John Devaney

I am a writer with varied interests and a number of ongoing projects. My main work has involved researching and writing about the history of Australian football, with my chief aim being to endeavour to bring to life the ways in which it was viewed and portrayed in the past, in contrast to the way in which it is propagandised today. I also write fiction which I would say is primarily influenced by, though by no means of anywhere near the same quality as, the work of the Australian writers Christina Stead and Patrick White. My principal single influence, on all my work, both fiction and non-fiction, is the novel "For Love Alone" by Christina Stead, which summarises my world view more eloquently and indeed accurately than I could ever hope to myself.


The Stolen Dream

The book examines a period when football underwent a seismic and ineradicable change brought about by the determination of the Victorian Football League to wrest control of the game’s development and destiny from the various state controlling bodies and the Australian Football Council. Whereas the VFL had initially been the first among equals, it gradually assumed the role of the sole and undisputed guardian of the code. The AFC, once football’s ostensible national controlling body, became an irrelevance. Instead of a national sport with a national remit we ended up with an expanded VFL with a majority of Victorian member clubs supplemented by a token sprinkling of teams from interstate. Such teams were in most cases created from scratch and could in no way be said to derive directly from the states’ unique and distinctive football traditions and culture. For some, it was a brave new world, but evolution does not inevitably entail improvement