Twenty-five Years Ago

During 1995, More News commemorated its 25th anniversary by reprinting selected items from the corresponding editions of 1970.

This season we have endeavoured to continue that tradition with special emphasis on reports which have continuing relevance in 1996.

In 1971, the second year of the More saw technical considerations (the lack of a wide typewriter) force us to a calendar style format.

1971 Front Page Layout

More had a cover photo back in 1971--featuring Stephen Carey, nowadays better known in some Strathmore circles as Zak's old man.

The first 1971 edition was dated 21st April. Page 4 of that first More for 1971 saw Mantis introduce his new column--In Passing.

IN PASSING ...... by The Mantis

(Introducing a weekly column on players, personalities)

Easter Bunny didn't catch many Strathie people on the hop, but some were prepared for a rather frustrating Easter.

Under 15 Richard Temminghoff broke his arm when he fell from a bike going to footy practice and Dean Anderson (Under 13) sustained a fractured wrist at school.

Heard a whisper that the Hadfield C Grade side are keen to challenge Strathmore senior team to an end-of-season match ... former Strathie players Greg Park, Gary Keating and Peter Sandiford will strip for Hadfield.

Our club must feel justly proud of Ross Abbey (he played in our Under 17 premiership side last year), as Ross was 19th man for the Footscray first Eighteen in the game against Melbourne last Saturday week. Congratulations Ross, keep up the good work.

P.S. Syd McGain had a run in the 75 yds. event at Stawell.

And the Mantis piece of wisdom for this week - most applicable to players on the footie field - As one little fish said to the other - 'There's no future in opening your mouth'.

1971 Front Page Photo of Stephen Carey The earlier choice of Zak's old man to feature on the front page for the 1971 footy season was justified as 2 records that stand to this day were set in the same match. Our Under 15 A team kicked 46 goals 24 behinds--300 points--against Essendon Baptists-St.Johns and Steve Carey kicked 20 of those goals himself.

More was already promoting a Cabaret on June 19 at Hotel International which was seen to be "an excellent vantage point for watching the procession from Essendon Airport to Tullamarine"--a significant date in local history.

A short item from More, 19th May 1971:


For the big game at Airport West coach Ian Ward enlisted strong assistance from off the field to keep extra eyes on the progress of the game. Selector Len Kelly stood down from his usual position behind the sticks and was joined by new under age coaches Chris Wheeler and Darrell Lynch, both missing from their usual spots on half back flanks but for different reasons. Kevin Marcy co-opted while running the boundary for the under 15's to be official runner was kept busy relaying messages which undoubtedly assisted the great win.

On 26th May 1971, More cast a "Spotlight" on Chris Wheeler across three pages, which told us (in part):

Chris is typical of the young veterans of our senior side who make up the back-bone of the club, and is special in the efforts he has made to provide for the new under 15B side which he coaches.

Although a nephew of Syd McGain - Strathmore's founding father - the Mores only just beat Doutta Stars in the race for Chris's services as an uncle on the other side of the family was at that stage Doutta's secretary. Following Chris's career from when he started with uncle Syd's midgets at the age of ten takes one through a large slice of the history of S.F.C.

Chris went straight from the midgets to under 15s - there were no under 13's or under 11's in those days - and captained that side in his third and final year with them. Those under 15's went through the home and home matches undefeated but missed out on taking off Strathmore's first premiership by 5 points.

During that season Chris made the Melbourne West combined under 15 team. At that stage of his career Chris was a ruckman and half forward, but the next year under 17's made him a half back which he has stayed.

This season Chris has widened his interest in the club by recruiting family friend Trevor Kirk for the Mores Seniors, and by taking on the under 15B Coaching position.

Such was the enthusiasm in the early days of the More that we even brought out an edition in the week after Queen's birthday weekend even though there were no regular matches to report.

In that season, there were changes afoot in the youngest age groups, while More maintained a channel for contact with the legendary Strathmore Midgets clinic which in those days supplied the Essendon Little League team.

