Few teams were as feared as Richmond’s 1973-74 premiership sides. Tommy Hafey instilled a belief that the club had to get revenge on Carlton after the Blues had beaten us in the 1972 Grand Final. We did and then we won successive flags by monstering teams in our path. Hafey said after the 1974 triumph, “It was Richmond against the world today … and we won.” It was these two years above all others that I believe was the architect of what is loosely known as the Richmond culture that is still very much in place today.
The Richmond Football Club was a football academy of excellence. All respected us, and nobody dared mess with us. Many, many people loved us and supported us because together we made Richmond a closed, feared sporting club. A sporting club that if you belonged to it, it protected and loved you, and if you didn’t you were detested and meant to be beaten and despised. Richmond were feared, and we wanted everyone to hate us; in fact we demanded it and we were offended if you didn’t. That brought us even closer together. The club knew that, and the supporters revelled in it. Every one of us walked six inches taller.
The Richmond “brand”, to borrow contemporary jargon, is of a ferocious Tiger with a rousing theme song, working-class roots and storied history of combat and the successful Tiger teams constructed by Graham Richmond and Tommy Hafey from the 1960s through to the early 80s were big and nasty. They kicked long to brawny forwards such as Neil Balme and skittled the opposition like nine pins and we had more stars in our team than could ever be found in Hollywood.
We made no apologies for our brutal methods and we really did live by the old adage of “kill or be killed”. Winning was expected. Failure was not tolerated and those who failed were discarded, even if it meant knifing favorite sons, fracturing friendships and creating lingering animosities. It was the Richmond way. If Richmond were warriors from history then we would definitely be Spartans.
Nothing would please Richmond supporters more than the Tigers being hated right now, just like we were in our halcyon days when gun administrator, Graeme Richmond, was calling the shots off the field, and the legendary Tommy Hafey, was guiding us to a plethora of premierships on it.
Thankfully we have returned to the days when we were perceived as arrogant and the envy of all clubs. Nothing is so Richmond, so bold, it’s so audacious. It’s imperative that Richmond gets back the passion and the envy. I don’t want us to be just disliked, I want us to be hated and loathed. I don’t want us to be popular amongst the other clubs. I want them to fear the Richmond Football Club again. I want them to tremble at the very thought of playing the Richmond Football Club again, both Dirty Rotten opposition player and Dirty Rotten opposition supporter alike.
We’ve Got This!!!