Melbourne Cricket Ground, 27 July 1957. When the press reported that field umpire Frank Schwab was struck at by the swarming crowd and pelted with mud, bottles and refuse as he was led from the field by a police corden and a mounted constable there was no mention of the boundary umpires and goal accompanying him. With the death of Richard Kidd all the umpires from that 1957 Melbourne-Essendon match have passed away.
At the time Kidd was at the end of his second year as a VFL boundary umpire and would go on to an outstanding career officiating in 214 VFL matches, the 1963, 1966 and 1967 VFL Grand Finals, two interstate matches and four night grand finals.
Richard Edward Kidd was born in Melbourne on 19 December 1933 and grew up in Balwyn. He attended Camberwell Grammar School and played football with Collingwood Thirds (VFL) and Macrobertson’s (Saturday Morning FL).
Like many other boundary umpires of the time Kidd was also a professional middle distance runner. He won the mile event at South Melbourne Football Ground 1958, the world’s richest mile in 1959 and other races from a quarter-mile to two miles. He would later go on to train such classy boundary umpire-athletes as Peter Saultry.
Taking up umpiring in the VFL Second Eighteens in 1950 he umpired the 1955 Second Eighteen Grand Final and secured promotion to the VFL the following season. He debuted in round 2 1956 at the Junction Oval, earning Heritage Number 306. Footscray defeated St.Kilda by 28 points. The same two teams clashed in his first final – the 1961 first-semi – with the Bulldogs victorious again.
Falling just short in 1962 Kidd did the night and day grand final double in 1963. It was a pretty gruelling week. The night grand final was on the Monday and the day grand final the following Saturday. His partner in both matches was another professional runner and later trainer, Des Fitzgerald.
Richard’s last match was the first round of the night competition in 1969.
From 1970-79 he was the VFL umpires’ training supervisor under Alan Nash and later a member of the board of the Port Melbourne Football Club.