Our proud history. Lets chat, Coleman the coach

From what I have read Coleman was a passionate, intense and sometimes mercurial coach. His loathing of umpires was legendary. Yet he got out the very best in players. He was probably ahead of his time in his uncompromising attitudes for excellence. I have spoken to many players of that era who said he always set high benchmarks and demanded the very best. And he loved the club. And we loved him. Ill health ruined his 1967 season and forced his retirement only to die six years later. I wish the love of the sash could always be a benchmark for who we appoint as coach.


There is a story that did the rounds on here years ago, about an altercation Coleman had with Alec Epis. Epis arrived from WA and thought he was a pretty good player, and not being shy let others know about it. Coleman took him to task and said, he wasn’t as good as he thought he was. They came to blows and Coleman came out on top, apparently. Now if he had only said, he’s almost as good as he thinks he is, there wouldn’t have been any problem.

I may have some of the details incorrect, but l do know that the Blitzer known as percybushby rated Coleman higher than Sheedy as a coach, while some claim he was the greatest player who ever lived.

There is a statue of Coleman taking a speccy over some hapless Norf soul out the front of the Hastings Library. The pose is taken from one of the well known pictures of Coleman going for frequent flyer points. The statue was paid for by private donation.


Olden days innit

I wonder how many 1000’s of Essendon fans can trace their support directly back to Coleman & his exploits.

I support & have been an Essendon member for 30 + years because as a little kid my grandmother told all about his career, recruited from Hastings, huge debut game , unfairly suspended for a Grand Final, knee injury, premiership coach etc.

My kids in turn are Essendon members too, albeit because I told them that’s just the way it is in our house.


Did he ever utter the word “learnings”?

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The last person to coach Essendon to a flag that isn’t Kevin Sheedy. Let that marinate for a moment.


My dad’s family was from Strathmore and followed Essendon. I of course follows suite.

They told me storeys of going from one end to the other at Windy Hill just to watch Coleman, and my dad often went to training after school to have a look. They also rated him as a coach.

When it come to my two boys, I adopted the Henry Ford approach. You can barrack for whoever you like, but if you want to go to the footy, we go to Essendon games.


Good grief.

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Innovative in his day.
Brought in Bert Willee, a physio from Melbourne University, had a dietary program and players had their own dressing gowns ( before tracksuits were invented ) for use on the bench etc.

Coleman is probably the reason I support Essendon too, believe it or not.

I won’t rehash my own story again because it’s long and exhaustive (and the EFC website printed it earlier this year) but my father-in-law also grew up in Strathmore and was a neighbour of Ken Fraser and Paul Harvey (Mark’s father). Coleman’s career roughly coincides with his grade school years, up to about age 13 or 14 or thereabouts.

His parents supported Carlton, which I never knew for a long time. So I would suggest Coleman probably got him to change his mind.

All it took was for me, some dude from the other side of the world to hook up with his daughter and a few folk tales about the man to get me interested. I actually came to be a little bit obsessed with Coleman for awhile, and even got a jumper with #10 on it.


In my Denver metro footy league, I always made sure I grabbed #10 when they were tossing out the practice tops.



And the second last to coach EFC to a finals win of any sort.

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In to the top corner, just past the outstretched tips of the goalies fingers.

Seems the yanks are still a little confused with the game? :smirk:

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Good grief.

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That shows you the mountain we now have to climb.

Coleman had a following not unlike modern day rock stars. I was at the ground the day he injured his knee. I was standing beside the ambulance and there were many, many teenage girls crying as they drove him away.


John Coleman is a legend and I believe is the best player ever. As a player, he made records that will never be broken and as a coach took a down and out club to two flags in the short time he had with us.

An amazing but little known story about him is what happened after training before the '65 grand final. It was a training session at the MCG. Most players had left the ground, but a couple had stayed behind. These included the best player of the finals that year and the best full back. They were just relishing being on the MCG and having a kick-to-kick and marking competition. JC saw this and joined in. The report was that even then, with his injured knee and over 12 years out of the game, he consistently outmarked them.

Just goes to show what he could have done if not for that injury - he could have played on for another decade and another 1000+ goals.


Statistically he is the football equivalent of Bradman.

Sir John Coleman… If Sir Prince Philip can get one…


As with Neale Daniher, the science was not there at the time. It was for Hird, with JoeD a question whether it was mismanaged.