So the era of Subiaco is all but over.
Many of us will remember he place very fondly.
But her last few years, where her name was sold off into whoredom, were quite unfortunate. Deplorable, actually.
Like a lot of us, I just couldn’t bring myself to call her by the disrespectful titles consigned to her by the Football Commission, which had no respect for her history or tradition.
I’m sure the money was good, and went to appropriate causes, but at the end of the day was it worth it?
When my friends asked me if I was going to D… Stadium (or earlier P…Stadium) on Sunday, I always responded that I wasn’t. I was actually going to Subiaco Oval.
Appropriately, the ABC and most reputable commentators steadfastly refused to acknowledge the new jingoistic names motivated solely by money.
Now that the sponsorship deals are over, one can only hope that the memory of the grand old venue will exist free of the awful commercial names that were inflicted on her in her later years.
And I suspect we will ask ourselves in years to come how was it that we felt the need to stoop so low?
Some years ago some luminary in the Cricket world decided to change the name of the Sheffield Shield to that of a milk company. It was deplorable, but mercifully it didn’t last.
Similarly the North Melbourne Football Club adopted the official name of “Kangaroos” and send the time honoured name of the club into oblivion. Fortunately common sense prevailed and after a few years North was back again.
Sadly the time honoured Footscray football club changed (for pure marketing reasons) their name to Western Bulldogs some time back. That blight continued even into their premiership year. One can only hope that sanity will ultimately prevail and that a century of history will see the situation change there in the not too distant future.
History indicates that it probably will, as the formerly much maligned and ridiculed working class suburb becomes a much trendier location than it used to be, as it already has started to do.
There are many things in this world that money can buy. But it can’t buy history or tradition. It can’t buy soul.
And therein lies the challenge for Mark McGowan, Ben Wyatt and their cash-strapped WA government in relation to the new Perth Stadium.
The prospect of it bearing the name, from its outset, of a telecommunications company, a fast food multinational or a mining multinational is almost unthinkable.
The quick dollars that might go toward the state debt are a pittance compared to the inordinate commercial value of having the name Perth in its title.
The fact that Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide have never seen fit to prostitute the naming rights to their premier cricket and sporting grounds should be an object lesson to WA. The WACA, even in its darkest financial hours, never contemplated such a measure.
To sell off the naming rights will demarcate West Australians as a bunch of commercially motivated, culturally insensitive hicks. And if we do go down that path, it’s a reputation we probably deserve.
Subiaco Oval didn’t host that many international events. But the new Perth Stadium certainly will. Tens of millions of viewers will tune in to footy, soccer, and cricket and rugby tests from (inter alia) the UK, India, the West Indies and South Africa on a regular basis.
The tourism value alone of knowing the event is coming to them from Perth rather than some nameless commercially titled venue is a value that cant start to be quantified.
The issue clearly transcends money. The fact that our State government is prepared to even consider callously selling off the name of what will undoubtedly be our most iconic sporting venue to the highest bidder is not only misconceived, short sighted and greedy, but quite frankly a disgrace.