Sydney Alfred Coventry
Australian Rules footballer, coach and administrator;
Collingwood historian Michael Roberts speaks for most Collingwood football supporters and the local community when he describes Syd Coventry as truly one of the club’s most revered figures. As a footballer, captain, coach and Club president he was outstanding.
Although Syd and his brother Gordon were born outside the suburb they are seen as Collingwood Football Club icons. They came from Diamond Creek but through their football skills and leadership on and off the field they won the hearts of Collingwood people not just football followers. To Collingwood locals they were always hailed as true sons of Collingwood.
Syd was a magnificently proportioned footballer. He stood around 180cm and 86kg, was immensely strong and wonderfully fit. He had a vigorous playing style, alternating between ruck and defence. In 1927 he won the Brownlow medal for fairest and best player in the VFL. As captain from 1927-34, he led Collingwood to an unequalled record of four successive premierships between 1927 and 1930 and played 227 games for the club. He represented Victoria twenty-seven times from 1922 to 1933 and also captained the State.
One sportswriter in The Sporting Globe wrote in 1927: ‘He provides the strong rugged work with a vengeance. Syd seems to be electrical in his movements and a mass of energy, unsparingly throwing himself into the vigorous ruck work. Those strong shoulders of his are never idle, and he literally forges his way through anything. He takes some terribly hard knocks, but gives them back equally hard.’ After his playing days he coached Footscray.
He enjoyed a long administrative career at Collingwood, being vice-president (1939-49) and president (1950-63). It is difficult to imagine a more difficult set of circumstances for a president to walk into than those that faced Syd Coventry when he assumed the post in 1950. As president he helped guide the club through what has been described as a tumultuous year of change. The club had been torn apart by the infighting over the appointment of a coach to succeed Jock McHale on the eve of the 1950 season. Club President Harry Curtis had been forced out, as had long-serving treasurer Bob Rush and a number of other board members.
Under his calm and reassuring leadership off-field issues were overcome and the club went on to win premierships in 1953 and 1958.
Throughout his football career Syd held responsible positions as a supervisor with the MMBW. He retired from the Board of Works in1964 after serving for 44 years.
|Birth Date||Birth Place|
|13 June 1899||Greensborough, Victoria|
|Spouse Name||Date of Marriage||Children|
|Gladys Eileen Trevaskis||8 October 1921, St Mary’s Church of England, North Melbourne.||Hugh (1922), Jack (1923), Syd (1932), Gordon ( 1937)|
|Home Street||Home City||Status of Building|
|Diamond Creek, Alphington, Fairfield|
|Death Date||Death Place||Cemetery|
|10 November 1976||Fairfield||Cremated|
Roberts, A century of the best; Holmesby, The Encyclopedia of AFL Footballers; Stremski, Kill for Collingwood; Collingwood Football Club Archives – Forever Collingwood.
Collingwood Football Club Archives –Forever Collingwood