– 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.

 

– Craig Lends a Hand

Former CEO of the NSWAFL and player with four VFL Clubs, Craig Davis, is seen her in our photograph with Kevin Taylor, who is suffering from lung cancer.

Kevin was a leading light in football after he moved to Sydney in the late 1970s from Melbourne.  He undertook positions on the league executive and produced the best and most informative Sydney Football Record in two stints, one in the 1980s and again in the 1990s.  His work was superb.

He was also secretary of the History Society for a considerable period and like his effort with the Football Record, his minutes and attention to detail were second to none.

Craig has been visiting Kevin’s home at Eastlakes in Sydney each Thursday giving his partner, Rob a break while he looks out for the octogenarian.

I know all his fans and readers of his former website: Footystats, will join with us in wishing Kevin all the best.

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.

VFL Moves to Sydney

How long is it since South Melbourne relocated to Sydney and went on to become the Sydney Swans?

If you said thirty-three years you would be right.

They have now established themselves as part of the Sydney sporting scene, trend setters in a number of ways and accepted by many whom 30 years ago could not spell Australian football.  Of course now its the turn of GWS to make their mark in Sydney.

But those who orchestrated the move, who pushed the VFL into playing outside of Melbourne, a move which eventually led to the creation of a national competition?  Who were they? Well, they now have all but gone.

You might ask, who was it that came up with the Sydney idea and why?

The VFL president at the time, Allen Aylett, (pictured) certainly was in the box seat for the change and history will probably recognize him as the man responsible for change.

Allen is now 82 and there is no doubting his footballing talent.  He played 220 games with the North Melbourne club, captain and later president leading North to change its image from also-rans into that of a football powerhouse.

But the VFL had to tread on egg-shells in their effort, not so much to make a presence in Sydney, but to convince their clubs of the move, to overcome the straitlaced Victorian Government’s ‘no football on Sunday policy’ (apart from the VFA) and at the same time appease the struggling grass roots football fraternity in Sydney.

In 1980 the fractured NSW Football League administration met with Aylett and VFL General Manager, Jack Hamilton with regards to the possible establishment of a VFL club in Sydney.

The then erstwhile secretary of the NSWAFL, Kevin Taylor, a fastidious administrator who left no stone unturned in documenting a record of the meeting, gave a very factual account of the gathering in the league’s 1980 annual report which can be read here.

More specifically, Kevin’s record of the meeting and what was said is set out here.

Let us not forget that certainly in the first year of South Melbourne’s move to Sydney, the VFL:  rostered a Sydney Football League match as curtain raiser to the main game, paid the Sydney Football League $1,000 as compensation (for what is unsure) each time a VFL game was played at the SCG and most importantly negotiated with the VFL television carrier to telecast the match Australia wide.

And how will history judge Allen Aylett, the dentist who gave so much of his time and energy to change only to have his wings clipped by the VFL in 1983.  We hope people see Allen as a true champion and leader of our great game.

Alas these memories are soon cast aside as life moves on through time and some other issue grabs the attention of the footballing public.  But never so much as the time of the VFL’s move to Sydney.

1978 Sydney Football League DVDs Available

DVD smallFollowing a lengthy period of production and other arrangements, the Society has finally made available twelve unique DVDs of various Sydney Football games.

These are in colour, of good quality and were originally shown on TV in 1978 with Kevin Taylor now of Footystats fame.  There is no audio, apart from the whistle, umpire instructions and crowd noise.

The games were recorded at Trumper Park, Rosedale Oval, Olds Park, Ern Holmes Oval and Erskineville Oval.  Seven out of the eight clubs which comprised the first grade in 1978 are featured.  Strangely, there are no North Shore FC games which leads us to suspect that the films involving the club were removed before they came into the hands of the Society.

You can view the list of games here and by clicking any of the matches listed on this page you will be able to view a short clip of the particular game.

These DVDs are available for sale at $24.50 plus $5.40 postage, total $29.90 and orders can be placed on our Merchandise Sales page here and then follow the instructions.

A number of former players and officials will really get a buzz out of seeing these matches and the purchase of a DVD would make an ideal present for a father, uncle, brother or grand father.

