Which AFL team would be the worst to follow?

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    I would imagine the answer would be reasonably simple for anyone who does not support Collingwood, but which team would be the worst to follow?

    While those non-Magpies would possibly opt for the black and whites for the reason of never wanting to be a part of that army, but from an exasperation viewpoint, from a frustration side of things, which team would be the most painful to be a fan of?

    For most of us, the reality is we don’t have a choice. We are born into a family of Pie lovers, or Swan supporters, or Demon devotees, and if you don’t like that team, then you may be asked to find another family.

    For others, the decision is usually made during childhood, and the team you select is your team for a lifetime, through good and bad, joy and despair, heartbreak and adulation.

    At the moment, for some footy fans, there is a lot less good, joy, and adulation than bad, despair and heartbreak.

    Still as a fan you stick solid, regardless of how painful it may be. So which band of fans are suffering the most at the moment?

    Is it Kangaroos fans? Heartbreak followed by heartbreak followed by … you get the picture.

    Last week the shattering one-point choke against Adelaide, a loss which now accompanies losses of two points to West Coast, three points to Hawthorn, and four points to Geelong.

    But, while it is presently gut-wrenching I’m sure, North have been in the finals six times since the turn of the century, and won their last flag only back in 1999.

    What about being a St Kilda fan? They haven’t celebrated a flag win since the only one in the club’s history back in 1966, but they are used to long dry spells as it took 70 years to win that first one.

    And now it seems the latest Saints’ premiership window, which had been slowly closing, has been slammed shut as the side sits among the also-rans near the bottom of the ladder.

    This comes after the worst kind of disappointment in 2009, and then even worse in 2010.

    Sure the Saints fans had the high of making a grand final, but to firstly lose by a small margin to Geelong in 2009, then to come as close as possible without winning in 2010’s draw, only to be thumped by Collingwood in the replay.

    Coming so close then to now be back in the pack … is that worse than following a team that is constantly a disappointment?

    Like say Melbourne?

    The Demons are … well it’s hard to describe exactly how they are at present without using profanities. Let’s just say, they are pretty bad at the moment.

    Just five wins in their past 31 games, just one win in nine matches this season and that was against new boys GWS Giants. The Demons’ average losing margin in 2013 is 12 goals.

    They have won 12 premierships, but the last did come way back in 1964, seven years before current coach Mark Neeld was born.

    Still, all current team members were alive when the Dees last reached a grand final, losing to the Bombers in 2000, and they have been in the finals four times since.

    What about being a Footscray/Western Bulldogs supporter? Theirs is the longest current drought in AFL history, now standing at 58 seasons since they won their only flag back in 1954. And in that time, just one grand final appearance and that was way, way back in 1961.

    And those fans know about the heartbreak of near misses. Preliminary finalists – one win away from the Big Dance – in 2008 and again in 2009 and once more in 2010. But nothing.

    That premiership window is now nailed shut, but their fans are at least smiling this week with last weekend’s win – only their second in the past 20 matches – over St Kilda.

    Or perhaps it is toughest being a fan of the Tigers?

    So often threatening to be ‘the big improver’ at the start of numerous seasons, yet consistently disappointing those making the predictions. Again this year they were tipped to be the major movers.

    Three wins to start the year, followed by three losses. Two more wins from the past three to sit them just outside the eight, but clearly a way to go to be among the real contenders.

    They did win a flag in 1980, and then made the grand final in 1982, but in the 30 years since, only twice have Richmond been back to the finals.

    But back to the original question, and which fan would you not want to be at the moment?

    None of the aforementioned fans have enjoyed too much joy in recent times, but that’s what being a footy fan is all about.

    Riding out those hard times, no matter how torturous they seem, to make the good times even sweeter … as long as the good times do eventually arrive.

    Just remember that old saying during those tough times: “Tis better to have cheered and lost, than never to have cheered at all.”

