Stuart Spencer (footballer)

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Stuart Spencer
Personal information
Date of birth (1932-02-03)3 February 1932
Place of birth Digby, Victoria
Date of death 27 September 2011(2011-09-27) (aged 79)
Original team Portland, Victoria
Height/Weight 178 cm / 76 kg
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1950–1956 Melbourne 122 (146)
Coaching career
Years Club Games (W–L–D)
1957–63, 1966 Clarence
1 Playing statistics correct to end of 1956 season.
Career highlights
  • Member Melbourne premiership team 1955, 1956
  • Melbourne Best and Fairest 1955, 1956
  • Melbourne leading goal kicker 1955
  • Clarence Captain-Coach (1957–1963), Coach 1966
  • Clarence best and fairest 4 times (1957–1960)
  • Winner Lefroy medal twice (1957,1960)
  • William Leitch Medal 1960, 1967 (tied)
  • Represented Victoria
  • Played 11 games for Tasmania, captain 1960
  • All-Australian 1956, 1958
  • President Melbourne (1986–1991)
  • Member of Melbourne's team of the century
  • Inducted Australian Football Hall of Fame (2005)

Stuart Spencer (3 February 1932 – 27 September 2011) was an Australian rules footballer in the Victorian Football League (VFL) and Tasmanian Football League (TFL) in the 1950s and 1960s.

VFL[edit]

Born in the small country town of Digby, Victoria, Spencer started his football career with the Portland Football Club, playing 45 games. He then came to the attention of Geelong in the VFL, where he commenced pre-season trialling in 1949. The Geelong coach, Reg Hickey, moved Spencer on after only two weeks, and he settled at Melbourne.

Spencer made his League debut in 1950, but his career really took off with the arrival of Norm Smith as coach of Melbourne for the 1952 season. Spencer is quoted as saying that Smith told him:"'Stuey, there is time for you to go back to back pocket when you're 35', so he launched me into my role as rover.[1]"

Spencer became an integral part of what was to become the most highly successful part of the history of the Melbourne club. His contemporaries included prominent players of that era – Ron Barassi, Brian Dixon, (Frank) 'Bluey' Adams, Johnny Beckwith.

He was recognised as an outstanding player, winning back-to-back best and fairest awards for Melbourne in the premiership years of 1955 and 1956, as well as being the club leading goalkicker in 1955. In the 1956 Grand Final he kicked five goals in a best on ground performance.

TFL[edit]

It was thus highly surprising that, at the peak of his VFL career, Spencer moved to Tasmania and commenced as captain-coach of Clarence in the Tasmanian Football League in 1957. Although several sources say that he moved due to business reasons, Spencer has stated that the primary reasons for his move was that his wife Fay was eight months pregnant with their first child and wanted to move to her native Tasmania for family support [2].

Spencer brought a tough and disciplined style of football to Tasmania. He won two TFL best and fairest awards (William Leitch Medal) and also twice won the Lefroy medal for best and fairest Tasmanian player (there being more than one League in Tasmania at the time). He is credited with bringing Clarence up to a standard where they would eventually go on to be one of the most successful of Tasmanian clubs.

His Tasmanian playing career reached its peak when he captained the Tasmanian State side to its first ever victory over arch-rival Victoria in 1960 at Launceston. That he was adjudged best on ground and kicked the game sealing score were a personal bonus.

Other[edit]

Spencer's coaching did not stop with Clarence, he also coached St. Virgil's College to three successive State independent school's premierships.

Spencer was president of the Clarence club for two terms and a member of the board of management in 1979.

Spencer was president of the Melbourne Football Club from 1986 to 1991, overseeing their first Grand Final appearance for 24 years in 1988.

At age 74 Spencer still worked as the managing director of the Greens Group, a Hobart removals and storage company.

Spencer died in Tasmania aged 79.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Demon legend passes". afl.com.au. Retrieved 27 September 2011. 

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Denis Cordner
Keith 'Bluey' Truscott Medallist
1955–1956
Succeeded by
John Beckwith
Preceded by
Noel Clarke
Melbourne Football Club Leading Goalkicker
1955
Succeeded by
Bob B. Johnson
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Billy Snedden
President of the Melbourne Football Club
1986–1991
Succeeded by
Ian Ridley