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Tuesday, 02 October 2012 18:21

Vale Hamilton McMeechan

Written by  Roy Hay
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    Hammy McMeechan against Moscow Torpedo in 1965. Laurie Schwab collection, Deakin University Library. Hammy McMeechan against Moscow Torpedo in 1965. Laurie Schwab collection, Deakin University Library.

    THE football community is in mourning after the sudden death earlier this week of Hamilton McMeechan at the age of 71.

     

    Universally known as Hammy he was one of this country’s best players in the 1960s with seven Socceroo caps and numerous games for Victoria.

    He was born in Scotland in 1941 and played football with Carlisle United and Exeter City in England before coming to Australia in the early 1960s.

    A typical Scottish winger and inside-forward with superb close control, he signed with Slavia winning the Dockerty Cup in 1964. His skills brought him to the notice of the late Frank Burin who was in the process of revamping the Croatia team in 1965.

    Hammy’s transfer fee of £1200 ($2400) was a Victorian record at the time. It proved to be money well spent as he helped Croatia win everything in sight in 1968 including the State League and the Dockerty Cup. The next year he went to Western Suburbs in Sydney but was back with Hakoah and later Juventus in Victoria by 1974 and even had a spell in Japan with Yomiuri and in South Australia with West Adelaide and a season with Moreland.

    He was a member of the Socceroo squad which embarked on Australia’s first World Cup qualifying campaign in 1965. In that weird exercise he did not play in either of the qualifiers against North Korea but turned out against Cambodia, Hong Kong, and Malaysia twice. Those games were played after the World Cup qualifiers, in part to raise funds to meet the cost of the exercise. Since then Australia has learned to play its warm-up matches before the main event!

    Earlier in 1965 he had turned out for the Socceroos and twice for Victoria against Moscow Torpedo which toured Australia that year. In 1967 he played for Australia against a Scotland team that included Alex Ferguson, now Sir Alex and manager of Manchester United. Hammy was injured in the game in Adelaide and missed the final match in Melbourne.

    It was while he was at Prahran Slavia in 1964 that McMeechan took part in a charity match at Olympic Park against some of the superstars of the Victorian Football League including Ron Barrassi, Kevin Murray, Gordon Collis, Ted Whitten and Des Tuddenham. Not a bunch of shrinking violets! The match had been stirred up by Jack Dyer’s comments in his column in Truth after he had been to the Dockerty Cup final and claimed that ‘soccer was a game for big girls’.

    But when it came to the game the Slavia boys were 3-0 up at half-time and won the match 8-0. Barrassi was injured in a legitimate tackle demolishing the notion that the round-ball game was one for weaklings, while Hammy caused delight in the crowd and apoplexy in his opponent when Gordon Collis chased him towards the corner flag. The wee man backheeled the ball to a team-mate but kept running, pursued by Collis, who could not make out what had happened. The match raised a considerable sum for charity, but only temporarily overcame local prejudice against the world game.

    Hammy continued to play and coach at various clubs and in 1983 turned out for a Victorian veterans’ team which played the curtain raiser to the centenary match between Victoria and New South Wales at Olympic Park. Both sides wore old-fashioned strips and Hammy was resplendent with his centre parting in his hair and a huge moustache. Hay remembers coming up against him in a veteran’s match in the 1990s along with the late Frankie Loughran, Ted Smith, and Nick van Egmond, senior. He still had the characteristic pigeon-toed running style and all the touches accompanied by a continuous repartee between himself and Loughran, two of the funniest men you could ever meet on the playing field.

    McMeechan was playing indoor soccer until a hip operation a couple of years ago. He helped coach a girls’ team and maintained his interest in all aspects of football. He regularly assisted senior citizens in a retirement village by taking them shopping and was a much-loved and respected member of his local community.

    Hammy McMeechan Funeral Details:

    Date: Thursday 11th October 2012

    Time: 1.30pm (for viewing) / 2pm Service

    Place:
    Bunurong Memorial Park, 790 Frankston-Dandenong Road, Dandenong South

     

     

     

    Last modified on Wednesday, 10 October 2012 13:48

    21 comments

    • Comment Link Alex Tulloch Tuesday, 13 November 2012 01:21 posted by Alex Tulloch

      Here's tae ye wee man you were one of the best on the field and off great memories especially in Blackpool where we first met.

      R.I.P Hammy
      from Tully ,linda and family x

    • Comment Link Francine Hrastovcak Sunday, 07 October 2012 21:53 posted by Francine Hrastovcak

      Dear Uncle Hammy,

      You're one of a kind, with your infectious smile and forever whistling a tune, you could be heard for miles.

      You were taken from us all too soon, and You will be dearly missed by us all.

      You will be forever in our hearts.

      With Love Always,
      Francine, Michael, Mickey & Anton
      XXXX

    • Comment Link Deb (Lucas) Drum Friday, 05 October 2012 14:23 posted by Deb (Lucas) Drum

      Still can't believe your gone Uncle Hammy,
      Have been thinking about you and all our little stories.
      Banana sandwiches, helping you with book sales
      in the school holidays, watching you play soccer and
      teaching me all the little tricks you had. Was only playing the other day and using your tricks and passing them on to my 2nd cousins. Rembering all the good times we shared, Christmas time brings back lots of memories, especially your ducks noises! All our photos and our special time together, I Wish I could see you one last time to give you a extra special hug and cherish it forever but knowing you are watching down on me gives me a little bit of comfort! Gone but never forgot!
      Until we meet again uncle hammy. Love you forever
      Your cheeky wee niece
      Deb

    • Comment Link peter  geoghegan Thursday, 04 October 2012 17:08 posted by peter geoghegan

      will miss our discussions on rio defensive ability sadly missed a very good friend r.i.p

    • Comment Link Totem Pole Thursday, 04 October 2012 15:44 posted by Totem Pole

      RIP Hammy. You'll be sorely missed, but never forgotten!!!

    • Comment Link Anthony Swords Thursday, 04 October 2012 01:09 posted by Anthony Swords

      Uncle Hammy,

      Always a Smile, a Joke and a Crunchie
      You and your famous bird call will always be missed
      and never forgotten

      Anthony Swords and Family

    • Comment Link Fiona Thursday, 04 October 2012 00:27 posted by Fiona

      RIP Hammy. I'll never forget the time you taught me how to polish my soccer boots, "just spit on it Fi baby" in true Hammy humour. You were a massive inspiration on my success and skill as a soccer player in my senior years at school - it was a pleasure to stand on the side lines with you and learn the tricks of how to be a great coach, essentially learning how to do the Duck whistle!

    • Comment Link Lesley Dethridge Wednesday, 03 October 2012 23:18 posted by Lesley Dethridge

      Oh Hammy, you will forever be young at heart! It was always such a pleasure to hear you from the sidelines....an absolute pleasure to be coached by you and a true advocate for women's soccer - Thank you!
      With love from - Team Dethridge

    • Comment Link Eoghan geoghegan Wednesday, 03 October 2012 20:19 posted by Eoghan geoghegan

      Always the gentleman , even after you nutmegged them . A great loss to football and anyone who knew you. Been my pleasure to have known you.

    • Comment Link Alan Crawford Wednesday, 03 October 2012 19:39 posted by Alan Crawford

      Gone!! but never forgotten

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