AFLUA life member, Lifetime Achievement Award recipient and long-time servant of umpiring passed away 18 August 2023, aged 94.
His enduring legacy will be the creation of the AFL Umpires’ theme song and its iconic opening lines ‘Send a cheer over here, when the Men in White appear, they will umpire with blood in their boots’. He was always easily persuaded to pull out his trombone and give a rendition at any umpires’ function; and there were many because throughout his career and later life if there was an umpire gathering Gordon would be there.
Born in Footscray Gordon began umpiring on the boundary with the Footscray U19s in 1949 before successfully applying to the VFL Second Eighteens in 1951 when they took on the appointments. Moving to the field in mid-season 1952 he umpired in the Seconds until promoted to the senior list for the 1957 season having been an emergency to the 1956 VFL Second Eighteens Grand Final.
Over the next 11 seasons Gordon umpired 23 Reserve Grade, 190 VCFL, 4 Metropolitan and 9 Tasmanian matches. Of his VCFL matches there were 10 grand finals between 1961 and 1966.
Not content to just umpire, Gordon worked for the umpires’ association, firstly on the Social Committee (1960-1962) and then on the Executive Committee (1965-1966). His service was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1968 to complement his 1967 life membership. He had also been training track supervisor at Yarraville from 1966-1967.
Following retirement in 1967 Gordon maintained a close association with the Footscray District Football League umpires and the FDFL in a variety of roles until 1994, earning life membership of the league that year.
While involved with the FDFL he was also one of the original VFL interchange stewards. Appointed in 1978 he retired from between the gates in 2007, aged 80.
An umpires’ man through and through Gordon and his trombone will be missed wherever umpires gather.
See also Where are they now – Gordon Watt