The chance discovery of a snippet in a football gossip column has resulted in correction to the members on the 1916 VFL Grand Final umpiring team.
Judging by the contents of the VFLUA annual report the first list of grand final boundary and goal umpires was compiled in 1972 and stretched back to 1941. By 1985 research went back to 1912 but 1916-18 were not known. The list appeared complete to 1897 in the 1988 Annual Report and the 1916 appointments were taken from those published in the newspaper on Thursday 31 August: boundary Bob Boyle and Syd Campton, goal Ed Barter and Fred Bartlett.
These were also published in the Football Record of the day. The Monday newspapers mentioned none of these umpires or any replacements and thus no reason to believe they were not fulfilled as published – until recently.
Every Friday The Herald, Melbourne’s evening newspaper, published a weekly football preview and gossip column compiled by Kickero. While perusing the edition on grand final eve the following paragraph was noted:
Bob Boyle, who had been appointed to take one of the boundaries in tomorrow’s match will be unable to do the work. He has been engaged to umpire the final of the Ariah Park Association tomorrow and has left for Ariah Park, about 60 miles from Cootamundra.
Boyle was a regular subject in ‘Kickero’s’ work and there was no doubt the information would be accurate. Who then replaced Boyle?
While Monday mornings papers proved no use The Herald edition published immediately following the match was. It named not only the field umpire but both boundary umpires – something it had not done before nor did it do in following seasons.
So who did run the boundary in the 1916 Grand Final? Boyle was replaced by Bill Roy who umpired his second grand final that day and is now credited with it correctly. The further outcome is that Bob Boyle, who umpired 59 VFL matches as a field umpire, 15 as a boundary, was the VFLUA’s initial Secretary (1909-1910) and it’s third life member, no longer has membership in the VFL Grand Final Umpires Club.
He is still a Carlton premiership player (1904) but he umpired only one more senior VFL match before retirement. Boyle died in 1927.
Bill Roy umpired six more VFL matches before retiring after the 1917 Preliminary Final. In 1920 he became St.Kilda’s VFL delegate and a Permit & Umpire Committee member. He passed away in 1975 aged 94, but he was not a life member and would never have seen the original list to make a correction as the ultimate source – someone who was actually there!