Memoirs of a beaten Magpies diehard

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    The once mighty Western Suburbs Magpies will continue in sporting purgatory next season with a likely move to the third-tier Bundy Cup competition in 2013.

    This is hard to say for an old Magpies diehard. But maybe it is time to take old yeller out the back and finally put Western Suburbs out of its misery.

    Don’t get me wrong. A part of me is glad the black and white jumper will live on for at least another year. But the other part of me can see the writing on the wall.

    Wests Tigers are the future. And everyone knows you can’t fight the future.

    The Macarthur region deserves better than the decades of in-fighting and factions and second-rate football teams. It’s time for the Wests Tigers franchise to take control.

    But don’t take this admission of defeat without warning. The Wests Tigers club must stretch their presence in the south west.

    Let’s get one thing clear, I once lived and breathed the Magpies. I would cry when we won and I’d cry when we lost. Losing was a lot more frequent.

    Other kids had push bikes. Some, like my brother, would spend hours down the bush making cubby houses. For me, it was all about footy and the Magpies.

    I was there for the final game in 1999 against the Auckland Warriors at Campbelltown Stadium. A 12-year-old weeping with a bunch of strangers thirty and forty years his senior must have been a sight to behold.

    The Warriors destroyed the beleaguered Magpies that day. Yet it didn’t stop the diehards from chanting for their old club one last time in the big league.

    I was there in 1996 when Andrew Willis kicked a monster field goal to send the Goldstar Magpies into the playoffs for the final time. Like it was yesterday, I can still remember running along under the western grandstand as the ball left Willis’ boot.

    Andrew Leeds was a god. So much of a god in fact, that when he sat down behind us at a Sheffield Shield match one afternoon, I understandably bolted and hid in the Members Stand for two hours.

    There is a reason these are memories. Because they are in the past. Another time.

    It’s time the Wests Tigers became a single entity from the top down. That includes the demise of the Balmain Tigers.

    Outgoing Wests Tigers chairman David Trodden had some wise words after quitting his post.

    “I don’t see the joint-venture structure as a structure for the long term,” Trodden said.

    “I certainly think it’s time for the organisation to revisit its structure and to think about what the best structure would be to take the organisation to that next level. At some point of the joint venture, you have to get to a point where the joint-venture structure is not the most appropriate structure to take you forward.

    “We now have one State Cup team, rather than two. For Wests Tigers to take that next step in its evolution, the club needs to concentrate on things they have in common, rather than the things which split them. [And] in order to take that next step, you probably need somebody who is not identified with things which happened in the past.”

    You can always respect the past. But its time the Wests Tigers created their own history. No factions, no Western Suburbs Magpies, no Balmain Tigers.

    A Greek proverb goes, “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”

    The Wests Tigers must start planting their own trees for the next generation. Under one banner.

    If you could choose from any and every NRL player in the competition, who would you pick in your rugby league dream team? Let us know with our team picker right here, and be sure to share it with all your league-loving mates.

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    The Crowd Says (48)

    • December 19th 2012 @ 9:11am
      Proud magpie said | December 19th 2012 @ 9:11am | ! Report

      *Sigh* Here’s another magpie bash-up.

      Did Curtis ever stop and wonder why Trodden may have made thiose comments now and not before? Curious how no such noises were coming out from Balmain when they thought they would be in a position to assume full ownership of the JV, but now they are bankrupt and Wests look like assuming full ownership suddenly we must have a full merger!

      How can it possibly be that a dyed-in-the-wool magpie could be completely ok with a company which walks like Balmain, talks like Balmain, looks like Balmain and smells like Balmain taking over?

      Perhaps if Balmain had treated Western Suburbs with respect the infighting wouldn’t be happening now. St. George treated Illawarra like lepers and learnt their lesson, now the JV there is harmonious. Balmain Humphreys and his Leichhardt cronies would do well to note this.

    • December 19th 2012 @ 9:31am
      Johnno said | December 19th 2012 @ 9:31am | ! Report

      What is about some rugby league clubs, that they get bashed up and knocked about more than others. Not about playing the victim’s card, or maybe it is , or devil’s advocate, but western suburbs magpies, and North sydney bears, have copped a gutful over the years, as have the sharks, and the bunnies until rusty crowe, bought them.
      Also Newtown Jets have copped a gutful, but all these proud clubs continue to fought back and will never be beaten.
      Manly and the rooster get the red carpet, and can get away with anything, and no one ver questions the feet they walk on , or there existence as clubs. The double standards are staggering.
      Same without he Brisbane Broncos, they could never beat the proud Brisbane clubs, and the Ipswiich jets, even if they wanted them to die off, never will be beaten, wynum manly, redcliffe, sunnybank, souths, and the clydesdales.

