The Sydney Roosters trumpet the fact that they are the only club that has participated in every NSWRL/ARL/NRL premiership. Whereas other foundation clubs have gone bankrupt, been excluded, or merged, the Roosters have been the one constant since the very beginning.
For a club keen to make a big deal out of their tradition, the Roosters have themselves experienced an unusual amount of changes over the years. They were founded at a meeting held at Paddington Town Hall on January 24 1908, and initially known as Eastern Suburbs. At the time, most of Sydney’s eastern suburbs were still very much working class areas. A ban on swimming off Sydney's beaches had only been lifted in 1902, thus most people approached Bondi and Bronte as just places to stand around in a suit and get hot. Additionally, homosexuality was illegal in Sydney until 1980s, thus Paddington and Oxford Street lacked the gay street cred that they have today. Admittedly, suburbs like Point Piper, Double Bay and Vaucluse were prestigious, but residents didn't follow rugby league so they had little impact on Eastern Suburb's working man's image.
Enjoying the beach in ye old Sydney style
Eastern Suburb's first jersey colours and design were styled on the playing strip of the 1899 touring Great Britain Rugby Union team, which was a reflection upon how residents viewed Britain as the mother land. By the 1960s; however, the motherland didn't seem quite as attractive as neighbouring France and so Eastern Suburbs decided to embrace a frog flavour. First the club changed its playing strip away from hoops to a V style modelled on the French Rugby League teams. Secondly, the club adopted the French's cockerel badge and the club became officially known as the 'Roosters'.
Curiously, popular culture started to refer to the Roosters as "chooks" even though calling a rooster a chook is like calling a bull a cow or a ram a sheep. Perhaps the use of chooks reflected the changing identity of the community, where transgendered residents were becoming much more common. Alternatively, the abbreviated slang term for a chicken could be used around the whole family whereas the abbreviated slang term for a cockerel was best reserved for after the children's bed time.
By the 1980s, the gentrification of the region had had a significant impact on Rooster crowds; however, the club remained rich and powerful on the back of a profitable leagues club at Bondi Junction. Of course, it was embarrassing to have lots of money but play in a stadium with 40,000 empty seats. Consequently, in the 1990s, the club abandoned its eastern suburbs association by changing its name to the Sydney City Roosters and putting an Opera House into the Rooster’s mane. It was an odd change considering that the CBD had few residents and even fewer that like rugby league. Perhaps the club was just trying to appeal to the corporate heads that worked there and thought a new logo and name would excite them in a way that boring old Eastern Suburbs would not.
Whatever the reasons, changing its regional identification did nothing to lift crowds. Consequently, the club decided that an even better idea would be to drop regional associations entirely so that it could appeal to everyone. It then became known as The Roosters. Unfortunately, this placed them in competition with the Sharks and the Kangaroos, which were also trying to appeal to everyone by aligning themselves with no one. Maybe the competition with theSharks and Kangaroos was too fierce, or maybe the idea was just ill conceived, either way, it was not successful so another name change was on the cards and they became the Sydney Roosters. In sum, in less than 20 years, the Roosters had flown the flag for eastern suburbs, the Sydney CBD, everyone, and Sydney.
Constantly messing around with their identity created a reputation that fans and the Roosters were contradictions in terms. Even the few supporters that they had were generally recognised as observers, rather than supporters. As one commentator observed:
"I hope all you Roosters fans realise that supporting them is the equivalent of supporting Wigan over here... a transit lounge club run by a bunch of richos who rort the salary cap at every opportunity (allegedly), whinge at every opportunity, and whose fans (not that they've got that many in Sydney TBH) have their own version of the 'Wigan Walk'."
Even Roosters halfback Brett Finch acknowledged that his club's fans were exactly the ones that players want behind them when he said
"and all those critics, especially some of the Roosters fans, so-called fans, they can kiss our arse ."
2004 - when compared to other NRL supporters
2006 - when compared to other NRL supporters
1) It was the day of the Grand Final when the officials took a call from the gatekeeper. "There are two life members of the Roosters and they have lost their tickets." "Throw them out!!!" said the executive. "Whoever heard of the Roosters having life members. "
2)Q: What do you call a Roosters player who is battered and bruised after a game a tough game of Rugby League?
A: A soft cock
3)A Rabbitoh fan and a Roosters fan bump into each other in the supermarket. Sorry mate, says the Rabbitoh’s fan, I am a bit nervous, I lost my wife, can't find her anywhere. The Rooster’s fan replies; gee, I can't find mine either, how about we go and look for them together? Sure, says the Rabbitoh, what does you wife look like? Eh well, she's blonde, long hair, tall slim body, well tanned, large breasts and she's wearing a tight fitting low cut black dress. What does your wife look like? Forget about my wife, says the Rabbotoh, let's go and look for yours!
4)The Rooster'shalf back was talking to a very pretty lass about the game he had just played. For almost three hours, he talked about the dummieshe threw, the steps he made and how it felt to hear the crowd cheering after scoring a try. The lass gave a bored sigh and the half realised he was being a little self-centred. Like a true gentlemen he said: "Enough talk about me. Let's talk about you. What did you think of my game today?"