Geelong have dropped from second to fourth over the last year. This is probably not the worst result. But it was the finals that hurt.
The year is 1963 and Geelong Football Club are disappointed.
The were knocked out of the VFL in a preliminary final rematch against Carlton the previous year, despite having both the league’s Brownlow medallist and leading goal kicker in their side.
Newly arrived at the club is an East Perth fullback named John Watts who quickly writes up a brand new Geelong club song to be unveiled should they win the Cup that year.
The song was set to the tune of the ‘Toreador Song’, an aria from Bizet’s opera Carmen. Why? Nobody knows.
Perhaps Watts lost a bet. Perhaps the coach asked Watts to “get busy writing” but he misheard and though he was being asked to “get Bizet’s writings”.
We shall never know (unless of course someone could go and ask him), but Geelong were victorious in 1963, so that’s the song we’ve got.
The most obvious con to ‘We Are Geelong’ is that the lyrics almost feel like they are being forced to fit into the unusual rhythm of the ‘Toreador Song’. It doesn’t feel entirely natural, and the lyrics aren’t the most inspiring of the club songs.
On the plus side, I think it fits into that so-crazy-it-just-might-work category. It’s undeniably catchy, and the biggest test of this for me is that I have walked home from the MCG after a loss to Geelong on many occasions, resentfully humming ‘We Are Geelong’ as I go.
There’s a moment when bitterness meets awareness and the humming stops, but it will pick up again as soon as I forget to stop blocking it out of my head.
One good move was to drop the second verse from the recording and regular victory chant, though they still try to fit a mouthful into the first two lines of the verse.
“So! Stand up and fight, remember our tradition / Stand up and fight, it’s always our ambition.”
It looks like Watts, having risen to the challenge of taming an aria into a footy club anthem, may have overextended himself slightly. But overall, it’s not a bad effort.