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Bob Clayton inducted into Port Adelaide Football Club Hall of Fame

LEGENDARY player, administrator and life member Bob Clayton has become the 38th inductee into the Port Adelaide Football Club Hall of Fame.

Clayton first played for the Magpies in 1961 as a 16 year-old and contributed to the club for half a century in various roles including as the General Manager and Football Manager.

He received the honour posthumously, following his death at the age of 65 in 2011, at the club’s Season Launch and Hall of Fame gala night at the Adelaide Convention Centre.

His son Mark, himself a captain of the club, accepted the honour on his father’s behalf, and said his dad would have been embarrassed to have been recognised in such a way.

“We’re extremely proud that the footy club has recognised the long hours he put in – people involved in a football club know that it isn’t a nine to five job,” Mark Clayton said.

“As a family, we’re extremely honoured and proud that he was here for so long and the amount of people that come up to me even today and talk about him and how honest he was – and not too many people say a bad word about him.

“I’m sure that he’d be embarrassed with getting this award but we think it’s thoroughly deserved.”

Club icon John “Jack” Cahill, who played with and coached Clayton, was on hand to announce the induction.

As a player, Clayton was a tough and uncompromising defender who featured in 151 League games for the Magpies between 1966-75, and Cahill described him as “selfless”. “As a player he was the ultimate team man. He would sacrifice his own game for the team, he was courageous and without hesitation he would just go for the ball so he was a complete Port Adelaide team man,” Cahill said.

Talent wise he wasn’t up there with the best but as far as effort, courage, dedication and commitment to the team, you’d have him in your team just for the value of his chasing, his tackling and his unselfish team work.”

Clayton played in five League and two reserve Grand Finals, but Cahill said it was unfortunate that he retired without a Premiership.

“To be a team man who sacrificed himself so much, he deserved to be in a Premiership team but he played a part in so many other Premierships for the club,” he remarked.

Clayton is perhaps best remembered for his work as an administrator, occupying various roles including General Manager, a title he first took on in 1989.

He had a great influence on generations of players, from his under-age and League team-mates to those he helped daily during his reign as Football Manager in Port Adelaide’s formative years in the AFL.

Indeed the club’s AFL presence is in large part due to Clayton’s work as General Manager at the time of the initial bid in 1990 and as Football Manager in 1996 when its entry into the national competition was confirmed.

Cahill said Clayton had strong principles as an administrator.

“He didn’t talk a lot, he would listen and learn a lot more by listening but he was also very loyal,” Cahill said.

“He would have an opinion and it would be a strong one, he’d get his thoughts across but the bottom line would be that he would always do what was best for the club.

“He epitomised what Port Adelaide was all about, a good honest, hardworking club and there were times that we didn’t have the talent but we had the work ethic – and we got that from him.”

Perhaps Clayton’s proudest moment came in 2004 when he was the Team Manager on ground at the MCG as the club won its maiden AFL Premiership.

While he was forced to give up full-time work at Port Adelaide to battle his illness, Clayton continued to sit on the Club’s Life Membership Committee into 2011.

Cahill said Clayton would have loved receiving the honour of joining the club’s Hall of Fame. “For him his family came first, it was then the footy club second and his horses a close third.”

“He was there if anyone needed him, he was totally for the club and his Hall of Fame honour is so well deserved.”

“As a human being, you could not have met a nicer person and there was no ego involved, no dominating – with everything he did in life he stayed a nice person.”

An annual award is named in Bob Clayton’s honour, given to a person in recognition of their service to the club’s SANFL operations who demonstrates his qualities of being positive, honest, trustworthy, loyal and committed.

Bob Clayton:
Games: 151
Goals: 4
5xSANFL Grand Finals, 2xReserve Grand Finals

Port Adelaide life member

Performed various roles including:
General Manager of Port Adelaide Football Club (SANFL and AFL)
Football Manager
Team Manager