Obituary: An untimely end to a Sporting Life

by Andrew Gigacz

Visitors to these pages who are regular readers of the Age will be saddened to hear of the passing of the stalwart of that paper’s Sporting Life column, Geoff McClure. Geoff died yesterday, aged just 59, after a long struggle with cancer.

For those of you out there looking to find someone to blame (or thank, depending on your viewpoint) for the unleashing of the recent torrents of ridiculous stats and bad puns from my pen, Geoff would be a pretty good starting point.

For it was Geoff McClure to whom I first started sending such statistical possibilities as Geelong losing the last eight games of the 2007 season and still finishing on top, and an end-of-season ladder that had 12 teams finishing equal on 11 wins.

By putting such strange thoughts into print, it was Geoff who helped me realise that there were others in the world who delighted in the statistically unlikely possibilities to be found in sport.

Geoff might have rued that fact, because in the years following, I bombarded him with a litany of nonsensical numbers, stupid stats and arcane anagrams. To my eternal appreciation, Geoff was almost always happy to take them on board and sneak them in to a corner of his Sporting Life column.

After one prolonged period of badgering Mr McClure with my inanities, he emailed me and asked “do you mind if I don’t use your name? Another mention in the column and people might think you have shares in it”.

Some of my friends used to think this occasional lack of acknowledgment was a little unfair. But, without Geoff’s encouragement and willingness to take on my submissions, the road I’ve followed – one that has led me to the wonderful pages and people of The Footy Almanac – is one which would never have been travelled. Whatever assistance I provided to Geoff, acknowledged or otherwise, has been repaid many times over. And for that I will ever be grateful.

Geoff’s sad passing leaves large “Sporting Life” shoes to fill. Fortunately there will be no shortage of capably-sized feet, including those of the likes of Peter Hanlon and Cameron Noakes, who have in recent times continued to make the back page of the Age ‘Sports’ section compulsory reading.

Though Geoff was known to most as “Chook”, I learned via Sporting Life this morning that his old mate Percy Jones called him “Rooster”. So I guess it’s fitting,  as a mark of respect to a man who loved a yarn on any aspect of any sport (including umpires, all football codes and even the Winter Olympics), for me to point out that GEOFF ‘ROOSTER’ MCCLURE is an anagram of FROM LUGE TO SOCCER REF…

Thanks Geoff.

About Andrew Gigacz

Well, here we are. The Bulldogs have won a flag. What do I do now?


  1. So we have the culprit!

    Nice eulogoy, Gigs.

    Rest in peace, Chook.

  2. Richard Naco says

    Superb eulogy.

    May I deserve to be remembered half as fondly when I slip off this mortal coil.

  3. Richard E. Jones says

    Very sad, indeed, Chook’s passing.

    Nice one, Gigs. Hope you’re present at the Clyde Fri. week so we can take on board some more Gigs’ stats on the Catters.

    Cameron Noakes is known among Bendigo electronic media personnel as the ‘Saturday night snoozer’. When the phone would ring around 5.20-5.30 pm Saturdays in the pocket of a match-day broadcasting colleague, the rest of our team would carry on undaunted.

    Upon return to the box — or maybe downing a soothing ale later in one of the clubrooms — inquiries would be made about the identity of the phone caller.

    “Oh, it’s that Saturday night snoozer from the Sunday Age,” came the reply. Noakes-y, of course, was merely getting the rundown on the Bendigo F.L. match-of-the-day so he could include a few pars in his Sunday country football round-up.

  4. Peter Flynn says

    Fitting tribute Gigs.

  5. Steve Healy says

    Great work Gigs, it is sad to see Geoff gone, I am and have been a close follower of the sporting life section. It looks like Geoff really helped your stats career

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