In the mid 1950's a Carlton local wandered over to Princes Park and asked if he could have a kick. That local was a very tall teenager, Maurie Pope, who at 198cm is tall even in today's football let alone football in the 1950's. Maurie went on to enjoy several years at the Blues as a player including seven senior games from 1956 to 1958. After his playing career Maurie continued to live in Carlton until only very recently when the vagaries of age have meant a move to the surrounds of Victoria by the Park in Elsternwick. We were informed of Maurie's move and that he remembered his days at the Blues well but did not have any memorablia from his time at the club.
So we went to visit Maurie this week and presented to him two large team photographs, a large portrait photo (see right) and a collection of newspaper articles where Maurie scored a mention. When these were shown to Maurie you could see the twinkle in his eyes and the memories of being a Carlton footballer flooding back. The following couple of hours of conversation were filled with great recollections of a different era of the game. A favourite observation was the description of underperforming players at the time as "liniment thieves"!
It was a pleasure to spend time with Maurie and the information he provided will be invaluable to the Blueseum and the Spirit of Carlton in identifying Carlton players previously unknown.
If any former team-mates or relatives unaware of Maurie's recent move would like to get in contact with him arrangments can be made with Victoria by the Park, (03) 9524 2111.
Paul Kelly once wrote that "from little things big things grow", a sentiment that duly applies to the evolution of the "Woof" at the Carlton Football Club. Frank Andreula was one of the original group that came up with the idea to shout "Boof" whenever Val Perovic booted the ball. Frank described to the Blueseum how the six high school friends who regularly watched and enjoyed the footy at Princes Park from in front of the old press box wanted to honour the kicking prowess of recent recruit, Val Perovic. The idea which originated at the start of the 1982 VFL season was to imitate the sound of the foot connecting with the ball to accentuate the kick itself.
Understandably six people in a crowd of thousands are not easily heard and for the first few weeks their efforts were not really catching on. However, good ideas have a way of succeeding and by the round four match against Hawthorn a quiet but discernible noise could be heard on the TV replay. It was not loud enough to get the public's attention, but many of the regulars in front of the press box could hear it and liked the idea.
The breakthrough came in the round seven game at Princes Park against Geelong. In what was a convincing ten goal win to the Blues. Perovic only gathered a handful of kicks for the game, however the mood of the crowd was buoyant with the big win against strong opposition and as the game progressed the "Woof" became louder and louder. It was in this game that Val Perovic himself began to notice the noise coming from the crowd every time he kicked the ball.
The media noticed at this stage as well but the "Boof" was interpreted as a "Woof" and from that time forward the moniker would stick (although Mike Coward did refer to Val "Boom" Perovic in a game review for The Age after the Geelong game). Round eight saw a loss at the Western Oval and Val did not play in the round nine thrashing of South Melbourne. Thus it was in the round ten game against Richmond where the "Woof" became a phenomenon. It was loud and proud throughout the entire game and the supporters at Princes Park had become hooked on the "Woof".
After a while the "Woof" would take off to such an extent that it seemed as though Val's kicks were travelling an extra ten metres on the power of the crowd alone. Of course the legend has lived on most notably through the efforts of Ang Christou and later Chris Bryan. Tradition demands that the legend must live on, Frank Andreula, one of the six originators of the call reckons that either Josh Bootsma or Matthew Watson are the most likely candidates on the Blues current list.
A video of the evolution of the "Woof" has been produced below.