Fred Brown

Fred Brown, a field umpire with the VFL Umpires Association for seven seasons between 1961 and 1967 passed away recently.

Born in Melbourne on 13 August 1936, Frederick Graham Brown grew up in Footscray and Western Suburbs. He played football in the local church competition. A keen tennis player, he was part of many premierships in Footscray and District and, later, Ocean Grove and Bellarine competitions.

Beginning umpiring in 1957 with the VFL Reserve Grade, he spent four seasons on that list before promotion to the senior list. Brown showed early promise with a Gippsland Football League final in his second season. In 1963 and 1964 he umpired eight VFL Reserve Grade matches and completed a successful 1964 with the Metropolitan Football League Grand Final.

The Horsham and District Grand Final in 1965 was Fred’s last before leaving the VFL after the end of 1967 having umpired 127 VCFL matches and two representative matches. He stood for and was elected to the VFLUA Social Committee in 1966.

Brown moved immediately to the Victorian Football Association for two years and then to Geelong Umpires from 1970-1973. The final two seasons at Geelong Fred undertook the role of Umpires’ Advisor.

After retirement from umpiring Fred’s sporting interests moved toward golf (he scored two holes in one), and lawn bowls.

Fred passed away on 23 January 2007 aged 69.

Norm Chitts

As a member of the Victorian Football League Umpires Association Norm Chitts said that the best thing he got out of it was the friendships he formed over the time of his involvement.

Norman Charles Chitts was born on 12 June 1931 in Geelong West and grew up on the Bellarine Peninsula before moving to Melbourne’s northern suburbs. Not a footballer, he played cricket before taking up umpiring with the VFL Reserve Grade in 1953. In 1956 he was a member of the Social Committee.

Two years later Norm was promoted to the Senior List and began an eleven season career that resulted in one VFL Reserve Grade, 155 VCFL and metropolitan matches. There were also two lightning-premiership competitions at South Melbourne and Hawthorn.

In 1963 he umpired his only final – the Mid-Murray League Reserves Second-Semi Final at Swan Hill.

Retiring at the end of his eleventh season he was also awarded Life Membership of the Association in 1968.

Norm passed away peacefully on 9 February 2011.

Ted Saultry

Ted Saultry was a VFL field umpire in the years immediately after the Second World War an association he cherished and continued through his life.

Edmund Charles Saultry was born in Caulfield on 24 February 1926 and grew up in Albert Park and Port Melbourne. He played football for Port Melbourne Thirds in the Coburg District Football League.

After beginning umpiring with the Victorian Amateurs in 1944 he transferred to the Victorian Football Association for 1945 before applying for the VFL Senior List in 1946. He was accepted and began his career on 11 May at Ararat in the Wimmera League.

Country football was just getting back to its pre-war strength as various leagues re-started. Ted toured Victoria amassing 68 VCFL matches between 1946 and 1951. This included an eighteen-month leave of absence from June 1947 and all 1948.

Ted did not make the Second Eighteen competition but did officiate in five country finals. His last three matches were the Alberton League First-Semi, the Tyrrell League First-Semi and the Clunes League Grand Final. Ted retired at the end of the 1951 season.

In 1998 Ted became the ‘Voice of Port Melbourne’ when, at the behest of his brother and Port Melbourne President Peter, he took the role of ground announcer at TEAC Oval. Harking back to his umpiring days, he took special trouble to make sure umpires from each discipline were announced by name when they entered the ground at each Port Melbourne home match or VFL Grand Final at Princes Park.

Ted Saultry passed away on 24 August 2009.

Wilton Cutting

Wilton Lucas Cutting became a Life member of the AFLUA in 1962.

Born on 2 October 1923 he joined the VFL list of umpires from the VFL Reserve Grade in 1952. For the following thirteen seasons he traveled the length and breadth of Victoria each weekend during the season. With training and trekking across Victoria it was no wonder that his wife, Dawn, saw little of him on winter weekends and training nights. Nevertheless they raised three children and at the time of his death he was also grandfather to five granddaughters.

While Will never  senior VFL football he was a respected and experienced country umpire.

Over thirteen seasons he accumulated 236 VCFL, 19 Metropolitan and 7 VFL Second Eighteen matches. His two Grand Finals were in the 1955 Bass Valley-Wonthaggi Reserves and 1958 Barrellan Leagues.

Umpires serve their colleagues in a number of ways. Some join the Association Executive Committee and others use their professional skills to assist their mates. As a builder Will constructed houses for a number of umpires as well as being a good friend and companion.

Will retired from the VFLUA at the end of the 1964 season but remained involved with sport and the community as a Scout and Venturer Leader from 1969-1982. He was also and active member (or at least his birds were) of the Moorabbin Racing Pigeon Club from 1972-1995.

Wilton Cutting passed away peacefully at Cabrini Hospital on 19 July 2005.

Vivian Tanner

Vivian Newton Tanner was born in Melbourne on 6 August 1917 and grew up in Richmond

As a young man he played football for Richmond Imperials (Melbourne Boys League) and Preston (VFA)

Returning to the Melbourne Boys League he embarked on an umpring caer there in 1947 before moving onto the VFL Second Eighteens between 1948-50.

Promoted to the VFL senior list in 1951 he umpired 18 VCFL matches in two seasons before retiring from umpiring.

