But anger won’t do squat. What we need is solidarity.
Friday night football has become the fixturing equivalent of a free kick with massive crowds, hype and exposure. It’s worth a shirtload. Particularly to a small, boutique club like North.
And North fans have been pissed off ever since the AFL took away our monopoly of the occasion in the 90s.
While North did pioneer the innovation, I don’t think it gives us the right to claim it for eternity. Just like Essendon and Collingwood shouldn’t have a claim on Anzac Day forever.
But we do deserve our fair share. And right now, we’re not getting it.
James Brayshaw has told North members that the AFL has given us their word – we will get more Friday nights when we win more games. He’s satisfied with that.
If that’s the case, I would like someone to tell me how Melbourne, a team of similar drawing power who finished lower on the 2010 ladder than North, gets three Friday night fixtures, one Thursday night and a Queen’s birthday blockbuster?
I repeat, North get one Friday night fixture. That’s it.
While AFL annual special distribution funding is distributed to clubs largely on the basis of fixturing inequities, the damage is beyond financial.
It seriously stymies North Melbourne’s potential to keep pace with other clubs in attracting new fans, which ultimately threatens the club’s very existence.
On top of this, the AFL have decided to rub salt into the wound, announcing the Round 24 ‘floating’ fixture this arvo. North will play Richmond in the Sunday twilight slot – the doldrums.
Shit for TV coverage, shit for attendance, shit for finals, shit for fans.
Melbourne, still lower on the ladder than North, will play Port Adelaide in the earlier slot.
But when nearly 40% of North’s income comes straight from the AFL’s pocket, it’s pretty hard for Brayshaw and co. to crack the shits in public. And the media will brand us as whingers anyway.
It’s time for some solidarity.
Time to turn up in force. Time to yell your guts out, like our club depends on it.
Let’s make it a spectacle that no-one can forget.
And watch our boys play the Blues like Johnny Lee Hooker. Just like last year.
There’s a lot more than a game of football being played this Friday.