Archive for Rad’s Posts
What a disgraceful pic, Ray Martin with WACO terrorists…..
I was asked this question by a young Souths supporter recently, so I thought its about time I put down a somewhat comprehensive answer to his inquiry and release a few demons.
and just out of interest, why all the hate towards the burrow?
Well, no reply to this question can be simplified in a few short words, suffice to say, the answer is complicated, warts and all and eventually pretty damn long but will go a long way to putting a smile on my face about my Burrow relationship and will no doubt bring much amusement to many people and some consternation as well, provided they not only have the necessity but also the corresponding level of intestinal fortitude to actually read it, coz without them, there is no story to tell.
So, from the start we go back and if this gets too boring then I do apologise in advance if you happen to make it through but a project like this is never going to be like 50 Shades of Grey is it now?
Please note that where possible real names will not be used, except if I like the person and they aren’t self-absorbed egotists and references to most people will only be vagually incidental. Nah, to hell with it, even if I don’t like the person I might even use their name, it’s more amusing that way!
Ok, my first encounter with The Burrow was back in the initial year after Souths won their way back into the comp, 2002 and my first meeting with a ‘character’ from the group was Leon Garner. Now this bloke could talk the legs off a chair!!! Well actually, at this point in time I must add, that Leon was a deaf mute and could only talk with his hands but wow, could he even get his thoughts across to you??? The hand movements, the gestures and the intense love of the Rabbitohs was what struck me about this bloke, he was passionate no matter what his superficial weaknesses were and he was a genuine, down-to-earth great bloke, still is but nowadays Leon has somehow managed to get his hearing back and instead of wacking you in the arm when he wants to say something, he can get his point across verbally and very dominantly in a conversation of more than two people.
Leon also inspired me to make my first Rabbitohs banner, so I asked my wife Debra is she could help me and she came up with a magnificent specimin simply entitled ‘Rabbit Attack’. It was a magic piece of equipment and to this day still adorns the walls of my mancave along with other ‘souvenirs’ of my time at Souths. I do thank Deb for making this for me an allowing me to assimilate into the Burrow ranks and indeed for allowing me free reign to follow my dream.
After my initiation into The Burrow through Leon, I began to make myself known to many of the other ‘heirarchy of control’ and eventually worked out who was useful, who loved the Rabbitohs more than themselves, who didn’t like others and most of all, who I liked or not. It wasn’t a difficult thing to achieve actually, as personalities stood out in The Burrow and those that were only there for their own personal comfort and not there for the good of the group became very evident, very quickly. This was never more pertinent than when up to 23 of my Burrow ‘friends’ would pile into the back of my van for the trip back to the Leagues Club, then just as quickly disappear. Luckily I was never apprehended during these trips, as I’m sure that not many of them would have put their hands in their pockets to pay the fine for me.
One of the great family groups that I did get to meet early on were ‘the Smithie’s’. They weren’t fashionable, were passionate supporters but because they didn’t fit the ‘beautiful people’ image that the then heirarchy wanted for their group they were somewhat ostracised, though wouldn’t take no for an answer and continually sat amongst the mainstays of the Burrow, even when they were frowned upon and asked to sit elsewhere. I’m glad they persevered because they are still in the midst of things today and deserve to be.
Some of these people I saw as the Smithies nemesis were downright ‘egotistically challenged’ and further down the track I was to find out why my initial impressions of them were founded on solid ground. One such person was Josh Kemp, who alongside Steve Calo and Steven Edwards formed the nucleus of the Burrow ‘brains trust’ and yeah, wasn’t that a conflict in terms.
Josh was in essence a nice bloke, however being the sycophant that he is, just loved to have his picture taken with all the stars, ranging from players, to rock musicians to anyone who he thought was famous and he would look good next to. Of all the personalities to emerge form The Burrow in my initial years, Josh was probably the one who helped form my opinions of the group more than anyone else. I respected the guy but just had to laugh at how he didn’t drink, didn’t smoke, wanted to be the life of the party but was also the biggest disgrace to everyone at the games when he went off like a two-bob idiot when something didn’t go Souths way. I have never seen anyone go so bright red when he screamed like a lunatic at the referee, opposition players, coaches and anyone else he thought to be at fault. Yeah, if ever there was an enigma, it was Kempy but early on, I was pleased to have his friendship and company most times. If I expected anyone to be hostile towards me all along, it was Kempy but to this day he never has been, so for that I do thank him, though if he gets to read this, things may change somewhat. Ya never know hey?
Steve Calo was Kempy’s closest partner in crime and if anyone could tell him what to do, it was Calo. He had it all, the smugness, that sneer when he looked at you and eventually, that feeling of wanting to rip his head off because he was just such a turd. It it wasn’t for his life-threatening health problems later on in life, then I’d really outline my further feelings about him but will let sleeping dogs lie, suffice to say, he was not to be trusted at all and was just there for himself as evidenced by his standing down as Burrow president when it became too hard for him, even though there was nothing for him to actually do.
