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Eddie's tribute to Lou Richards

May 8, 2017 10:00 PM

The life and times of Lou Richards Collingwood legend and Australian Football icon Lou Richards has passed away at the age of 94. The club would like to extend its deepest sympathies to the Richards family. Vale, Lou.

Collingwood President Eddie McGuire paid tribute to the late Lou Richards at the Holden Centre on Monday evening.

Below is a transcript of McGuire's press conference, held behind a statue of the 1953 premiership captain.

Eddie McGuire on Lou Richards
“It’s a terribly sad day for the Collingwood Football Club, for the AFL, for everyone who loves football but also for the city of Melbourne, because nobody epitomized Melbourne and it’s love affair of football and entertainment than the great Lou Richards.

“He was a giant of our game, born in the shadows of Victoria Park. His family played over 900 games and represented Collingwood in eight premiership sides, but it’s also what Lou did with entertainment, for football and sport. Lou Richards is a person who could be in the Logies Hall of Fame, the AFL Hall of Fame, the Collingwood Hall of Fame, the Publicans Hall of Fame – he’s just an amazing man, and what an amazing life he led.”

On Lou as a footballer
EM: “Lou was just great. He was this lippy rover and his battles on World of Sport and League Teams with Jack (Dyer) and Bob (Davis) were fantastic. He and Jack played such a wonderful foil off each other, Jack the ruckman from Richmond, Lou the rover from Collingwood, who used to run around giving people a kick in the leg, in the shins and in the ankle and he used to say he put iodine on his boots so he wouldn’t give them tetanus when he kicked them. That’s what Lou was all about.

“He had this sense of humour, but he was a tough player he was a great player – 250 games, 1953 Premiership Captain for Collingwood – he was everything, Lou.

“From being a publican, from being probably the highest read journalist in probably sports history if not journalistic history at the Sun, 3DB even Triple M he was on later in life, Channel 7, Channel 9 – you name it Lou did it and did it with panache.”

The question was asked: Is a State Funeral a possibility?
EM: “That’s for the Government of Victoria but if anyone personified what it’s like to be a Victorian, Lou Richards did, and that would be something fitting if people thought it appropriate.”

What was he like? How would you describe the man?
EM: “Lou Richards was one of the most gracious and fun-loving people you could ever meet. He loved his club, Collingwood, and every time we spoke it was all about how are the Pies going.

“He gave advice to everybody. He grabbed me as a young cadet reporter and took me under his wing as he did Tony Jones and Sam Newman and so many other people. His knowledge of television and entertainment was first rate.

“If you have a look at him with George Burns and Muhammad Ali and international stars, he held his own as a performer and an entertainer on a world level, he held his own on the toughest battlefields of football as a footballer and he was just an amazing man. He just had so much talent but he was always giving of himself.

“He and his wonderful wife Edna were true royalty in this town, they were stylish, they were debonair, they gave of themselves, they were the life of the party, they were just wonderful people and it’s a sad day for Victoria and for the AFL with the passing of the great Lou Richards.”

On Lou, the family man
EM: “When you went to Collingwood functions and you saw Bob and Elsie Rose and Lou and Edna and all the families around it was just beautiful to see.

“Later in life Lou was dressed by Edna, she had fantastic class, she put the pocket chief in his pocket and had his tie and he always looked immaculate on air.

“It was Edna who would be picking things out and looking after him and telling him when to be quiet. They had an amazing love affair and it was inspiring to see two people so deeply in love all throughout their lives.”

What plans does the club have to pay tribute?
“I’ve been in contact with his daughter, Nicole, who was with Lou when I spoke to her this afternoon. We’ll offer all services of the club to honour Lou. It’s too early to say what we can do this week, we’re playing away in GWS clearly the club will be wearing black armbands but we’ll speak to the family first and fit in with anything that they would like to do but of course Lou Richards will be given full Collingwood honours.”

Is it time he was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame?
“That’s for another day, we don’t have to give Lou any greater honours. Lou Richards is just Lou Richards. He is the person, as I said, who personifies more about Australian rules, what’s good about it, the fact that he was a hard, goal-kicking, cheeky rover who played for the Magpies who dominated television, radio and newspaper for generations and really every footballer should come and lay a wreath in front of Lou Richards’s statue today because he was the man who brought entertainment, sport and the whole understanding of how big football could be to Australian Rules Football. Lou Richards is just a legend of the game.

On Eddie’s memories of Lou
EM: “It’s not about me today. It’s about the feeling of everyone in the Collingwood family, and the AFL and to be honest the media world just celebrates the life of Lou Richards.

“For me, he was a constant source of inspiration, whether it was as a little boy watching Lou on television.

“I remember one time walking around Broadmeadows collecting for a charity and every house we went to we didn’t miss any of World Of Sport because everyone was watching it, you watched every segment as you went through, it was quite incredible.

“But Lou was great because he was up for ideas, the dares, the fun, he was a great writer, he had a tremendous wit, he was so quick and he also understood the medium so well.

“He was an amazing performer but as I said earlier the great thing about Lou was that he was generous in the way that he would give of his time and give of his advice to anybody who was there to listen, particularly young people. I’m forever in his debt that he took me, and I know Tony Jones is exactly the same, he took us both under his wing and was a wonderful mentor.”