Being average at best for last 60 years, Why are the Pies so high profile with a high membership?

FrustratedTiger

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Apr 13, 2009
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* Being an original club helps, and bringing their already decent supporter base with them to the VFL
* The high population of the suburb in the early days
* The on-field success of the club during the depression when people could not afford other forms of entertainment
* Continued regular success
* The continual push of "us against them", beginning with neighbouring working class Richmond & Fitzroy supporters and the silver spoons at Melbourne in the early days, adding Carlton to that after tv came in and then everyone in latter days. One of the first clubs to really embrace its members and supporters in this way
* The likes of Lou Richards & Eddie McGuire have essentially brought free advertising since 1956
 

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Barry_Badrinath

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Aug 23, 2011
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Home Finals at the MCG
Since 1959 the flag count for vic clubs is:

Hawthorn - 13
Carlton - 8
Richmond - 7
Essendon - 6
North - 4
Geelong - 4
Melbourne - 3
Collingwood - 2
St Kilda - 1
Bulldogs - 1

Languishing near the bottom the old Pies. It’s no wonder they’ve been left in the dust for memberships too when the new number one has as many flags in 3 years as they do in 60
 
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kickazz

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Apr 12, 2010
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Since 1959 the flag count for vic clubs is:

Hawthorn - 13
Carlton - 8
Richmond - 7
Essendon - 6
North - 4
Geelong - 3
Melbourne - 3
Collingwood - 2
St Kilda - 1
Bulldogs - 1

Languishing near the bottom the old Pies. It’s no wonder they’ve been left in the dust for memberships too when the new number one has as many flags in 3 years as they do in 60
Cats have 4?
 

Toump Ass

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So Pie fans and footy followers why is it that this club albeit it's deplorable record have such a high profile, multi million dollar turnover, and a very very large membership and supporter base?
It's a benefit from investing heavily in social welfare & community aid programs. No surprises Collingwood is pushing for welfare spending to be removed from the football spending cap. It means they can funnel cash into "Magpie's Nest" programs to attract sponsors and drive membership.

Not saying it's the whole reason they have a large supporter base but targeting disadvantaged people was a super smart move.
 

Scotland

TheBrownDog
May 5, 2006
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Eddie took over in 1998 when you had 27,000 members - which was more than respectable for the time. Essendon also had 27,000. North "LOL no fans" Melbourne at their peak on field had 20,000.

No games at Victoria Park after 1999, Malthouse as head coach from 2000, B2B grand finals 02/03 and the Pies were at 40,000 members which was huge. Well ahead of the likes of Essendon and Richmond.

I don't like him as a broadcaster and I think his conflict of interest in obvious when discussing a few issues but you can't deny Eddie has been massive for Collingwood - which with his president hat on is his job. When he took over being the host of The Footy Show meant something. That was a huge platform and he pumped up Collingwood at every opportunity. The AFL bought into the fact that Collingwood = blockbuster and prioritising games at the MCG between high drawing clubs was good for the game. Big crowds = excitement = more important than integrity or good games. Fans and the AFL have lapped this up for years now.

Since the early to mid 2000s it's been common for Collingwood to play 14 (or more) games at the MCG each year. This year they played 10 H&A games at the MCG with crowds of 60,000 or higher, and then two finals of 93,000 and 78,000. If I went along to even a Collingwood vs West Coast game in Melbourne where maybe a few thousand would be going for us at most I would expect a crowd of 50-60,000 a lot of the time. People are drawn to being a part of the atmosphere. Also membership numbers have become an executive pissing contest. If Collingwood have 70,000 members that's great, but if Richmond come along and get 75,000 then it's all hands to the wheel to get 80,000. Etc.
 

Occidental

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Rarely mentioned is the fact that of the original VFL clubs, Collingwood is clearly the youngest.
Formed only 5 years before the VFL started, Collingwood garnered an immediately large and loyal fan base once brought into existence in 1892.
Other clubs had long head starts over the Pies: Melbourne by 34 years, Geelong by 33, Carlton by 28, Essendon by 20, St Kilda by 19, South M by 18.
Decades of seasons had passed without Collingwood even existing.
But they caught up and overtook their rivals very quickly.
An alternative question should be, how did the clubs with decades of a head start get overtaken in support by the upstart late comer Collingwood?
 

