You’re Like This Big F*cking Bear With These Big F*cking Claws!

The poor old Bulldogs get pulled in more directions than a $50 note dropped in a packed TAB. They try to please everyone and yet everyone ends up feeling short changed somehow.

I think that of all the clubs in Sydney, the Bulldogs have the most potential to be the big drawing super club that Sydney deserves.

I don’t say that as a Bulldogs fan. I grew up hating the club and to be honest, I don’t have much love for them now. I just look at some of the facts about the club, and some of the handicaps the club is carrying right now, and I see a potential super club being held back by just a few small issues.

The first problem the Bulldogs have is a ridiculous deal that will see them play at the grave yard of a ground at ANZ Stadium for the next decade.

Its true the Bulldogs have more capacity than any other club to make use of the larger capacity. When they are playing well, not world beating but just a top 8 team, the Bulldogs can get 20,000 plus a number of times a season. In the big games they can go over 30,000.

The problem is, ANZ Stadium is a shit ground to watch the game at. No one likes it. Even with the Bulldogs biggest crowds its hard to generate atmosphere is that black hole of a place.

All Bulldogs fans went out of the ground but where do they go? They can’t go back to Belmore because its a relic, its way to small and its a massive step backwards. The fans don’t like Parramatta Stadium, just because its Parramatta. Then you have the Sydney Football Stadium, but most fans just write it off because its so far away from the clubs traditional base….which leads me to the next problem…..

Everyone believes that Sydney based clubs need to play out of what it traditionally seen as their home base. There is a push away from centralized stadiums and back to the grass roots of where clubs were established.

Thats great, everyone love tradition. The thing is, I don’t believe that it means a club must cement itself in one suburb.

The Bulldogs are one of the few clubs in Sydney that can honestly say they have fans all over Sydney. The area of Sydney the Bulldogs could claim as their own is huge. In fact I believe that if they wanted to, they could have everything east of Parramatta, including a lot of Parramatta itself.

With that in mind, why couldn’t the Bulldogs lay claim to more of Sydney than they already do?

Despite the howls of protest from some Bulldogs supporters, would crowds be any worse at Parramatta or even the Sydney Football Stadium? Wouldn’t Bulldogs fans, who travel better than most Sydney fans, be more than accommodating to travel a little further to see their team play, especially if it was out of a decent stadium?

What ever the case, the club is locked into their deal at ANZ Stadium, but as we know in Rugby League, contracts aren’t worth the paper they are written on.

Another problem the Bulldogs fan is one of the culture of Bulldogs fans.

The club has worked so hard over the years, and so have the fans of the club, to get rid of the idiots and remove the perception that Bulldogs fans are violent fools looking for a fight rather than to support their club.

It takes a long time to heal the wounds left by the violence of the past though.

The Bulldogs have a huge Lebanese following which is a great asset, but some people see this as a negative. However when the club pushed to reach out to fans from a Pacific Islands background, people then got upset over supposed racism!

The Bulldogs management knows it needs to target new audiences, and it was a great promotion for the club to add to many other promotions it also runs, but once again the club can’t do anything right in the eyes of some.

At a time when all clubs want to expand their horizons, it almost seems as though people want the Bulldogs to contract. I don’t understand it at all.

I know personally if I thought the Panthers could draw more fans by playing at Parramatta Stadium and changing their name to “West Sydney Panthers” I’d be all for it.

Thats not even what the Bulldogs are looking to do! They just want to draw more fans in to watch the club play games.

The Bulldogs could be so much more than they currently are. I just hope the clubs management see’s that and make a few tough decisions to get the club to where it should be.

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