FILM CONVERSION GIVEN GREEN LIGHT

2014-08-19 Film cannisters smallThe Society’s Committee today agreed to digitise eleven cannisters of 1978 16mm film which were found recently.

The exercise is an expensive one with a quote of $35 per 100 feet (30.5 metres) accepted by officials however they have resolved to apply a ceiling limit to costs.

A box of the films, including a cannister of offcuts, were located at the league offices, Moore Park.  Apparently no-one there knew the origin of the film but since, former league CEO, Craig Davis, has indicated that he had the box together with other historical material, in a store room for some years.  The image shows two of the Society’s committee, Jenny Hancock and Ian Wright with the film.

Also, author of the website, Footystats Diary and former League Publicity Officer, Kevin Taylor, told the Society they were part of his World of Australian Football Panel Show which filled the half time slot in Channel Seven’s VFL direct Saturday telecast.

“A number of the rolls of film do not have sound but I believe they are in excellent condition, possibly only being shown once” Taylor, now 81, said.

“We used them in the show and those on the panel with me would comment on the games.  There was only one cameraman at the ground but from memory he did an excellent job with a range of lenses to capture the games with his camera in a very professional manner.”

Those were the days of some great footballers in Sydney, including one of the best to come out of NSW, John Pitura, who was coach of North Shore.  He was recruited from Wagga to South Melbourne then transferred to Richmond.

All the senior teams in the competition are shown in this vision, apart from Balmain.  Some are shown on a number of occasions.

These are the match film currently being processed:

ROUND DATE MATCH VENUE
2 9 April Western Suburbs v Pennant Hills Macquarie Uni
4 23 April St George v Newtown Olds Park
5 30 April Southern Districts v St George Rosedale Oval
6 7 May East Sydney v Southern Districts Trumper Park
8 21 May East Sydney v Western Suburbs Trumper Park
9 28 May Newtown v Southern Districts Erskineville Oval
10 4 June East Sydney v Newtown Trumper Park
16 16 July East Sydney v St George Trumper Park
18 30 July St George v Newtown Trumper Park
19 6 August Pennant Hills v Newtown Trumper Park
1st Semi 27 August Newtown v Western Suburbs Erskineville Oval

 

Also, besides the players it will give an idea of the grounds and facilities clubs had to put up with 46 years ago and obviously too, show some of the supporters and patrons of the game in Sydney in the period.

The decision to digitise the film was motivated by a need to secure the vision while still in a good condition and then make these games available to the public on DVD for a reasonable cost.

NEW MATERIAL UNEARTHED

A strange mixture of Sydney archival football material turned up the other day.  They were rescued by Society Benevolent Member, Dave (Spanner) Spence, from the Western Suburbs Club.  Dave said he found them in a box at the league office with apparentlyAlby Young - 1948 no-one there with any knowledge as to where they came from.

They included

  • *  1945 South Sydney FC Reserve Grade Premiership Pennant “this is the oldest existing premiership flag we are aware of”.
  • *  1950s South Sydney football jumper.
  • *  Two South Sydney long sleeve football jumpers, in a unique design
  • *  Two 1930s South Sydney long sleeved football jumpers.
  • *  Twelve cans of 16mm film showing various 1978 Sydney football games
  • *  Four unidentified reels of film

The flag and the jumpers are all part of the estate from the late Alby Young (pictured), a life member of the league and South Sydney who had a lifetime involvement with the club and the game in Sydney where he was very well known.  He died in his in his early nineties in 1995.  All items are in reasonably good condition considering their age and unknown storage locations.  All jumpers are woollen and appear to be manufactured in Sydney by ‘Murdocks’, David Jones and Anthony Horderns & Sons.  One has been repaired by darning, an almost lost art these days.  The flag appears to be cotton and apart from a few holes, looks good.

The History Society was aware of his legacy but thought it had been thrown out in one of the many cleanouts at the league over the years.  They were ecstatic at the find most of it still existed and have already begun to preserve the material garments and identify the film reels where possible, which have been catalogued and classified.

