Essendon Black Ops
HAWTHORN’S acting president Richard Garvey was a lifelong supporter of Essendon — the club’s greatest rival — until 2011.
Garvey this week took over from departing president Andrew Newbold, who has endorsed him to be elected as his permanent replacement.
Hawthorn’s unwavering support for Garvey and his family after the death of his wife in 2011 played a part in his conversion to brown and gold.
The KPMG auditor said on Friday his conversion took place after Newbold and then-president Jeff Kennett lured him on to the Hawks’ board in October 2010.
“I confess that I was a long-time Essendon supporter and my road to Damascus experience happened in early 2011 after I joined the Hawthorn board. I can also advise that I have two sons, the younger one who has always been a Hawk. His mother and I spent many hours driving him to games and training,’’ he said.
In his message to members he spoke of his wife’s death in 2011 and how he felt compelled to support them.
A club president with a background supporting another team is extremely rare but not unprecedented.
“It was less than a year (after joining the board) when I undoubtedly became Hawthorn, always,’’ he said.
“My wife passed away and the club organised for the players to wear black armbands at the next game I attended. This meant so much to me and I was so overwhelmed. In this moment I realised that Hawthorn was more than a business and football team — they were family.
“There is a famous Hawthorn quote; ‘If you embrace Hawthorn, Hawthorn will embrace you’ and this has been my experience.”