ONE of the great joys of the early 1980s was playing Collingwood at Princes Park. In fact, it was a joy beating them anywhere. But one bright sunny day at our beloved home ground in 1982 evokes particularly fiery memories of yet another Carlton victory over the hated and despised enemy.
1982 Rd 2 - Jim Buckley on the run.
Now we all know that Collingwood supporters are not particularly bright. Nor do they wash often. And their teeth, should they have any, are generally green or, in some cases, black. So consequently what comes out of their mouth is usually accompanied by a lot of spit. We might call it saliva. But Collingwood supporters do spit: on the opposition; on each other; and sometimes on their own players. This particular day in 1982 they were also in a very violent mood. Fights were breaking out, women were struck and full cans of beer were thrown at Carlton supporters like exocet missiles. It wasn’t exactly the Falklands but you get my drift.

Now we Carlton supporters are a tolerant bunch known for our welcoming nature and our understanding that these poor souls from the other side of Hoddle Street were a much disadvantaged bunch – in so many ways. But tolerance and understanding will only go so far. Sometimes a distraction or a downright declaration of war is required to tame these foul-mouthed fools, much as what was happening on the ground. As despite Collingwood enjoying a magic carpet ride from the umpires, the Blues swept them aside with disdain.

We on one-eyed-hill – our home at Parc de Princes – decided to do the same to the Collingwood clowns. We had endured the fights, the spitting and worst of all, their appalling lack of wit through the first half and like the Carlton team of the 1980s, the third quarter was OUR quarter. With our shoes soaked from the urine in the world’s longest urinal, we marshalled our forces. This was our time and Collingwood was our team. And as we sang “we’re up to our necks in Collingwood blood, we’re up to our necks in slaughter. Didn’t we give the Magpies hell, we killed them in the third quarter,” little did they know the real carnage was about to start. Because suddenly the pie stand next to the scoreboard started to go up in flames.

As the game went on, the fire roared and while Carlton fans continued to cheer on the mighty Blues the so-called tough guys of Collingwood went a-running. Pardon the pun, but they spread like wildfire, squealing, shrieking and shouting. All we could do was try to calm them down, assuring them there was such a thing as a fire brigade and they would be along shortly. “Enjoy the game,” we implored them as we calmly quenched our parched throats with the beer of the people – VB. Of course, some wag chimed in with: “Thank God it wasn’t the beer stall that went up.”

Noone knows who started the fire - well somebody does - but there were suspicions and they weren’t aimed at Collingwood supporters – after all they could barely afford matches. It certainly couldn’t have been the pie warmer as we all know just how notorious that pie stand was for its cold pies. The bloody pie warmer was never turned on! No, it had to be some Carlton supporters who committed this somewhat dangerous act which had more than a touch of black humour about it. Carlton killing Collingwood on the field, a pie stall going further up in flames, Collingwood supporters fleeing and Carlton supporters remaining cool. Never could there be a more stark illustration of the difference between the two tribes. Naturally, the fire brigade did arrive, the flames were doused and noone was injured apart from the fragile Magpie psyche and their team on the scoreboard. Oh, and the damage was limited to one pie stand and one useless pie warmer.

But the real victims of course was the so-called Magpie army. They had arrived spoiling for a fight and they started plenty but when the heat was on, well who stayed in the kitchen when it counted! Not your Collingwood army but the Blue battalion of one-eyed-hill – men and women joined together as one under the glorious light of the Mighty Navy Blues.

As we used to chant in those days, and still do to this day: “A Carlton united, will never be defeated. A Carlton united, will never be defeated.” To our modern day players, this is at the core of Carlton as much as Mens Sana In Corpore Sano.

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