The AFL’s statement on the club songs [Club Song Meltdown #2]

By Tom Briglia

After years of Patrick Keane copping the brunt of irate humans on Twitter, the League created the AFL House account so as to not have to deal with those fucking annoying fans. Yesterday it posted this:

Let’s have a look at this very patronising, oily statement.
“The AFL was approached by a number of clubs to provide minor updates to their songs.”
This number is not specified, and I would assume the number is either one or two – being Richmond (with the small correction taking the entire song down with it), and maybe Collingwood seeing what it might sound like. No other club has had lyric changes, aside bizarre introduction of Geelong’s second verse.
“In doing so, we offered all the clubs the ability to have a new recording, to offer stronger digital sound quality.”
“We offered all the clubs the ability to have a new recording” is an attempt to portray the AFL as benevolent and wanting to help the clubs achieve positive, Real Change ®.
“A number of the club songs are old recordings of diminishing quality.”
This doesn’t actually make any sense, and is the AFL trying to create an issue where there was none. The files played at the ground don’t lose quality. They’re digital files, and they’re to replicate, too. The only scenario(s) this is applicable to is if they’re being played off a cassette or vinyl record. Something’s up when Matt Thompson starts running with the employer’s line.
“Minor lyric changes were only made following requests from respective football clubs.”
Firstly, that’s not really the problem here. The songs now sound cheaply produced and outdated, and more hokey than the original versions ever will – more like Mike Brady Dodo commercial jingles. A well-paid, high-profile Kevin Bartlett wanting to keep Richmond at the front of the SEN news cycle via one incidental word in the Richmond song may have ultimately led to the AFL shitting on the history, nostalgia and meaning of the club songs en masse. These are celebrated parts of our game. They’re what we associate with some of the better moments of our lives as fans; indeed the Geelong song is vividly imprinted on my mind – I can picture exactly where I was, what I was looking at and how I was feeling when the siren went in the 2009 Grand Final and the Cats song starting booming across the MCG and signalled the end of what we thought for so long was going to be our year.
As for the St Kilda song, the drum thump that heralds its beginning has been reduced to a rattle made by a garish US high-school band. It’s not what I heard at the end of the 2005 Qualifying Final blasted through the TV speakers from Adelaide, nor after the final siren of the 2009 Preliminary Final that brought so much celebration and relief. Nor what I heard as the team ran out for the Grand Finals the following week and the following year.
I said yesterday that the AFL was at best hoping to get through this by weathering a huge amount of expressed and viable criticism, and riding on indifference. No one has said these changes are good. No fans or members requested them. I would hope the AFL is not looking to drive its fans into submission (see the night AFL Grand Final concept by stealth method), but I don’t see what else it is trying to do with this, nor the night Grand Final, nor AFLX. The game appears to be run by people who want to export the game to a bigger TV audience and eventually the world, and don’t mind taking it from its fans and members first.

  • Alastair Pitts

    I read that it’s optional for the clubs to use the new recordings. Would appreciate a statement from the Saints clarifying their position.

  • Tom Briglia

    Yep that’s right. Personally I hope they don’t go near the new one. I think they might want to be keeping things clear for the moment with the Moorabbin return this week. The club and Finnis have posted on social media since the AFL announcement, but about Moorabbin and other bits and pieces.

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