Allan Arvidson

Allan Arvidson served his country, his community and football in an incident-packed 93 year life.

Born in Caulfield on 1 March 1924 Allan Henry Seafred Arvidson was the son of Swedish parents. Despite their naturalisation Allan needed special approval before enlisting in the RAAF aged 18 during the Second World War. Originally mustered as a guard he remained in this role until being discharged for medical reasons in April 1945.

Allan came directly onto the VFL list in 1947 at a time of expansion of appointments as country football resumed following the war. After four years he was appointed to his first Reserve Grade match and for 1951 and 1952 he held onto a regular spot before returning to regular VCFL appointments until 1954. That was a watershed year that saw regular Reserve Grade appointments and his first three VCFL grand finals: the Mount Noorat, Echuca and Ovens and King leagues.

On 28 May 1955 Allan broke through for his first VFL match becoming the 221st field umpire with his Round 7 appointment at South Melbourne. It was a one-point thriller with the Demons kicking five goals in the last five minutes to grab the victory. Two more senior appointments followed but a return to the country for twelve months followed.

Returning to senior ranks for rounds 10-12, 1956 he was dropped again after what was viewed as a poor performance in the Fitzroy v. Footscray match. Feeling that he was being victimised by the Umpires’ Appointment Board Allan resigned and told his story and shared his thoughts on how umpiring administration could be improved to The Argus where it was front page news. He would later write on football, often with an umpiring focus, for that newspaper.

Allan’s VFL career total end as 6 VFL, 30 Second Eighteen, 12 Tasmanian, 81 VCFL and 1 Metropolitan matches. He achieved life membership in 1957 and served on the Executive Committee in 1955 and 1956

Arvidson was asked to move on to the VAFA by former VFL colleague Jack Fullerton and was in charge of the historic 100 year anniversary match between Scotch College and Melbourne Grammar. Alan’s whistle from that match are in the Gallery of Sport.

In 1957 Allan was elected to the Essendon City Council and served the City of Essendon in the capacity of ward councillor. In 1960 Allan was appointed to the position of mayor of the City of Essendon to become its 100th Mayor and as a consequence became the centenary mayor of the city of Essendon (1861-1961) for the festive celebration.