The prison bar jumper debate isn't going away anytime soon and in reality, there should be no reason why Port Adelaide can't wear it.
I think we can all agree that the prison bar jumper discussion isn’t going anywhere and with all the media focus and opinions out there, I felt compelled to give my thoughts on the issue.
Now first off, because of where I live I am not what you would call a “proper” Port Adelaide supporter, but I have followed the club since its inception into the AFL and have ever since. Because the love I have for the club is so strong, I take time to understand its heritage and history because let’s face it, we all love the history of our club. It makes us fall in love with it so even though I feel a little bit like an outsider to all of this, I am still deeply entrenched in the ways of the club.
With that out of the way, back to the prison bar discussion. Personally, there is no rational reason why Port Adelaide cannot wear its prison bar jumper in showdowns. Yes I understand Collingwood’s or rather Eddie McGuire’s line of thought about the colours and whatnot, but it is not like the club is asking to wear it for home and away games, simply two games a year.
The prison bar jumper represents so much more than just colours, it is the history of the Port Adelaide Football Club. Yes, I understand that Port was known as the Power, but when it is put into context, wearing the prison bar jumper twice a year isn’t going to hurt Collingwood is it? A team that has hardly ever had an away jumper.
Then there was the TV interview with Kane Cornes and Eddie but for me, that raised more questions than it answered. By now everyone has seen it numerous times over so there is no need to revisit it too much. But bravo to Kane Cornes for having the guts to go on national TV and debate this with Eddie. Everyone knew it wasn’t going to accomplish anything, well me at least.
McGuire already had his answers for everything that Kane put to him, but one thing did catch my eye. Never at any point did Eddie answer Kane as to why he was the only president to know that the heritage rounds were not going ahead beyond 2007. Kane stated no one knew anything about the arrangement except Eddie and McGuire responded by saying that’s “intelligence”. To me, that doesn’t smell right.
Anyway, that is a topic for another day but back to the jumper. For me as an outsider even though I am close to Adelaide I can’t fully comprehend what it means to be a Port Adelaide supporter, but I feel I’m close. I think that the entire football community underestimates just how much this jumper means to us and what it represents. It doesn’t represent just the AFL side but every single supporter, player, every person behind the scenes and to the people of Port Adelaide. It means EVERYTHING.
The historical significance of the jumper goes way beyond football for most of us. Look at the English Premier League and the backlash from fans regarding their team joining the European Super League. That is what this jumper means to the people of Port Adelaide. That is how much we care about the club, its history, and its heritage.
The fact that this issue has gotten to this stage is laughable to me. The AFL has bowed down to Eddie and Collingwood ever since the 2007 agreement was signed. How can you not love David Koch for what he is trying to do for our club? He recognizes how much the jumper means to us and to only wear it twice a year, he is putting in some effort to give us what we want as a fanbase.
Adding to that, you get a feeling that he is as committed to the cause as we are and the fact that he was willing to pay any fine the AFL would impose on us speaks volumes. He has stated “This issue isn’t going away. It is too important to our people and our Club.”
What needs to happen now? The AFL, Port Adelaide, and Collingwood powerbrokers need to all get in a room and thrash out a new deal on the matter. Because that is why this that gotten so much traction. The AFL has consistently dragged their feet and let Eddie and Collingwood dictate what happens. Get both clubs together and work out an agreement that suits both parties.
This jumper means too much to us and our club and we will continue to push and make as much noise as possible to make sure the right result is made in the end. At the end of the day, we are talking about wearing it in two games out of 23 a season.
Is that really too much to ask?