Cats president Costa steps down - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cats president Costa steps down

28/08/2010 02:27:30 PM Comments (0)

From the Geelong team banner to the lap of honour before the game to the cardboard masks fans wore at Skilled Stadium, the day was all about retiring Cats president Frank Costa.

The 72-year-old greengrocer, who became president 12 years ago and told his wife Shirley it would only be for three years, is finally stepping down after playing a key role in lifting the Cats from a huge financial hole to being defending AFL premiers with fabulous facilities.

Costa gave a heartfelt 20-minute address at the club's pre-match luncheon on Saturday before fans stood in the terraces to farewell the raspy-voiced club icon as he did a lap in a car around the ground.

Costa became marketing director in 1996 and two years later president Ron Hovey asked him to be vice-president.

The following year Costa put a ticket together when Hovey stepped down and so began a period of rebuilding, including making an aggressive and successful approach to lure West Coast chief executive Brian Cook to Geelong.

Mark Thompson was appointed coach in 2000 and despite hitting a major hurdle in 2006, when the club missed the finals which prompted a review of the club, the Cats refocused to claim premierships in 2007 and 2009.

And Costa, who has eight daughters and 19 grandchildren, says it's all about the people.

"We were in a terrible position with the bank," Costa recalled of the late 1990s at the club.

He thanked various governments and banks for their assistance and proudly claimed Skilled Stadium to be the best AFL playing surface in the nation.

Costa's famous raspy voice started to break as he recalled his "most famous moment" of his 12-year term.

"In 2007 when we won that flag back after 44 years, walking around that stadium, watching our players greet all their fans, jumping over fences, hugging and kissing them, shaking hands," he said.

"I thought that's the best it could ever be.

"The very next day at this ground we had 36,000 people and the happiness of all those people.

"For the older people to come up and say 'we never thought we'd see one in our lifetime, we're ready, happy to die now'."

"Please don't die yet," Costa urged them.

"We might get another one or two. I've never seen the place so happy," Costa added.

"That is truly what this football club does to the community.

"Here we are in 2010. Can we make it three out of four? I reckon we can."

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