One of the Association’s greatest contributors passed away recently. As an umpire and long time Executive member Ron Allinson gave much to umpiring by working tirelessly for his colleagues.

“Bristles” began umpiring with the VFL Reserve Grade in 1953 after a successful swimming career, including playing water polo, for the Footscray Swimming Club. He gained promotion to the senior list in 1955.

While he never umpired at VFL Reserve Grade level, in his 19 years on the senior list he visited almost every league to which umpires were sent and umpired 310 VCFL matches in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia. Included in these were four Grand Finals – Reserve Grade South West District (1963) and North-Central (1964) and senior Grand Finals in the Kowree-Naracoorte (1965) and Omeo and District 1967. This last Grand Final would have been most appreciated given Ron’s claim that the best hospitality in Victoria was in the Omeo league.

In an early edition of the ‘Man in White’ Ron named the only representative game he did as his most memorable match but giving no further details other than he travelled with Ted Pound. The match was the Reserves of the Kowree-Naracoorte League versus the Tatiara League Reserves in 1955 and Ted did the senior match that followed. A check of the newspaper reports reveals nothing spectacular about either match with regard to events or margins so we must assume that the memorable features of the weekend were in the travel or the post-match festivities.

A shortish but sturdily built fellow, Ron was always battling with his weight but trained conscientiously to be in top physical condition during his umpiring career. This sometimes involved unique techniques such as training during the pre-season sheathed in plastic and undertaking an ‘eggs only’ diet for a week.

1966 was a milestone year in many ways. Ron married Eunice, set up a new home and began a new job at Berger Paints. On top of that it was also his year as President of the Association. Having been first elected to the Executive Committee in 1960, he stayed on until 1964 when he became Junior Vice-President and eventually progressing to the Presidency. Even after his year as Immediate Past president Ron carried on with the Executive for three further seasons. In all, eleven consecutive years in office serving the Association.

Secretary for much of this time, Mark Turner, recalls,” Ron was a valued and forceful committee member, prepared to stand up for his point of view and certainly nobody’s ‘Yes’ man.” In the 1966 Annual report he notes that as President “he spoke confidently and fearlessly at many meetings at all times for the good of the Association.”

Bill Yendle also noted Ron’s value to the association. “He always struck me as a willing worker on committees. If something needed organising he was always willing to pitch in to assist his colleagues.”

Listed as VFLUA cricket section Vice-President 1965-67, Ron was not a cricket player but helped out by umpiring a number of fixtures. It was a job he took seriously as evidenced by his no-balling of his good mate J.R. Gray for ‘chucking’. It didn’t affect their friendship as Jack still recalls him as “an all-round good bloke. We shared many good times travelling around the country during the summer, particularly to Queenscliff and Myrtleford.”

Having lived and worked in the western suburbs since his birth on 14 July 1931, Ron had a lifelong passion for the Footscray Football Club maintaining his membership until his death, watching them regularly at the MCG where he was an MCC member and even travelling interstate to lend them his support.

Ron received his well deserved Life Membership of the Association in 1965 and was further recognised with a Lifetime Achievement (Special) Award.

In the latter years of his life, Ron encountered some significant health problems, suffering a stroke in the 1990’s.and ongoing complications thereafter. A staunch Association man through all this, Ron endeavoured to attend our events despite deteriorating health. His final appearance was at the Past President’s Dinner at the Imperial Hotel in 2005.

Eunice cared for Ron at home until he was admitted to Manningham Aged Care Facility in late 2006. It was around this time that the AFLUA X Umpires’ Support Program was launched and Program Officer Ron Bailey spent many hours with Ron reminiscing about that wonderful period of Ron’s as an AFLUA member.

Both Eunice and Ron were most appreciative of the support provided by Ron Bailey in the final months of Ron’s life.

Ron Allinson passed away on 6 February 2007, aged 75. His strong personality and generous nature will live on with all who knew him.