Scotland

TheBrownDog
May 5, 2006
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In my lifetime I've seen 3 decades of Richmond being awful. Between the day I was born and the 2017 GF I think they won 4 finals, and 2 of them were in 2017. But they still have 10s of 1000s of foaming supporters every year. Melbourne on the other hand have been mostly awful recently, but they weren't bad in the late 80s and 90s when there were some pretty strong teams to go up against. They were big in the 50s and 60s but their popularity fell off a cliff after that. They were the original MCG team and got nearly 50,000 people to their home games in 1964! Yet by the 80s and continued again in the 2010s that was down in the low 20,000s. The Pies had crowds in the 20-30k range for decades playing mostly out of VP then have become a 40s, 50s and some years 60,000 per game team.
 

Catsnlakers

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Oct 2, 2016
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Rarely mentioned is the fact that of the original VFL clubs, Collingwood is clearly the youngest.
Formed only 5 years before the VFL started, Collingwood garnered an immediately large and loyal fan base once brought into existence in 1892.
Other clubs had long head starts over the Pies: Melbourne by 34 years, Geelong by 33, Carlton by 28, Essendon by 20, St Kilda by 19, South M by 18.
Decades of seasons had passed without Collingwood even existing.
But they caught up and overtook their rivals very quickly.
An alternative question should be, how did the clubs with decades of a head start get overtaken in support by the upstart late comer Collingwood?
Hard one to answer as an absolute, but I think the extraordinary success the Pies had in the first 40-50 years of the VFL would of garnered a massive legion of fans who were predominantly VFA supporters. I reckon the other major factor has been touched on a bit already, & that is the fact that Collingwood was seen as a working class, blue collar club, that had to battle it out with the richer older clubs in Melbourne & Carlton. When you have the battling suburb winning out over the top end of town, in a time of financial stress such as the Great Depression, it is bound to gather the masses & create an ‘us vs them’ mentality. Port Adelaide in the SANFL represented that for a long time also as they were the working class club.
 

Johnny Karate

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Apr 13, 2015
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In my lifetime I've seen 3 decades of Richmond being awful. Between the day I was born and the 2017 GF I think they won 4 finals, and 2 of them were in 2017. But they still have 10s of 1000s of foaming supporters every year. Melbourne on the other hand have been mostly awful recently, but they weren't bad in the late 80s and 90s when there were some pretty strong teams to go up against. They were big in the 50s and 60s but their popularity fell off a cliff after that. They were the original MCG team and got nearly 50,000 people to their home games in 1964! Yet by the 80s and continued again in the 2010s that was down in the low 20,000s. The Pies had crowds in the 20-30k range for decades playing mostly out of VP then have become a 40s, 50s and some years 60,000 per game team.
Probably for another thread but aside from the obvious and painful lack of success, Melbourne have struggled from not really having a suburban base to fall back on. Most clubs grow from suburbs, we grew from the MCG.
 

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Wallaby

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I think Collingwood provide a great club experience - always have. Being 'the club everyone loves to hate' is actually a great advertisement and a key identity of the club. You are either with them or agin' them. And plenty like to be a member of that sort of club. You can see teams try to play the 'Us against the world' card often (Richmond board), but really, it's Collingwood who own that. Compare them to Melbourne, who were just as successful up to the 1960s - but no one really cared one way or the other, so when their football performance dropped off, so did interest from fans.

Collingwood have been a good club for their supporters - they provide a good experience. The mythology of Victoria Park was far more potent than for Princes Park or Punt Rd - a great place to go if you are 'one of us'. (For the rest of us - interesting:cool:). Then they moved to the MCG and have generally treated their fans and members pretty well (insert 'no travel' joke here).

I think Collingwood have a great identity as a football club. Just the name guarantees a reaction from football fans.

I like Collingwood. I hate them for 2 hours whenever we play them, but they are a great club.
 

calyam

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May 9, 2011
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When success is narrowly defined as 'winning a premiership' you lose a lot of information that is relevant for gaining supporters.

