A Feisty effort
FOR Gwenda Muller aka Feisty, the person who came up with the idea to walk from Fed Square to the MCG, it was overwhelming that her simple idea could have such an impact.
“I felt proud of the supporters. I felt proud that they actually came out and showed their support,’’ she said. “The 34 would know how much we were behind them and that we would back them no matter what.
“The CEO walked with us, that to me was significant, he had his little son with us. He didn’t walk in front, he walked with us. Ex-players, committeemen, all walking side by side. Everyone mingled in, it didn’t matter.”
Feisty’s mate Donna Baldock said it was a happy moment amid four years of one disappointment after another. She said she doubted whether other clubs could pull off such a fan-led event. “It was just a really proud day,’’ she said.
“We said ‘we are here and we are not going anywhere. You can go your hardest like you have the last four years but we are not going anywhere’.”
Essendon director Paul Cousins was at an official function at the MCG and in danger of missing the walk. He had to “hustle” to get there but made it and was glad he did.
“You could just see this massive throng of people. It was 100 metres along, incredible,” Cousins said. “It was almost overwhelming coming up to such a huge group who were making a statement of support. They hadn’t just gone to the game. They were there to support the footy club and the players. You get up there and there was just this really good feeling. There was this real camaraderie, everyone was there for the same reason.”
Cousins said the walk exceeded all of the club’s expectations. “If you got a couple of thousand people there it would have been incredible but to get 14,000 or 15,000 was amazing,’’ he said.
“I think it showed a couple of things—the guys that organised it did a really good job but it also showed that people were really keen to show their support.
“You can organise something as well as anything. Advertise it, and no one shows up. But there was a real eagerness I think for supporters to show their support. Afterwards it was almost as if the fans showed up to support the club and then the players had sort of thanked the fans with the win. Everyone left happy that day.
“I have said since it was maybe my favourite day at the footy, ever.”