The Club (1978), written by David Williamson, is a satirical play that follows the fortunes and misfortunes of a football club over the course of the season. David Williamson cleverly integrates the realistic portrayal of characters and dialogue into the play in order to effectively provide the reader with an insight into the power and politics of sport and the commoditisation of players. The main themes in The Club that David Williamson communicates across to the reader are power and the concept of ‘human loyalty verses materialistic gain’, which will be explained in further detail below.
Power is also explored extensively in The Club; much of the play is based on power struggles between the characters. As mentioned earlier, the power
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Jock is a person who supports the commoditisation of players when it is in agreement with his goals. For example when trying to avert a players’ strike, Jock claims that former Club heroes would be disgusted by the idea, “I want to turn all those photographs around so they don’t have to look down on this shameful scene.” However, it is later revealed that Jock supports the buying of players and a coach who has not played for the Club, both of which are against traditions, to ensure that the Club wins a premiership next season. This hypocritical attitude towards tradition is probably a fairly typical Australian attitude. This attitude presented by Williamson is probably even more widespread now, as success and the reaching of goals is seen as being even more important today.
Loyalty is also an important issue in The Club, although each of the characters is loyal in very different degrees and ways. Some of the characters, like Danny, are fiercely loyal to others; for example Danny threatens a players’ strike if Laurie is forced to resign, “If that bloody committee of yours gives Laurie the boot tonight, then we don’t play tomorrow.” Other characters, like Jock and Gerry, lack loyalty to other people and will manipulate and lie for their own personal advantages but are loyal to the Club as a whole. Gerry believes that, “Loyalty to any one individual is a luxury you can’t afford in a business with a multi-million dollar turnover.” Gerry’s pragmatic attitude is