Coburg celebrates its history and welcome 14 new Life Members
On a chilly Friday night in Essendon, over 300 Past Players, Officials, Coaches and family members gathered to remember and reflect on some of Coburg Football Club’s greatest triumphs and introduce 14 new Life members.
The 2019 Coburg Football Club Tribute Night was created by the Past Players and Officials Association to bring together a number of premiership teams that were all celebrating significant anniversaries this year. The night featured a number of speeches and reflections from past coaches and captains, including the 1970 and 1974 Second Division Premiership sides, and the 1979, 1988 and 1989 VFA First Division Premiership teams. It was enlightening to hear from club luminaries like Phil Cleary, Colin Kinnear, Mick Erwin and Colin Hobbs as they spoke about the importance of the club to them, and the friends they made along the way at Coburg. It was a great chance for everyone to see a number of old faces who may have not been seen for a number of years, and a good time was had by all.
The second part of the night saw a number of new life members be inducted following a change to the criteria earlier this year. This new criteria allowed a number of familiar faces to now be recognised and welcomed as life members of the Coburg Football Club. Each member was presented with a Life membership pin, and was celebrated by the room for their past achievements with the club. We hope to see them all continue to support Coburg into the future.
Below is a summary of all life members who were inducted on Friday night. We are excited to welcome them to be part of Coburg’s history.
GARY MILROY- Came to Coburg from Carlton in 1978 and came third in the Best & Fairest in his first year. Played in the 1979 premiership win, kicking the sealing goal. Third again in the Best and Fairest in 1980, and second in 1981. One of Gary’s quotes was always “Midfielders get the votes even though the rucks got it to them”.
GEOFF ROBINSON– Came in 1969 from Essendon. Won the best first year player award and went on to play in the 1970 and 1974 premierships; picked up several other awards along the way in his career of 91 senior games and 19 reserve games.
MARK WIEDEMAN– Came from Fitzroy in 1986 and finished 3rd in Best & Fairest. Rucked tirelessly in the 1988-9 duel premierships. Best and fairest winner in 1987. In a short action packed career of only 36 games over 4 years. Selected in the team of the century.
STEVEN SALVADORE – Came across from Brunswick VFA in 1991 and won Coburg’s B&F in 1993. Steven was appointed captain in 1994 and held this role until 1996. He coached the reserves in 1999, and retired with 109 games to his name.
GLEN RACAVOLIS- Glen arrived in 1988 from Douta Stars and had immediate fortune to play in the 1988 premiership. An unfortunate injury in the semi saw him miss the 1989 grand final. Glen played 89 senior games and 20 reserves, and he retired in 1995, and came on board as the president of the past players association after that.
NANCY MCDONALD- Nancy has been a longtime supporter of the club with her husband Bruce and rarely misses a game no matter where it is held. In the early days she assisted in preparing players jumpers, sewing on labels and repairs, worked upstairs in the kitchen area getting meals for supporters and players after games and training. A great follower for over 30 years.
COLIN HOBBS– Colin arrived from Fitzroy in 1971. He was appointed captain of the 1974 premiership team and of the club in 1975. Colin left and went to Northcote in 1977, and was connected with the Fitzroy club when they came to Coburg before they folded. Played 98 senior games and 6 lightning premiership games in a 6-year career.
GIUSEPPE MAMONE- Came around the club as a youngster in 1990 helping out in the change rooms and other tasks. Giuseppe became assistant property steward in 1993 and was elevated to head property steward in 2000. Giuseppe stayed on, then got promoted to the Calder Cannons in 2003 and later on was approached to do this role for the Richmond AFL side, where he is still the head of property.
NORM BRENNAN– Came to Coburg from Carlton in 1969 and unfortunately injuries meant he missed the 1970 flag. But Norm was up and about to play in the 1974 premiership. Norm gave 7 years of service and played 99 games in the seniors and 6 in the reserves.
MAL COLLINS- Came to the club from Carlton and played in the 1979 premiership. It was Mal’s kick to the centre which gave way to the famous goal from David Fischer that won the game. Mal won the B&F in 1984 after 106 games and 108 goals in a 9-year career.
MICK ERWIN- Came to the club from Richmond in 1968 and sadly was injured after 4 games, missing the rest of the season. Appointed captain coach in 1969 and led the Lions until 1972. During this time he led the club to the 1970 premiership, and also winning the 1972 Best & Fairest. Went to Port Melbourne and played in a premiership with the Borough as well, before he went on to coach Collingwood for 6 years. Mick was selected in the team of the century and is also a member of the Hall of Fame.
GARY HALBERT- Gary arrived in 1979 and was met with immediate success playing in the 1979 premiership. He picked up the 1980 Best & Fairest award as well. Gary played 118 games, kicking 207 goals. He returned after retiring to become president of our Past Players & Officials Association.
DANIEL VENDITTI– Came to the club in 2012 from Perth, and came 3rdin the Best and Fairest in his first season. Ditti then went on to win the next 3 Best and Fairest awards, being only the 2nd player in Coburg’s history to achieve this after Ray ‘Slug’ Jordon. Daniel was a leadership group member and played 67 games for the Lions, kicking 30 goals.
BEN CLIFTON- Arrived from Seymour in 2008, and joined the leadership group in 2010. Cliffo was appointed vice captain in 2012 and held the role until his departure at the end of 2015. A tireless midfielder and defender, Cliffo placed 2nd in the 2011 Best & Fairest and 3rd in the 2015 Best and Fairest. He played 112 senior games with 35 goals in his 8 years of service.