So finally, from the formative trifecta of Burrow brains trustees, we come to Mr Steven Edwards and I only call him mister because to me, when I call someone by that title, then I REALLY don’t respect them at all and may as well call them china, or pal or some other disrespectful name. This bloke was really a piece of work, with his red and green suit, perched high in the middle of those who would be followers. He loved to be and still does love to be the centre of attention and the messiah of those he would call, ‘the standing singers’. I despised him with a passion and over the years, my passion for his hatred has only gotten stronger, as no doubt he has that same passion he harbours for me. We could have been great mates, if we could have stood to be in each others presence for more than 5 minutes but who would I be kidding, he doesn’t want mates, he wants people who follow him blindly and hang on every word he says, making him look good when singled out and on his own he would have all the personality of a piece of chalk.
It is now because of “morv’ and his latest squeeze, Bridgette ‘I am woman’ Louise, that I loath The Burrow with the same passion with which I used to hold it in esteem, a passion that died a natural death the day he walked back in the Burrows revolving door, after I proceeded to walk out. As for her, the less said the better about her possession of balls and male reproductive equipment.
But I digress and back to the formative years.
It wasn’t all ego’s and nastiness back early on. There were some great people I met and got to know very well, very quickly and I guess if you spend all your time with a large group of people, thats bound to happen. One bloke who I have nothing but good words to say about is Anthony Steel. ‘Steely’ was a pom and if you could get past that he was a great guy, who was fun to be around, quick witted and to this day, is still on my Facebook and living it up in the mother country. He was a rare diamond in a bunch of rocks and I did enjoy his company on game days.
Steely was also lucky enough to become romantically entwined with a girl, who at the time became a very dear friend of mine, Jamie-Lee Dixon. ‘JL’ was loved by everyone and I took her under my wing and made sure that as a young 17 year old girl, she got home safely after games and big weekends away and that none of the more seedier elements of The Burrow got the chance to take advantage of her. Well, not too much of a chance at least. It was just too bad that when our friendship died, so too did her father, who I also found to be a great bloke. RIP John Dixon.
To this day though, JL still writes for the Rabbitohs News, having taken over that column when I asked her to write it instead of me doing it, as I was also writing for the Southern Courier at the time and thought she would do an admirable job. Besides, it would have been nice I thought, if someone else had some input into The Burrow Perspective and it wasn’t all left up to me to formulate.
Two other formative members of The Burrow who should be brought into the equation at this point were Michelle Booth and Mel Kremmer, both of who eventually became my best friends and confidantes, though that time has now well and truly passed. Both were unfashionable looking girls and quite frankly, not my type but they kept me on the straight and narrow and if I was ever going to be capable of ‘getting up to no good’, then I used to see these two girls as my means of coming back down to earth, to put it nicely. To not put it so nicely, looking at them would take any amorous thoughts away from anyone that may have gotten them into trouble. I can’t quite remember the exact term I used to use but I saw these two as the ‘anti-good-sorts’. Oh yeah, thats it, my anti-aphrodisiacs!!!
I would have and probably done anything for these two girls. We went shopping together, where I bought them many presents, shouted on numerous occasions and went to all the Souths shows together, many, many games and generally spent all our Souths time together as the best of mates. I even had to drive Ezza home on several occasions to Hassel Grove from places such as Cronulla because Mel couldn’t go out of her way to drive the extra 10 kms needed to make sure her friend was safe. After all, I only had to drive home to Newcastle a few hundred times, so going the extra distance for me was no trouble at all. What are friends for hey?
Yeah, you had to love Mel’s ways, and that sneary smile!!! I later learned that the smile of a serpent is as dangerous as its kiss and I had to watch my back with these two.
Along the way I managed to meet and greet many people from all walks of life, none became better friends than Dave and Sarah Spears. I shared many wonderful times with ‘Gubba’ and ‘Sassy’ and it was with deep regret that when my time in the Burrow finally came to an end, it was with the conspiring of some of my best friends, in particular Dave, Sarah, JL and Matt Kelly.
Matt Kelly, yeah, theres a bloke who I absolutely thought the world of. I went everywhere with him, photographed his footy games, drank lots of sessions with him and eventually got stabbed in the back by him too. Unfortunately, Matt would now rate in the same category as a bloke called Benjamin Jenkins, who became known to me a little earlier through his mates Calo, Kemp and Edwards and is now held in the lowest of lows esteem-wise, alongside contemporaries such as Chris Dounas. The less said of this pairing, the better. Matt and I can hold a conversation nowadays, along with JL but things have soured somewhat and things will never be the same.
