Almanac Footy History – The Crapp Chronicles Part 10: A Crapp Forgery?



Dear Sir,

I am very sorry to say that I will not be able to umpire ‘the’ match on Saturday, as I am leaving this State for Melbourne as one of my people is dying. I am very sorry. I cannot umpire this match. You will have to apologize for me as I am leaving this week. Hoping you will be able to secure a good central man.

(Signed) H. Crapp.


This was the letter received by the secretary of the Western Australian National Football League Mr J J Simons, on the eve of a big match between Perth and East Fremantle in 1906.


Having arrived in Perth earlier in the season, Ivo Crapp lived up to his name as ‘Prince of Umpires’ umpiring in every round of the WAFA during the season as well as the occasional Wednesday afternoon Mercantile Football Association game. With the season coming to a close East Fremantle and Perth were playing at Fremantle Oval to decide who would meet West Perth in the Grand Final the following week. Upon receiving the letter, J J Simons was immediately suspicious and telegraphed ‘Ivo’ asking to meet him in Perth when the 8.00am train arrived from Fremantle. As soon as laying eyes on the letter, Crapp announced it as just that, crap, it was obviously a forgery. Although disillusioned earlier in the year after his failed move to Kalgoorlie, Henry ‘Ivo’ Crapp was now happy in Perth and had no intention of heading back to Melbourne. The sender of the letter was never discovered, however, the assumption is that the writer was hoping a change in umpires might change the odds and thus the betting market in his favor. However, nothing of the sort happened, and the letter was handed over to the Criminal Investigations Department.


A newspaper account of the forgery can be read Here.


Read more of the Crapp Chronicles Here



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About Tim

A host of the Kick to Kick Podcast, educator, fan


  1. Why do some have the misguided idea that rogue bookies and ‘colourful characters’ are a relatively modern influence in sport? it was ever thus!

  2. Kevin Densley says

    Good Crapp as usual, Tim!

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