Ure’s History Lesson

The name John Ure is synonymous with the Box Hill Football Club.

A lifelong fan, long-time committee member and past Club President, Ure has dedicated decades of his life to following, serving and now preserving the past, present and future of the brown and gold.

The product of that passion is now on display: ‘The Charge of the Whitehorse Brigade,’ a statistical history of the Box Hill Football Club.

Painstakingly compiled over the course of 30 years and the result of meticulous research, Ure’s work has yielded the definitive record of the Club he loves so dearly.

Every player, coach and result has been documented, with Ure reflecting on his passion project now that it is available for purchase.

“It was a labour of love, no question,” Ure said.

“The project started in 1989 and the vision was to get it to the stage where we’d documented and accounted for everyone to have represented the football club.

“So here we are, 1,215 players. From Norm Abbott to Laurie Zarafa, each with their full career details listed.

“And obviously all the champion players, from Bob Green – the first man to play 100 games for the Club – to David Mirra, the most recent to reach that mark.”

Ure’s painstaking attention to detail brought his earliest visions of the project to life and was aided in no small part by the assistance of football historians Armin Richter and Graeme Turnbull.

Richter and Turnbull were instrumental in unlocking some of the more challenging elements of the assignment, such as pinpointing the hard-to-find match data, a task often akin to finding a needle in a haystack.

The result was their work didn’t stop at recognizing the players and coaches to have walked through the gates of City Oval, but a thorough collection of every result enjoyed by every team to have taken the field home or away, seniors, reserves or fourth grade.

In addition to raw statistics and historical records, Ure has compiled a documentation of Club memorabilia, including all but six membership tickets dating back to 1951, team and player photographs, Club badges and pins.

As for the quirkier elements of the Club’s history, the research uncovered these stories and they’re documented here.

“In 1976, former north Melbourne Team of the Century player Les Foot was coach and he’d lured his teammate John Dugdale, a champion full forward for north, out of retirement at the age of 40!” Ure said.

“He played just the one game and that was it. Maybe the comeback didn’t work, we don’t quite know the back story, but the great John Dugdale, a man who led North’s goal kicking on seven occasions turned out for Box Hill.”

When it comes to the Club’s standout player, Ure is as diplomatic as all footy tragics when appraising their team’s champions.

“You divide that into two eras, pre-and-post [the AFL] draft era.” He said.

“Certainly the most decorated player to come through Box Hill is Sam Mitchell.

“He played two years with us for 28 games, won a premiership and a Liston Trophy in runaway fashion before enjoying great success at senior AFL level. So, Sam is the most celebrated player to have represented the Club.

“As for the finest Box Hill career, that belongs to Geoff Bryant.

“He came through our fourths, played 147 games for the Club, won the equivalent of the Liston Trophy twice and was a triple club champion.

“Everyone who saw him say he’s the finest footballer to pull on a boot for Box Hill.

“He played in the centre and when we named our team of the century in 2000 only two players were unanimously selected by the 16-man committee: Bill Morris, a Brownlow Medalist with Richmond, and Geoff Bryant.”

Every player, every coach and every result. John Ure’s ‘The Charge of the Whitehorse Brigade’ is the definitive history of the Box Hill Football Club and can be purchased now for $50 plus $10 postage and handling.

All enquiries should be directed to history@boxhillhawks.com.au

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