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Inaccurate stereotypes on this site

Unsavoury football fans across time

AFL clubs' marketing slogans and their ideal business partners


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Collingwood Magpies

Hitting you from behind

In 1842, Englishman David Monre wrote,

"The extraordinary rapid growth which has followed upon settlement of the scum of the earth on the shores of Australia would make it appear that in colonisation it is as in gardening, the more your foundations consist of dung, the more rapid and striking the production."

The Collingwood Magpies show that just as foundations of dung make for good gardening and colonising, they also make for good football clubs. The Magpies were established in 1892 to represent the Melbourne municipality of Collingwood; an area that had been described as "pre-ordained to be a slum". As a low lying, poorly drained region, it was frequently flooded with sewage and the dregs of society. This geography initially led to the club being referred to as the Flatties' or 'Flatites,' which sounded a bit like a cross between a bizarre religious cult and group of people who get squashed.

How the club stopped being referred to as Flatties and came to be known as the Magpies is subject to debate. One story proposes that the club was inspired by the noble South Australian colonial team that had been called the Magpies. When South Australia being the only state not founded with Convicts, perhaps Collingwood residents had dreams that associating themselves with South Australia could improve their image. A second story proposes that the name came from the large numbers of Magpies that nested in the area. Collingwood residents were endeared to the feisty little birds that hit you from behind because they could see much of themselves in such actions. A third possibility is that the name came from 'Magpie' suites, the name given to the Convict uniforms in the colonial era. Given that Collingwood fans and players alike had a close association with Pentridge Prison, it is quite possible that they wanted to pay some respect to their heritage.

With its Magpie name and toilet of a suburb, Collingwood fans were very much the type of people that respectable members of society would not want to associate with, let alone introduce to their parents. According to one commentator:

"Essendon was a staunch lower-middle-class Protestant club, Melbourne was the Establishment Protestant club. Richmond and North Melbourne were Catholic clubs. Carlton, St Kilda and South Melbourne saw themselves as "respectable" working class clubs and everyone saw Collingwood as occupying the lowest social status of all. Working class, Catholic and located in the poorest, most crowded, most unsanitary part of Melbourne, Collingwood players and supporters alike were regarded as aggressive, unruly, and profane. "

Understanding their low social standing, it was said that the fan's desire for success had been driven by a "strong sense of social inferiority". Indeed their sense of inferiority must have been strong for successes were numerous. Prior to World War II, the club won premierships in 1902, 1903, 1910, 1917, 1919, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1935 and 1936.

The club's culture was built around the ethic that a "champion team will always beat a team of champions." Show ponies or excuse making were never tolerated.

Post-war, the culture began to change. Known as "Greg Norman syndrome" or "Colliwobbles", if Collingwood made the grand final, they showed an uncanny ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. So predictable was this phenomenon that a word evolved to describe it. As regular as blossoming jasmine, Melbourne's spring would bring on the 'Collywobbles'; you could rely on the 'Magpies' to flounder when it matters. In total, they have appeared in 42 grand finals, and have only won 15 of them. Since World War 2, they have lost 14 grand finals.

Perhaps being so close, yet remaining so far, has made Collingwood fans more hungry for they are almost as numerous in the bad times as they are in the good. In 2012, they had a membership of 72,000 and turned over $75 million in revenue. Indeed the dung has led to a striking amount of production.


Over-Reactor - When Collingwood Choke 


The Landlord

Convicts showed that even toothless bogans could wear a suit and pose for a portrait. The Magpies keep that tradition alive.


Roy Morgan research

Collingwood Magpies supporters are:

2001 when compared to other Australians

  • 27% more likely than the average person to be aged 25-34;
  • 60% more likely than average to have a maximum of Year 11 education;
  • 31% more likely to smoke cigarettes than the average person;
  • 12% more likely to say that "None of this stuff about the information super-highway makes any sense to me"

2004 when compared to other AFL supporters

  • 35% more likely to have a maximum of Year 11 education
  • 26% more likely to be aged 25-34
  • 28% more likely to have gone to a casino
  • 33% more likely to notice the advertisements on shopping trolleys when they go grocery shopping

2006 - When compared to other AFL supporters

  • 22% more likely to have one child under 16 in their household
  • 17% more likely to not like to know too much about what's going on in the world these days
  • 17% more likely to have bought something from a TV offer in the last three months


Club song collingwood theme song

Good old Collingwood forever,
we know how to play the game.
Side by side we stick together,
to uphold The Magpies name.
Hear the barrackers a shouting,
as all barrackers should,
Oh, the premiership's a cakewalk
For the good old Collingwood.

