VFL umpire and VFLUA Life Member, Harold Frank Hodgson passed away peacefully on 15 May 2015, aged 86. Being awarded Heritage Number 231 when he debuted in the VFL in round 5, 1960 capped a meteoric rise through umpiring ranks. In an era dominated by such names as Irving, Schwab, Nunn and Crouch Harold Hodgson compiled an outstanding 59 day and 4 night match VFL senior career from 1960-64
That first season there was none more exciting than Hawthorn’s first ever win at Victoria Park with John Peck goaling after the final siren to pip the Magpies. In another thriller the following year Melbourne led by a point in the final seconds when Laurie Mithen marked. His subsequent shot on goal was inadvertently deflected through for a behind by a policeman’s arm. After consultation between Hodgson and goal umpire Les Wright and surrounded by arguing Geelong players the behind was awarded giving the Geelong officials apoplexy and the press a sensation.
Harold grew up in Carlton where he had been born on 11 April 1932 and played football for Ivanhoe in the VAFA before taking up umpiring in 1956 in the VFL Second Eighteens for three years until his promotion to the VFLUA in 1959. By July that year he had impressed enough to be running around in the Second Eighteens and remained there almost exclusively until his senior debut.
After taking a year off in 1965 Harold was unable to break back into the VFL but nevertheless continued to umpire all through the country competitions. Grand finals in Upper Murray, Kowree-Naracoorte (1966), Barrellan, Siuth Gippland, Farrer (1967), Northern District, Picola (1968), Alberton (1969) and Tyrell (1970. His final match was the 1971 Kowree-Narracoorte Preiminary Final.
All told Harold umpired 63 VFL, 130 VCFL (including 18 grand finals), 11 Tasmanian (3 grand finals) and 1 Metropolitan match.
Vale Harold Hodgson.