By Jared Beanland
The Vermont Football Club celebrated their 100-year centenary on the weekend, well past the actual due date.
Vermont Football Club is one of the proudest and most storied clubs in the league, with a history now dating back over a century. The club was born in the year 1920, debuting in the Reporter District Football League. This, of course, means that their true anniversary was in 2020, but for obvious reasons was postponed, as President Danny Ross explains.
“It’s taken three years to get here, because our 100 years was in 2020, the season got cancelled.
“2021 we were going to play our game against Blackburn, and COVID came, we got shut down again.
“We played on Saturday, we wore our jumpers, we saluted the day… it just meant a lot to everyone that’s been here that 100 years is a long time as a footy club, and we’ve been pretty successful at it.”
When asked about the distance between the actual day of 100 years, and the day it was celebrated two years down the line, Ross maintained that it didn’t help the celebration.
“It was a little flat.
“Because we had everything for the day, and we had a centenary dinner as well, which we had to cancel. And when you’re celebrating 100 years when you’re at 102, it’s just not the same.
“So, it’s disappointing, but we roll on, and 100 years is still a fantastic effort.”
The day was celebrated, not only with a crucial match against old rivals Blackburn, but also with a past players gathering and fundraiser.
“So, we had a past players day, which we got 175 past players to.
“Brad Cullen, whose dad is a legend at Blackburn. His son played here, he was captain at Vermont, he’s dealing with a bit of cancer. So, we had a fundraiser day for him, and we raised thousands of dollars for him.”
“There would have been 200 people in the rooms after the game. Blackburn supported it; it was a huge day. Huge.
“We had a crowd of just on 2000, which was significant, it was just fantastic that we could celebrate our centenary and have our past players, and against Blackburn”
Since their inception in 1920, one of the biggest and most respected rivals of Vermont has been Blackburn. The fact that this was the team they played against for their centenary match was indeed significant.
“We’ve had a great rivalry with Blackburn, and they’ve got a great following, they’re a good club. So, we thought what better way to celebrate our hundred years and have it against Blackburn.
“They’re just down the road, players have come to Vermont from Blackburn, and gone from Vermont to Blackburn, even coaches have come from Vermont to Blackburn and vice versa.
“We’ve got a good relationship, but when it comes game day, it’s dog eat dog. Blackburn would be our biggest rival, as in traditionally. Obviously, we’ve got Noble Park and Balwyn, but when it’s said and done, we like to beat Blackburn and they like to beat us.”
For the game itself Vermont went in wearing a special guernsey to mark the occasion.
“It’s a heritage jumper that we took from our jumper back when we started. It looked good and all the boys get to keep that jumper, and we’ve taken photos to look back at.”
Looking forward to the next half of the season, Vermont won’t be without challenges, but Danny Ross is optimistic.
“Any one of six teams can win it, so whoever’s got the healthiest list at the right time will probably win it.
“I think at the moment Noble Park are a little bit of a standout, Balwyn are strong, South Croydon on their day, Blackburn on their day, us too.
“Fit and healthy anyone can beat anyone, and you’ve also got Rowville, who haven’t done anything wrong. So, it’s good for the competition. Competition is healthy, it’s not healthy if one team will win the flag every year.”