Shepparton United Football Club life member Graeme Norman always takes a loyal follower to games - his dog Knickers.By Alexandra Bolkas
Shepparton United Football Club life member Graeme Norman and his dog Knickers never miss a Demons match.
Mr Norman watches the under-18s, reserves and seniors games each weekend with his Kelpie cross at his side, dressed in a United embossed dog blanket.
‘‘It’s the second blanket (his partner) has made; we put ribbons on it when we got into the finals to give it a more of a lift,’’ Mr Norman said.
‘‘She lines up when I tell her we’re going to the footy and we put that on her and she sits in it all the way to the game.’’
Mr Norman said the players treated her as one of their own.
‘‘She gets in the clubrooms and rolls around in the carpet and they all pat her,’’ he said.
Mr Norman said Knickers was popular with children and knew how to work the crowd for meat pies at the canteen.
‘‘She’s good with the kids; they come up and pat her and she goes to the canteen and begs,’’ he said,
‘‘People give her a hot dog or a pie and she’ll follow them and sit beside them until they give her a bit and then she’ll leave.’’
He said he bred the dog, 3, from his previous dog’s puppy — ‘‘old Knickers’’ — who died from cancer aged eight.
‘‘She looks virtually identical, so I kept her,’’ he said.
He said he named the dogs after a daughter of his friend.
‘‘When old Knickers was a young dog, my friend’s daughter was a bit snappy, so I nicknamed her ‘Knickers’,’’ he said.
‘‘And I named (the dogs) after her.’’
Mr Norman has been a United supporter since he moved to Kialla in 1967.
He said he put in hours of voluntary labour to build the clubrooms in 1960s when there wasn’t much work for him as a tiler.
He was confident United would defeat Kyabram in Sunday’s GVFL grand final.
‘‘We’ve got to get the twos up first and then go pretty good in the seniors,’’ he said.
Mr Norman said would he be barracking for Fremantle in tomorrow’s AFL grand final because of past Shepparton United best-and-fairest Michael Barlow.
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