1945 Sth Sydney Reserve Grade Flag small
South Sydney jumper 1 smaller South Sydney jumper 2 small South Sydney jumper 3 smaller
1930-40 1940s
note the darning
1950s
click to enlarge

When it comes to those without identification it is envisaged one of the more experienced members will have to sit when the film is played to identify the teams and the game.  Then they will all be put on DVD for long term preservation.  It is expected that this will be a costly exercise and Society officials will have to revisit their budget to enable this expensive process to take place.  We have already been quoted $35 per 100 feet for DVD conversion and collectively, there’s many thousands of feet of film for processing.

ATN1978-b smallerFollowing searching inquiries we finally found out the origin of the film.  It was taken during 1978 and used on Kevin Taylor’s Half Time Footy Forum, during the early direct telecast of the VFL Match of the Day.  The attached photograph shows the panel in that year with guest, Fitzroy president Frank Bibby at a time when it was mooted that Fitzroy would move to Sydney.  It was taken in mid-1978 at the Epping studios in Sydney of ATN7. From left: Nick Rogers, Fitzroy president Frank Bibby, Ian Wallace, compere Kevin Taylor, John Armstrong, Joe ‘Cleopatra’ Armstrong and Peter Gray, who is on the right.

To ascertain a more exact idea of the jumpers an approach will be made to a former 89 year old South Sydney player to see if he can identify the era of the unknown jumpers.

The South Sydney Club participated in Sydney football in 1890-93.  Upon the resurrection of the game in 1903, founding club, Redfern changed their name to South Sydney in 1911.  The club folded following the 1976 season.

Society president, Ian Granland played for and was involved with South Sydney in his youth and tells the story that it was quite well known that Alby had all his football treasures in a camphor box at his Rosebery home.  Little would anyone realise that these treasurers, one of which must have been Alby’s football jumper when he played, would surface after all these years.

1978 Sydney All-Stars

Kevin TaylorIn 1978, current renowned online football columnist with Footystats, Kevin Taylor (pictured), was the anchor in Sydney’s channel 7  VFL match of the day.  He had several cronies on his half time,1978 All Stars small Football World panel, all of whom were Sydney local football identities.

At the end of the season they selected a Sydney All-Star Team, or putting it simply, a team of the year.  Click green image to view.

We are again publishing the team but this time adding the Phelan Medal Votes those selected received in that year:

NAME

CLUB

VOTES

Bob Bell

St George

5

Steve Bird

St George

2

Jim Bourke

Western Suburbs

11

Kent Coburn

Newtown

9

Keith DeLooze

Pennant Hills

3

Graeme Foster

East Sydney

5

Brett Francis

St George

24

Ian Geddes

East Sydney

8

Wayne Goss

East Sydney

20

Barry Greaves

Western Suburbs

10

Ian Harry

Western Suburbs

5

Lindsay Hetherington

Western Suburbs

6

Bob Hill

St George

5

Jack McCormack

Southern Districts

*26

Richard Morgan

North Shore

6

Kevin O’Halloran

Newtown

14

John Pitura

North Shore

12

Wes Preston

Western Suburbs

2

Graham Shiel

Western Suburbs

Nil

Alan Woodhams

North Shore

6

PHIL HAYES

UMPIRE

*Won the Phelan Medal

CLUB REPRESENTATION IN THE TEAM

East Sydney

3

Pennant Hills

1

Newtown

2

North Shore

3

Southern Districts

1

St George

4

Western Suburbs

6

TOTAL:

20

 

1978 FINAL LADDER

TEAM

PLAYED

WON

LOST

DRAWN

FOR

AGAINST

%

PTS

North Shore

21

19

2

2622

1953

134.2

76

Western Subs

21

15

6

2363

1755

134.6

60

St George

21

13

7

1

2210

1995

110.8

54

East Sydney

21

11

10

2233

2132

104.7

44

Newtown

21

9

11

1

2017

1933

104.3

38

Pennant Hills

21

8

13

2013

2080

96.8

32

Southern Dists

21

7

12

2

1795

2033

88.3

32

Balmain

21

21

1462

2734

53.5

 

North Shore won the grand final: 17-17 (119) to Western Suburbs 13-12 (90).

The Coup of 1978

Towards the end of the 1970s a certain section of the Sydney football community were tiring of the league administration led by long term president, Bill Hart.

As successful as it was in its own way, it was seen as old fashion, not up with the times, anti VFL and still followed doctrine that had been laid out earlier in the century.

