Home Australia ‘That’s my joy’: Station turns 40 calling WA country football

‘That’s my joy’: Station turns 40 calling WA country football

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A little boy wears a jersey, shorts and boots holding a soccer ball

Like many young boys, Glenn Barndon played kick by kick alone in the backyard, commenting on the names of the players of the time.

By the time he reached primary school, he had the important job of keeping score at his football club in Chapman Valley, east of Geraldton, in WA’s Midwest.

People sitting nearby told him to “shut up” as he commented on the game while it was in action.

It is no surprise to many of them that he is now marking 40 years as a local football and Country Week caller in the Midwest for a variety of broadcasters.

Barndon practiced commenting on imaginary games while playing at home.(Supplied: Barndon family)

“I was just playing up front, kicking it [the football] myself and using the names of the people around…then calling the game and kicking the goal,” he said.

“It was just part of the way I grew up.”

He was about 22 when he started talking football on 6GE, which was then Geraldton’s commercial station.

“We’ve had a number of stations along the way, some commercial FM stations, and now we’re on Radio Mama which is an Aboriginal community station and we’ve been there for about 10 years and we’ve really had a good time,” he said.

“Spread the word of football throughout the Murchison and Gascoyne regions.

“Many surnames are used and many people take pride in football.”

From the field to the studio

Barndon was a skilled footballer, but retired quite young after several concussions.

“I was a good average player who worked really hard but was never going to get to the next level,” he said.

Smiling young man wearing headphones with microphone

Glenn Barndon started talking about country football on 6GE radio in Geraldton when he was 22 years old.(Supplied: Barndon family)

He has called every Great Northern Football League season and every grand final for the last 40 years.

“I have been lucky enough to see three or four generations of footballers play,” he said.

“I have seen the grandparents play, I have seen the children play and I have seen their children play, so the family tree is really nice, I have been able to see the whole family come through football.”

Among the great moments, he mentions seeing three generations of the Wall family in Mullewa.

Barndon fondly remembers the opportunity to call some WAFL games in his time and a scratch match between Richmond and the Fremantle Dockers as highlights.

His experience behind the microphone calling national football turned into a full-time television career at ABC Midwest Wheatbelt in 1998, hosting local shows.

“A lot of my friends and family who had to put up with me as a kid say, ‘Well, we’re not surprised, because you spent a lot of time playing radio stations or calling the football or calling the races,'” he said.

Man wearing headphones smiles at the camera

Glenn Barndon started working at the ABC in Geraldton in 1998.(ABC Midwest Wheatbelt: Piper Duffy)

Barndon said he had learned more about the game by working alongside great players of the past, including Mick Thompson and Barry Cooper.

“I have always been eager to listen to very good players,” he said.

“I never consider myself an expert, but I consider myself someone who has listened, learned and talked about what the game is like.

“But I’m very, very careful not to criticize the players because I can’t do it. So I don’t tell them how to do it.

“And I’m never hard on the players because I know they’re doing the best they can.”

Two men at the table, with headphones and microphones.

Glenn Barndon (left) commentating on a GNFL game with Peter Fiorenza.(Supplied: Barry Mitchell/Snapaction Sports Photography)

Passion for the game

Despite turning 40 this year, Barndon said he had no plans to hang up the microphone just yet.

“Right now, I’m still as enthusiastic about calling football as I was when I started and that’s the good thing,” he said.

“Many people go to play golf on a Saturday afternoon, well, I go to watch football and that’s my entertainment. That’s my joy.”


Mukinbudin’s John Shadbolt has been a long-standing member of the WA Country Football executive and is a former chairman.

He said Barndon has been a great ambassador for domestic football over the years.

“I think his passion for the game and for all the communities in our country has been exceptional,” he said.

“I think everyone who has played football, been involved with football in the country of WA has been affected by Glenn in one way or another in a positive way and I really applaud what he has done.”

Like Barndon, Shadbolt said the best thing about being involved in country football was the friendships built over the years.

“I have appreciated our friendship over the years and I think that is one of the most important parts of being involved in the sport, and especially widely involved as Glenn has been, and continues to be, the number of acquaintances and good friends what he did that time,” he said.

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