– Kevin Taylor passes

We don’t often write about the death of people mainly because the nature of this organisation sees the demise of many of our former players and officials.  However we make one exception: Kevin Taylor.  A name known in Sydney football between the 1970s-90s to many, mostly as K.T.  Kevin died last Tuesday as a result of lung cancer, he was 83.

He played a big part in changes to the game after he moved to Sydney from Melbourne in 1976 to manage a large Sydney Cinema which was part of the Village Road Show chain.  He was always interested in football and the media and started all this in his early days as the assistant secretary of the Diamond Valley Football league.

Followers of the game today might remember Kevin through his website: Footystats and in the 1990s edited the Sydney Football Record and there was no more well researched and well written publication than this.  He did a wonderful job on the Record, starting in 1979 when he, as part of a coup that took over the management of Sydney football, produced a wonderful series of documents that year.  You can read the copies here.

He was very much pro the VFL coming to Sydney and was part of that coup that set up the eventually failed Sydney Football League 1980-1986.  And in fact wrote a book on the Sydney Swans, a publication that is probably on the book shelves of many of the people reading this article.

In 1978 Kevin hosted the VFL Match of the Day on Channel 7 each Saturday during the season.  He chaired a rather large table of mostly Sydney football identities in a half time session which discussed local footy and also featured a clip of a first grade match.  During that year he interviewed Brownlow Medalist and South Melbourne player, Graham Teasedale and you can view his Erskineville Oval interview here.

In his involvement in Sydney football he was also a member of the NSWAFL Board of Directors; he produced a series of publications in 1980 including one called Between Seasons.  We have only found three of these and you can read them here.  There are more similar documents at our Magpie Sports Offices and we will shortly scan and add these to our online collection.

Kevin was also an Australian Football journalist for the Sunday Telegraph and the Australian during the eighties and he reported live on Sydney Swans home games from the SCG for radio stations, 2GB, 2UE, 2KY and 2SM at the same time, ending each quarter x quarter report with “this is Kevin Taylor reporting exclusively for ….. ”

Kevin supplied statistics for various media outlets and was always on hand for Fox Footy to text through pertinent stats on a particular incident or event that might have just occurred in a game.  He did this right up to a year or so ago.

Kevin was the secretary of the NSW Australian Football History Committee, the name of this group before it incorporated in 2010, the same year he was made a life member of the AFL Sydney.  He was also a benefactor member of the Society which means he made a significant financial contribution to the organisation.  His loss is not only one for his family but also to football in general.  He was a good hand and a likeable bloke.

I will never forget the time in early 1990 when a weekly Saturday Morning radio show on Community Radio Station, 2SERFM particularly concerning Sydney football was started.  League officials went to the Broadway studios to introduce themselves and get a feel for the place;  Kevin was one of those.  Community radio in those days was not particularly well organised (has it changed?) and as the aging 2SERFM panel operator was fiddling with the nobs and dials to produce a better sound, Kevin boomed across the room “for God sake man, get it right!!”  He was such a perfectionist.

 

K.T. ILL

A lifetime servant of the game and one who has been familiar to many on the Sydney scene over the past 35 years or so, Kevin Taylor is reportedly suffering from a severe lung infection.

He may not appreciate the world knowing his situation but we think what Kevin did for Sydney football, should be recognized.

He came to the state’s capital in the late 1970s with the motion picture industry and soon found himself involved in the game, first on the North Shore FC’s coKevin Taylor smallmmittee then with the league, as assistant secretary then later and in two or three separate sessions, undertaking his real love as Football Record editor.  He was at onetime in his youth, Football Record Editor for the Diamond Valley FL in Melbourne.

In 1978 Kevin hosted the Australian Football World.  This was a local football panel on Channel 7 shown at half time in their (only) Saturday match of the day each week.  You might see the panel in one of the revolving banners on the front page of this site.

Later he reported “live” on the VFL Match of Day at the SCG following the Swans early arrival in Sydney.  Working for several Sydney radio stations he always reported “exclusively” for each – at the same time!!!.  During this period he also wrote a regular column for a Sydney Sunday Newspaper.

A prolific writer on football, Kevin wrote several papers relating to Sydney football in and around 1980.  It was called “Tween Seasons” and you can view a copy by clicking here.

Kevin was one of the first to put his hand up when the League’s history committee was first formed in the mid 1990s.  He continued as secretary of the group for a number of seasons.  His minute taking was a sight to behold and since the reorganisation of the group has joined the Society at Benefactor level.

Two years ago Kevin was voted in as a life member of AFL Sydney, receiving his award on the Phelan Medal Night.

Not so long ago, Kevin turned 80 but still kept his hand in football with his website: Footystats where you can find next to every detail, particularly about the AFL for almost the past 20 years or so.  There is also a fair bit of old Sydney football there too.  Unfortunately he has been unable to continue with his reporting over the past few weeks because of his medical condition.

A great and very dedicated football disciple is Kevin and we know you will join us in wishing him the very best with his health.

Old Umpires Never Die

2015 McSweeney, Macpherson, Huon thumbnailHow does the saying go?  “Old umpires never die, they simply lose their whistle.”

Such was the case today when these two former Sydney umpires paid a surprise visit to the Society’s rooms at the Western Suburbs Aussie Rules Club, Croydon Park.

On the left in the pic is Jim McSweeney who did his first umpiring job in the mid 1950s;  He is now 81.  And on the right is Chris Huon, the man we described forever a bridesmaid, never a bride, meaning that he got second place in at least three umpiring appointments in Sydney during his career.

He told the story today that in the days of the single umpire in the late 1960s, two would be appointed to the grand final.  Both would dress and ready themselves for the game.  Then, the chairman of the Umpires’ Appointment Board would come into the umpires room at Trumper Park and announce who was to control the game.  Chris always got second place and the position of reserve umpire, on the bench.

Nevertheless the two assumed a number of roles in their time on the committee of the Umpires’ Association, from president through to treasurer.

The two still umpire today, this time they officiate in the Masters Football Competition in Sydney.

Chris brought with him a number of items he donated to the Society which were precious to him during his time with the whistle.  They include rule books, appointment sheets, notes on umpiring, meeting minutes etc.  The Society will scan then house these objects in their collection at Croydon Park.

While Jim had with him a photo of the umpires who officiated in the 1969 Under 19 Grand Final.  From left: Graeme 1969 U19 Grand Final Umpires thumbnailWhykes, Ken Smith, Leo Magee, Jim McSweeney, Peter Ryder, Bert Odewahn, Pat McMahon, Bob Tait.  Here again, Jim was the ‘reserve’ umpire.

The man in the middle of these two old umpires at top is Paul Macpherson, Vice President of the History Society and himself a former umpire in the Diamond Valley League, Melbourne.