Happy first day of summer, Tigers. I write this under a dense blanket of cloud in Hobart (expected top temp 18°) so “summer” is a bit theoretical for now.
The Virtual Duffle Coat has now expanded to cover 263 names. Anyone can nominate any person who has made a contribution to Richmond in any capacity. The bulk of the names are players, and rightfully so, but we also have Alice Wills, Teddy Soderblom, the custodians of club history Rhett Bartlett, Bill Meaklim and Roland Weeks, and now the Carr/Cronin family, rusted-on Richmondites since before we were in the VFL or even Tigers. We now have a few other football clubs that have been nominated for their connection to Richmond (which may be as simple as sharing the guernsey). We have added our few known celebrity fans. My own particular interest is in rehabilitating pariahs, and highlighting players who may be better known in connection with other clubs. This is why the cornerstone, top-left, is Brad Ottens.
A new feature that I am gradually adding (from the top down), is that you can mouse over a badge and see who nominated the person, and click on it to find out more information. It may take you to their Wikipedia page, or to their own site, or to more information on richmondfc.com.au. Once I have done all the badges, I will go through and add the same functions to the name tapes too. I am down as far as Duncan Kellaway and Nev Roberts at the moment. I am having trouble tracking down who nominated Nev so sing out if that was you, or if you notice any other nominations mis-attributed, or dead links, etc etc.
By the way the tapes are generally names I have added myself; or have been nominated by someone super-enthusiastic like the Rory Price who tends to fire them at me in large batches. If someone with a tape gets another nomination, I upgrade them to a badge. Basically every nomination from outside my own head gets a badge.
The idea of the endless duffle coat has been really well received, and we even got a mention in May in an article by Russell Jackson in The Guardian. I expected we might get some official contact from the club about the Coat. We know they are aware of it, but so far no comment. However we have been noticed at a much higher, in fact vice-regal level.
In September, Ben Walker nominated Bill Cosgrove, whole played 3 matches for the Tigers in 1940 before enlisting as a bomber pilot. He flew a series of planes all named after his hero Jack Dyer, with a snarling tiger painted on the nose and the words “Eat ’em alive”. Sadly he did not survive the war to don the guernsey again. He was shot down in the eastern islands of New Guinea in 1943. This story by Tony Greenberg of Bill’s devotion to his club and his sacrifice for his country is worth reading. Of course Bill was the uncle of our current GG Sir Peter Cosgrove.
Shortly after I added Bill (and his other nominee Harry Maynard) to the Coat, Ben received this letter from Government House.
Then Ben and I received an email from Bill’s daughter Madeleine, saying “I am honoured to see my father’s name on the tribute, especially next to Jack Dyer who was his hero.”
From little things, big things have grown. Please keep nominating! Here is a list of every Tiger to have played a senior game which might spark some recollections. I am keen to hear about country and suburban clubs with Richmond links, multi-generational families of members, bootstudders and doormen, trainers and mainstays of the ladies auxiliary over the years. Email or Tweet me. They all belong on the Virtual Duffle Coat.