Former Richmond captain and president Neville Crowe has died after a long illness. He was 79.
Crowe served the Tigers in a variety of roles, with current president Peggy O’Neal paying tribute to his lifelong passion and commitment to the AFL club.
“He was a Jack Dyer medallist, life member, Hall of Fame member and former president,” O’Neal said following his death on Friday.
“His commitment to the Save Our Skins campaign epitomised his love of this football club and we are both honoured and indebted that he is such an important part of our history.”
Richmond was drowning in debt by the end of the 1980s and in real danger of folding until the Save Our Skins campaign of 1990.
An advertising campaign, rally and exhibition match overseen by Crowe in his fourth year as club president mobilised the Tiger Army, averting the unthinkable.
Crowe’s unbreakable connection with Richmond began in 1957 when he played the first match of what would be a 150-game career at Punt Road.
He captained the side from 1963 to 1966, took out the best-and-fairest award three times and represented Victoria on nine occasions.
His playing days ended in controversy when suspended for four matches for an incident during the 1967 semi-final against Carlton.
Crowe would miss the Tigers’ grand final win over Geelong but footage of the incident – inadmissible as evidence at the time – showed Crowe didn’t make contact with Blues ruckman John Nicholls.
He took over as president of the club in 1987 and stepped aside in 1993 having seen the Tigers through one of the darkest periods in the club’s history.