Allen Aylett
Personal information
Full name Allen James Aylett
Date of birth (1934-04-24) 24 April 1934 (age 87)
Original team(s) University High
Height 174 cm (5 ft 9 in)
Weight 80 kg (176 lb)
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1952–1964 North Melbourne 220 (311)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1964.
Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com

Allen James Aylett OBE (born 24 April 1934) is a former Australian rules football player and administrator. He was the chairman/president of the North Melbourne Football Club from 1971 to 1976, and then again from 2001 to 2005. In between, he had been the chairman of the then Victorian Football League (VFL) from 1977 to 1984.

Aylett worked as a dentist throughout his career until his retirement at age 81 years.

Playing career

It was as an Australian rules football rover that Aylett first made his mark. He played 220 games and kicked 311 goals in a career spanning 1952–1964. He won North Melbourne's best and fairest award from 1958–1960, was All-Australian in 1958 and 1961, won the Tassie Medal in 1958, won the Simpson Medal in 1960, and was captain of his side from 1961–1964. He was selected in the North Melbourne Football Club's Team of the Century.

Aylett also had a brief cricketing career that he never fully pursued due to his interest in Australian rules football. He played as a batsman in 11 first-class matches in the 1950s for domestic cricket side Victoria but was not successful, finishing with a batting average of just 16. He played district cricket for Carlton (two seasons) and University (six seasons), averaging 27.[1]

Administration career

Aylett is best known for his career as an administrator in the 1970s and 1980s. He was elected to the position of North Melbourne Football Club president in 1971, and his innovative off-field leadership in securing sponsorship and running corporate entertainment – including the rise of the North Melbourne Grand Final Breakfast as one of the Grand Final's most prominent events – followed by his aggressive recruitment of star players, particularly through the use of the short-lived "ten year rule" in 1973, turned North Melbourne from perennial also-rans to a professionally run powerhouse of the 1970s,[2][3] and the club contested five consecutive Grand Finals between 1974 and 1978, winning two.

In 1977, Aylett was elected president of the VFL. He continued his aggressive efforts to push the game's administration towards professional and business-driven success. His actions in setting up the VFL's Night Series in 1977, as a direct rival to the NFL's Night Series, delivered both sponsorship opportunities and laid the platform for the VFL to supersede the NFL for control of football in Australia.[4] Under his guidance, the league expanded into the Sydney market, making preparations for an expansion team before South Melbourne opted to relocate there;[2] Aylett subsequently sat on the Swans' board of directors. Additionally, during his tenure, the VFL began to establish regular Sunday matches in Victoria; and he fought the Melbourne Cricket Club and the Victorian Government to move the Grand Final to VFL Park, ultimately failing to make the move, but securing a better financial deal for the VFL and better ticket access for VFL members.[2][5] Aylett stepped down in December 1984 following the establishment of the VFL Commission.[6] Aylett also served as president of the National Football League from 1978 until 1985.[7]

Aylett signalled the end of his administration career after a final stint as North Melbourne Kangaroos president from 2001–2005.

Honours

On 16 June 1979, Aylett was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in recognition of services to Australian Rules football.[8] On 24 October 2000, he was awarded the Australian Sports Medal for his contribution to Australian Football.[9] On 1 January 2001, he was awarded the Centenary Medal for service to Australian society through the sport of AFL football.[10] He was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame as an administrator in 2006.[2]

See also

References

  1. ^ "VCA 1st XI Career records 1889-90 to 2014-15, A-C" (PDF). Cricket Victoria. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d "Allen Aylett". Sport Australia Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 24 September 2020. Retrieved 24 September 2020.
  3. ^ J. A. Mangan; John Nauright (2000), Sport in Australasian society: Past and present, Abingdon, UK: Frank Cass & Co. Ltd
  4. ^ John Devaney (2014), Clubs of the South Australian National Football League, Great Britain: Full Points Publication, p. 252
  5. ^ Dr Alf Andrews, PhD. "A History of the AFL Membership" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 15 September 2018. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  6. ^ "'Misunderstood' Aylett quits VFL presidency: no apologies". The Canberra Times. Canberra, ACT. 6 December 1984. p. 24.
  7. ^ "NFL boss loses his job". The Canberra Times. Canberra, ACT. 5 October 1985. p. 20.
  8. ^ "Allen James Aylett OBE". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 6 January 2012.
  9. ^ "Allen James Aylett". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 6 January 2012.
  10. ^ "Allen James Aylett". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 6 January 2012.