Ahhh – the struggle

StruggleThis story might bring a picture of wonderment to present day followers of the game.

Supporting, playing or being involved in football in years gone by was always a battle, ironically though, publicity in the major Sydney newspapers was never a stranger to Australian Football however on many occasions it was written with a negative slant. Maybe that helped sell more papers; you see it was always seen by some for many, many years as a them (Melbourne) and us (Sydney) jealousy thing and this attitude which at times permeates the game in NSW still remains.

Such is the case in the following article published in in 1962 in the Sydney Sun, an afternoon newspaper published in Sydney:

Peaceful and dull

One of the imponderables of Sydney sport is the tenuous hold of Australian Rules the winter pride and joy in Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Hobart.

 

A Sunday afternoon visit to Picken Oval, one of the Australian Rules centres, brings home the code’s shoe-string existence.

 

Picken Oval, on the north bank of Cook’s River at Croydon Park, is the home-ground of Western Suburbs club.

 

Entrance is by a bridge across a stormwater channel. Beside the bridge opportunity is provided for Croydon Park Bowling Club members to have a grandstand view of the football. You don’t blame them if they don’t look up from their own more engrossing play.

 

There is no pavilion at Picken Oval. Perhaps 50 cars will be parked around one section of the playing area: a small group of spectators stand near the tin huts which serve as dressing sheds.

 

There is nobody else to cheer and little reason why anyone should.

The Western Suburbs Club was one in Sydney having a go.  They had secured (then, a relatively new) ground at Croydon Park.  A ground where they would eventually build a licensed club, the first representing the game in the state and a club that put their hand in their pocket and supported many of the poorer clubs in the competition and the league itself.  Little do the contemporaries of the game in Sydney realise and appreciate the contribution that club made to the game.

The bridge referred to in the article was the manner of entry from Brighton Avenue, long since closed off and the bowling club is that which overlooks the ground and now occupied by the Korean Social Club.

Time changes everything.  The ground and its surrounds have changed and so to the manner in which the club is operated.

Leave a Reply