John Coleman biography

John Coleman

COLEMAN:  The Untold Story of an AFL Legend

The name “John Coleman” is synonymous with the AFL’s annual award for the competition’s leading goalkicker.  The Essendon full-forward exploded onto the scene in 1949 with 12 goals on debut, and booted his 100th major in that season’s winning Grand Final.

A high-flying excitement machine, he continued to thrill crowds until a career-ending knee injury in 1954, but returned to coach the Bombers to two premierships in the sixties.

Coleman is a household name in AFL but, beyond the smattering of spectacular action photographs and the phenomenal statistics, little is known about this legendary footballer who died in 1973 aged just 44.

Now, the explosive untold story of an Australian sporting icon whose memorabilia is prized behind only Don Bradman and Phar Lap!

In 68 chapters and seven appendices, Doug Ackerly’s meticulous biography reveals a fiery personality who clashed heatedly with his captain while playing, and with five of his champions as coach.  And, Coleman’s almost pathological hatred of umpires saw him reported no fewer than nine times – an unprecedented four as coach.

Myths are exploded as the author reveals the true story behind the infamous Caspar incident that cost Essendon the 1951 premiership, and why Coleman’s knee injury should never have happened in the first place, and how it was dreadfully mismanaged.  Along with the probable cause of the hands-on publican’s premature death.

Coleman’s genius is examined by contemporaries and in 40 statistical tables, and his successful coaching methods compared with his revered predecessor, Dick Reynolds, and successor, Jack Clarke.  His story is illustrated in more than 100 images.

John Coleman was named full-forward in the AFL Team of the Century, and is an inaugural Legend in its Hall of Fame.  His memory is now preserved in bronze outside the MCG.

But, he was much more than that.  A shy, yet charismatic, country boy, he grew to captivate the public like few others in a short life, changing newspapers in the 1950s.

Above all, he was a devoted family man.  And, at last, this very human biography, with a Foreword by daughter, Jenny, reveals all.

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