LOU
My Wonderful Life

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Lou Richards

Born: 15 March 1923
Died: 8 May 2017
 

170cm, 73kgs
Collingwood 1941 1955 (250 games, 423 goals)
Collingwood Captain 1952-55
Premiership Captain 1953

Collingwood Hall of Fame (Inductee 2004)
Leading goal kicker 1944, 1948 , 1950
Victoria rep 1947, 1948 (3 games, 9 goals)
Captain Greek Team of the Century

Born Lewis Thomas Charles Richards on March 15th, 1923 and raised on Park Street in Collingwood in one of the most famous of Collingwood families.  From early childhood Lou was brought up in the ways of Collingwood.  Spending most of his childhood down at Victoria Park, Lou only ever wanted to play football for his beloved Magpies. 

Lou played alongside his dual premiership winning (1935, 1936) uncle Alby Pannam during the later part of Alby's career.  Lou's grandfather Charlie Pannam Snr, was also a dual premiership winning player (1902 and 1903) playing for Collingwood from 1894 to 1906 before moving to Richmond to captain coach them in their inaugural VFL season.

In 1941 Australia was in the grip of World War II and many of Collingwood's most talented footballers were overseas assisting the war effort.  The Club had little choice but to take on the services of the cheeky 18 year old rover from Abbotsford FC.

Lou debuted in the 1941 round 6 clash against Carlton and by the end of his 15 season career he would had played 250 games (Equal 9th with Peter Daicos) and with 423 goals (7th overall under his Uncle Alby Pannam who kicked 453 goals).

Lou's ability to rove to a losing ruck with an unswerving attack on the footy was a hallmark of his game and after coping a battering and having most of his teeth knocked out, Lou learnt the art of gamesmanship that the Pannam's were famous for.  A kick in the shins and cheeky bit of lip from Lou was all part of the game.

In 1953 Lou would lead the Magpies into another Grand Final against Geelong after the year before being humbled by the mighty Cats outfit.  Collingwood were underdogs to the much fancied Cats, but Geelong didn't count on the courage and determination of Phonse Kyne's Magpies.  Lou's brother Ron was best on ground and Bob Rose and the three Twomey brothers starred in a drought breaking premiership that proved too exciting for long serving Collingwood legend Jock McHale and club patron saint John Wren.  Both Jock and John suffered heart attacks shortly after the celebrations started to mark the Clubs first premiership since 1936, 17 seasons ago.

Lou struck up a great friendship and rivalry with Jack 'Captain Blood' Dyer from Richmond and together with Geelong legend Bobby Davis, the three set about pioneering football television when their playing days had finished.  World of Sport was a football institution and provided a great window for football fans into the world of VFL football.  Louie-the-Lip's 'kiss of death' was TV folklore and when Lou coined the 'Colliwobbles' after Collingwood's humiliating defeat at the hands of arch rival Carlton in 1970, he really started to get up a few Collingwood noses who were struggling with the fact that Collingwood could not win a premiership even though we had contested four grand finals since the famous 1958 win over Melbourne.

Off the field Lou was the consummate gentleman and when he met a beautiful young lady called Edna in 1943, at a Collingwood Town Hall dance, he knew she was the one for him and in 1948 the two would form a formidable partnership that lasted over six decades.  Edna would always say she wasn't interested in Lou at first and didn't even notice he played for Collingwood.  Lou would turn up to dances still smelling of liniment just to let everyone near him know that the little cheeky guy did actually play for Collingwood.

Lou said of his wife "She was generous and kind. She was a looker, a great dancer, an accomplished businesswoman, a wonderful mother".  And, lucky for Lou, she was all that and more.  They say behind every great man is a great women and Edna would always be there for her Lou.  Raising the kids, getting Lou ready for battle, being the willing butt of his jokes on World of Sport and later working the Phoenix Pub for him.  Edna had it all.  At her funeral in 2008 Bobby Davis simply paid tribute to Edna as the "perfect women".

Edna suffered through Alzheimer's disease and her health deteriorated to the point that she had to move to a nursing home near the Richards' home in her final years.  Lou would take a stroll every day to spend time with his beloved Edna.  Lou lost his best friend on March 8th 2008 and lost a large part of what it meant to be Lou Richards.

Much debate has raged over Lou's proposed inclusion as a Hall of Fame Legend and the AFL's criteria that has excluded our 1953 premiership captain.  We failed to find a spot for Lou in our own Team of the Century, yet it still seems appropriate, given everything Lou has given to our game that the AFL recognise his wonderful lifelong contribution to the game.

Lou Richards is a legend of the Collingwood Football Club and one of few that survives from an era of great Collingwood footballers born and bred to play for Collingwood.



 

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