‘Sons of Guns’ set to hit stores

Sons of Guns will be released on 30 July.

By Nick Creely

A new book by renowned author and journalist Matt Watson detailing the highs and lows of the VFL/AFL father-son rule will be launched in late July.

‘Sons of Guns’ is an in-depth look into nine famous footballing families, detailing the injury, losses, premierships and stress for fathers watching their sons replicate their success on a football field.

The opening chapter of the book is dedicated to Barry Mitchell – one of the finest products to come out of Springvale – and his son Tom, who is a current star with the Hawthorn Football Club, and a raging favourite for the 2018 Brownlow Medal.

Watson told the Journal that the story of the Mitchells is an interesting one, with Barry flourishing from his early days as a Springvale boy to carve out a 221 game AFL career despite plenty of challenges, which is explored in-depth in the book.

“Barry was able to describe the way he came up through the ranks of local footy – he became a champion player, and his humility stood out above all,” he said.

“Barry played in six finals, and they were all losses, and that just shows you there are no guarantees in football – Tom is very similar to his father, he is an accumulator of possessions, and he’s probably better than his father at reading the play one step ahead.

“I look at the two of them, and I think that Tom has taken the very best of Barry’s ability, and refined it.”

Watson’s inspiration for his latest book came from his own experiences as a football loving child. When he was six years old, he fell in love with the game, and found that the game connected his family.

“My father never played football, but he followed Footscray (now the Western Bulldogs) and I followed North Melbourne, so football became a big part of our family set-up and my father would take me the football, and it would be an absolute event for me,” he said.

“It was something that connected our family together so much so, that Bill (Matt’s father) decided to ditch Footscray and follow North Melbourne, so he decided he wanted to support his son – the whole family supported North Melbourne, I had two sisters and a brother, plus mum and dad.

“I knew what our family dynamic was in relation to football – so when I was asked to write ‘Sons of Guns’ by the published I wanted to know what family dynamics were like when the sons had a father that played at the highest level.

“What I discovered was something that I hadn’t really considered which was the level of abuse and bullying the sons copped just because they had a famous father, and the challenges required to succeed in AFL football.”

‘Sons of Guns’ is the second booked penned by Watson, who was also the author of ‘Fabulous Phil – the Phil Carman Story’, which has received plenty of praise.

The official book launch will take place on 31 August, so bookings are essential. For more information, visit footyalmanac.com.au.