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The Man In The Stand: A poem dedicated to Melbourne supporters

Neil Mitchell
Article image for The Man In The Stand: A poem dedicated to Melbourne supporters

The son of a former Melbourne footballer, from one of the club’s most famous families, wrote a poem more than a decade ago about what it’s like to support the Demons.

Geoff Cordner wrote the poem, some 15 years ago.

He said the time never seemed right to share it.

Until now.

He has shared it in tribute to his father John, and his three brothers – Ted, Denis and the 1946 Brownlow Medal winner, Donald.


There’s a man in the stand, and he’s looking at you

And he’s wanting to know if you’re feeling it too –

The pride in the guernsey that means so much more

When you wear it for all those who’ve worn it before.

There’s a duty that comes with the honour bestowed

To respect the ideals of the MFC code;

So with the passion and courage of teams of the past

Play each quarter, each minute, as if it’s your last.

There’s a man in the stand, and it shows in his face

He’d give anything just to be there in your place

To lace up your boots, and to feel what you feel

When you pull on the armour of red and blue steel,

To be able to tell the young boy on his knee

Of the day that the fans roared for him at the ‘G.

So one thing you must say as you walk from this shed

Is you’ll never let this privilege go to your head,

You’ll never take for granted what you’ve been allowed –

The chance to play footy in front of this crowd.

There’s a man in the stand, but he’s not on his own,

There are thousands beside, and behind, and at home

Those who wear the Club colours, and whose welfare depends

On whether their team is in front at the end.

And though between them they haven’t a stat to their names, 

They are the very heart and the soul of this game,

And the question those people are asking of you

Is “If you get cut today, will you bleed red and blue?”

It’s a Grand Old Flag, but in this brave new world

If you want to see another flag being unfurled

Then don’t waste your time on the papers or news, 

Because games aren’t determined by media views

Nor do crowds or the umpires decide who prevails,

It’s young men with big hearts just refusing to fail

With heads over the ball, and their bodies on the line

Who when knocked down get up again time after time

And who know that there’s always some more they can find

Even when the board says that they’re five goals behind

Winners don’t play three quarters, or give into fear

And they don’t play for money, or backslaps or beer

No, they play for each other, standing shoulder to shoulder,

When the other team’s brave, then you have to be bolder

And the thing you’ll reflect on one day, when you’re older

Is the man you became as a red and blue soldier.

There’s a man in the stand, and like those who surround him

He smiles as he turns to the faces around him

He smiles in the knowledge this team shares his pride

That this is a group who will not be denied

And he roars himself hoarse as he cheers for that team 

He believes that these men can deliver that dream

And he knows that the prize they have sought all these years 

Will be well worth the blood, and the sweat, and the tears.

Go Dees

Neil Mitchell