Almanac Footy History – The Crapp Chronicles Part 9: Crapp Duped! (How Ivo headed west)

In mid-1904 a combined Western Australian team of Coastal and Goldfields footballers traveled to the eastern coast of Australia for a series of matches against the League, Ballarat, and Adelaide. While the trip was hailed as a success, a play was made to try and improve their own WAFA league by way of tempting legendary league umpire Ivo Crapp over to the west. Mr. Dwyer, a representative of the WAFA made a presentation to Ivo Crapp in a bid to sway him west. The Mail, reporting on August 30th, 1904, that Crapp had agreed to reasonable terms and would be expected at the end of the cricket season in 1905.



However the cricket season came and went, and Crapp stayed in Victoria, presumably for monetary reasons. It wasn’t until June 30th of the 1905 season that another motion of Crapp was made in a Western Australian Paper. With ‘Little Mark’ of The Daily News, calling for the league to bring Crapp over and make him ‘The professor of football, Crapp stands in a class by himself as an umpire.’



By August 18th, 1905, ‘Little Mark’ was reporting that Crapp did intend to migrate to WA for good, to be employed permanently by the WAFA as a football expert and organizer.



Crapp’s last league game in charge was the 1905 VFL grand final between Fitzroy and Collingwood, his seventh grand final in charge. However, Crapp’s intentions would see him head towards the goldfields and presumably money instead of the coast!



Ivo continued as a junior cricket umpire during the summer, preparing to leave Melbourne on Easter Saturday and head west. 50 members of the Victorian Junior Cricket Association, assembled at Morell’s Orient Hotel in the week leading up to his departure to farewell Crapp. Mr. Appleby presented Crapp with a silver-mounted pipe and tobacco pouch, as a token of their friendship.



On Monday 16th April, a large number of representatives of metropolitan football and cricket clubs assembled to see him off on the steamer SS Kanowna.



By the morning of April 24th Crapp and family had arrived at the Goldfields, where he was met by Mr. Joe Hird, an enthusiastic former Carlton supporter. It would appear that Crapp has been informed by a chap named ‘Bromley’ of Menzies, that if he came over to the Goldfields, he would be able to obtain a constant billet immediately. But when he went to meet with Bromley, he was told that there was no news of employment. Despondent, Ivo wandered the streets in the following days, trying to procure some work, but there were no prospects of him finding work.



Come Friday 27th he was back at the train station, on his way back to Perth to try and procure work elsewhere. He was furious with his shabby treatment, having been duped into uprooting his family and move across the country for nothing. He was due to umpire a game for the Goldfields Association on Sunday, but with his prompt departure, fans looking forward to some quality umpiring were let down.



The GFA (Goldfields Football Association) was let down by Ivo’s actions, in breaking his engagement to umpire for them, having agreed to match payments. When learning of his return to Perth, they decided to report his conduct to the WA Football League.



It would appear as Crapp arrived in Perth, he took charge of a football match on Saturday, at the association oval. This was a practice match between West and East Perth, and it prompted a letter to the editor of the Daily News in Perth. The writer, calling himself Half Back, calls for the WAFA to keep Ivo in Perth, whatever the cost, as he umpired in a fantastic manner, and would help grow the game in Perth. With Crapp due to depart Perth on the following Wednesday, Half Back implored the League to take action.



As of Wednesday, May 2nd, the league had made an official offer to Crapp, of £2, 2s a game with a bonus of £2, 2s a game, until such time as he could secure employment. The motion was passed by Mr. Cecil and Mr. Webb. Mr. Crapp replied that he was willing to sign an agreement providing the Association endeavored to find him permanent employment, and in answer to a further question be stated that in the event of the Association procuring him employment he would be prepared to reduce his fee.



And so it was the Ivo Crapp was appointed as a league umpire by the WAFA, his first official game was a practice match between North and South Fremantle on May 5th.



Find out more at the podcast episode HERE




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About Tim

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

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