Not ringing any bells? Fair enough too, when somebody sent it to your management and they claimed to have 'passed it on' to you it did rather have the air of parents promising to pass on a kid's letter to Santa before running it through a shedder.
Not that you'd have ever known this was going on because at the time you were busy "not in any way being signed by another club", but the online community even banded together for the most heartfelt 'please stay' collection since that kid offered Chris Grant his pocket money so that he wouldn't join Port Adelaide (in related news: Chris Grant stayed at Footscray and has just been inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame).
Obviously what we did wrong was to not offer $3 million in a suitcase full of unmarked bills on top of that. How stupid must Chris Grant feel now not having pocketed whatever the 1997 equivalent of rude money to ruin his legacy? At least he had a legacy to think about ruining I suppose. Does six million bucks compensate for leaving behind a brown stained legacy tinged with lies and hatred? Probably.
In fact the gigantic wedge of AFL approved cash provided by the
Now that's a heartfelt offer. But it's not a $1.5m Superb 3 Bedroom with private eastern aspect is it? Mind you there was also the small matter of $700,000 a year from the MFC on offer too. I wasn't expecting you to show up and play for the inflatable thing only (apparently his name is Jack) so I'm sorry if I misled you into thinking that my offer was replacing a salary package equal to what some people might take a decade to earn. It often troubles me in the night how we could be so rude as to offer you such a pittance of a wage after all you'd done for us.
But that's all in the past, unless there's a 'mystery injury' which means you can't play we will meet again for the first time Sunday. We the collective jilted wife coming face to face with her husband for the first time since he ran off into an emotionless cock-in-a-cash-register style relationship with a young, well built tart.
Does the jilted wife end the night trying to glass him before being capsicum sprayed by police? You bet she does. Do we? Maybe not, it's not like you've actually killed anybody after all, but in the absence of anything decent to complain about in a country where $3 million sets you up for life and doubling that is effectively taking the piss you'll do nicely as public enemy #1 until somebody more worthy comes along or you retire.
This has been hanging over all us of since the moment the fixtures were released so thank god we're finally getting it out of the way. If the AFL end up complaining about the crowd turning nasty they've only got themselves to blame for not playing it earlier in their rigged fixture. And yes, any moral highground we could have taken claiming that you've gone to a 'worse team' has rather thinned due to our rancid start to the season but in an environment where everybody from Dean Bailey to Cameron Schwab, Brad Green and Julia Gillard have been blamed for our Titanic style flop at the end of last season I'm pointing the finger at you whether it's justified in the public eye or not.
Plenty of others had a hand in what we can only hope was a once in a lifetime set of circumstances during the 2011 season (there were so many triumphs and debacles rolled into one that they'll probably make an ESPN 30 for 30 out of it) but why do I feel that the "will he or won't he" (spoiler: he did) intrigue that swirled around our club from day one last season contributed in its own special way to the poisonous atmosphere that bubbled up throughout the club all before tragically bursting from the ground and killing us all (but mostly Dean Bailey) one sad, cold day at Kardinia Park?
Who knows what would have turned out differently if you'd taken the same path as Jack Trengove and agreed to stay. I'm not suggesting Dean Bailey wouldn't have ended up Adelaide, James Strauss wouldn't have snapped his leg or that Liam Jurrah wouldn't have been involved in some alleged unpleasantness in the territory but I'll bet we would have been in a much better situation than we are now. Or would we? Would Mitch Clark be there now or you'd stayed? For all our midfield follies I know right now I'd rather have him and two draft picks but it doesn't mean I have to like you for the way it went down.
Todd Viney was nice enough to recall you the week after 186, I'd have told you to pack your bags, drop the cover stories about indecision and go sign your contract elsewhere. Actually that's not entirely true, I'd have dropped you after Queen's Birthday when it became clear to all but the hopeless dreamers and the remarkable optimists that the only way you were going to stay with us was if GWS went under and we did some not at all shonky J**d/Visy style deal to pay you. Then the AFL told us we couldn't do that either. Funny that they would do that when you're ALLEGEDLY tossing up between a club that is owned by them and one that isn't. Nice way to help build an alibi.
