Don’t tinker with that tremendous Tiger tune

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A FIGHTING FURY is always ready to spring from Tigerland and moving to change the Richmond theme song was bound to trigger a roar. PAUL GOUGH is more than willing to risk head and skin:

WHY NOW? For 37 years Richmond fans have waited to see their team enter the MCG as reigning premiers and unfurl their 11th premiership flag.

Apart from a shock Carlton victory, I stupidly believed that nothing possible could spoil this dream occasion on Thursday night.

That is until, to my total shock and horror, I discovered some genius has decided it’s time to update the Tigers’ famous theme song with some dreadful, souped up new version.

It is not very well known in footy circles that this almost happened several years ago when the AFL – tired of paying out the licensing fees for the original 1972 Fable Singers versions that are so synonymous with a day at the footy – decided to re-record the songs with their own version.

On that occasion the proposal was soundly defeated as the Tigers – who are universally regarded as having the best theme song in the competition – led the charge.

The Tigers belt out the theme song after the Grand final. Pic: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
The Tigers belt out the theme song after the Grand final. Pic: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Well the same issue has arisen again but this time – to their credit – the AFL has given the clubs the choice of playing the new versions (which sound like they have been recorded by The Backstreet Boys) or the powerful Fable Singers’ versions.

Collingwood president Eddie McGuire – who is better at reading the tea leaves on matters of tradition and principle than anyone else in the AFL – quickly realised, what will soon become apparent in the opening round when all club members get a taste of their theme songs 2018 style.

And that is THE FANS WILL NOT COP IT and will demand the clubs revert to the old songs.

The Pies, at this stage at least (although there are rumours of other clubs coming to their senses) will run out to face the Hawks with their traditional theme song blaring across the MCG.

But if there was one other club whom I would have been convinced would have resisted this nonsense it would have been the Tigers.

The Richmond theme song has made the club what it is today and the sheer power of the original 1972 Fable Singers version – that is so well known and loved by all supporters – simply cannot be bettered as we found out on Grand Final day when it must have been played about 50 times post game.

The spivs – most of who seem to work at the AFL or in the marketing departments of club land and have never met a real footy fan in their life – will no doubt say it’s time we modernised.

And, after all, Richo and KB have contributed to the new song and we have updated the words from risking head and skin to risking head and shin.


Although I do find it fascinating that Kevin Bartlett – the man whose petty vendetta against the club saw him missing when they most needed him in the dark days of the 1990s – feels the need to contribute to destroying the theme song when he quite rightly led the charge against Richmond having to wear their alternate strip in last year’s Grand Final.

It wouldn’t matter if AC/DC or Jimmy Barnes had recorded the new version – you can’t replace perfection.

I have no doubt there will be such an outcry that all clubs will soon revert to the tried and true original theme songs in the weeks to come.

But please don’t let some marketing spiv spoil our flag unfurling on Thursday night by playing some pathetic imitation of the greatest club song in Australian sport.


Author: Paul Gough

PAUL GOUGH covered the AFL from 1990 to 2010 for the Herald Sun, Australian Associated Press, the AFL website and Sportal.



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