Collingwood are regularly in contention and that has been true throughout much of their history. They have played off for five premierships in this century alone.

Victorian teams with a long history and regular success - with success being defined as premierships / grand finals / finals performances - tend to have high supporter bases. Teams such as Collingwood, Essendon, Richmond, Carlton and Hawthorn fit firmly into that category. Those Victorian teams without that history or regular success tend to have lower supporter bases. Teams such as St Kilda, Western Bulldogs and North Melbourne fit firmly into that category.

Winning matters a great deal to off-field success but grand finals are not the only game that matters. Being a successful team year-in and year-out makes your team appealing to fans - new and old alike.
 

Doashuey

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Sep 13, 2017
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Since 1959 the flag count for vic clubs is:

Hawthorn - 13
Carlton - 8
Richmond - 7
Essendon - 6
North - 4
Geelong - 3
Melbourne - 3
Collingwood - 2
St Kilda - 1
Bulldogs - 1

Languishing near the bottom the old Pies. It’s no wonder they’ve been left in the dust for memberships too when the new number one has as many flags in 3 years as they do in 60
Pies and Richmond both have just the 2 AFL flags. I wonder why the arbitrary cut off point of 1959??

Poor old Tiges supporters, they have been so scarred by their mediocracy over the past 30 years in the National competition they just cant help but carry the very large chip on their shoulders by making everything about them when a bit of success finally comes their way.
Be nice if, as a fan base, they could have a little bit of class in victory but alas the psychological damage runs deep in many.
 

a_fighting_fury

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May 7, 2007
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Collingwood have remained a high profile club largely because of their loyal and passionate supporters. They’re the heart and soul of the club. Rain, hail or snow they’ll turn up to cheer their team.
 

RunningBounce

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Jun 12, 2013
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I reckon it would help if it was possible to quantify a supporter base by multiplying the number of supporters by their passion.

I could name half a dozen Collingwood supporters who didn't grow up with Aussie Rules, moved to Melbourne as adults and figured out pretty quickly that you need to have a team to participate in any conversation during winter. Who would you pick? So, IMO, there are plenty of half-arsed Magpies supporters who choose the Maggies, and "stick phat", because it's just a bit of fun to them. They don't deeply care if the team wins premierships. They just like being part of the "biggest" club.

Take nothing away from the Collingwood diehards, or the club. There's a lot of deep passion, a very well run club and a good amount of winning. But it could be the half-arsed ones that make them the "biggest".
 

GROTTO

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They don't deeply care if the team wins premierships. They just like being part of the "biggest" club.
I hate that a lot. I dont think youre a genuine supporter if losing a grand final does not hurt and cut deep. Similarly you only rock up to support the Club when it is a lock to win a GF.
 

kranky al

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FUN FACT

During the great depression in the 1930's the Collingwood football club would allow people into the Magpies games without charging an entrance fee. All other Victorian clubs still charged an entrance fee. This obviously helped Collingwood build up a big supporter base that has still carried on today
Smart move
 

Engimal v3

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Sep 21, 2017
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Victorian teams with a long history and regular success - with success being defined as premierships / grand finals / finals performances - tend to have high supporter bases. Teams such as Collingwood, Essendon, Richmond, Carlton and Hawthorn fit firmly into that category. Those Victorian teams without that history or regular success tend to have lower supporter bases. Teams such as St Kilda, Western Bulldogs and North Melbourne fit firmly into that category.
From that list, only Carlton is older than North and the Saints. Bulldogs are older than Richmond too.
 

PieLebo87

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Rayleigh scattering.
Sky is blue due to sunlight reaching the Earth's atmosphere and is scattered in all directions by all the gases and particles in the air. Blue light is scattered more than the other colors because it travels as shorter, smaller waves.
I used google and I still don’t get it. Why blue though?
 

pablo668

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May 3, 2007
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A lot of very good points raised in this thread.

I was just going to say Footy tribalism is very strong, especially in Victoria as far as I know. Despite the AFL taking footy in a more corporate direction.
Collingwood may have not won as many flags as they'd like, but they are usually thereabouts which helps.
As has been said, success in footy is more than just flags.
 

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