I did however, have the pleasure of teaming up with two youngsters from Newcastle, who made those 150km drives home somewhat bearable for a few years. Josh and Jake Stuart became my travelling partners as well and shared many stories and anecdotes with me on the way home from Sydney. I dare say that if I hadn’t had human company on many of those long, lonely drives, then I may not have made it home on many occasions and these two were certainly much better company that the majority of Sydneysiders I had to deal with.
All those mentioned so far formed my ‘news and views’ summation of The Burrow in the early years. Some good people, some not so good, some friends, others enemies for life. Many names haven’t been mentioned, though if I were to include everyone, I doubt if I would be finished this story any time soon.
My reason for taking on the reins of the Burrow back in 2004 can actually be traced back to one person who remains the enigma in this mish-mash of people. If it wasn’t for Josh Kemp stating to me that he ‘wanted to get rid of Mel and Ezza from the Burrow’, my delusions of grandeur may never have come to fruition and I may have simply meandered along enjoying my footy and not having to become involved in any of the day to day matters that had to be taken care of.
It was based on these words that I ran for president in 2004 and it was because of Kempy that I took over his mantle of ‘he who must be obeyed’, so I guess that I do owe him a debt of gratitude for at least freeing me up to do what needed to be done, especially when most people seemed to be of the opinion that I did everything else anyway, so I may as well run the Burrow too! Driving the flags, banners and people around to every game didn’t seem like enough did it, so I had to take over and prove to these egotistical game-players that The Burrow was more than just a vehicle to drive their big heads around in, it was ‘by the people, for the people, with the people’, unlike their slogan of, ‘you are here at our disposal’, which would also seem to be very appropriate today.
At the time I considered his attitude towards Mel Kremmer and Michelle Booth to be totally out of line, as all they had done to that point was show how much they loved their football team and how fanatical and indeed possessed they were about the Rabbitohs and this in itself was no reason to destroy what they were trying to achieve as members of the Burrow. After all, given time, they could do that all by themselves if need be and I’m sure they will. These two had nothing apart from Souths and making their lives even more miserable was not on my agenda, so I stood up for what was right and the new Burrow was born.
Given a second chance on this decision, I doubt whether I would do the same thing again and I wonder where our two conquering female hero’s would be right now if I did that back then. And where might the Burrow be if that decision was not made at the 2004 AGM? Who knows but it could have been bigger than it is now if those big heads from back then could have controlled their emotions and not jumped ship to form the joke of a group called the Singers End.
When the Burrow split after that general meeting and became a respectable organisation under my leadership and the rest of the rabble that decided to leave with their ego’s firmly between their legs to form the ‘other mob’ got their way, the supporters groups at Souths were looked upon as some kind of fractured joke and for years after I have had to explain how and why it all happened.
Now that many of the names mentioned above have come back to the fold, along with many nondescript names not worthy of mention, the Burrow continues to meta-‘morv’-a-cise into something it should never be, and thats a nasty place to be, full of drunken, foul-mouthed, nasty yobbo’s who only use Souths game days as an excuse to get drunk and turn themselves into a group that had always been the exact opposite of what it has now very quickly become renowned for, boozing and brawling.
Not everyone fits into the yobbo category of course but if you become part of a group with this stigma, then you have to be prepared to wear the tag and for all those people who used to be on my Facebook and no longer are, if you don’t like what I have to say, then that’s just too fucking bad hey!!!! If you truly don’t believe that you fit that category, then don’t listen to what people have to say and just remember that when the time comes to disband the group because of the stigma attached, the ones running it now won’t give a damn about you because they can walk at any time. They’ve done it once and won’t hesitate to do it again if they feel threatened.
The Burrow always frowned upon other groups who behaved like it now does but the thought is that its all done with Souths in mind. Well, I hate to say it but this little click that stands in the middle now has it the way it always wanted it, surrounded by brainless triffids who know no better than to follow the lead of the bloke next to him and sing silly songs, whilst believing that they are the be-all and end-all for all Rabbitohs supporters, just like Josh Kemp used to all those years ago. The only difference now being that the team is winning, so its fashionable to be a raving lunatic as compared to the respectable supporter who sits on the other side and deserves as much credit for a Souths win as this bunch of singing stupidity.
Next year I plan on starting afresh again and joining some great friends in the western stand, who like me have become disenfranchised with the Burrows demeanour in recent years and simply want to go back to enjoying their day out at the footy without having to deal with all the bullshit that goes hand in hand with being a part of the ‘beautiful people’ click and having to conform to their strange and unpalatable ways.
Much of my story has been glossed over and the writing above only scratches the surface, so who knows, in time the full story could form the basis of a good book but only I would be interested in reading it I guess, so its here that the story will end and the journey once again begins.
Bring on 2013!!!
If you Burrow morons think that you can silence people simply by removing them from your juvenile group page, then you are very much sadly mistaken!!!!!…….it shall be my goal, nay, my business to white ant you elitist fuckers!!!!!!!