Almanac Lunch (with Matt Zurbo’s book launch): Ken Fraser, Lazar, Chicken and Me


‘And the crowd goes wild!’
Photo courtesy Matt Zurbo


Tomorrow Friday, 19 July, we launch (and celebrate) Matt Zurbo’s new book Heart & Soul with a lunch at the North Fitzroy Arms. All welcome. Here’s are some words from the author Matt Zurbo, a loved and admired member of the Almanac crew.



Ken Fraser is a gentleman. Some blokes it’s just an honour to speak to. When he talked Essendon in the 50s and 60s, as a suburb, as a football club, just opened up and filled the room.


I was there, with Eppis showing off for the crowd, Bluey Sheldon letting rip, Barry Davis doing the most beautiful 60 metre drop punts.


It was fascinating. Some greats in the public eye were not rated as highly by the players. Some lesser lights were. Ken had his take on both.


We met again after our chat. Why wouldn’t you? The two-time Essendon Premiership Captain. What an honour it is to know him.


Lazar Vidovic and I met in his backyard. It was after knockoff at the docks. He inhaled a six pack, then we talked. Incredibly… everything, is Lazar. Larger than life! Everybody who knows him loves him, as they should.


We got drunk at the local RSL. What stood out most, laced through the humour, was perspective, honesty. A big bloke with a big heart who called things as they were. What was not to like? We stayed in touch.


He’ll be there for the book launch. A re-working of my 171 interviews with footballers from the 1940s until now. The publishers chose 26 and gave each of them a full run. Their complete story. Bones McGhie, Billy Williams, Ronald Dale, Simon Black. Lazar wasn’t one of them. No worries. He’ll be in the next one. He’s in anyway… at the launch, telling it how it is.


I simply RATE him!


He reckons he gets a bit nervous, so will be getting his great mate Ricky Nixon to be asking the questions. How good!


Yeah, there’s me, too. I just played my 650thgame of bush footy. Had my 1,525thnervous poo! There’s a story or two in there. The journey, the changing times and small time glory.


Aussie rules isn’t just about Champions, which we have in Ken. Genuine and true. It’s about people. Stories. The ones you will find in the book.


If only for stories, the launch will be a ripper. A story in itself. It would be grouse to see you there…


If you would like to come to the lunch tomorrow (July 19), details are HERE.




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