100 not out for Charlie Reid
While players, coaches and staff at the Port Melbourne Football Club have come and gone, the one person who has remained a constant is Charlie Reid.
The long term Port member turned 100 this week, with Port Melbourne and AFL Victoria officials joining Reid’s family to celebrate the major milestone.
The milestone was celebrated with letters from the Queen, the Premier Dennis Napthine, the Prime Minister Tony Abbott, the Governor General Peter Cosgrove and AFL Victoria’s State League and Talent Manager John Hook.
Buying his first membership in 1930, Charlie has remained a proud financial and passionate club supporter every year since; claiming his connection with the area began when he went to school in Nott St Port Melbourne.
He is a regular fixture at Port Melbourne home games, perched on his walker on the overpass in front of the Norm Goss Stand having experienced the good and the bad at North Port Oval.
The good is obvious, witnessing 13 of the clubs 16 premierships.
The bad is supporting the club during two of its three wooden spoons – 70 years apart.
At his birthday celebrations one of his two sons recalled Charlie mentioning in his early 80’s that he would not be around to witness the 2000’s. He has pushed right into the 2000’s, enduring three losing Port Melbourne Grand Finals before being rewarded with that elusive 16th flag in the memorable unbeaten 2011 season.
When the VFL Record caught up with Charlie a few years ago, he described his favourite Port Melbourne players over the years as Joe Garbutt and Austin Robertson.
“I have seen some good players running around in my time. Joe Garbutt has been my favourite, he was a full back and wore number 9 on his back.
"Garbutt could kick to the centre of TEAC Oval, he was full back, and he and a Fitzroy fellow used to win all the competitions for long kicking in those days. From memory one day he dashed off from full back – which he used to often do – dashed to almost the centre of the ground and kicked a behind from full back. I would like to say he kicked a goal, but it was only a behind.
"Garbutt was one of the best players I have seen, but thinking more about it, I was only taking into account true Port Melbourne players. I think the best footballer I have ever seen is Austin Robertson – he only played a few games after he spent his time at South Melbourne.”
Quizzed on his favourite memories, Tommy Lahiff and Fred Cook were at the top of the queue.
“I was at the game when Tommy Lahiff gave a bit of cheek and they arrested him. Everyone was horrified as old Tom, although he was a funny man, he was Port Melbourne through and through. He used to say you get red in one eye, and blue in the other.
“The day Fred Cook was flattened was one of the most horrifying things I have ever seen because it was unprovoked. Cook was a very fair player and I never saw him do anything untoward. Except one day when one of the opposition kicked a Port player; that was enough to send the fairest player over the edge.”