It’s hard enough to find any footballs from the 1930s, let alone one that has been signed by a swag of Collingwood Premiership players and three Brownlow Medallists.
But that’s what we now have in our possession, thanks to Albury man John Elmore, who acquired the football many years ago and has now passed it on to the club.
The football has been signed by many of Collingwood’s greatest stars of the mid-1930s, including Jack Regan, Ron Todd, Phonse Kyne, Len Murphy, Harry Rumney and others. Albert Collier is there, along with legendary coach Jock McHale. Curiously, it also features autographs from Richmond’s Strang brothers, Gordon and Doug, and 1930 Brownlow Medallist Stan Judkins.
The presence of the Richmond autographs had us puzzled, but John Elmore was able to unlock the puzzle via some local sleuthing.
It turns out that the footy belonged to an Albury man called Ron Miles. He lived next door to the Strang family, which explains their presence, and that of Judkins, who moved to Albury to coach when he left the Tigers. But Miles was also a friend of Ron Todd’s, and at some stage he gave the football to Ron, who took it to a Magpie function and got many of his teammates to sign it.
Our best guess is that the ball was signed by the Collingwood players in either the 1935 or 1936 season. Given that each one produced a Premiership, it’s a pretty special piece of history either way!
Big thanks to John Elmore for passing the football onto us, and also for tracking down the story behind it.