Friday, 19 August, 2011

Gerry Carmody, an accidental institution at the Southport Football Club, passed away on Thursday, aged 61. A diabetic who had been on dialysis for three years, he eventually lost an extended battle with kidney failure.

In tribute to the Southport stalwart, AFL Queensland will observe a minute’s silence prior to the Sharks’ clash with Redland at Victoria Point on Sunday, when players on both sides and the umpires will wear black arm bands.

Southport juniors, also, will wear black armbands in matches this weekend. Likewise the Gold Coast Suns in tomorrow’s AFL clash with the Adelaide Crows at Metricon Stadium.

And AFLQ chairman Darryl Bray and CEO Richard Griffiths will be among the multitudes of football people who will attend his funeral, at a time to be confirmed next week.

A Southport Life Member, Carmody has been huge presence around the club for more than 36 years after an extraordinary introduction to the club.

It all goes back to a night late in 1974 when Carmody stood enjoying a beer at the Down Under Bar of the Pacific Hotel, minding his own business. Somehow he was elected club treasurer.

The burly figure had moved down to Southport from Stones Corner in his job with the ANZ bank, where the Southport Magpies had an account.

He met Wally Fankhauser and Dr Alan Mackenzie and had a drink at the old Regal Bar of the Pacific, where they talked Carmody into joining the club as a member.

It was at this time the then Southport Magpies had set up the Down Under Bar when Ken Foster was the licensee.

The 1974 Annual General Meeting was held in the bar. Carmody was having a quiet drink when the meeting called for nominations for treasurer.

“They didn’t get one,” Carmody used to explain. “Then Wally (Fankhauser) saw me and said ‘hey, that bloke over there is a bank johnny’.

“I’d had nothing to do with Aussie rules up to then.”

The rest is history.

Mackenzie, Fankhauser and Carmody became ‘the big three’ of the Sharks off-field team, as club stalwarts like to call them, and right to the end he played a pivotal administrative role.

He was treasurer in 1975, finance director from 1976-84, treasurer from 1985-88, secretary from 1989-91, and after a 12-month break from an official role in 1992 had served as treasurer once more from 1993 until the present.

A voice of reason in one of the most stable sporting club administrations in the country, his most critical contribution was his role in the financial consolidation of the club into one of the biggest and the best.

According to Southport officials, Carmody’s ability to manage the budgets through the formative years, including manning the gate on match days, was important in keeping the cash flows positive.

Significantly, he was the man who submitted the very first poker machine application and allocation for the club in 1992 when the Sharks’ financial position wasn’t what it is today after their relocation from Owen Park to Fankhauser Reserve.

That he was successful on behalf of the club in obtaining 18 poker machines was pivotal to the financial upsurge that followed.

Carmody’s 40-year banking background at the ANZ was important to the club in other ways. As Gold Coast personnel manager he hosted a steady procession of Sharks players seeking employment through before moving into ANZ Financial planning.

A long-time Hawthorn supporter, he switched allegiances to the Gold Coast Suns when the AFL’s 17th franchise was formed, and was a firm supporter and driver of the Sharks’ Patron Partnership that now exists between the clubs.

His other passion was horse-racing. He owned a string of horses with wife Toula that were trained by good friend Bevan Laming and always enjoyed a day at the races.

Carmody’s massive contribution to the Southport FC was recognised when the club named the superb “Carmody’s Restaurant” at Fankhauser Reserve after him.

And although club officials were unable to share this information with him in his last few days it would have pleased him no end to learn that only last week “Carmody’s” was named in Australia’s Top 100 wine lists for the Gourmet Traveller.

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