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Member profile: Allison Irwin

Your Reaction - Round Seventeen Each home game, CFC TV in conjunction with LaTrobe University asks for your reaction to Carlton's current matchup. This week we caught up with a group on international students to ask about their first taste of AFL.
Allison Irwin (left) brings a piece of Carlton with her on her travels.
Allison Irwin (left) brings a piece of Carlton with her on her travels.

Name: Allison Irwin
Carlton member years: 20
Favourite player: Stephen ‘Sticks’ Kernahan and Andrew Walker
Memorable match: 1995 grand final & 1999 preliminary final

Allison Irwin can pinpoint the only Carlton match in Victoria she’s missed in 20 years.

“It was Round 12, 2009 when Carlton played St Kilda at Etihad Stadium. Chris Judd looked like a mummy all wrapped up in bandages,” she said.

She couldn’t make it to Docklands that Friday night because her dad went in for emergency surgery, but that didn’t stop her constantly looking at the clock and wondering if she could still make the first bounce.

“I waited and waited thinking I could still get to the footy because I wanted to go, but dad said ‘can you please stay here with me’, so I did. He probably wasn’t out of the woods at that stage, but he’s ok now – fighting fit,” she said.

Having attended almost every Blues game in Melbourne for the last 20 years, it’s no surprise Allison loves everything about match days, admitting it’s like visiting a “second family”.

“Being a Carlton supporter for me, it’s everything, I know that probably sounds silly but it is like a second family – it’s familiar and it’s all I’ve ever known.”

Her devotion to the mighty Blues started back in Round 1, 1995.

“I signed up to be a member as soon as I turned 18, it was a birthday present to myself!”

Allison’s passion for the navy blue could have easily been brown and gold, as her entire family barracks for Hawthorn. Luckily Allison’s desire to fit in at school morphed her into a Bluebagger.

“I think I became a Carlton supporter through primary school. Kids that I’d hang around with were Blues fans and I started barracking for them too,” she said.

With most of her friends supporting the Blues, Allison wasn’t embarrassed to take her most admired player, Stephen ‘Sticks’ Kernahan, to school every day.

“When I first got into footy my favourite player was Sticks and I actually used to carry around his player badge with me at school.

“He lived in my pencil case and when I got my workbooks out, I’d also pull the badge out and place it on top of my pencil case, so Sticks could watch me do my work in class,” she giggled.

With this level of affection it’s understandable Allison was more than a little upset when Kernahan retired.

“I was devastated, I became a little bit disheartened with footy – I was gutted.

“It took me another couple of years to choose a favourite,” she said.

(Andrew Walker has since replaced Sticks!)

This dedicated member has an entire room in her house decked out in Blues memorabilia – she calls it her ‘Carlton room’.

“One room in the house is completely Carlton, so I just keep everything in there, I don’t have navy blue anywhere else in the house,” she laughed.

“My most favourite possession in the room is probably my replica ’95 premiership cup.

“I actually had it on order as soon as it came out, but when they produced them they accidentally had C. Manton engraved on it instead of G. Manton and so they were all recalled.

“I’ve got the accurate cup now, but I wish I’d actually kept the old one because it would have been a bit of a unique collectors item.”

As well as her replica ’95 premiership cup, Allison’s cardboard cut-out of Sticks, her favourite player of all time, also has a special spot in her Carlton room.

“I’ve had really good value out of that Kernahan cut-out,” she laughed.