I wear a sterling silver necklace that I never take off, well except at security in the airport. It is a small piece, but has significance. Designed by an American singer who has Asperger’s and was bullied his whole life because of it, I purchased it because every cent went to the anti-bullying program that he set up in his home state. I love the symbolism and the meaning behind it and it is a constant reminder of what this piece of jewelry means. However, before I wore this piece, I did wear another, which after many years, the chain broke and it was time for a new, fresh one, my current one. This has a lot to do with footy and players that are either delisted, retired or are traded.
The aim of any club (in any sport really) is to win the ultimate goal of winning a championship, a premiership. We as supporters want this just as much as the players, coaches and administrators of any club want it, but it does come at a cost.
North Melbourne delisted four of their senior players, three of which, I agree with, not so with Boomer Harvey, but it is the way they handled it that is disrespectful for what they gave back to the club. Yet the club had to get rid of a very much beloved player in order to make the club a great one, whether that decision will hurt them in future, who knows. There are players from other clubs that want to move to another, for a fresh start and a new beginning. There are players who we as supporters have come to love, admire and could either not have their contract renewed or are traded. These players have become, like the necklace, to mean something to not only the club but to us as supporters.
We wear them like a necklace, but in our hearts as true supporters of the club, we also have to be realistic as well in order to achieve what we want to, a Premiership. Zac Touhy is one such player. Rumours are abounding that he is going to North Melbourne, but that he wants to stay at Carlton. I won’t and will not get into that discussion about whether he will or not as rumours are just that, rumours and I will wait until the club or he announces either way. But the fact is that if he does leave, it will be for the very reason that we as supporters must support this, because we want to win a Premiership. I don’t want Touhy to leave as I believe that he still has a lot to offer in our back-line, but we need to focus on the end goal, and decide with our heads and not our hearts, which is going to be difficult.
Then there is the imitable Dennis Armfield. I love Army because of the passion and dynamic intensity that he brings to his football every single game. He is that necklace that no matter the condition, you still have to have and wear. He is at this stage, a vital component in the club’s growth to become a top club again, but again, we just don't know what will happen, is going to get another year or not?
In order for a club to grow and become great, it has to realise together with the supporters that there will be players who, like the necklace, will be put aside and a new one brought in and worn. I have another necklace that I purchased earlier this year and it too has meaning and symbolism behind it and will one day, when this current necklace breaks or that I feel needs to be retired, will be worn with the same vigour. It is unfortunate that there will be those loved players, like a necklace, that will no longer don the navy blue and that we, as supporters will shed a tear for, but in the end, we have to ask ourselves, what will we shed our tears more for and what type will they be? Will they be sad ones because the club just cannot win a game, or will they be exhilarating ones when we start winning again, and again, and again.
There is nothing more that I want than to have those loved players stay at Carlton, but I am realistic enough to know that one day, like the old necklace, it will be time for a new one that I will love just as much.