Not many people are about at the club who can remember Floody in his playing days but everyone here today can certainly vouch for the almost daily contributions to the club that Floody gives.
Starting at the club when he was 10 years old, Floody came along to the club with his Dad and followed his Dad into a lifetime of club involvement. In those days, life at North Ballarat was a lot different to now. Muddy ground for an oval that almost swallowed you up, players at risk of being run over by the trotting horses as they crossed the trotting track to get to training. In fact, Floody believes that the trotters would be picking up pace as the boys ran out! Heavy woollen footy jumpers that held all the rain in them – Floody’s Mum was also the property steward at the time and responsible for trying to get them clean. Fundraiser’s included rabbit drives and the first ever disco at the club raised $700 (a huge amount then), an enormous night which had blokes hanging out in the rafters above the dance floor! Mind you, Floody also used to pay only 11 cents for a glass of beer from the Millers Arms at the time. Twenty beers for just over $2 kept the party rocking.
His favourite football memory is being a boy of 14 when North won its first senior premiership in 1963. Floody says the crowds were packed from oval fence to boundary and all the gentlemen wore their gentleman’s hats. Afterwards, the presentation occurred on the back of a semi trailer which later drove down Doveton to Sturt Street with all the players on board and everyone coming out of houses cheering as the truck went past, people piling into cars and following the truck back to North Ballarat for celebrations. It would have been a sight to see. I can’t imagine the town of Ballarat embracing us like that now!
Floody played 223 games at the club, plus 2 at the age of 56 when the club was playing in the Bendigo League. Such is his love for the game, he is thinking of pulling the boots on in two years time at the age of 70! A highlight of his life was winning the King Medal in 1982 for the Reserves best player, the medal that is now named after his Dad. A great achievement for a player who has spent the majority of his career in the ruck. When he was a youngster it was a bit more difficult to get a game about the club so he would go to the football on Saturday and dirty up his uniform in the mud puddles before going home so that his folks thought he was playing on the day.
The best player he has seen in Black and White is without doubt Tony Lockett who is also a great friend to his family. Floody tells of Tony playing reserves at the club when just a boy and missed out on a Grand Final with North Ballarat to play his TEAL cup game. But he went on to achieve much greater things!
Another favourite was Owen Thomas, one of the great players at the club, very fast and agile on the ground – ‘a nippy little player’. And Daryl Peoples, who came to the club from Fitzroy and was a terrific coach. Never asking the players to do anything he wouldn’t do himself.
However, Floody’s real expertise came into play when organising the annual footy trip, he organised the annual trip to Adelaide for 10 years in a row and seems to have enjoyed each and every one of those years. The year he had a bit of a night on and woke to find his airline ticket to come home scattered all about his room in pieces…….and only 16 cents in his pocket to get him home or having such a fit of laughter on the way home in the bus that the rest of the team thought he was dying! They rang an ambulance at Woodman’s Hill on the way into Ballarat and with the ambulance only having one up in those days, had Ken Eyers driving the ambulance into the hospital while the ambo did his job. Diagnosis at the hospital? Just a little too much alcohol!
Nowadays his escapades may not be as silly, such as trying to ski out to his cruise ship through the choppy seas while on honeymoon or impersonating Rex Hunt in an Adelaide Hotel but we love him for all the work he does for us around here. From putting up a shelf, to pulling on the water boy shirt as needed and most especially for raising over $180,000 over 7 years for the club through the 500 club that he instigated. A great achievement and one to be very proud of. The Ian Flood bar that used to stand in the old club rooms may have gone but he will be forever immortalised with the Ian Flood scoreboard on the Number 2 oval, named after Floody due to the funds for the scoreboard coming through the 500 club.
Floody is a great volunteer and contributor to the club, a most excellent club man and one of the reasons that we are able to boast of so much success over the years. Long may Mr Fix It be around and let’s be all shouting for him in two years time going up for the first bounce at 70!