Rereading those early Mores often brings back details that overturn popular beliefs about the club's history, e.g. the first coaches meeting? We cannot answer that definitively, but the then Midgets co-ordinator and former Football Club president who visited a home game early this season, Bill Wilkinson, wrote of one earlier than we remembered:

"The coaches night" which was attended by several Midget coaches proved most entertaining, interesting and should prove most beneficial to all who attended - it was a pleasure to meet all coaches of Strathmore Football Club and it should be most reassuring to parents of players of all age groups to know their sons are in such capable hands. A sincere thank you to Mrs. Carstairs, (grandmother of S.F.C. Secretary) for the delightful supper she provided.

(The then secretary, retyping this in 1996, is sure it would have been a dry night.)

But much of our concern was with the inroads of formal competitions in the youngest age groups, which we looked at with tongue firmly in cheek in a short item immediately following:

This Friday 4 & 20's revenge as their pies and pasties devour our new Under 9 side - we were going to order party pies & pasties to give our boys a chance but coach John Redfern wanted to sort out the boys from the babies in their first big clash (with full size pies). At least there is less chance of surplus pies covering windscreens - hub caps maybe but not windscreens. The night should provide an excellent chance for parents to meat officials and each other.

And finally it was time to risk letting the babies actually play football:


Mum...Mum...MUM...MMUUMM...THE BALL's NOT COMING DOWN HERE - the boy who wanted to play in a Strathmore jumper because he hated Essendon (his name isn't Pridham) - two typical scenes of our first Under 9's tryout under match conditions. The two teams in Strathmore and Essendon jumpers kindly loaned by the Midgets had a real battle with a point between them at the finish. The 47 boys who turned up were coached by John Redfern and his helpers who stay on the ground at this age group, but were really upstaged by the immaculate umpiring of Brian D'Elton.

47 boys without an official team and in 1972 we only entered one Under 9 team!

On 30th June 1971, More reported:


The most talked about topic in town last week was what to do with our airport now that the great silver birds have flown--a topic more vital to the residents of Strathmore and Strathmore North than any other group of people. Any major development of the 800 acres will have a very big effect on our area, even eventually our football club. Whether it becomes a world fair, open parkland, a megacentre or any of the other dozens of ideas so far propounded--an area two and a half times Melbourne's inner city 32 blocks, suddenly transformed, has enormous potential.

On the back of the More of 14 July 1971, the "Stop Press" announced briefly:

1970-71 Ormond Amateurs Cricket Club consisted of only one senior team. 1971-72 is is planned that Ormond Amateurs-Strathmore Footballers Cricket Club will consist of 2 Senior, 1 Under 16 and 2 Under 14 sides. The addition of "Strathmore Footballers" making the difference.

This was the first announcement of the formation of what became Strathmore Cricket Club. But things did not turn out exactly as planned as the EBKCA in that same winter was deciding to start an Under 12 competition which we jumped straight into by providing two of that first eight team competition.

25 years on, the Cricket Club is planning a big celebration.

On 21st July, 1971, More ran yet another...


Reminiscing during the last week or so with football friends (are there any other kind) I was asked what had been the most influential reason for the steady growth into a strong, large and successful club, that Strathmore has become. This of course cannot be answered easily, or in a few words. The factors are many and varied, but one of the most important is the involvement of loyal, dedicated people. Many of those people with us in administrative positions came for a while, and stopped for a longer period than intended, at the same time filling in important posts with the various teams. Many of those are family groups, and Strathmore has been fortunate in this regard, having from its inception had many such groups. Past ones I have written about, and present ones I will also have something to say about, but for the moment I intend to mention one member of our Club who is one of the three longest serving officials. I refer to Grant Edmondson, also known as "The Mantis". He started playing with Strathmore Under 17 more than 10 years ago, and grant has stayed to become a permanent fixture. His good humour has lightened many a tense moment at Strathmore, and I am sure you have all seen his lightning dashes across the field as Alby Murdoch's runner or first-aid man.Grant has had Strathmore at heart since he started, and his efforts have always been appreciated even though the rewards, i.e. premiership flags in the Under 17 team, with which he usually identifies himself, have been few, it would not be for want of enthusiasm on Grant's part. In later days he has, as Editor of "More" done a lot more (no pun intended) for our Club, or should I say his Club, because I always connect Strathmore and Grant. When a year of football comes to a close, one always wonders who will be around to carry on when the next season begins, and I can say to myself with certainty, Grant will be here. Grant has made many friends at Strathmore, never an enemy, and I look forward to many more years in association with him. I hope we can get many more people like Grant to become involved in the affairs at Strathmore, there are riches here, and the future of the Club is assured only be the permanency of its administrators.


