Stan Fisher

Umpire and boardman Stan Fisher served the VFL for three decades.

Born Stanley Robert Fisher in Colac on 14 January 1933, Stan spent his early years there. His father was a champion full forward for the Colac Football Club. The family moved to Northcote in 1936 after Noel was invited to play with Fitzroy.

An excellent sportsman in both football, where he played for Northcote in the VFA, winning the 1953 Third-18 Best and Fairest, and cricket for Northcote in the Victorian Cricket Association. Handy with the bat, he played 93 matches with the first eleven, winning the club championship in 1953/54.  He could also bowl, his best performance being 6/42 against Richmond.

Sustaining a broken leg playing football in 1953, a friend, Jack Keenan, suggested to Stan that he apply to the VFL Reserve Grade list of umpires in 1954. After three years umpiring on the Reserve Grade list, Stan was promoted onto the senior list in 1957; his first appointment Orbost v Maffra in the Gippsland League. The following year, he was appointed to his first VFL Reserve Grade match.

After 22 reserve grade matches, he was promoted to his first VFL match in round 12, 1963, at the Western Oval. Footscray defeated North Melbourne and Stan earned Heritage No. 242. That year, he also umpired VFL Reserves preliminary and grand finals.

In 2019, Stan noted some career highlights, including a match at Kardinia Park between Geelong and Essendon, when a spectator ran onto the ground intending Stan harm. Luckily, Essendon ruckman Ken Timms was nearby and went to Stan’s assistance putting the spectator on his rear end. The intruder was then dealt with by the Victorian Police.

During the 1965 season, a representative New South Wales team was to play North Melbourne at Trumper Park, Paddington. North’s coach Alan Killigrew told officials that ‘he would not let his boys be umpired by someone from a football outpost like Sydney.’.  Killigrew had brought his own umpire along, Stan Fisher. He demanded that appointed umpire Len Palmer, a competent umpire who had umpired in the VFL Reserves list in 1964, be replaced. Stan was embarrassed by the controversy and suggested to Len that they umpire one half each. Len declined the offer, and it minutes before the start of the match, Sydney officials capitulated.

That year also proved his most successful. He followed his only career VFL final, the 1965 preliminary, with appointment as emergency for the VFL grand final, and on the following Monday, was field umpire for the 1965 VFL Night Series Grand Final.

At the end of the 1968 season, Stan decided to retire having amassed an overall record: 69 VFL premiership, 5 VFL night series, 38 VFL Reserve, 149 VCFL (including 18 VCFL grand finals) and 1 interstate match.

In 1969, Stan took up the opportunity to become a member of the VFL Umpires’ Appointment Board, a position he held for 14 years, including four years as chairman. A Board tenure that included the adoption of the two-field umpire system, and boundary and goal umpire coaching, amongst other achievements.

A 29-year VFL senior involvement ended following 1982 as Stan noted, “I thoroughly enjoyed my time in umpiring developing lifetime friends and enjoying the great hospitality of country people.”

Stan Fisher passed away 19 September 2022, and will be remembered as a great contributor to the game he loved.