The Inaugural Induction (2007).
Sunday the 14th of October, 2007 will go down in history as the inaugural Southern Football League Hall of Fame presentation, where the first 46 inductees were presented at the South Adelaide Football Club Function Room. The Patron, John HALL OAM, made the inaugural speech to the members present. The speech is reproduced below, as an item of league history.
"Ladies, Gentlemen, Family Members, supporting clubs, Southern Football League Board, Inductees, today is an historic day in the 122 year history of our League. The ambience in this room reminds me of 30 years ago when we presented Player Life Memberships to 136 inaugural recipients at the Christies Beach Hotel. That very evening captured a spirit and camaraderie among old combatants not witnessed before. Our function today goes to the very heart of what has made this League accomplish so much over such a long period of time.
When we decided to establish our charter the most important criteria that we all firmly agreed to was that we were truly 'Community Football' people, made up of the very best volunteers, local footballers, umpires, coaches, administartors and journalists. I think Chris Leahy's references to 'integrity, sportsmanship and character' are the key components in making a final judgment of any candidate. All inductees clearly possess these attributes. Equally so, you would not have achieved Hall of Fame status without a large dose of 'passion'. Both Ken Donne and I were fortunate enough to experience 'passion' first hand during a visit to Gary "Chum" Reed's house late last year. 'Chum" embraced many interesting historical football topics about the Willunga Football Club. You may not be aware but the Willunga Club was established in 1874 and is, I believe, second only to the Kapunda Football Club in terms of age.
During our meeting with 'Chum' he presented copious notes on the people who have served the Willunga Football Club over a long period of time in so many different capacities. When he produced the painting of his Dad, (William Reed - an inductee today) both Ken and I were most taken back. Here was this 72 year old Willunga legend proudly showing us a painting of his Dad, another Willunga legend. By just being in 'Chum's' kitchen, we were linked to the past, and touched by the culture.
Apart from the Willunga Football Club, both McLaren Vale and McLaren Flat also presented proud and distinctive histories. It was not an easy process to unearth the necessary archives from either of these clubs, but my appreciation goes out to Denise Benson and Nick Price. I feel sure more information will surface in the near future.
During the process of advising people of their award a similar reaction was portrayed throughout, surprise, humbleness, an attitude of 'why me'. From Chris Leahy's amazing administrative record, Arthur (Stoker) Tickle's 33 years service to Reynella, Tichard Croser and Merv Crocker's amazing football feats, the passion of Mike Fitzgerald to both club and Southern League football, Des Halliday's innovative approach to tribunals, the versatility of Graham Gunn and Ron Branson, the dedicated service to umpiring by Robin Perry, Trevor Potts amazing coaching record of 7 Premierships (not counting 4 elsewhere), the iconic Maurice Corbett with his 7 President's Medals, Terrence Fitzpatrick with 8 Willunga Premierships to Leonard Higgs incredible 47 years sevice as a trainer, we have covered the full spectrum.
An award of this nature will always bring the inevitable questions of why wasn't this person or that person included, but clearly there will not be any questions about the 46 inaugural inductees today. Without any doubt you all deserve the honour bestowed upon you today.
In closing I would like to thank our sponsors. These people and organisations have recognised the pivotal importance of our inaugural Hall of Fame and we are most appreciative.
1. Lauraine Rosenberg - Mayor of the City of ONkaparinga
2. Ian Knight - Sports Centre
3. Kym Richardson - Federal Member for Kingston
4. Damien Phillips - West Adelaide Football Club
5. Michael Pridham - Trophy House
6. Andrew Smith - West End
Also, I would like to acknowledge the effort of the Hall of Fame Committee (Chris Leahy, Robin Perry, Ken Donne and Alan Jolly) and in addition thank the Southern Football League Directors."