Footy fans cheer together, barrack together, shout at the umpire together, and sometimes, cry together. During the third and fourth quarters of the 2017 Grand Final, when it became clear Richmond would be Premiers, many Richmond fans in the crowd – and elsewhere – started to shed tears. These were tears of joy, relief and euphoria.
Richmond fans were once fabled for being fickle: but this generalisation hasn’t been applicable for some years. Richmond fans have stuck fat through one rebuilt after another and one disappointing finals campaign after another (2013-15). Richmond FC, now the Premier football club, is bursting at the seams with post-Premiership euphoria. $$$ are flowing into the Club as the fans lap up Premiership merchandise. Numerous categories of membership are already full. Good times indeed in the Land-formerly-known-as-Struggletown.
A new book, The Tigers’ Almanac, edited by John Harms and Mandy Johnson, is a collection of stories by Richmond fans written throughout the ultimately overwhelmingly successful 2017 season. The book contains reports of all games and several on the Grand Final itself. There are several forewords by various Tiger-luminaries: John Carr, a fifth generation fan; Dugald Jellie, co-founder of Tiger Tiger Burning Bright and Cheryl Critchley, AFL Fans Association Vice-President. The cover is by the awesome Kate Birrell. This is The Footy Almanac’s second club-specific volume, after their volume last year on the Premiership Bulldogs.
This is a volume written by fans, for other fans. While Konrad Marshall has authored the ‘insider’s account’ in his very popular book, Yellow and Black, the authors included in this volume, write from a degree of separation from the Club itself. Yet, even if they are not ‘inside the four walls’ of RFC, Richmondish passion propels their writing and their years or decades of waiting and dying for a moment to witness a Premiership. This is a volume that has been ‘crowd-sourced’: produced through a shared passion for writing and documenting what we love and think about, all year round. This volume, through its presence, asserts that the Fans should play a strong role in the writing of the history of the Club in which they invest their time, money and emotions.
Buy the book. Make your Richmondish friends happy. Torment your non-Tigerish friends and family with it. For sale, here.
*I have a piece in the volume, in which I recount my experience of wandering around in a daze, after witnessing Richmond win the Premiership.
In other news: the RFC AGM was held on Monday 11th December. Things will always go swimmingly when the President comes with a little prop: