Final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in front of 100,000 people is Collingwood (Magpies) v West Coast (Eagles).

Highlights of Elimination Final Melbourne v Geelong Sep7:

Highlights of Semi Final Hawthorn v Melbourne Sep14:

Highlights of Preliminary Final West Coast v Melbourne Sep22:

BILLW 09-28-2018 09:04 AM

Re: 50 years following unsuccessful sports team
Congratulations Dave. I always suspected that B was a prophet of sorts.

Folks that have the luxury of NOT following a team in a major sport can't relate to the emotional toll that it charges a fan.
Hang in there. It sounds like the future looks bright.
Our American version of football is just underway. My wife and I had the pleasure of taking our daughter and her boyfriend to last Sunday's contest. I only own two seats so procuring the two right next to mine was a real treat. It's fun sharing the roller coaster of feelings that normally accompany a game. I love baseball but football is another level entirely. Not withstanding that they are trying to destroy it with the rule changes that take away the traditional rough and tumble allure of the game.

Anyway I'm glad you all had a great season.

Bill :)

Dave, Melbourne,Australia 09-29-2018 09:09 AM

Re: 50 years following unsuccessful sports team
Bill W,

Thanks for your words of commiseration and encouragement.

Today's AFL Grand Final, despite not involving my Melbourne Demons, was a brilliant game. It was played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in front of 100,022 people. Collingwood Magpies scored the first 5 goals and led by 2 goals in the last quarter, but West Coast Eagles scored the winning goal less than 2 minutes from the end.

Match highlights:

charlene 09-29-2018 07:19 PM

Re: 50 years following unsuccessful sports team
3 words - Toronto Maple Leafs.
that's all..

Dave, Melbourne,Australia 09-30-2018 02:53 AM

Re: 50 years following unsuccessful sports team

I didn't realise the Toronto Maple Leafs last won the championship in 1967. Yes, their older fans must know how I feel.

In the Australian Football League, the longest current championship drought is Melbourne (1964), followed by St Kilda (1966). The longest ever drought was South Melbourne Swans (1933), who were shifted to become the Sydney Swans in the 1980s and won the championship in 2005.

charlene 09-30-2018 02:14 PM

Re: 50 years following unsuccessful sports team
I am one of their older fans.lol.. I have footage of the parade in Toronto that my dad took.. I was 12..grew up in sports mad household with my father...

Affair on Touhy Ave. 09-30-2018 03:47 PM

Re: 50 years following unsuccessful sports team
I can never understand why there are some teams regardless of was sport and league they are and did poorly for years and in some cases have a bad history on winning.

Let's talk the NFL

Look at The Chicago Bears. W haven't had an SD victory in more than 30 years and Superbowl XX was their 1st one. Their previous big moment was their 1963 NFL Championship.

Others including The Packers have gone to more.

Of course you have The Browns & Lions who've never gone to one at all.

Borderstone 11-17-2018 01:48 AM

Re: 50 years following unsuccessful sports team
Lr To Dave in Melbourne.

VERY late i know but I have such a busy life anymore , I just don't get here much.

Very happy your team won and even though
I wasn't trying to predict it, I'm glad it came out that way .

Wish our Phoenix, Arizona basketball team the Suns would win a championship, \
they're as old as I am (founded 1968) annd have NEVER done it. Sheesh!

It's been Borderstone and I gotta get to bed. :)

Dave, Melbourne,Australia 11-17-2018 03:16 AM

Re: 50 years following unsuccessful sports team

Thanks again, but my Melbourne Football Club didn't win the Grand Final or even reach the Grand Final. They were thrashed in the last game before the Grand Final and finished the year in 4th place. I hope next year they take the extra step and at least reach the Grand Final. And I hope they win a Grand Final while my mother (born in 1931 and supporting the club since 1965) is still alive.

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