      • December 19th 2012 @ 2:27pm
        Mals said | December 19th 2012 @ 2:27pm | ! Report

        You are talking rubbish Johnno. How exactly have Manly got the red carpet? They were forced into a merger with Norths. When WIN stadium, Campbelltown Stadium & Kogarah were getting their big upgrades courtesy of the government where was the upgrade money for Brookvale?

      • Roar Rookie

        December 22nd 2012 @ 6:36pm
        Valleys Diehard from Brunswick st. said | December 22nd 2012 @ 6:36pm | ! Report

        Sunnybank? Clydesdales? I don’t recall either team in the BRL when the Broncos joined the NSWRL. The other QLD clubs had/ have a strong leagues club association so survived regardless, if you want to bash the Broncos I’m all for it…. The main issue i have is that the Broncos were the killers and coffin makers of the BRL.

    • December 19th 2012 @ 9:52am
      Ads said | December 19th 2012 @ 9:52am | ! Report

      I disagree. If there are no Magpies, then there is no league to follow. I followed the magpies from 1980 as a 5 year old. I too cried everytime they were in a winning position but gifted the other team the victory from years of not knowing how to finish off a team and actually win the game. They were the good old days, but they have rolled over and taken it from the merger. Forget ‘Wests’ Tigers. It’s all about Balmain and the Tigers. Not many refer to them as Wests. It’s all Tigers this and Tigers that, and Leichardt this and that.

      I stopped following league once the merger happened in ’99 and I won’t start again until the magpies are back (likely never). I would love for a de-merger to happen. Even if Perth were the Magpies I would follow them. It’s all about the magpie and the black and white!

      For me there are only one true Magpies and it’s the Collingwood variety. They are the most professional sporting club in the land. I’ve followed them since 1986. They could teach Wests a lot if given the chance. Go Pies!

      • December 19th 2012 @ 12:56pm
        Will Sinclair said | December 19th 2012 @ 12:56pm | ! Report

        I agree with you Ads – if there were no Tigers I wouldn’t follow rugby league at all.

        As it stands, I was nearly lost to the game when my beloved Balmain joined the JV, but the retention of the Tigers name, and the colours, and the chanting “Ti-Gers” at the games brought me back…

        I can understand how an old Magpies fan might struggle to retain any connection to the new team.

      • December 20th 2012 @ 9:46am
        Magpies or ever said | December 20th 2012 @ 9:46am | ! Report

        I agree wih Ads, If there are no Magpies, then there is no league to follow the Tigers mean nothing to me, but if there is a chance the mghty Western Suburbs Magpies can re enter the comp at all levels I will not give up. The Magpies have been kicked in the guts more times that any other club it has aways been the same the money clubs are looked after and the baltters not.

        I would love to see Brisbane & Auckland in a joint venture.

        Thanks very much NRL. for kicking out a foundation club you should be ashamed of your self and all so the Wests directors you should be ashamed.

        Comon all Magpie supports were are not dun yet.

    • December 19th 2012 @ 12:55pm
      Will Sinclair said | December 19th 2012 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

      Quick question to Curtis (and the others above) – what would you think of changing the name of the club to the Western Suburbs Tigers?

      My feeling is that lots more people would refer to them as “Wests”, and it would be more of a connection to the Magpies? I remember some geniuses (like Tommy Raudonikis) insisting on the “Wests” name, but I think it’s counter-productive (as well as clumsy) as it STOPS people from calling the team Wests.

      I’m sure it wouldn’t make a difference, but it’s always bugged me!

      • Roar Guru

        December 19th 2012 @ 1:25pm
        Curtis Woodward said | December 19th 2012 @ 1:25pm | ! Report

        Honestly? They should be called the Macarthur Tigers and play out of Campbelltown Stadium. Its about the people of Macarthur now, not the Magpies.

        • December 19th 2012 @ 2:13pm
          Will Sinclair said | December 19th 2012 @ 2:13pm | ! Report

          Would that help though, Curtis?

          I know the club has struggled to get people to games in Campbelltown in recent seasons.

          • Roar Guru

            December 19th 2012 @ 2:31pm
            Curtis Woodward said | December 19th 2012 @ 2:31pm | ! Report

            If you put a successful club there that are truly local, they will come. In droves.

            • December 19th 2012 @ 3:55pm
              Ads said | December 19th 2012 @ 3:55pm | ! Report

              Reality is that clubs that play in the NRL are not run like a business the way they are in AFL. That may change in the future but so far have suffered from short sightedness just trying to survive. If Wests magpies had money and a large supporter base we wouldn’t be having this discussion as they would still be in the top tier.

              Do you really think just because they are ‘local’ that people will jump on in droves. From my experience most supporters follow clubs based on colours, mascots, players and coaches that they like. The majority of Collingwood fans don’t live or originate from collingwood. Likewise many of the macarthur people most likely follow a range of teams from Manly to the bulldogs to souths, etc.