At Queen's Birthday we were still in the hunt for the finals (no really), and you did rack up 29 touches that day (some of which hit the target) so I can imagine the uproar if we had given you the arse then. Your dead eyes looking down the barrel of the TV cameras solemnly pledging yet again that you were in no way decided about your future while the footy media rounded on us, kicking the club to death for hanging a brave young man out to dry just two years after drafting him.
In retrospect it would have actually provided you the perfect cover story for leaving, claiming that you were still 'weighing it up' until that point and being told to fit in or fuck off had 'made your mind up' about the future. You might still be exchanging messages with our players now and posing for Miami Vice style Facebook profile photos with Sam Blease but I seriously doubt they would have convened a strike a'la The Club to save you at that point.
It didn't help that you spent the year making contradictory statements about your future and using lines like "I'd love to end my career and say I was a one club player". "Then just sign on the fucking dotted line" we all screamed in vain, knowing that being a one club player doesn't buy that three bedroom apartment (hint: you could get the same place for about a third of that here), and in this could would land you with partial responsibility for helping drag the battered carcass of the oldest club in the world onto to its feet and back to glory. Jack Trengove took that challenge and whether he captains us to a flag or to relegation into the VFL he will be welcomed with open arms into any gathering of Melbourne supporters for the rest of his life.
But why involve yourself in something as noble as the rebirth of an icon? So much easier to grab the cash, deny you stormed out of China because Max Gawn spewed on you and take up at a team where success is as close to guaranteed as possible with the entire world served up to them on a silver platter. Nice coincidence that your dad got a job there too. Eight months before. And apparently didn't tell you about it. How do any of them go around talking about this with a straight face or unlit pants? JUST ADMIT YOU WERE NEVER GOING TO STAY ALREADY.
There's also something about Jim Stynes, but I won't get into that because it will cause me to write something that I will be ashamed of and that you might launch legal action over - because we all know you love a dollar.
Maybe the projected wild scenes this week (which are likely to fizz out into one guy limply throwing Monopoly money rather and the aforementioned cavalcade of hate) are the scenes we had to have and will probably ruin any chance of an amicable future between us but at some point in the near future an apology would be nice. And not in 30 years time when you're on Open Mike doing an interview with Mike Sheahan which has to stop every thirty seconds for him to take a belt of oxygen. The sooner the better so we can decide whether or not to bury the hatchet in the ground or 'elsewhere'.
Sunday afternoon would be good, after you're inevitably dragged into the press conference by Sheedy. Forget saying that the reaction from the fans was "pretty disappointing" (currently $1.02 favourite for first answer on TAB Sportsbet) and admit that while you are looking forward to being handed multiple premierships, being paid well over the odds and eventually playing in front of five figure crowds in Sydney that you were always going to leave Melbourne. That you, your management and your family did the sums the moment you were drafted and worked out the exact timing required to take the biggest financial windfall possible after stringing us along for two years.
It's a fiendish plot, and perhaps it's karma in a way for our conduct during 'that' Richmond game, and perhaps if you were at another club I'd heartily laugh and congratulate you for pulling off such an epic swindle before going behind your back and saying you were a shit bloke instead of just saying it openly. Lucky in a way we did 'lose' that game, because I can only imagine how much more remarkable the reception would be if we'd only had one pick and he'd become a scab.
Even the fans of other teams who are having a field day telling us to 'get over it' and laying the boots into the fact that we're rubbish know deep down that they'd be acting just as badly - if not worse - under similar circumstances. God knows footy fans have never been known to go off their collective tit about something trivial and stupid have they? Good thing Melbourne fans are all cravat wearing, snow bunny ponces (so the guy who wears the headset and pretends to be your coach told me anyway), because I'd love to have seen the reception you'd get after pulling the same sort of low act on a team with real life, feral fans.
Just take that first step on the path to redemption and admit that while you think what you did was right the way you did it was very, very wrong. Even if you don't want to admit that you signed years ago (possibly at birth) at least put your hand up and say there was no chance in hell for one minute of the 2011 calendar year that you were ever going to stay with us. Let the reconciliation process begin at your end because it's certainly not starting at mine. Offer a buyback scheme for all those people (certainly not me) who bought a #31 jumper and haven't yet set it alight.
