Calling it a day

You'd have to travel far and wide to find someone that loves the Coburg Football Club more than Alan Walsh.

At 74 years of age, the Coburg Football Club's Property Steward known affectionately as 'Grumpy' is stepping down from his position after being involved with the club for more than 30 years.

"I just think it was time to thank everyone for the magnificent ride, and it's time I give time back to my wife."

It won't be an easy post to give up for Walsh, who for the last three decades has been involved with the Coburg Football Club in some capacity.

"I'll still support the club in whatever way I can." he said.

 

In 1983, Michael Walsh was added to the Coburg Under-19s squad, bringing his passionate father Alan with him.

"I knew a lot of people at the club and had been watching Coburg play off and on since 1960, but when I came here with my son it felt like I was coming home."

Initially involved as the Under 19's team manager, Walsh had numerous roles at Coburg City Oval, ranging from a two stints at vice-presidency right up to the property steward that he's giving up today.

Despite his hard work off the field, he became known for his quick temper and earned a reputation for being the angry old man who washed your jumpers, but you knew you could count on him to always be there to help out in whatever way he can.

"Kevin Breen approached me one morning in 1994 and walked into the change room and said I've got the perfect nickname for you. Within minutes everyone was calling me Grumpy."

Grumpy states his fondest memory was sharing in the 1988 Under 19s Premiership which he was an official for.

"It was a great moment for all of us involved. I felt we had really earned it" he said.

Made a life member in 1993, Grumpy's dedication to the club exceeded far beyond donating his arms and legs. For years his contributions to raising funds to help the club survive in tough years remains to this day, still offering to donate the awards given on the club's Best and Fairest night.

 

As he looks on towards the future, he has some positive words for the Coburg faithful.

"I think Craig Lees and Peter German have turned this club around and the future is strong for the Lions." he said.

Walsh's unwavering support of the club, thrived a personal belief he couldn't take a back seat. Through desire and passion he gave countless to the club that is in personal debt to him. Sure, even he'll tell you there has been times when he's been stubborn to be with and say what you will, but you can't take away his undeniably immense passion for the Coburg Football Club.

"I do not support anybody in the AFL. I only support Coburg." he smiled.

Grumpy insists he can't just sit back and relax, and that you should expect to see him at Coburg's functions throughout the following years.

"I'll come to match days to watch and functions and that sort of things. I'd hate to think in five years, or twenty years down the track that the club disintegrates. That'd be devastating".

Looking back on his time at Coburg, Walsh had a few people to specifically mention.

"I'd like to thank Clarrie Butcher for roping me into the club, also Phil Cleary's support as well as the current administration"

An outstanding volunteer, there's no doubt there will be a missing piece in the coming years down in the rooms whether you're looking for a spare pair of footy shorts, or boots you left behind at training the night before. 

"I just hope everyone appreciates what I’ve done. This club is firmly entrenched in me and I'm sure some will say I’ve been a grumpy old 'so and so', but everything I did, I did it for this football club."

But now for the most part, its time for channel everything back home for Alan to give time back to his devoted wife Pat.

"She's happy to have me around and do what we have to do before the final curtains".

Always the first to arrive and the last to leave, Alan Walsh has given an extraordinary amount to the Coburg Football Club that can be quantified or ever be repaid.

Thank you Grumpy.