I’ve decided to chronicle some of my Fitzroy memories for the sake of personal history.
I grew up in Traralgon. My father barracked for Carlton because that’s the team his brother Archie supported. Dad was 10 when Carlton won the 1945 premiership.
My grandfather supposedly played for North Melbourne in its VFA days, but nobody in our family ever supported the Shinboners.
My Auntie Sheila barracked for Fitzroy. She died young, but her husband Stan took his daughter, my cousin Bev, to see Fitzroy play at the Brunswick Street Oval.
I came to follow Fitzroy by accident. In the 1970s each VFL team had a country zone. Footscray had Traralgon as part of its zone and I mixed the club up with Fitzroy, which became my second team after Carlton.
My father liked VFL Park as a venue, partly because it was an easy drive from Traralgon up the highway. In those days, each team used to play 3-4 games per year at the ground.
The first VFL game I saw was Fitzroy v St Kilda at VFL Park in 1975. The Saints won by 11 points, but I was hooked on the Roys.
My father actually switched his own support from Carlton to the Swans. His sister Margaret was a mad South Melbourne supporter, and I think that memory stuck with him greatly after she died. Together we watched South Melbourne’s last VFL finals appearance in 1975 at Waverley (elimination final defeat to Richmond).
Today he follows Sydney, which I consider Margaret’s legacy. Who knows? My own daughter Margaret may also follow the Bloods one day!
In the early 80s my best friend at the time, Peter Crowley, barracked for Fitzroy, and I gradually switched my allegiance from Carlton to the Lions. I used to wear Fitzroy socks and a Fitzroy scarf to school in 1983-84 in breach of uniform policy.
Fitzroy was a strong team in those years. Why we didn’t win a premiership in that period escapes me. There were so many close runs. A flag may or may not have prevented the ultimate decline, but would have been highly enjoyable!
I’ll write more about individual games and seasons. Meanwhile, for your listening pleasure, below is a link to the best theme song in the league.
Fitzroy is a part of my life I can never forget, and one that I will always remember with joy and sadness.