There's no doubt that very few football clubs are perfect either. We were a shambles at times last year (*points*) for sure, and there's one of your teammates who almost everyone would admit was harshly done by when he was forced out the door by 'us'. You'll be able to tell which one he is because he'll be greeted with exactly the same respect on Sunday that you will never ever get from anybody other than a handful of orange clad Giants fans and the sort of people who write love letters to Ivan Milat.
We don't care that he's playing for a league owned franchise, we're happy for him to get another go because he won the respect of our fans over more than a decade of hard work, earned a shitload less than $6 million in doing it and is probably on something near #emomaric wages this year. Nor do we care that Matthew Warnock is appearing in McDonalds colours. To be entirely honest I don't even give a toss than Scott Thompson ditched us and became a superstar because he did it properly, got paid proper wages and earnt the right to be called a star. That's respect.
Respect isn't all it's made out to be though, certainly not when you stack it up alongside six million bucks and see which pile turns out to be higher. "Oh everyone would have done the same thing" they scream (and let's be frank so do you, hopefully in your nightmares) which might be true [see attached list of all those who haven't] but it doesn't mean anybody has to like or treat you kindly for it. Hamfisted "what would YOU DO" style analogies aside the fact of the matter is that you didn't have to do it, you wouldn't have been the first to say no and you'd still have ended up with a damn sight more money in your pocket than your performances thus far have deserved.
"But what about Mitch Clark?" they wail. What about him? I certainly don't expect Brisbane fans to like him any more for leaving them. Who am I to tell other people how to support their club? If GWS fans think you're the messiah then that's their problem, I'm not going to tell them to stop. But if Lions fans want to burn Mitch effigies and shout slogans at him that's their business, but the chances are other than a few hearty boos and a bit of blue language they probably won't really bother. It helps having recent memories of being involved in one of the most successful eras in the history of football. They've tasted glory, we've been beaten like a mangy dog for 50 years - and that's why we hate you so much.
Somebody was always going to cop it eventually, why not the guy everyone put their hope in only to have it spat back in our face? I couldn't think of anybody more deserving. Some poor deluded souls in the media think that Sunday is going to bring 'closure' and that a few casual handshakes with the players who didn't scab on us will mean we all shrug our shoulders and get on with lives. Don't count on it.
Sure there are a lot of fans who built the bridge seconds after you 'went to Sydney to test at the facilities' and wound up using the 'contract signing machine'. There's even a fair amount who are in the "good for him" faction. That's fine, I won't hold it against them - at least they're still loyal to the cause of this club and haven't traded in their membership for a seat at Skoda Stadium and an expensive car.
Many more will get it out of their system on Sunday and will be able to make a rational decision come Monday morning that they can go on with their lives, but make no mistake there will always be a group of us who will never forgive or forget the lies and deceit you have visited upon this great club, your contribution to the disastrous events of 2011 and the continued fall-out we're still suffering today. Even if the rest of the senior list banded together for a We Are The World style videoclip imploring us to close down the carnival of hate and forgive you then we will not consider it at least until you've apologised. Tearfully is clearly too much to ask for but a stoic stare down the barrel of the camera prepared statement live on Fox Sports News would be nice.
No matter how small and unorganised our group is, or how the numbers dwindle over the years, we will be the ones hurling abuse at our television every time you come on and begging to our chosen deity for your club never to win anything ever again. And even when the banners are gone and we're playing you in five years we'll still be making dog noises when you go near the ball.
It's hard to haunt a man with six million in the bank and who has the stock market beat but we'll damn well try our best. If you could please break the habit of a lifetime and show some minor traces of emotion in response that would be much appreciated.
And so on behalf of everyone who feels the same sense of betrayal as I do may I be the one to say break a leg.
Yours both bitterly and twistedly,
Adam S. Mercado
P.S - That was break a leg as in 'good luck' of course. I certainly won't be the one rising to applaud if you really do end Sunday being carted off with your leg facing due east.
P.P.S - I see why nobody writes letters on paper anymore.