Almanac Life: Ian ‘Goals’ Drohan (1932- 2019)



Ian ‘Goals’ Drohan (1932- 2019)



For five years of pleasant Sunday mornings I ran around with a wonderful St Kilda identity whose 90th birthday anniversary is around the corner.


Ian ‘Goals’ Drohan’s personality was loaded with a very healthy ego. He fancied himself as Cary Grant in the looks and charisma departments, and I couldn’t agree more.


The man knew everything going on in and around the lower streets of Melways Map 58.  His sources were the adoring army of local traders that he serviced from when Bobby Davis pinched Polly Farmer from The George Hotel, to when Saints finished 10th in 1999.


Never a dull moment with Ian Drohan – the beating pulse of St Kilda. Short statured but blessed with more front than Myer, stories flowed out of this man, and he regaled all with his very own language.


A favourite was the day in 1955 he ran yelling all the way from the Junction Oval to his mates at Kandy Korner (now McDonalds) opposite Luna Park. Ian had achieved his dream ambition to be selected in St Kilda senior team.  Goalsy also relished describing each and every touch of the footy in those three precious Saturday afternoon games he made for his beloved Saints.


Goals grew up at 37 Elm Grove wanting to know everybody’s business. In his heartfelt eulogy, lifelong pal Saints legend Neil ‘Coconut’ Roberts described Goals was the most popular of Past Players because he was blessed with the ability to connect with people from all walks of life.   That Ian couldn’t help making friends with all who had the privilege to meet him. And that his affectionate nickname was earned by swanning around the goal posts without kicking a major.


Lack of height had made it difficult to get a regular game, so on the eve of the 1956 season, Ian decided to move on with departing coach Les Foote.


Goals jumped at an opportunity at Maffra FC that came with a horse named Les and buggy milkrun included in the deal. Urged on by his great mate four times VFL premiership coach Yabby Jeans – (they spoke weekly for decades), Goals took over the reins from Foote and stayed in Gippsland until an offer to return to coach Balaclava and a guaranteed job at the Inkerman street depot, brought him home to St Kilda in 1963.


I had the pleasure to jockey most Sunday mornings in the last quarter of Goals’ sparkling years, slow boating his bin truck around St Kilda. All the other full timers were done with the slow Sunday street tour, so myself, a casual part-timer, landed the gig with Goals in 1994.


Now and then he’d take off, leaving me stranded with a rubbish bin, distracted by Saturday’s Racing results. Checking mirrors did not come naturally to Goals, but these habits were a minor hindrance for five hours of playful banter.


The produce gifted from grateful shopkeepers was more than enough for my small family.


Each week a drop off of ‘cashies’ on my porch was always a welcome sight for my wife and first born. Goals loved playing Santa with enough spoils to share with delighted neighbours.


Goals waved at all comers and often would stop the truck for a chat, blissfully unaware of the chaos he caused behind us.


A highlight most Sundays, was our visits to Ian’s childhood idol, 1940s star Harold Bray for a cup of tea at Harold’s home in Alfred Street Balaclava. If only I’d had a recording device. Such a pleasure to witness these two old friends analyse AFL footy.


Our mornings ended with my catch up with his wife Sheila at their place in Wilgah Street.


Ian and Sheila enjoyed 20 years retirement in Paynesville, indulging their love for old Hollywood classics together, and walking Maggie their beloved terrier.


On top of regular phone calls, their place was a rest stop for our family en route to Mallacoota holidays through the early 2000s.


Ian died just shy of his 87th birthday in 2019.


Sheila now lives in Albury near her brother and thinks about her Goals every day.


They don’t make them like Goals any more.


Vale Goals.



More from David Clerehan can be read Here




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  1. What a character!!! Very articulate and descriptive article. And a great friendship you had. I feel like he’s my friend now. Well done Dave.

  2. Exceptional memories of a man I know nothing about. Really enjoyed the read Lazy

  3. DavidRooke says

    Another cracking recollection LazyDave, full of gems & pearls of wisdom.

  4. Phil Robin says

    Great article David. Really enjoying your work.

  5. John Richardson says

    Onya Dave, I can imagine the cabin ride in the Office

  6. Isaac Hermann says

    A touching read of a heartfelt account full of personal reminiscences conveyed with light and humour.

  7. Robert Fregon says

    Good on ya Lazydave for your engaging reminiscences of your times spent with an old-time Footballer. 20years in Paynesville is a long way from St.Kilda. Why did Ian and Shiela retire to Paynesville?

  8. Matthew Shrimpton says

    Beautifully written lazydave, Goals sounded like a St. Kilda legend I must’ve walked past on Carlisle street a million times without realising. I wish I got to meet the man and hear his takes. Great read :)

  9. Very enjoyable account. Dave. You reminded me how much more interesting ‘ordinary’ people are than celebrities ( especially celebrities whose renown originates in ‘reality’ shows and checkout literature). Another footy great who frequented that area was Tommy Hafey. Did you ever run into him? I believe he was an early riser, and as you were on the truck perhaps you happened to catch him doing push-ups on the foreshore lawn. If you did, I’d love to read your account ‘T-shirt Tom’.

  10. David Clerehan says

    Never liked to impose on always friendly Tommy. .Bronze statue still a chance.

    Goals Daughter Kylie settled in Paynesville.Bonus was Dual Brownlow winner Roy Wright a local.

  11. Vince Amato says

    Very well written with great knowledge of the man himself.
    Most people who lived in the area at one point or another either heard of him or meet him.
    The lucky ones that did meet and know him, will always remember that moment.

  12. Fabulous piece of social history as well as a wonderful personal tribute. Keep the spirit alive.

  13. What a great story and summary of a legend.

  14. Remy Clarke says

    Sounds like an absolute pleasure to be around goalsy great read!

  15. Derek Stewart says

    David. What a well written article. Thank you, I love that you kept in touch with the Ian and his family. A life lived full of character.

  16. Lots of color and movement. Great little read.

  17. David McLeod says

    Dave, really enjoyed your piece on ‘Goals’. It conjures up the long ago friendly place that St. Kilda was.

  18. Duncan Buchanan says

    Very interesting and well-written article.

  19. John Harms says

    Thanks LazyDave. This is a beaut tribute. Sounds like a great character.

    I agree with Robert Nowak’s comments. Everyone’s story is interesting. When I first started writing my dream project was to stop the No. 11 tram somewhere around the Brunswick Street Oval and get the phone numbers of everyone on that tram so I could contact them to hear their stories. I reckon that would be a terrific book.

  20. Interestingly, fascinating very humane story of ”Goals” as narrated by his friend David in the Balaclava area in the 60s. A lifelong friendship with a man who’s got a gift of the gab enthralling friends with his stories along the way, who’s passions were football & horse racing. He must be smiling at you LazyDave from yonder for your loving tribute to him. Cheers to the Friendship !

  21. A lifelong friendship as narrated by LazyDave about ”Goals”.. Interestingly & Fascinating story of a man who’s got the gift of the gab, enthralling friends along the way who’s passions were football & horse racing, what a Character! He might be smiling at you from yonder for your tribute to his life. Cheers to the Friendship!

  22. Wendy crellin says


  23. Great story about real local character. More of this.

  24. Michael Bright says

    Great story about Goalsy. A larger than life character!

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