The Big Issue : Edition 437
THeBigissue 19JuL–1Aug2013 21 friends to tap me on the shoulder and say, “Vin, we need to talk”. But no one did, or has, and now the blog has 750 photos of 200 scoreboards: Adelaide Oval, Ballarat, Berlin, Coomera, Derby, Essendon, Fremantle, Gateshead, Gidgegannup, Hepburn, Irrewillipe, the MCG, Stuttgart, Slovenia... My favourite scoreboard is one I’ve never visited. It’s in Newdegate, a wheat-belt town in Western Australia, where Les saw the following numbers: 04 10 1935 and 23 12 2010. They were the birth and death dates of a much- loved recently deceased local identity. Apparently the local pastor got the idea after seeing a similar memorial in another scoreboard town, Jerramungup. IN 2010, THE Williamstown Football Club decided to replace my tin-shed castle with an electronic scoreboard as part of a multimillion dollar, 18-month redevelopment of the ground. My last afternoon in my home-away-from-home was on Sunday 15 August 2010, when Williamstown defeated Frankston by 68 points: 19.12 (126) to 8.10 (58). I knew the scoreboard was to be demolished, but I naively thought the footy club would give me some warning. Not so. Even the general manager was not sure when it was coming down. On a weeknight in November 2011, a Williamstown supporter (and former scoreboard attendant from the 1970s and 1980s) jogged past and saw the scoreboard had been knocked down. He rang me, and the next morning I embarked on my illicit salvage operation. These days, I operate an electronic scoreboard from the timekeepers’ room in the grandstand. All I do is press a beeping button on a keyboard and orange numbers appear on a black screen on the other side of the ground, where my citadel used to stand. It’s enjoyable, but I’m not master of my domain anymore. I’m not sharing the shed with a mate, having a laugh. I’m a man pressing buttons on a keyboard, standing beside two timekeepers pressing beeping buttons on their digital clocks. Still, it’s almost warm inside the little room and the view from the southern end of the ground includes the Melbourne skyline, the commission flats, West Gate Bridge and passing container ships. And no one throws rocks anymore. » Vin Maskell’s last article in The Big Issue, ‘Colour By Numbers’, appeared in Ed#432. See also vinmaskell.wordpress. com and scoreboardpressure.com.