Added to this was the growing interest the VFL was showing to extend their influence into Sydney.  In 1974 Victoria v South Australia played at the SCG which attracted 20,000 fans but more importantly the game was televised live to W.A., Tasmania, South Australia, ACT and most country areas of NSW.

In those days the Victorian Government would not permit the VFL to play their games on Sundays in that state so they began looking for different venues where their football could be televised back into Melbourne.  Sydney was one such location which had the potential to fill the void most admirably.  It is safe to say at that stage, there was no premeditated vision to expand the competition interstate.

A lot of the acrimony in Sydney had to do with the NSWAFL’s participation in the Escort Championships.  This was a separate knock-out competition which began in 1977 involving then only the 12 VFL clubs but by 1979 it also included all WAFL clubs, NSW, Tasmania and the ACT.  The following year all clubs in the SANFL became involved along with Queensland.

NSW’s involvement was not without distress when the NSWAFL Board of Management resolved in August, 1978 to involve the state in the series but only after a fairly volatile debate which was then followed by a very close vote.

So with this underlying feeling that the old school would not move with the time plus and rancour in NSW’s involvement in the Escort Championships, a clandestine group began to meet at the then Newtown Rules Club, 303 Cleveland Street, Redfern, with the ultimate aim of unseating the administration of the league at the December 1978 AGM.  At that time and for the previous 75 years, the NSWAFL conducted not only the football affairs of part of NSW but also the Sydney competitions.

If successful the group were promised by the VFL the appointment of a ‘fulltime professional administrator for the league.’  This was despite the fact that the NSWAFL had had a fulltime secretary with assistant, since 1964.

In October 1978, part-time television personality, Kevin Taylor, who, by that time, had been sacked by the league as their media representative, laid out the plans of the new group in an article in a local inner-city newspaper, The Sydney Shout, so it was quite clear that the clandestine tag had been quickly lost with the machinations of the time.

Along with Taylor, Bern Heafey was one of the prime movers in the Sydney football power play.  He was an affable character who had football at heart.  Heafey had one year as president of the North Shore Club in 1951 but later involved himself with St Ives, a second division club, where he was president.  In time he was to become the face of the new faction but only for a short period.

The idea of change came with the suggestion of new and exciting possibilities and additional meetings were held at other venues, including Easts Rules Club, Bond Junction, St George Clubrooms at Olds Park and even Bankstown Sports Club.  Tension was building with the group’s activities because not all clubs were involved with this action.

The 1978 Annual General Meeting of the NSWAFL was set for Monday 11 December at their offices, 64 Regent Street, Chippendale.

Unusually, the actual meeting was held in the front reception area of the small attached brick building where there was standing room only for most.

League officials were very much aware of the move against them with both camps working overtime to secure sufficient votes to get over the line.

Each of the nine Sydney first division clubs had two votes.  The eight second division clubs each had one vote as did the NSW Junior Football Council, Newcastle AFL, South Coast AFL, NSW Country AFL, Central Coast AFL, Illawarra AFL and each board member of the league.  Life members also had the opportunity to exercise a vote but historically not many of these personnel turned out for the annual meetings.  Perhaps if they had  realised the significance of the possible outcome, they might have made the effort.

The meeting was extremely acrimonious with chairman, Bill Hart, flat out controlling the sometimes raucous attendees who were full of interjections.

Hart (shown here on the left) was defeated by Heafey in a close vote.  Country representative, Allen Baker was appointed to the Vice President’s position.

Many of the incumbent Board of Management were re-elected but several, along with Heafey, only lasted a year or two with a number of resignations listed in 1980.

One of the most disappointing aspects of the change was the sale of premises at 64 Regent Street, which incidentally the purchase of which was mainly funded by the Western Suburbs Football Club Ltd.  The building was far from salubrious but did represent the code with a main street location and somewhere to call ‘home’.

After the sale, League officials were then housed in the top floor at the Newtown Rules Club at 303 Cleveland Street Redfern, a converted picture theatre, until 1985 when they moved to new premises under the Bill O’Reilly stand at the SCG.

The enthusiasm and new Sydney Football League entity which resulted from the coup, did not last and when a new administration took control not that many years later, it all changed again.