K rock Football

Neville going nowhere

GDFL president Neville Whitley. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

AT an age when most people are thinking about slowing down, GDFL president Neville Whitley hasn’t given too much thought to stepping away from the position he’s held since 1985.

Whitley, who turns 8o today (Thursday), is comfortable he still has a role to play in leading the league for a while longer.

“I believe that I’ve still got a little bit to offer our clubs going forward,” Whitley said. “It’s not as though I’m going to pull the plug just because I’ve reached 80.

“If your health is OK and your mind is active, it keeps you involved.

“I’ve been lucky that I’ve always had good people around me, such as secretaries, treasurers and vice-presidents.

“If you’ve got good people who support you, your jobs a lot easier. It’s just a matter of steering them in the right direction.”


Whitley did reveal he had “two or three” succession plans during his tenure, but all had fallen over before being carried out.

“One had a business and he couldn’t afford the time,” he said.

“And another one’s work conditions were demanding on his time and he didn’t think he could do the job.

“But there are others on my board who will probably step up If I ever give it away.

“There are people at club level, too, who would come onto our board. There are some good people there that I would look at.”

During Whitley’s 35-year stint in the top job, the GDFL has made some critical decisions that allowed it to stand on its own two feet, despite differing restructure plans for the region being put forward.

“The building of Buckleys has kept us excited about the prospects of looking after our clubs,” he said.

“We can operate financially OK – we don’t have to put the demands back on the clubs as far as finance goes.”

However, Whitley rejected suggestions he remained in the role to ensure the GDFL didn’t get swallowed up by AFL Barwon.

“Not necessarily because the five vice-presidents I’ve got now are all on the same wavelength with which direction our football clubs wish to go – they wish to still manage their own affairs,” he said.

“If they ever change their mind, and the RACs are still operating, that the league might consider it.

“But, that will be someone else’s choice, not mine.”

Twitter: @tom_king79