“I think people give up too easily on coaches or players and they don’t give them a chance any more.”

beck and bombers

Beck Angel is one of those people it’s almost impossible not to like – she’s bright, bubbly and pretty with an infectiously charming personality. That said, she does barrack for Essendon. Hard. So I suppose no one’s perfect. Beck’s also one of the rare people who grew up in the heartland of the club she’s supported all her life (except for one week) and it’s been a difficult couple of years for Bombers fans. I had a chat to her about Jobe, peptides, Jobe, attending the Brownlow, Jobe and why she yells out “Napkins!” at every game. And we also touched on Jobe.

Name: Beck Angel

Age: 31

Recruited from: Airport West

Occupation: Communications superstar for Toyota

AFL team followed: Essendon Bombers

All time favourite footy moment: 1993 and 2000 Grand Finals, meeting Jobe Watson

“I go for Essendon because I have to. It’s a family tradition to be an Essendon supporter. I grew up in the area so it’s Bombers for life. It’s certainly not the peptides that keeps me going for them now; Jobe Watson keeps me going. Except for three in-laws – one aunty and two uncles- everyone else goes for Essendon. For a week in oh, I think it would have been about ’94 or ’95, I barracked for Carlton. That was because my best friend Rosanna barracked for Carlton. My grand dad lived around the corner and I went around to see him and knocked on the door for him to open up, then I said “Grand dad guess what? I barrack for Carlton!”. I thought he went to open the door but he locked it and told me I wasn’t coming in until I barracked for Essendon. So I soon earned the error of my ways.

Because I grew up in the area, a lot of people I know went for Essendon. The local shops were always Essendon, people my dad worked with worked at the Essendon footy club, my next door neighbour worked at the Essendon footy club. In my area it was all very Essendon.

I can’t remember the year, it would have been probably ’91 or ’92 but I’m not really sure, but my first game was Essendon v North Melbourne. My dad took me and I went with all of my relatives. That was when I could walk and I was in the Southern Stand on the third floor, right up the top. My uncle was there who barracks for North Melbourne and the rest were Essendon. Essendon were losing but we got up at three-quarter time and then we lost. I was devastated. After that I always thought that if a team was winning in the third quarter then that means they have to lose, because that’s what happened to Essendon.

Probably the 1993 grand final is my favourite moment. I was very young and I was in Queensland with my family and we were watching it there. It’s more the lead up to it rather than the actual game. In Queensland we didn’t realise about the heat… Mum and dad took us to the supermarket and we got red and black balloons and streamers, and our 13th floor balcony was opposite the beach. We covered it on the morning with streamers, Essendon red and black, and put all out balloons up there then went to the beach. We kept hearing, “pop, pop, pop” and the balloons were all popping in the heat. Everyone was like, “What the hell? Who is this putting balloons up?”. Then we watched the game and we had our footy jumpers and our scarves on. When we won we were running around the pool, knocking on all the apartment buildings telling everyone Essendon had won. We couldn’t work out why no one in Queensland cared! It was just a very magical moment.

Worst moment was my first time at a grand final for Essendon, which was 2001. We lost and I was devastated because I missed out on the 2000 grand final. I went with my dad and I lined up for ages at the MCG to get tickets. Dad also wouldn’t let me get my face painted ’cause he sad he wouldn’t sit near me. I remember Vanessa Amorosi was playing and I was crying already at the start – my dad was very embarrassed that I was crying during the national anthem. And then Essendon lost and I must admit, I couldn’t bear to be there right at the end of the grand final so we left with about two minutes to spare. I couldn’t bear to watch the Essendon players down on their knees with their face in their hands and being very upset. It was my only grand final experience watching Essendon and it was shattering.

It’s been a tough few years to be an Essendon supporter. I feel for the players and football hasn’t been as enjoyable to watch. Even watching a game but knowing afterwards that James Hird’s going to talk about it or he’s going to be complaining about something in the media, or Caroline Wilson will be bagging Essendon for the fifth time that week… I don’t really like reading about it. I now think this season’s over for me after WADA’s appeal.

I don’t want to stray away from the club and I still love Essendon the same, it’s just not as enjoyable when the only thing people talk about when they find out you’re an Essendon supporter isn’t how they played on the weekend or how amazing Fletch is to still be playing at 40, it’s about the peptides. We’ve all heard it, you know when someone says “Uhhhh are you taking peptides?” and the joke’s old now. It’s certainly torn supporters and I think there are those who support Hird and those who don’t. I think everyone support the players and still wants to do the right thing by the club but it’s Hird who is splitting people.

