Furphy tales from the Demons

April 26, 2020 by
Filed under: NSW Demons 

Nigel Dawe

It was with great pleasure I read recently that Furphy have stepped up to become the Melbourne Football Club’s official beer sponsor; thus in turn, the least I could do as a loyal servant was head straight down to my local Dan Murphy’s and pick up a sample of their wares.

And not a bad amber it is too, I must say, so whilst mid-way through my first few sips I got reflecting on this liquid substance that best rhymes with – right here, without peer, no fear and seer.

From a football perspective, beer has been front and centre, if not at the beating heart of this sport from the very get-go. Recall how the colonial founders of our club – Tommy Wills and Co headed to the Parade Hotel across from the then tree-lined MCG to draft up the original rules of this ‘game of our own’.

But my favourite beer related tale, from a red and blue perspective, relates to our dual Brownlow medalist and former Gallipoli soldier – Ivor Warne-Smith (who played, let’s not forget his entire football career with only one lung after being gassed in the trenches of France). The fact he fronted up again for active service in WWII puts into perspective the irrepressible fighting spirit of the man.

I remember our former club historian, Lynda Carroll mentioning once that Ivor ‘quite liked’ an ale at Young & Jackson’s ‘on the way’ to the games he played at the MCG; different times yes, but the spirit and knock-about soul of the game, I would argue, has not changed one tiny bit.

Amusing also, to reflect on many of the Demon greats from our golden era of the 50s and 60s say, how Norm Smith during their post- game functions genuinely loved an ale and ‘then some’.

But by all accounts, Norm would seem to never get drunk and if you thought he was, and said something you swore he’d never remember – he would, and could apparently do so with an absolutely fearsome total recall! In the same breath, I have to mention our Irish trojan and absolute club stalwart – Jim Stynes, who used to very often tagline his autograph with a bold ‘Slainte’, which was of course, his Gaelic mother tongue word for ‘Cheers!’

That said, I’m looking forward to the resumption of life pre-Covid, and hope you are all staying safe and keeping well in this trying time. So ‘Go Dees’, keep the faith, and I’m sure we’ll hear that wondrous thud of kicked footballs and lightning laid tackles again soon.

Besides, I now have a stack of cold Furphys in my fridge and I just so want to see Nathan Jones become the second ever Dee to reach 300 games!

Watch a little bit more about Ivor Warne-Smith here: “.. finishing his shift walking down … for a couple of pots at Young and Jackson’s then on to the MCG where he would collect the three votes!”


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