Out of all the 16 clubs, only Collingwood specifically mentions the barrackers in its theme song. On the down side, the line: "the premiership is a cakewalk" seems reminiscent of a choking Greg Norman missing easy putts and spraying his drives as he tries to convince himself that golf is an easy game.

Collingwood Humiliation

No, the players were not covering their faces on their way to another court appearance, rather, they had lost another grand final. It was expected that with so many losses that they would just be accustomed to them, but it seemed nothing could stop the players bursting into tears.



Carlton - Collingwood has met Carlton in six grand finals. It has lost five of them. Collingwood's only win was in 1910 was known as the 'Bloodbath' after an all-in brawl developed in the final term.

Since that victory, Collingwood has suffered a string of grand final humilations at the hands of Carlton.

The worst of these was in the 1970 grand final. Leading by 44 points at half-time, Collingwood fell to pieces and lost by 10 points.

Richmond - Traditionally, Richmond has been a working class club who like Collingwood, have extremely passionate supporters. As one Magpie fan explained his hatred for the Tigers:

"I firmly believe that we all hate them 'cause they are like us - passionate, feral and complete nuts!"

Essendon - The rivalry with Essendon hit the big time in 1993 when a low key build up to an ANZAC day clash drew 98,000 fans and resulted in a drawn match.

Essendon also lost the 1990 grand final to Collingwood, thereby becoming one of the few teams not to have benefitted from Colliwobbles. Such is the Collingwood tendency to live on past glories, it is a defeat that Essendon supporters are never allowed to forget.


Collingwood Magpie jokes

1) Three friends all die at the same time and end up at the pearly gates where Albert Einstein is waiting for them. The first chap approached and Alby asks him,
"What is your IQ, my good man?"

"250" the chap replies.

"Ah excellent. We can participate in meaningful and articulate discussions with my mates Plato and Newton about the Theory of Relativity, Chaos Theory, Astrophysics and the Theory of Everything. We will have much to discuss. You may enter."

The second fellow approached the gate and Albert asks him the same question.

"150" was the reply.

"Ah good. We can discuss the fascinating subjects of History, Philosophy, Economics and Sociology. We will have much to discuss. You may enter."

The third chap approaches the gate nervously.

"Now my good man, what is your IQ?"

"50" the third man replies sheepishly. To which Alby's response was ....

"How about those Pies, hey?"

2) Q. What do you do for a drowning Collingwood player?
A. Nothing. You could drag him to the top, but he'll choke anyway.

3)Q. What's the difference between the Collingwood and an arsonist?
A. An arsonist wouldn't waste 26 matches.

4)Q. What's the characteritics of a Collingwood brand bra?
A. Plenty of support, soft and no CUP!!!



  • Jock McHale - Not only did he coach the Pies to Grand Finals, he also managed to keep their mental states together so they didn't fall to pieces in them. McHale never made excuses for a loss, saying a "champion team would always beat a team of champions." Quite a contrast to Eddie McGuire who blames Colliwobbles on salary cap concessions given to Brisbane.
  • Peter Daicos - Although he had an amazing talent for kicking the impossible goal, he also had a terrible mullet.
  • Gordon Coventry - Held the VFL/AFL goal kicking record until it was broken by Tony Lockett.
  • Darren Millane - Courageous wingman whose career was cut short after he killed himself drink driving.
  • Bob Rose - Won four Copeland trophies with an agressive and skilled attack on the ball.
  • Lou Richards - Sly rover. Forged a rivalry with Richmond legend Jack Dyer. The two men personified the differences between their respectives clubs. There was Dyer, a magnificent physical specimen whose mere presence commanded valour, strength and dignity. Besides him was Richards; a sly little weasel who would rob his own mother if given half a chance. 




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  Was this more interesting than a news update of players in a recovery session standing around in the ocean looking cold or of a team 'training without incident'?