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Member profile: Phyllis Taig

Head of Football Andrew McKay presents Phyllis Taig with a special Carlton guernsey ahead of her 100th birthday. (Photo: Donna Curran)
Head of Football Andrew McKay presents Phyllis Taig with a special Carlton guernsey ahead of her 100th birthday. (Photo: Donna Curran)

Name: Phyllis Taig
Carlton member years: 88
Favourite players: Ron Cooper, Craig Bradley, Stephen Kernahan & Patrick Cripps
Memorable match: 1970 grand final v Collingwood

Phyllis Taig’s love for the Old Dark Navy Blues hasn’t waivered in 88 years.

The 99-year-old, who turns 100 on October 30, has been following the Blues since she was 10 years old and says being a Carlton supporter means “everything – I really do love them”.

That love for the Blues stemmed from Phyllis’ father. He lived in Port Melbourne in the 1920s and thought Carlton was the “nicest looking team”. He began supporting them and the rest is history.

Phyllis was 12 years old when she watched her beloved Blues play live for the first time – all the way back in 1927. Her father took her to Glenferrie Oval with his brothers to watch Carlton take on the Hawks.

“There was no Glen Waverley back then!” she chuckled.

“Carlton most certainly won…I went with my two uncles and my father. My uncles were both Hawthorn supporters – so they weren’t very happy.”

In the 1940s Phyllis was a telephonist and quite often, if her shift allowed, would go to Princes Park to watch the team train.

The 99-year-old now has a family of her own including three children, whose first words were all “Go Blues”. Win, lose or draw, it was a family tradition for the Carlton theme song to be sung around the pianola each Saturday evening.

It’s no wonder Phyllis “wouldn’t have a clue” how many times she’s sung that famous tune.

“I’ve converted quite a few people to barrack for Carlton and I’m still trying!

“All my family, including my children, grandchildren, my great grandchildren and my great, great grandchildren, they are all Carlton supporters – well mostly,” she laughed.

Phyllis lives at home with her daughter Ada and son-in-law Sam and confesses the house is “full” of Carlton treasures.

“I make my bed every day and I put all my memorabilia on my bed – there’s over 22 pieces. I have dolls and teddy bears and Donna, the young lass in the Carlton cafeteria, gave me a little dog and I called it Patrick. He’s all in blue and white and he sits at the top of the bed,” she said.

Patrick, of course, is named after Carlton’s 2015 best and fairest winner, Patrick Cripps.

“I love Patrick Cripps because I know he’s going to lead us into something special,” she said.

Phyllis Taig has named her toy dog after Carlton young gun Patrick Cripps. (Photo: AFL Photos)

Although Phyllis professes to love every Carlton player, there have been a few standouts over the decades, dating back to the 1930s.

“I liked Ron ‘Socks’ Cooper – he was our centre player back in the ‘30s and ‘40s. Then there was Craig Bradley, he was my absolute favourite, and Stephen Kernahan of course!”

Having watched the game evolve over her 99 years, Phyllis admits not all the changes have been to her liking – especially the increase in speed.

“I think in the ‘70s – around about that time – was the best really. We had some tough players, but now it’s all altered and it’s too fast now,” she said.

This passionate and dedicated Blues supporter has never been one to shy away from expressing her opinion about the game – even to a former coach!

“I always used to write David Parkin lots of letters if I thought he did the wrong thing. I’d always let him know and I can honestly say I always got a reply from David. I’ve kept quite a few of his letters too … I thought he was a wonderful coach.

“Ron Barassi was alright, he called a spade a spade,” she laughed.

The mother of three says she absolutely loves to win against Collingwood as they are the team she “dislikes” the most.

“I don’t say ‘hate’ because I don’t think it’s a very nice word, but I dislike them, put it that way,” she said.

So it’s no surprise in the 88 years Phyllis has been following the Blues, her most memorable game is the 1970 grand final win over the Pies.

“When we came from 40-points behind to beat Collingwood in the grand final, that was very good – I was in the crowd,” she said.

Forty-five years later and Phyllis still attends most Carlton home games, but from the comfort of the Blues Coterie function room. Catching up with friends on match day is all part of the allure.

“My children have paid for me to join the coterie and we’ve made such a wonderful group of friends – I always look forward going to the football to see them.

“Even when the football isn’t on we keep in touch.”

Phyllis Taig meets Carlton coach Brendon Bolton. (Photo: Donna Curran)

With her 100th birthday just weeks away, balloons, streamers and cupcakes filled the George Harris function room at Ikon Park last week, as Phyllis’ family, friends and special guests kicked off the celebrations.

One of those special guests was senior coach Brendon Bolton, who dropped by to wish her well … and put her mind at ease.

“I met our new coach last week and he assured me we’ll climb the ladder again and I believe him. I can’t wait until next year.”

Happy 100th birthday, Phyllis!