JACK ARTHUR* - 2014
Jack Arthur became President of the Gulburn Valley Football League in 1965, following the passing of long serving president Tom Hastie. It was the same year that Rushworth, Nagambie and Murchison clubs were cleared from the League.
As a player, Jack had played with both Mooroopna and Kyabram clubs in the GVFL and his football talent was highly respected.
On becoming League President, Jack set out to improve the League, taking special interest in how the games were presented.
He attended games at all grounds, often collecting Melbourne based umpires from their taxi at Tatura and driving them to matches.
Jack ruled the League with an iron fist and the clubs were prepared to respect his judgement and gave him great support.
He knew full well that the domination of the League by Shepparton based clubs, was not in the best interests of the Leagues future. He began enticing strong clubs from the perimeter of the League to join the GVL. For many years Jack used his influence with the VCFL and eventually the Euroa Club was admitted in 1971.
On seeing the resurgence of interest within the League, Jack immediately set out to gain other clubs. Within four years Rochester, Echuca and Seymour had joined, bringing great strength to the League.
Jack would not rest until he felt that the League was as strong as he could have expected.
With the re introduction of the Country Championships in 1978, Jack gathered around him men of high standing within the football world and guided them in the preparation of a strong championship campaign.
The 1st significant sign that the GVL had arrived as a force in 1978 was when the League defeated for the first time the strong Ovens and Murray League at Benalla. After that game, in a moving speech Jack told the players, "This is our finest hour". But there was more to come. The GVL defeated the Latrobe Valley League and then travelled to Colac to play against the Hampden League in the grand final before a massive crowd. Sadly Jack Arthur didn't see that match, he collapsed the day before and was rushed to hospital in Melbourne. The GVL played magnificently and answered coach Bob Allison's 3/4 time speech to win for Jack Arthur. The GVL won by 22 points and became the champion League in country Victoria.
League Vice President Bill Enders presented the Winfield cup to Jack in his Melbourne hospital bed. Jack was elated. Unfortunately he died a few days later, but he was well aware that all the hard work and effort he had put in had paid off. He was so proud of the GVL
It was Jack Arthur who guided the GVL to become a major force in Victorian country football. The League will be forever grateful for his wonderful contribution.
Jack thoroughly deserves to be inducted into the GVL Hall of Fame.