The 19th Man
In 2008 Senior Coach Neil Craig talked of how players on the field responded to the cheering and noise of the spectators. He said that our Club’s passionate supporters’ assistance to the players in this fashion during games was so outstanding was that it was almost like having an extra player on the field – a 19th player in fact!
Having only recently returned from visiting a colleague in the US, long-time Crows official, Trevor Jaques, suggested that Craig’s comment be taken seriously and turned to advantage by officially referring to its members and supporters as The 19th Man. This was prompted by his having seen and experienced the euphoria, strength and passion of the crowd at Seattle Seahawks games in the NFL. The Seahawks’ crowd had long been similarly recognised as having such a positive effect during games that it was universally referred to, even by opponents, as the Seahawks’ 12th Man. And it was promoted as such, not just at games but throughout the city and indeed the state.
The Club took this on board and fortuitously registered the idea, the name and a trademark; (Fortuitously because once the success of concept was seen by other clubs, several tried to copy but were reminded that being registered it could only be used by the Crows)
“I am excited by the concept of the Club’s new “19th Man” initiative. Our members and supporters have been fantastic for us and provide amazing support all across Australia but this is a way to formalise the relationship and make the most of what is a powerful weapon for our Club” – Neil Craig, AFC Year Book 2008
Because of restrictions by AFL and other copyright holders, the Club could not use tricolours, names, logos, sponsors etc. Therefore, the symbol for the 19th man became just that – a blue background with a yellow, bordered in white, number 19.
It became a very powerful logo and symbol in a number of ways as did the concept. Another Club totem in fact – “an object that symbolises and unites a tribe.”
Patrick Dangerfield surrendered his number 19 jumper and locker and they were presented by Club captain, Simon Goodwin to the president of the supporters’ group, Darryl Carter.
The new training facility included a large socialising area which was named the 19th floor (actually it was on the third floor and the lift buttons to this day still displays 1, 2 and 19.) Visitors on tours of the Club when in the replica locker room, were invited to have their photo taken while sitting in front of their locker, #19.
Bar 19 was the main members’ bar in the club facility. The number 19 was used in all membership giveaways and paraphernalia (eg caps, bags, pens, scarves, key rings and the like).
The Members’ Most Valuable Player award, presented at the Club Champion night, was renamed as the ‘19th Man’ Award.
When the Crows home games were moved to Adelaide Oval, the scoreboard reminded everyone that this was THE HOME OF THE 19th MAN. It even appeared on the city skyline!
The 19th Man featured on numerous run-through banners. One which first appeared on a banner became the Club’s membership bumper sticker – “We Play Better With a 19th Man”
The 19th Man played his last game at the end of the 2014 season. In recognition of the high, and increasing, percentage of women and girls as Crows members and fans, plus the imminent introduction of a team in the AFL Women’s competition it was felt perhaps not as appropriate or as inclusive as the Club motto might be. So after 137 games for 70 wins and 67 losses, and countless Best Team Man awards, the 19th man was retired as the Club mantra became “We Fly As One”.