    Michael Cowley
    Michael Cowley

    Michael Cowley spent more than 20 years covering sport for the Sydney Morning Herald, including 12 seasons as the paper's AFL writer. During that time he reported on the awful Swans of the 1990s, and then the successful teams of the past decade, including covering their premiership seasons of 2005 and 2012. You can find him on Twitter: @mick_cowley

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    The Crowd Says (65)

    • May 30th 2013 @ 6:02am
      Minister for Information for the Democratic People's Republic of Football said | May 30th 2013 @ 6:02am | ! Report


    • May 30th 2013 @ 6:31am
      Stevo said | May 30th 2013 @ 6:31am | ! Report

      Footscray – but that’s the appeal of sport. It’s not logical to support such losers 🙂

    • May 30th 2013 @ 6:49am
      Marga said | May 30th 2013 @ 6:49am | ! Report

      Melbourne. No redeeming features, no hope, no vision, no future.

    • May 30th 2013 @ 7:35am
      A Mans Not A Camel said | May 30th 2013 @ 7:35am | ! Report

      worst to support In this order:
      All other clubs other than Collingwood

    • May 30th 2013 @ 8:00am
      Sandy B said | May 30th 2013 @ 8:00am | ! Report


    • May 30th 2013 @ 8:08am
      Stavros said | May 30th 2013 @ 8:08am | ! Report

      If you are the sort of drip that demands instant success, then GWS is not a good choice. However, they will win a premiership this decade, so their 12k members should look forward to the good times.

      • Roar Guru

        May 30th 2013 @ 9:48am
        langou said | May 30th 2013 @ 9:48am | ! Report

        Don’t worry about a premiership, GWS will be lucky to still be in the comp by the end of the decade

        • May 30th 2013 @ 10:00am
          Stavros said | May 30th 2013 @ 10:00am | ! Report

          Langou – based on what? Just because they are only getting 6k to their games? You should review their list. 11 of the top 14 draft picks in 2011, the top 3 in 2012 and probably the number 1 in 2013. They will be a good team

          • Roar Guru

            May 30th 2013 @ 11:03am
            langou said | May 30th 2013 @ 11:03am | ! Report

            It will be interesting to see what happens Starvos but personally I think it is one of the great myths of Australian Football that the key to success is to find the best 17 year olds, get games into them and eventually they will become the best 25 year olds and win you a premiership. They will improve and possibly make the finals but I can’t see them winning a premiership simply by virtue of having high draft picks

            Richmond, Carlton, Melbourne are examples of teams that bottomed out continually and are full of high draft picks yet don’t look like contending for a premiership anytime soon

            Meanwhile the kids at Geelong are looking better than most, despite not being high draft picks because they have had to fight for their position rather than be gifted games.

            You might be right, we will have to wait and see, my comment that they may not be around by the end of the decade is more about the fact that despite what some people think, the AFL doesn’t have an endless supply of money and if they continually bleed money the AFL will be forced to make a decision at some stage.

            You may find that in the same way that Melbourne will only ever have one NRL team, Sydney may only ever be fit for one AFL team. To quote the rock group Sparks ‘This Town Ain’t Big Enough for Both of Us’

            • May 30th 2013 @ 12:24pm
              Stavros said | May 30th 2013 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

              Other teams might have had high draft picks, but 11 out of the top 14, and then the top 3 the next year, is something completely different. Sure, some of them might not make it and others might just be good ordinary players, but the odds are some will be real stars. Don’t really know how much they cost the AFL, but with success comes more sponsors and more members.

              • May 30th 2013 @ 4:03pm
                Franko said | May 30th 2013 @ 4:03pm | ! Report

                It doesn’t seem to even enter the equation that GWS could trade the bulk of their picks for proven AFL competitors and be aiming for finals footy next year. Getting an experienced ruckman like Brogan was a good idea to try and get their guys hands on the footy first. They should have picked up a Ben Hudson type. I’m sure with a high pick they could lure Dean Cox (31) as Nic Nat is nearly ready to take over, Jamar would be looking to get out and could be an option also.

              • May 30th 2013 @ 5:03pm
                Stavros said | May 30th 2013 @ 5:03pm | ! Report

                Trade a high draft pick for a 31 year old. Sounds like a recipe for success.

        • May 30th 2013 @ 12:08pm
          Christo the Daddyo said | May 30th 2013 @ 12:08pm | ! Report

          GWS will have underachieved if it doesn’t make the finals within five years and win a premiership in the next decade.

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