‘Our champion and gentleman’ : Dick Reynolds and the Essendon Football Club, 1933-1951


Eddy, Daniel (2013) ‘Our champion and gentleman’ : Dick Reynolds and the Essendon Football Club, 1933-1951. Research Master thesis, Victoria University.


Dick Reynolds was one of Australian Rules football’s finest ever contributors, yet he has rarely featured in the corpus of literature on the history of the game. At the height of his fame he was compared with Australia’s finest sportsman of the era, Don Bradman, and he also drew comparisons with the celebrated racehorse, Phar Lap. However the impact of Reynolds on the Essendon Football Club, and the way he was perceived by family, teammates, Essendon supporters and journalists, has never been analysed in depth. This thesis seeks to provide an understanding of the role Reynolds played during two significant periods of stress and upheaval, namely the Great Depression and Second World War. From involvement in a struggling club during the Depression years of the 1930s, through to his own stellar performances on the field, Reynolds would lead the Essendon Football Club into one of the most dominant eras of any team in the history of the Victorian Football League/Australian Football League. By means of extensive range of interviews and a comprehensive examination of newspapers from the period, this thesis will trace the various stages of Reynolds’ playing career, and explore how he, the Essendon Football Club, and Australian Rules football more generally, were regarded during testing times, and how he dealt with the leadership opportunities and expectations which confronted him during this period. By focusing on the role of an individual, and the different ways in which he was perceived, this thesis will provide insight into both the trajectory of a noteworthy Australian Rules football career, along with the district that supported it, and the opportunities, esteem, expectations and pressures placed on a champion footballer.

Additional Information

Master of Arts

Item type Thesis (Research Master thesis)
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/22310
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 2103 Historical Studies
Current > Division/Research > College of Sports and Exercise Science
Keywords Australian football, Essendon Football Club, Dick Reynolds, club histories, history, Victorian Football League, VFL, Richard, Great Depression, captains, leadership, leaders, Twentieth Century, 1910's, 1920's, 1930's, 1940's, 1950's
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