To support the Melbourne Football Club should be a prideful thing.
The red and blue has a rich, storied history to rival that of any club.
Without the Melbourne Football Club, the game we all know and love today simply wouldn’t be.
The Demons have 12 VFL/AFL premierships to call their own and the assembly of legends to have pulled on the red and blue is on par with any club. Barassi, Stynes, Smith, Mann, Lyon; the list goes on.
Thus any Melbourne supporter should be filled with pride to support this great club.
But they aren’t. Not anymore.
The Melbourne that exists today is nothing but a shadow of its former self.
Melbourne is currently being outperformed by clubs whose lifespan has been shorter than Melbourne’s ongoing rebuild.
A number of top draft picks later and it is more evident than ever that the problem exists throughout the football club, rather than one part being to blame.
After years of seemingly treading water the club took a big step forward in 2013 with Cameron Schwab resigning and Peter Jackson coming in as CEO.
For the first time in years the outlook looked positive for Melbourne with Jackson setting to work dumping any dead weight from the once great club.
Then came the brightest day for Melbourne supporters since perhaps the elimination final win over St Kilda in 2006.
Instead of focusing on the 2013 finals series which was to kick off in just a few hours, the eye of the football world was firmly fixed on the Demons. 2005 premiership coach Paul Roos had joined the plight to restore Melbourne to its former glory.
The Dees were competitive in their first AFL game under Roos – a narrow loss to a lacklustre St Kilda side.
For their second game “competitive” couldn’t be further from the truth. Roos’ Demons were massacred by West Coast in their first game at the MCG of 2014.
It was as if the Demons of the last seven years came roaring back to life. The side – one that has failed to finish better than 12th since 2007 – which Paul Roos was meant to eradicate while ushering in his own philosophies was reborn.
It left Melbourne fans understandably flattened. This season was meant to be different. At the very least, Melbourne was meant to be competitive. Was this another of the false dawns the Melbourne faithful had become all too familiar with?
Now I’m not suggesting the Roos era is a failure just two games in. However, it has been made explicit that there is no quick fix for Melbourne, and it might take longer than the three years accepted by Roos to eradicate the rot which has set into the club.
There’s only one group of people who are deserving of sympathy in the mess that Melbourne has become: the fans.
Melbourne supporters among the 22,226 people at the MCG last Sunday and the 32,324 members are to be greatly admired.
These are the people who year after year pour hundreds of dollars of their hard-earned money into the club, in hope that this will be the year they see a big leap. They can’t help but persist where supporters of other clubs would have stopped showing up years ago.
Despite their persistence, one thing became painfully clear while watching the reactions of Melbourne supporters during and after Sunday’s effort.
Their hearts stopped beating true for the red and the blue long ago. Now, they beat blue awaiting the return of greatness to the original football club and anticipating the return of their pride.
You can follow Matt Goss on Twitter here.