25 years ago, Alf was also working to establish what was to become Strathmore Cricket Club, yet still found time to write a story which gets to the heart of all that is good about the Strathmore clubs. Only 3 months later, Alf died suddenly, but 25 years on, the Mantis is still a major contributor to the Football Club. These two unique contributors are recognised by the first and the most recent of the football club's eight perpetual awards.

In the second year of More, we were so enthusiastic that we brought out two editions each week during the finals--the second giving details of the teams to play that weekend. In our first season in Under 11, that team was first to commence its finals campaign after Craig Capdevila had kicked 12 goals in the final round match including six in the last 12 minute quarter and finish second in the EJSFL best and fairest by just one vote. But it was one of his team mates who we noted for the future in the edition dated 30th July, 1971:


John is the quiet unassuming type whose presence is rarely noted off the football field. On the field however, it is a different story. John has played at centre half back for most of the season and his greatest attribute is the ability to pull down the big mark. John is one of the players the side has become dependent on and will become a great asset to the Strathmore teams he plays with in the future.

We were still bringing out two editions a week and on 13th August, 1971, on the eve of a successful "B" Grade finals campaign we decided to do something special and asked Syd McGain and Alf Pearce to write a page about each other, each without knowing that the other was doing likewise.

Alf by Syd

I had a visit from Tony Smith (he would make an excellent con-man if ever I saw one). Could I write an article on Alf Pearce as I had known him since the inception of Strathmore Football Club in 1954. The years have not dimmed my memory for I can see Alf now wandering the boundary at the Cross Keys offering advice in no uncertain terms. Young Graham Pearce was playing for our first ever side and we were not doing so well. One raucous remark impressed me greatly "WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU STRATHMORE, YOU'VE GOT THE SAME NUMBER OF ARMS AND LEGS, HAVE A GO." No, Alf never did things by halves and that included his barracking. Colourful, forceful and rude (at times very rude) but his sense of humour gave our young side the challenge they needed. Not only the players but myself as coach could not help hearing his advice. I thought "get this bloke interested in the team and he will be an asset." Alf did become interested, his was not an interest that waned when his son became too old for Under 17 football. He saw the need by the players for guidance and service to a sporting body which gave birth to the Strathie football club as we know it today.

Alf is at home discussing art, music and the more serious side of our life, not just his wide sporting interests alone. Whilst I do not wish to say anything derogatory in this article I must mention something that has puzzled me for years. How is it that a man as brilliant in his work, far seeing and accurate in his judgement cannot count over 7 on any par 5 hole on a golf course? Perhaps someone can come up with the answer. In a more serious vein however, too many people take for granted the immense amount of work Alf has performed for his beloved club. Since those early days he has never let them down. There must have been occasions when Mrs Pearce could tell us of late nights and weariness for there was so much to do. To you Mrs Pearce, son Graham, daughter Val, you must be very proud of your man, long may he live. From all of us who have been associated with Strathmore Football Club, in the words of C.J.Dennis: We dips our lid.

