96-year-old supporter inks premiership tattoo

Happy chap: Jack Darling went under the tattoo gun to commemorate his mighty Magpies winning their record equalling 16th premiership. Photographs supplied




YOU’RE never too old.

The 96-year-old Magpies-mad Jack Darling forever memorialised his love for the 2023 premiership team on his skin – recently going under the tattoo needle.

Heading to Blackscot Tattoo shop on Tarwin Street, Morwell, Darling had his mind and heart set on a Magpie tattoo.

“Well I said when Collingwood made the Grand Final, I said if they win the Grand Final, I’ll get a tattoo,” he laughed.

Following through with his word fresh off that premiership elation, it was straight to the ink shop for the diehard fan.

“I’ve been a staunch Collingwood barracker since I was 10-years-old,” Darling proudly said.

“I had an old uncle and aunty that lived in Abbotsford which is not far from Victoria Park. So, me and my brother, he’s a bit older than me, he said ‘I’ll take you to the football’.

“We got there and my brother said ‘I’m gonna barrack for the navy Blues’ so I said ‘I’m gonna barrack for the mighty Magpies’.”

Having been alive for 11 out of the 16 Collingwood premierships, Darling said this flag was incredibly special.

“They’re just a wonderful team. The coach and that – they’re just magnificent,” Darling said.

Still over the moon about Collingwood’s premiership, Darling said he hopes to add more Magpie related ink to his Collingwood collection – already planning for another tattoo if the Pies get up again next year.

“I’ll be getting another date on my arm if we do (go back-to-back),” he said.

“I’m 96-years-old, I might not be there then but I’m hoping I will be.”

A footy fan through-and-through, Darling has followed every Pies game closely. With the narrow winning margins the team has had over the last few years, you’d think Darling’s heart would need a check-up.

“I watch every game on the telly, I watch any football – I’m just mad on football,” he said.

Everyone knows just how mad Darling is for the Pies.

Having had his 96 birthday earlier in the year, Morwell Neighbourhood House organised a surprise birthday party for him.

Morwell Neighbourhood House was nice enough to go to great lengths to arrange a Collingwood signed jersey for Darling, with every single players inscription decorating the grand birthday gift.

Recalling his birthday, Darling proudly told the Express about his amazing gift and how “everyone on the Collingwood list has signed it”.

Latrobe City Councillor and Morwell Neighbourhood House Manager, Tracie Lund said “Jack is a passionate Collingwood supporter and we gifted him a jersey signed by this year’s players”.

“After Collingwood’s incredible Grand Final win Jack got a tattoo of his beloved Pies. A fitting tribute for the victory,” she said.

“You are one cool cat, Jack. I want to be just like you when I’m 96.”

Though Darling’s love of the Magpies is clear to see, in plain sight on his shoulder, he said that if his wife we’re still alive today, perhaps she wouldn’t take too kindly to the body modification.

“My wife passed away about two years ago now after 73 years of marriage …. that’s a very long time … it would have been interesting if she was still alive about the tattoo business … I don’t think she would’ve liked it,” he laughed.

Passing on his love of Collingwood to his youngest son, Darling said his youngest was definitely “mad on Collingwood”.

Readers will rejoice in the fact that the photos taken of Darling’s tattoo were before the 96-year-old returned to the tattoo shop to get the Magpies feet inked on and the tattoo complete.

“When I first got it I got home and I didn’t notice it but nearly everyone that looked at it said ‘it hasn’t got any feet”, and I looked and it didn’t have feet,” Darling chuckled.

“I had to go back and get the feet on, so that made it okay”.

Darling was the oldest person the tattooist at Blackscot Tattoo had ever tattooed – and perhaps one of the coolest.

Never too old: Darling was one of the oldest customers the tattoo shop had ever received.
Too cool: Morwell Neighbourhood House gifted Darling a signed jumper for his 96th birthday.