Penguin is about to release a book.
The Footy Almanac 2008: The AFL Season One Game at a Time
Relive the joys and sorrows of another year in the life of the people's games with The Footy Almanac 2008. Our motley collection of straight-talking footy fans has banded together to write about what really matters - the on-field action, not the off-field dramas!
Every match, including finals, is reviewed with passion from the grandstands, the barstools and the couches of Australia. It's football as you know and love it.
Like most every other footy fan of my generation, the first Aussie Rules books I read were And the Big Men Fly by Alan Hopgood, The Great Macarthy by Barry Oakley, The Club by David Williamson and The Coach by John Powers. The latter is a chronicle of Ron Barassi's 1977 season coaching North Melbourne, in which North and Collingwood conspired to do Powers a ridiculous favour by having the Roos win the premiership via a grand final replay. Is it possible for Powers to write a book about Dean Bailey and Melbourne?
Since the 1970s, though, I can't remember reading a book about football, apart from those esteemed daily tomes published by the Fairfax family and Rupert Murdoch. That changed recently when I acquired The Footy Almanac, a collection of articles written by a collection of writers known collectively as the Almanackery.
Behind Footy Almanac are John Harms, who you will have read in The Age and seen on ABC's Offsiders; and Paul Daffey, also from the Age, who you will have heard on ABC radio and seen in Ardmona, where he is extremely popular, Wangaratta, Warnambool, Wedouree and even Wullewa... sorry, Mullewa in WA. Both contribute their share of games, too. Harms, the angry man of football, unleashes the full savagery of his short sentence structure on Geelong matches, while Daffey tries, and almost succeeds, in hiding his allegiance to the COR (Cult of Richo).
Naturally, the first thing I did was read about the Melbourne wins. Slowly. Savouring. Every. Moment.
Five minutes later, I got stuck into the rest of the articles. There, among other cultural touchstones, you will discover more Richo, prosciutto, parma-cide, BTO, the Buffalo Springfield, the Odyssey, National Lampoon's Vacation, Kryal Catle, but no fairy-tale ending, not for mad-Kat Harms, anyway.
The Footy Almanac, while not yer great literature, is nevertheless a terrific resource to add to yer footy library. But you know what is wrong with it? I mean really wrong? There are only two of them: Footy Almanac 2007 and Footy Almanac 2008. There should have been a Footy Almanac for every year since 1897.