Gavin Wanganeen is still my favourite player. He was my first favourite player ever and I loved everything about him. Most of all he was very good looking. I cried when he went to Port Adelaide. I cried myself to sleep for about a week but I was comforted by the fact he was going back home. I also love everything about Jobe Watson. I love watching Joe Daniher as well, I think he’s performing really well and he’ll continue to. I’m always interested in seeing him. But I really can’t go past Jobe Watson these days.

hodge and beck

There’s not so much another player I’d like to have at the club, I’m pretty happy with the Essendon team. There’s obviously some other good players out there, like I love Luke Hodge and I think he’s great. He’s getting on in his career but I think he’s great and he seems like a really good leader. But I’m pretty happy with who we’ve got. I’m happy we got Chappy (Paul Chapman) and I think we’ve stolen some good players, which is great.

On the field I hate Carlton, Collingwood and Hawthorn. I don’t like anything about those three clubs. I’m sure there’s nice things about them away from football but I hate them all and that’s probably because they always play well against us.

I haven’t had a membership in quite a few years. I used to always have one. The reason is my family stopped going to the football after we made the move to Etihad. My dad strongly opposed the move from the MCG to Etihad and went to all the meetings. Because of our fan base, he felt Etihad or whatever it was called at the time was too small. So I don’t have them to go with. My dad has been to Etihad once for a soccer game and he hates it. He refuses to go there for football. My other friend that I would always go to the football with, he moved to Queensland so I haven’t had a membership since he went up there. Of course I do occasionally get tickets through work.

If things go bad, I scream out “Napkins!” and repeatedly yell out “Napkins, napkins, napkins!”. When I was really young it worked, so in my head I just keep repeating the word ‘napkins’. I still do that now. I think it stemmed back to my nanna’s house and we did it while playing billiards. So I just repeatedly say it. When I was younger it was a little bit more out of control. This was actually when I was watching the games so people must have thought I was special. I also had different songs when different players got the ball. When Long got the ball I’d start singing, “Lalalala Long, lalalala Long, lalalala Long Long le Long Long Long” and when Harvey got it, it was “Harvey world travel, the travel professionals…”. I would have songs for a whole range of players and I’d sing them. I can’t remember what the others were. I try to forget. Now it’s only “napkins”.

When I’m not yelling “napkins” I get very stressed watching the football, but I can’t articulate myself. So I just move around in circles and just go “Oh nooooooooooo” in a really high pitched voice and just making noises because I can’t really say anything as I’m so stressed. I’m not good. My dad hates watching football with me and my brother hates it too. I can’t sit still.

I don’t have my jumpers any more because they don’t fit. I have my scarf and I will never get a proper scarf. This one has been my scarf since the early 1990s. I actually plait it as well and separate the red and the black then plait it when I’m getting stressed at the football. I always wear my scarf and then I just have other things around the house. Like I still have my Dean Solomon framed picture in my study. I had to throw out my Gavin Wanganeen stuff because it was too heartbreaking.

nat and beck2

I think footy is the closest thing to a religion in Victoria, it’s always about who you know and who you go for. I remember once I started dating someone and I asked him what team he barracked for and he sort of didn’t really have a team. He got back to me and said “I kinda go for this team” and the fact he didn’t say “I barrack for this team” meant we didn’t go out again. I was like, a man not liking football is not a man for me. I think it gets you passionate, you have your ups and your downs but it brings everyone together and you make friends just from common interests. Or you like to bag Collingwood or Carlton fans.

The thing that I actually hate the most about football is that I think people give up too easily on coaches or players and they don’t give them a chance any more. There are coaches who didn’t have a great start decades ago and then they built on their skills and became great coaches. Nowadays it’s very ruthless and I actually feel for the coaches and the players. I wish that would change and we got behind them a little bit more rather than always criticising them.

The Brownlow was the best day of my life, I now know what people feel like on their wedding day. It was fantastic to go. I couldn’t go to the toilet the whole time I was there because I knew a football player would be in the disabled toilet and I didn’t trust myself not to abuse them. And I felt that as a representative of Toyota, the AFL’s premier partner, that that would not go down well. So I couldn’t go to the toilet the entire time. I spent 15 minutes trying to find Jobe and I nearly gave up trying to get through everyone, but then I saw Dyson Heppell’s hair and it was the most magical thing I’ve ever seen. Because when I saw it I knew it was Dyson and I knew Jobe would be sitting there. I couldn’t get close enough to him so I shoved my friend in front and said you just have to tell him there’s a girl in a wheelchair that wants a photo with you. Jobe just saw me in the wheelchair and it was just… magic. He came over and smiled and I couldn’t talk to him, I was so nervous. But I got my photo.

I didn’t have a problem with the double denim. When I watched Jobe that day I was more concerned about his hair to be honest, than the double denim. His hair was… interesting. He needed product in his hair, I think and it needed to be a bit shorter. I was also getting annoyed because he didn’t have stubble, because I do prefer Jobe with stubble. I also kept looking at him dreamily and thinking, “Oh my gosh this is Tim Watson”. I love Jobe and Jobe is Tim and I love Tim. And then I dreamt about having dinner with Tim, Susie, Jobe and myself.”

 

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