Stand by for a deluge of hard-luck stories this week from Tigers fans who miss out on a ticket to the club’s first AFL grand final in 35 years.

The newspapers are already full of it as you can see from this Cheryl Critchley piece in the Herald Sun and this informative Fairfax piece on how the 100,000 MCG tickets are divvied up.

None is more unlucky than Dustin Martin’s bikie dad Shane — who has been enthusiastically deported back to New Zealand by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton. Maybe the Richmond super star should use his Brownlow winning speech tonight to declare: “I won’t play unless Dutton lets dad back into Australia for the weekend to come and watch.”

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With a huge supporter base, the race is on for more than 150,000 Tigers fans who would dearly love to be inside the MCG next Saturday.

Only about 40,000 will get over the line with the two biggest categories being their 17,000 direct members in last night’s ballot and the 23,000 tickets reserved for AFL members, with a priority going to those who nominated Richmond or Adelaide as their preferred club when signing up.

Ultimately, anything is available for a price — but there’s also a time factor and the later you leave it, the more you pay. Here’s an interesting question: how much would you pay to sit on your own in a back row seat at the top of the Great Southern Stand? In my case, the ceiling would be about $1500.

Any Richmond member could have paid up at the start of the year to get a guaranteed grand final ticket, but after finishing 13th last year and after 35 years of pain, what sort of delusional optimist what do that?

Having left it this late, it now becomes a game of connections and transactions.

When serving as a City of Melbourne councillor from 2012 until 2016, it became apparent that establishment Melbourne is partly run on free tickets.

Melbourne is the events capital of Australia and the sporting capital of the world, and us councillors used to get deluged with free tickets to everything from the races to the Grand Prix and, of course, the AFL Grand Final.

And you’d often see lots of other movers and shakers — politicians, media types, corporate players — at the same events on the same free tickets.

The councillor tickets — plus a fabulous dedicated free car park in the centre of town — were an important part of the package at Town Hall as you struggled along on $45,000 a year serving the people about 30 hours a week.

I haven’t missed Council for a moment since getting voted out last November … until this week.

The AFL’s September Club is literally the best ticket in town. And because City of Melbourne opens its streets to the AFL Parade as part of a broader Event Partnership Program with the AFL, councillors all got two tickets to the September Club each year.

Modeled on the Bird Cage during the Melbourne Cup, the AFL literally builds a giant corporate entertainment facility directly outside the Great Southern Stand and you head in there at midday for lunch. It then becomes the Who’s Who of Melbourne and football after the game from 5.30pm until about 11pm.

Last year, AFL legend Kevin Sheedy and his son stumbled into our marquee at about 9pm looking for a feed and City of Monash councillor Geoff Lake and I spent a fascinating hour with him shooting the breeze.

When you’re on the gravy train, it’s a bit hard to disclose but it’s time now to confess that I wrote most of this Crikey tips piece about last year’s grand final activity in the September Club.

And in the interests of full disclosure, the feelers have gone out for a dodgy transaction to deliver a ticket this year. The City of Melbourne councillors who were successful last November have today been sent this email:

Greetings Crs,

Can only imagine the requests that are coming in for GF tickets from long-suffering Richmond fans, such as yours truly.

Suspect there could be some quite some wrangling when you get together tomorrow.  Anyway, if anyone needs a date and is feeling sorry for a defeated Cr…

I often used to say that Melbourne runs on tickets and it’s an insiders game, so here goes.

In a top secret proposal, I’m open to bribery for a solitary ticket — fully disclosed of course.

No more columns about council in CBD News until 2020 — easy, cheap at half the price!

Lots of positive tweets about council — not a problem! Prepared to offer at least 25!

No questions at committee meetings until 2019 — of course.

Preference deals in the 2020 council election — hard to predict this far out but no harm in talking!

Appreciate the numbers who read these email so if this leaks … it’s a joke of course.

Best wishes and no hard feelings either way, of course.

Regards, Stephen Mayne

When it comes to grand final tickets, you’ve just got to transact in a currency that people value. In my case, like a Mafia standover man, it can sometimes be simply not bagging someone. That explains why hundreds of journalists, regulators and politicians will be attending tomorrow’s game on a ticket paid for by someone else.

Having invested millions in tickets, corporates, the state government, the AFL, the MCC, Seven West Media and various other large ticket recipients now need to decide how much they spend on their own people and how much they use it to build vital “I owe you” relationships with third parties.

This process need a bit more transparency, so here’s a public declaration: I’m a desperate Tigers fan open to a deal.

If the Richmond board don’t want any stick this week about their dodgy pokies venue in Wantirna, fine, a grand final ticket will do the job.

However, this offer doesn’t extend to one of the great grand final ticket providers, Crown Resorts, as the AGM is in Melbourne on October 26 and James Packer is up for election. That’s just too good an opportunity.

The same goes for pokies giant Woolworths which is also bringing its AGM to Melbourne this year on November 23 and will be copping the full symphony.

However, that’s a pretty short “won’t deal with you” list.

The Big Banks seem to be particularly open to deals at the moment. CBA, ANZ, NAB, Westpac, Macquarie … how about it?

Foxtel delivered for the 2005 grand final when Leo Barry took that game-saving mark, so I’ve even stooped to accepting Murdoch largesse over the years.

Having attending Rupert’s US AGMs last year, it probably won’t be a goer anyway this year so would even be happy to do an oral deal on that one with the evil empire — as a last resort, of course.

Stephen Mayne
Crikey Founder and Tigers tragic

Editor’s note: If any corporate entity finds a spot in the MCG for Mayne, we’ll make sure to note the conflict of interest on each of his stories forever more.

UPDATE: The Herald Sun jumped on this story and launched a ridiculous attack on City of Melbourne Councillors, who were then even less keen to give their former colleague a grand final ticket. I eventually scored two tickets for $780 through an old school tie connection, so no dirty deals were done.  My two Tigers supporting daughters will get half a game each.

Sale ends tomorrow.

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