Mourners remember AFL great Davis with joy - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mourners remember AFL great Davis with joy

By Paul Mulvey 24/05/2011 06:04:04 PM Comments (0)

The man who hired a piano accordion to entertain his team before a grand final and then let a clown run on to the MCG with them was never going to have a mournful and sombre farewell.

Even at his funeral, Bob Davis had them laughing. As he did for most of his 82 years.

Davis was remembered on Tuesday for his way with words, his way with people and for the sense of humour that made him one of football's most loved characters.

He won VFL premierships with Geelong as a player in 1951 and 1952, led the club to the flag as coach in 1963 and then forged a pioneering and colourful 40-year media career.

But for all his achievements in football and the media, he was best remembered by his son Guy as a husband, father, provider, protector, role model and mate.

After a 60-year association, Davis had said the Geelong Football Club was his second home and to his footy family he was remembered as a skilled player of 189 games, premiership player and coach, club captain, team of the century member, All Australian captain and very funny man.

To those who shared his first home, he was something a lot simpler - a loving husband, father of five and grandfather of five, and still very funny.

Guy Davis told more than 1000 people who packed St Mary's of the Angels Basilica in Geelong of the family's adventure in 1979 when they spent a year living in England, where no one knew his father was a champion footballer or media identity.

But even as a used car salesman, he was quickly embraced and taken in by the locals, simply because of who he was - "a funny, friendly, charming bloke".

The family were all together and joyous, Guy said, when Geelong finally broke its premiership drought in 2007, 44 years after Davis inspired the Cats to their last flag.

"But there was nothing finer than when Dad presented (Geelong) the premiership cup in 2009," Guy said.

When radio identity Ian Cover recounted Davis' media career, humour and generosity dominated.

Cover told tales of Davis' simple and unique use of the language he called Bobbyspeak.

He had a simple approach to analysing football. He knew Collingwood would lose the 1970 grand final, for example, "when I saw how many of their players had their socks down in the final quarter".

And he delivered what Cover described as the greatest comedic line in football ever during a scathing critique of the Brisbane Bears. Asked what he thought of Bears player Richard Champion, "In name only" was Davis' biting reply.

But he was not a nasty man. "Strike me" was as close to a curse as Guy ever heard come from his father's lips.

Cover said that not only was Davis a fan of the Cats, of footy and of footy people, he was a fan of all people and people responded to him likewise.

And they responded on Tuesday.

The day brought together generations of football people - past Geelong and opposition greats and current players, including a return to town by Gary Ablett junior and Mark Thompson, the gun player and dual premiership coach who left the club amid controversy last year.

Davis' famed TV cohort Lou Richards sat in a wheelchair among the crowd inside the church, while hundreds more, including former Geelong player Sam Newman, stood outside on a bitterly cold day to watch proceedings on a big screen.

They joined together, along with Premier Ted Baillieu, AFL leaders and average Geelong fans draped in blue and white scarves to form a 100-metre-long guard of honour as the hearse took Davis on his last trip through the town he loved and which loved him in return.

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