Pat McGough

With his 2010 elevation to Legend status within the AFLUA Hall of Fame there was no acknowledgment of service that had not been awarded to Pat McGough by his colleagues. Add to that a distinguished career in country football that exceeded twenty years and three hundred matches and there was no greater contributor to this association in its history.

Born in Prahran on 4 February 1929 Pat attended St Joseph’s Primary School in Northcote and St Thomas’s Christian Brothers College in Clifton Hill. He completed an apprenticeship at International Harvester during World War II and went on to hold management positions at many of the major automotive brands.

A broken jaw derailed a promising football career but to stay involved Pat took up umpiring.

In 1954 he joined the VFL Second Eighteen Umpires. After one season he was promoted to the Senior List and his twenty season career began at Upper Yarra Dam in the Yarra Valley League. The Gippsland League Reserves were the first two finals for Pat in 1956 and 1958. In 1959 he umpired his first two senior finals; the first in the Southern Mallee at Yaapeet and the second at Memorial Park, Deniliquin in the Edwards River League. The Southern Mallee was also the scene for Pat’s only senior Grand Final – Beulah defeating Yaapeet at Rainbow in 1964.

During his twenty years with the VFL Pat umpired 347 VCFL matches, 9 metropolitan matches and was emergency field umpire at one VFL match. Of all these matches Pat noted that his most memorable was on 23 July 1964. Corowa v. Wangaratta Rovers at Corowa.

Wang. Rovers were unbeaten after twelve rounds and faced mid-ladder Corowa (5-6-1). Coach Frank Tuck’s pre-game address to the Corowa players set the tone , “We can win this with 100 minutes of your best football and when its done it will be our biggest thrill since the last flag in ’32.”

It was close early and former Collingwood champion and Rovers coach, Bob Rose, was playing an inspirational match to keep the favourites in it with three goals from full-forward.

At the last change Corowa led by eleven points but with Rose now on the ball and Voss goaling Rovers took the lead only to lose it moments later. A late goal put Rovers one point down deep in time on but Corowa held on for a famous victory.

Such an extensive on-field resume would have probably qualified Pat for induction into the AFLUA Hall of Fame but it was his work for the association that carried more weight and saw him included.

Pat was elected to the Social Committee in 1963 and the following year took on the role of Social Secretary. During his three years in this office he and his committee organised various dances, theatre nights, a trots night, car rallies, the Annual Ball and the always popular Annual Picnic. In addition he was responsible for the 1965 visit of the South Australian umpires over VFL Grand Final weekend and was commended by the Association Secretary for the success of the functions and visit. Following his resignation as Social Secretary Pat was elected Junior Vice-President in 1967 and consequently took the President’s chair in 1969.

It was a busy year. A glut of recent retirements prompted an Association investigation into the causes, tribunal issues came to a head an appeal was run to benefit the family of member Ian Penrose who had died during the year, the Association took part in a Youth Sporting Expo and there was a successful trip to Western Australia. Pat was chiefly responsible for organising the latter two events and as President was closely involved with the other issues.

Having received Life Membership for ten years service in 1965, Pat’s executive service was recognised with a Lifetime Achievement (Special) Award. Further recognition of his outstanding career came in the form of a retirement dinner organised by the Association in November 1974 at the Sheraton Hotel. It was a joint function as Doug Gilham had also recently retired.

Writing in the Annual Report, John Moss noted, “…attended by approximately 100 guests. In addition to a number of current members, many friends journeyed from country areas to pay tribute to the fine records of both men.”

More recognition came in 2008 when Pat was elected to the AFLUA Hall of Fame and in 2010, only weeks prior to his death on 6 March, he was elevated to Legend Status.

Through a career of dedication on the field and exemplary work off it Pat McGough leaves an outstanding legacy of service to an Umpires Association grateful for his contribution.

Acknowlegement: Herald Sun (Melbourne, Australia) – Tuesday, March 23, 2010