When I first came to this Club, in 1976, it was a very busy and very social place on both Saturdays and Sundays.
It was also a very welcoming place. One of the people who was at the heart of that was Ron Ebert. He made a point of knowing everybody and he got on really well with everybody. He supported club raffles, and helped to run them. He would also tell stories, and buy rounds of drinks, and tell more stories. He was a big presence in the Club.
But Ron was more than just a social butterfly. He did a lot of work for the Club.
Ron’s time with the Club started as a player, playing his junior football at Stop Out. Bob Walley and Eric Donnelly told him to come to Petone, and he wanted to play where his friends were.
At this stage we don’t know a great deal about his playing career as it started so long ago that we didn’t keep good records.
One way we can sometimes tell when someone first started playing is to find them on the list of goal scorers. Unfortunately that didn’t work in Ron’s case. He was a defender and didn’t trouble the scorekeepers very often.
We do know that he played for, and captained, Masterton Athletic when he had to work and live in Masterton. But I’m not sure when that was because that club merged with other clubs to form what has since become Wairarapa United.
But what we do know about him is that he was playing in our first team in 1968, when our detailed records started. From that point, through to 1973, he played 20 games. No goals in that time though.
What we also know about Ron is that he was:
- Captain of the Men’s second team — years unknown
- Coach of the Men’s first team in 1974
- Manager of the Men’s first team in 1990 — the team that won the Central League
- A member of the Management Committee in 1970
- Club Captain for two years (1971 and 1979) — he was proud of this role because he was able to do all the “odd jobs” that allowed the committee to focus on the rest
- Club President for 11 years (1984 to 1994)
- Awarded Sportsperson of the Year twice (1970, 1974)
- A hard working fundraiser — selling raffles in the clubrooms and at the New Central Hotel
- And he took on ground set up duties when that first fell to clubs to pick up.
Ron is very proud that three generations of his family have now played for our Men’s first team — he was followed by his son Wayne and his grandsons Josh and Brad.
He now lives about 120 km away from here, but still makes it down here often to watch matches, particularly if Brad is playing, but also on Old Timers Day. And he still likes to socialise in the clubrooms after the games, catching up with old friends.
It is in recognition of his long period of involvement in the Club, and very significant contribution in that time, that the club awarded Ron life membership at the 2020 AGM.