North Melbourne icon Dr Allen Aylett sadly passes, known as 'father of football' – Sporting News

  • September 16, 2022

Australian Football Half of Famer Dr Allen Aylett passed away on Friday morning at the age of 88.
Known for his influence in growing the game to what it is today, Aylett will be remembered as a champion player and President of the North Melbourne Football Club.
The North Melbourne Football Club is mourning the death of club Legend, Dr Allen Aylett, who passed away on Friday. He was 88.
Beginning his football career in 1952, Aylett was a three-time club champion, dual All-Australian, Tassie Medalist in 1958 as well as being named in the club’s Team of the Century across 12 seasons. 
Aylett played 220 games and kicked 311 goals during his career.
Once retired, he took over as the president of the Kangaroos in 1971 through to 1976, leading the side to its first ever premiership in 1975, which included signing the famous Ron Barrasi to the club as coach.
After his tenure at North Melbourne, Aylett went on to become the VFL president from 1977 to1984.
He rejoined the Kangaroos at the turn of the century as president, leading the club from 2001 to 2005.
On June 16 1979, Aylett was awarded with the Officer of the Order of the British Empire in recognition of services to Australian Rules Football.
His role included but was not limited to introducing matches outside the state of Victoria, playing games in New South Wales whilst also leading the charge to relocate South Melbourne to Sydney.
Aylett also had hand in assisting television coverage of the game including the first live Grand Final broadcast and matches on Sundays.
Sad to hear of the passing of Dr Allen Aylett. A massive figure in the growth of our game. In fact, were it not for his time as head of the VFL, we might arguably still not have a national competition. Not to mention taking North Melb from perennial struggler to a power. RIP Doc. pic.twitter.com/eOKIHB9r2r
AFL Commission Chair Richard Goyder spoke of the legacy and impact Aylett had on the game, with his everlasting influence being a positive.
“Allen Aylett is a keystone of the national competition we have today,” Goyder said.
“His drive and ambition for the game to be as great as it could be opened new boundaries for our sport, and started the difficult but important steps to build the national competition we see today.
“Allen was a player of the very highest level – twice being part of a national carnival for Victoria and winning a Tassie Medal – as well as guiding North Melbourne to its maiden VFL premiership in 1975 when he transformed the club by appointing Ron Barassi as coach. 
“In many ways, he was the father of the national competition and a visionary who saw the game expanding across all parts of Australia. “
Football boss Gillon McLachlan also expressed his condolences and gratitude for the work Aylett did.
“Allen Aylett was a giant of our game and had a vision that Australian Football should be played in every state and territory,” McLachlan said.  
 
“He was an innovator who continued to energetically drive change in our game and forge a path where so many Australians are today able to play and watch our game.  
 
“He was not only one of the great ideas men in our game, but also a wonderful man whose passion for football and family knew no bounds.”

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