Vivian, the father of VFLUA life member and grand final boundary umpire Rod Tanner, passed away on 12 July 2014 aged 96.

Ron Reitman

Ron Reitman was a good footballer who made the transfer to umpiring with the same sort of natural ability.

Born Ronald Alan Reitman on 31 October 1926 he grew up in Williamstown where he would live his entire life. His football pedigree was outstanding as his father, Bert, was also an excellent footballer who played with and captained Williamstown as well as playing 12 matches for Collingwood in the VFL.

Joining Williamstown in the VFA from the local district team in 1944 he made his senior Association debut the following year. He was also invited to train at South Melbourne that year and impressed them enough that they recruited him before the year was out. The following year he returned to Williamstown and in 1948 was part of their second eighteens premiership win.

Ron began umpiring in 1953 with the VFL Second Eighteens and in 1957 was promoted to the senior list.

In a rarity for the time he was appointed t a VCFL final in his first year – the Gippsland league second eighteens first semi-final. The advance continued with three VFL Second Eighteen appointments in 1958 and two senior VCFL finals at the end of the year.

A year off in 1959 was followed by a successful 1960 season culminating in finals in the Bass Valley and Kowree-Narracoorte leagues. The following season Ron moved on to the amateurs before hanging up the whistle at the end of 1961. His VFL totals were 3 VFL seconds, 1 Tasmanian and 45 VCFL (5 finals) matches in 3 seasons.

Ron passed away on 5 June 2014 aged 87.

Keith Lake

Keith Lake umpired with the VFL from 1950-55.

He moved to Victoria from his birthplace Perth, Western Australia, aged seven. An earlier adopter of the whistle Keith began umpiring with the Essendon District Football at age 18 in 1944.

The following year he transferred to the VFA where he umpired for five seasons in the seconds.

In 1950 he moved competitions again this time to the VFL where he bypassed the second eighteens and was appointed directly to the senior list. His first two matches were in the second eighteen competition but he umpired at that level only once more – five years later. The intervening period was filled with the usual VCFL appointments. A year off in 1954 was followed by a final chance at the seconds but it was not to be and Keith retired from the VFL with 3 second eighteens, 4 metropolitan and 52 VCFL matches to his credit.

Keith Lake passed away on 18 October 2014.

Des Morwood

Des Morwood’s lasting legacy to football may well be the careers of his three sons at VFL/AFL level and his long-time connection with the Noble Park Football Club. He was however also a member of the VFLUA from 1963-67.

Born Desmond John Morwood on 22 July 1931 he joined the VFL senior list of field umpires in 1963. He had begun umpiring with the VFL Reserve Grade five years earlier and over five seasons he accumulated 91 VCFL matches including 7 senior finals. Three of these were in his final season at Bairnsdale, Wy Yung and Katanga.

Following retirement in 1967 he had little contact with umpiring but contributed mightily to local football and of course his sons Shane, Paul and Tony careers are well known.

Des passed away on 27 February 2015 at Deniliquin.

Keith McNiece

Keith McNiece was involved in football as a player, umpire and committeeman.

Born in Coburg on 20 February 1927 he grew up in Bundoora and Reservoir and played football with Preston Youth (Preston District JFA), Reservoir (Metropolitan FL) and later won a Wagga District Premiership while serving in the RAAF.

Keith joined the VFL Second Eighteens as a field umpire and was with them for five seasons before being promoted to the senior list for 1957. Over seven seasons he compiled a record of 111 VCFL and 7 metropolitan. His most successful seasons were his final two. In 1962 there were three VCFL finals and in his final year three VCFL preliminary finals followed by the 1963 Omeo and District and the Kowree-Narracoorte Reserves Grand Finals.

Also later in his VFL career he took a role with the VFLUA when elected to the Social Committee for 1959-62 and then to the Executive Committee in 1963. When he retired from the senior list it was for this service that he was elected to honorary life membership in 1964. That year he continued to umpire with the VFL Reserve Grade and then with the Northern District league from 1966-68.

Keith McNiece passed away 16 July 2015.

Jack Berrigan

Jack Berrigan was one of only a few men to be honorary life members of both the VFL and VFL Reserve Grade Umpires associations.

Born John Edward Berrigan, Jack was involved in sport all his life either on the field or assisting others from either training or administrative roles.

He began with the VFL Reserve Grade as a goal umpire around 1960 and was with them until his retirement in 1976 following his appointment to that year’s VFL U19 grand final. Unlike the then VFLUA, the Reserve Grade association offered only honorary life membership earned by service to the association. Jack took a position on the Executive Committee in 1961 and held that position for a decade until he moved into the role of treasurer for 1971-73. He was awarded life membership in 1963.

After retiring from the field Jack became a trainer with the VFL umpires providing outstanding service until his retirement in 1991. The members elected him an honorary member of the AFLUA that year in recognition of his work preparing them on match day and supporting them at training looking after the niggles and stresses that affect all umpires over a taxing season.

Once he moved on from training he took on a role as an interchange steward for the AFL through the 1990s.

Jack was a regular attendee at all AFLUA functions including our Darebin luncheons until early 2015.

In addition to his football commitments Jack was also heavily involved with cricket to such an extent that he was also a life member and Hall of Fame inductee of Northcote Cricket Club.

Jack passed away 14 June 2015.