Syd by Alf

When the editors of More asked me to write an article about Strathmore Football Club identities and Syd McGain in particular, I don't think they realised the difficulties of doing such a task justice by writing a page or so in one issue. A serial would be more in keeping with a story about Syd. What am I to write about? Syd the athlete, Syd the footballer, Syd the coach, philosopher, inventor of the Midgets or Syd the raconteur? Perhaps I had better tell you about Syd the man and leave his sporting achievements for another time. I don't think I have met a finer person where youngsters are concerned than Syd. From the first days at Strathmore Football Club in 1954 his consideration has been for the young players' welfare. In those early days we had problems and problem kids, but Syd never turned one of them away. Each one had his special place in Syd's tidy scheme and he was ever ready to help the wildest kid and bring him back to an even balance. Syd had a wonderful way with the young players at Strathmore and they thought the world of him. He never ranted or raved but quietly explained what it was all about and today when I meet some of the players from those early days, their thoughts always include Syd McGain.

1956 was a disappointment, he had a premiership team, but they failed to capitalise on their ability and were runners-up. There were some moist eyes after this game, as some of the kids thought they had played their last game for Strathmore, we only had one team then Under 17. Syd came up with the bright idea of forming an open age team and keeping his kids at Strathmore. We did this and of course never looked back. Well into his forties, Syd in later 1957 and 1958 played with this team and performed brilliantly, although I was always scared that he would get an injury. His only comment then was that the kids needed his help, and he would do his utmost for them. I can assure you that his influence on the team had its effect, and the lessons he taught found their mark. At about this time he realised that there were a lot of young kids, too young to play competitive football, remember Under 17 was the youngest age group then, so he rounded them up, provided footballs, jumpers in some cases, and so began the famous Midgets. Early days were stormy. Council had to be convinced that the kids should be allowed to play on the grounds, and the secretary of the EDFL in those days was not favourably inclined towards those youngsters, for various reasons, and some of the resulting publicity caused torrid scenes. Syd would not be deterred, and eventually had press and council on his side, and of course, this first midgets group anywhere, certainly in Australian Rules Football, became famous and grew to the proportions we see today, sometimes 200 youngsters not regimented, but free to play wherever they wish when their days at the Midgets are over. So all you people interested in football or any sport, give a little praise to a man who had a dream, and made it come true.

More of 26 August 1971 was preoccupied with the lead up to what were to be successful grand final appearances by our "B" Grade and our Under 15 A teams. Stephen Carey had topped off an exceptional season with a win in the Under 15 league best and fairest, while John Ellis came 2nd in the equivalent "B" Grade award, a pointer to his third successive club best player award which was ultimately a tie with his close friend Terry Brown.

Arrangements for presentation nights and end of season trips also featured heavily, especially the forthcoming visit of a party of around 70 Under 15 and Under 13 players and officials to our "sister" club, Athelstone, in Adelaide, where were to watch them win flags in four senior grades on the one day, after Ken Pridham and three of his young players had endured a middle of the night transfer from Ken's broken down car to the train from Bordertown to Adelaide. Even more immediate were arrangements for premiership parties to be held at the club for Under 15s and at the Wheeler family home for the seniors.

We also reported the less than glorious end of a glorious era under coaches Col Morrison, Jeff Nickson and Alby Murdoch which established Strathmore as a power in junior football. Amongst our champions of that era, Russell Muir and Ian Kilmartin had progressed to North Melbourne, captain Russell Cox was too ill to take his place in the semi, vice-captain Philip O'Leary and Charlie Broadbent were out injured, and deputy vice-captain Graeme O'Brien was off injured before three quarter time, leaving the on fireld leadership in the hands of the only survivor of the "old guard", Phil Middleton. It was also the end of an era for a group of parents who helped build the administrative foundation of the club, although several were to continue in other roles for years to come.

That Under 17 semi-final led to a letter to the editor from Graeme O'Brien:

I would like to say thank you to all the people concerned on Saturday when I was injured, especially to Ken Pridham and Brian D'Elton who took me to the Margaret Street Clinic and to Ken and Mrs O'Leary for being so beaut to Mum.

And in the back page "Stop Press" we led with a brief mention that:

Ormond Amateurs-Strathmore Footballers Cricket Club has applied for 3 senior, 1 Under 16, 1 Under 14 and 2 Under 12 sides for 1971-72, and will be looking for Strathmore Footballers to make up the numbers soon.

25 years on, the Cricket Club is arranging a big celebration.