              • Roar Guru

                December 19th 2012 @ 4:00pm
                Curtis Woodward said | December 19th 2012 @ 4:00pm | ! Report

                My brother goes for Manly and he lives in Campbelltown. He’s very rarely travelled to Brookvale for a game. Hence going to games at Campbelltown Stadium. No matter who is playing. Same goes for a lot of other people out there.
                I can also say that many Wests Tigers fans out there are still scratching their heads at many of the clubs decisions. They just want a team. Every second week to support.

    • December 19th 2012 @ 3:01pm
      bjt said | December 19th 2012 @ 3:01pm | ! Report

      The growth of league is with the youth, and not the past.

      It’s sad to see history disappear, but nothing can last forever and the NRL isn’t concerned with jaded old Wests fans, but with the kids of today. League didn’t die when Newtown went, nor when the Dirty Reds kicked the bucket. Guess what? Norths have been gone now for over a decade and league’s still being played, fans are still going to games. League is stronger than ever.

      What’s more important? Pleasing some old timer who switches allegiances because of a mascot or providing the means for kids to take up rugby league very early on or rather them be snapped up by afl? They love busting out the words “grass roots”, but it’s true. And any parent who doesn’t let their kids play league for reasons such as “Wests” arent around anymore is simply a bum.

      The people of Sydney continue to expect that the sport of rugby league owes them something.

      The sooner Sydney realizes that (like Wests, Norths, Glebe and co) the NSWRL no longer exists as the Premier competition, the sooner we can start to make the sport of league one of the top sports of the world. .

      Accept it, and get on board with the concept of National. A true fan would want the best for their sport, not what’s best for him or her.

      Wests playing in the Top division is not good for the sport of Rugby League.

      • December 19th 2012 @ 3:46pm
        MM said | December 19th 2012 @ 3:46pm | ! Report

        You make some very good points and I agree with you. However, to take the pain of moving on from our history, we need some long term gain based on truly altruistic decisions for the game. Unfortunately, this has not occurred:

        – there are still too many teams in Sydney;
        – further to having too many teams in Sydney, Campbelltown and Gosford (regional growth centres), have no full time NRL exposure;
        – a criteria was set in 1999 with regard to minimum stadium requirements, yet we are still playing in dilapidated grounds such as Brookvale and Leichhardt. At least Leichhardt is down to 4 games, but 10 games of a national competition at Brookvale??? Please…

        The Super League war was about tv rights and rationalising the game. The game got the tv rights sorted, but so many decisions on rationalisation went the wrong way. Decisions were not made in the best interests of the game. How did this happen? As an example, going back to having too many teams in Sydney, the criteria saw Wests (based at Campbelltown) and Norths (based at Gosford) removed, yet Cronulla who are sandwiched between St. George-Illawarra remained – why? How was that decision in the best interests of long term growth for the game?

        • Roar Guru

          December 19th 2012 @ 3:53pm
          Curtis Woodward said | December 19th 2012 @ 3:53pm | ! Report

          True. Though I’m not going to knock the Sharkies. They’ve clawed and scratched and survived. Now they have money to grow. Good on them. Dragons on the other hand, should be playing full time in Wollongong.

          • December 19th 2012 @ 4:08pm
            MM said | December 19th 2012 @ 4:08pm | ! Report

            Without the assistance of News Ltd during the Super League war, what would have happened to Cronulla? Cronulla (and others) stayed in their traditional areas, with minimal growth prospects, and took the cash for their own self interest.

            Where was the assistance for Wests and Norths? They both moved from their traditional inner city roots and into new developing markets. These decisions were not only in the interests of Wests and Norths, but they were also in line with the recommendations of the Crawford report. There was an alignment of interests between two clubs and the game, yet the game deserted them.

            You don’t see the AFL deserting its clubs in developing markets.

    • December 19th 2012 @ 4:52pm
      Blues man said | December 19th 2012 @ 4:52pm | ! Report

      Wests SHOULD have renamed themsleves the Macarthur Magpies back in 87!! If they had embraced the region thy would still be alive especially now the region is growing at a rapid rate!! WT Basing themselves at Concord is plain dumb!!

      But there is no reason the Maggies cant survive in the lower leagues it works great for Newtown jets and Norths!! These clubs are the heritage of the game and wanting Wests gone is a joke!!! I cant and will not Support the Tigers as its represents and inner city club that dominates the JV and shake my head at any ex magpie that thinks otherwise!!! How about you get behin you roots!! Once apon a time it was a badge of honor to be a struggling Wests Supporter!!!

      • December 22nd 2012 @ 8:13am
        Bring Back the Bears said | December 22nd 2012 @ 8:13am | ! Report

        Not only is basing themselves in concord dumb, this is trumped by the WESTS tigers playing 4 home games a year at the SFS.

        Seriously, what were they thinking?

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