Defining a ‘Carlton Person’

Immediately into Brendon Bolton’s tenure it was apparent that repetition of key phrases was a chief communication technique he would employ in speaking with the media, players and Carlton faithful. Repetition is excellent for reinforcement of ideas, making sure the message is getting across.

One of those terms I picked up towards the end of the season was ‘Carlton Person’. Now I’m not crediting Bolts with term but its definitely crept into the Carlton vernacular recently. One example of this was with Levi Casboult as he approached free agency.

Bolton on June 10, 2017 post the epic 1 point win over the Giants.

Then the repetition, June 24, 2017, prior to our matchup with the Tigers.

And then finally from Andrew McKay after Levi re-signed

“Levi is a Carlton person and we’re really pleased he has chosen to remain at the Blues for a further two years in what will be an exciting period ahead for the Club”
Casboult Commits

Now I agree, Levi is a Carlton person, of course he is! But why? What defines a Carlton Person? And why do we BlueBaggers love the term so much?

I can only speak to what the term means to me – a Carlton Person to me embodies 5 key values – growth, respect, care, adulation & perseverance.

A key trademark of Levi’s time at Carlton is growth. Levi lumped into Princes Park in 2010, with pick 41 in the rookie draft. Casboult always had his marking ability but the consistent growth he has shown, not only on the football field, but as a person has enamored Casboult as a Carlton person.

Carlton, like all organisations, takes pride in its players & coaches developing under its wing. Its hoped that all persons associated with the club leave it in a better place than when they started.

Respect for the jumper, for the club and the institution that is the Carlton Football Club. As with the above Levi Casboult example, often the ‘Carlton Person’ label is associated with a player leaving and in recent times there’s no better example than Bryce Gibbs.

I was seriously impressed with how Bryce handled his exit from the club, the level of respect he showed both the current playing & coaching setup and fans was of the highest calibre and although his exit was tough to handle it was one none of us could begrudge.

I still expect there to be ‘booing’ when he returns to play against the Blues but its clear no matter what happens with his career in Adelaide, Gibbs will always sit as a ‘Carlton Person‘.

A ‘Carlton Person’ has care for the supporters, care for the club and what’s happening on the field. They acknowledge the special place they hold in the supporter’s hearts.

To continue the theme, I have to mention Eddie Betts. Probably the biggest pain point in the last 10 years was the shame of Eddie’s departure from the Blues. We all loved Eddie, not just for his on field exploits but also the level of care he had for the supporters and club. A personal anecdote, my mum and youngest sister went to a game one day in which Eddie was out with his broken jaw – they came home raving about how nice he was to everyone, signing autographs, selfies, the lot.  Eddie was a fan’s player.

Still joking with Carlton here…

Eddie is now the king of Adelaide, but I hope we all have the opportunity to welcome him back as a ‘Carlton Person’ when its all said and done.

Now Eddie, could have easily fit into this category as well but for me a ‘Carlton Person’ has the adulation of the fans. We all heard the ravings of Jezza, the Buzz, Dominator and Bruce Doull. They all had the quality that brought the adulation from the fans, they had that something special and they were Carlton.

One of the more divisive figures of how recent history was Brendan Fevola, now despite how his Carlton career ended, I know I’ll be telling stories of his exploits forever. He was a league wide superstar and he was ours.

One night I remember was the AFL Hall of Fame match in 2008, Fevola lined up for Victoria and dominated kicking 6 goals and being adjusted best afield. With fans from all other Victorian clubs clamoring to cheer for the Superstar – it was that night that I was proud that he was our superstar. A Carlton Person.

A ‘Carlton Person’ gives their all, they persevere through adversity and drive performance throughout the group. One of my favourites, Matthew Lappin, was someone that persevered and gave his all for the jumper.

Skinny was unique, in that he arrived at Carlton in 1999 as a young player contributing to a team that was competing for premierships but then developed as one of our leaders during the tough years post the Salary Cap sanctions. Lappin drove performance during tough times and was rewarded with All Australian selection in 2004. A tough thing to do in a non-finalist team.

Growth. Respect. Care. Adulation. Perseverance. 

With the influence of Free Agency and increasing player movement I hope the term ‘Carlton Person’ is never lost. We have plenty of young players on our list currently that we all hope will be that the label ‘Carlton Person’ will sit as comfortably as it does with the aforementioned players.

What does ‘Carlton Person’ mean to you? Who are your favourite Carlton People?


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