Carlton Football Club

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Carlton_Football_Club_logo.jpg
Carlton Football Club logo

The Carlton Football Club, nicknamed The Blues for their dark blue playing colours, is one of the oldest, richest, and most successful Australian rules football clubs. Formed in 1864, it originally played in the Victorian Football Association competition, and was one of the formation members of the breakaway Victorian Football League in 1897, which became the Australian Football League in the 1980s.

Based at the Princes Park oval (currently officially named Optus Oval in a sponsorship deal) in northern Carlton, the club has played in many, many finals series. The suburb combines the academic air of the nearby University of Melbourne with a large quotient of immigrants from Southern Europe, and both groups still leave their mark on the Carlton supporter base. In 2004, Carlton President Ian Collins began the process with Vice-President Graeme Smorgon to review Carlton's continued home ground of Princes Park. The decision proposed was for six home games to be played at Telstra Dome (Docklands Stadium and five at the home of football, the Melbourne Cricket Ground.) One "farewell" game will be played at Princes Park instead of the Melbourne Cricket Ground in 2005. The move is not altogether popular with club supporters, possibly affecting 2005 membership levels. Training and social club facilities at Princes Park will remain.

Their fiercest rivals include the other members of the inner-suburban "big four" - Essendon, Richmond, and especially Collingwood. Collingwood's working-class supporter base, close geographic proximity, and many historic on-field (and occasional off-field) tussles mark the rivalry as the strongest in the game (but, in modern times at least, nothing like the religious and ethnic based battles that have occasionally plagued the Australian soccer league). One of the most famous clashes in VFL/AFL history took place at the 1970 Grand Final; the Blues, under the brilliant coaching of Ron Barassi, turned a 44-point half-time deficit into a 10-point victory. It is often said that Barassi invented modern football in his half-time instructions to the Carlton players, telling them to concentrate on retaining possession through short kicks and handpassing. This is a considerable exaggeration, as Barassi had been working on the new playing style throughout the 1970 season.

The club underwent both off-field and on-field turmoil in 2002. The club finished last for the first time in its history, and mounting losses and accounting irregularities finally caught up with club president John Elliott. Elliott was then forced off the board by a vote of its members. The new administration discovered that the club had been making extra, secret payments to certain players, breaching the "salary cap" imposed on all clubs by the AFL. The club was then heavily fined and stripped of top picks in the annual player draft, hampering any attempt to rebuild the club's player group.

In 2003, Denis Pagan was appointed Coach in an attempt to turn the club around. The following year, Carlton won ten games, more than the previous two years combined. At the beginning of 2005, the turn around seemed a reality after their success in the pre-season Wizard Cup.

Records

  • Premierships:
    • 1906, 1907, 1908, 1914, 1915, 1938, 1946, 1947, 1968, 1970, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1987, 1995
  • Pre-Season Premierships:
    • 1983, 1997, 2005
  • Brownlow Medal winners:
    • Bert Deacon (1947)
    • John James (1961)
    • Gordon Collis (1964)
    • Greg Williams (1986, 1994) Note: Williams was playing with the Sydney Swans in 1986 when he received his first medal.
  • Norm Smith Medallists
    • Wayne Harmes (1979)
    • Bruce Doull (1981)
    • David Rhys-Jones (1987)
    • Greg Williams (1995)
  • Most Career Goals
    • 738 - Stephen Kernahan (1986-97)
    • 722 - Harry Vallence (1926-38)
    • 424 - Alex Jesaulenko (1969-79)

External links


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