Tokyo Goannas Life Membership is an exclusive Gentleman’s Club and is only available to those select individuals who have made a dedicated, long term commitment which has enhanced or improved the Club over a number of years. Life Membership is subject to specific selection criteria and nominations are voted on, by the elected Committee, during the Annual General Meeting (AGM) conducted at the completion of each season. Please see below for a list of Tokyo Goannas Life Members – congratulations one and all and thank you again for your marvelous contributions.
The Goannas Newest Life Member
Kim Bebbington lived in Japan for fifteen years before recently returning with his family to Perth. Kim was one of the engineers behind the formation of the club and its success over the first 10 years. Kim loves to tell the story of how the five original Goannas came up with the concept for the club and its name. These first 5 Goannas came up with the concept in a bar and mulled over names with an Australian flavour—the Goanna definitely fit that criterion. They also looked for Kanji characters suitable to use for Goanna. Interestingly, the Kanji character “GO”means Australia and can also be the number five. On the other hand, ANA means hole. So they came up with “ 5 Holes (arseholes) or Australian Holes. Musing on this level, these five pioneers named our club (which turns 15 years old in 2007). Kim gave enormous service to the club as president for one year and powerbroker behind the scenes for many, many more years. He was also the editor of The Bungarra, the newsletter of the club which provided news, information and hilarious insights into the bumbling attempts of Aussies attempting to fit into daily Japanese life. The newsletter was so well written we often had people turning up at club events wanting to meet the characters featured within its pages.
Peter Apps was also one of the Goanna pioneers from that first meeting. Peter (Appsy) took the Goanna presidency for one year and worked on the committee for many others. Appsy was passionate about the Annual Ball and he was a driving force behind turning into a magnificent evening attended by over 200 people at some of the swankiest venues in Tokyo. Appsy was always in the background helping and encouraging those who took on committee responsibilities and other duties. Another feature that stands out with Appsy was his passion for the Big V. Whether playing, coaching or supporting, Appsy’s passion for the Big V versus the World matches made him the Teddy Whitten of Japan (Big V versus the World matches were a huge event on the football calendar in the first 10 years and allowed Japanese, South Aussies, West Aussies, Queenslanders and even Taswegians and Poms to join forces against Victoria). In one year, someone put an advertisement in the Japan Times looking for any Victorians with reasonable eye-hand co-ordination. To this day the rumour remains that it was Appsy that placed the ad. Appsy, was also very supportive of Goanna members who struck trouble with accommodation. Often members were temporarily down on their luck (in many cases this meant booted out by their girlfriends). At one time as many as five Goannas lived in Appsy’s house. In an edition of The Bungana, Kim Bebbington once referred to Appsy’s house as the Battered Mens Shelter. Appsy still lives in Tokyo today and still attends Goanna games and function. Congratulations to both these guys—very worthy recipients of Goanna Life Membership.
Simon arrived in 1993 and got involved with the Goannas in 1995. Simon is life member of Box Hill North. He won the Goannas best and fairest three times in 1996, 1997 and 1998. Apart from contributing to the Club on the field Simon was involved on the committee and was President of the Club in 1998. He has been very supportive in helping the JAFL develop and still is a tireless worker for Japanese boys as well as helping other teams. I think the greatest compliment I heard about Simon was from the old Goanna president Shane Flanagan after a match against Box Hill North when he said “We always have to watch him on the field even though he much older than us he continually gets the ball and uses it very well” …and in finishing he said, “I would like to have Simon’s commitment at that age”
In the early 2000s, the Goanna numbers fell to very low levels. Gareth decided to act and joined the Committee as Vice President. In this role he was the key person behind initiatives such as Goanna recruiting drives, restarting the Ball, establishing a base for football in Narita, organising BHN player scholarship stays, ensuring the Goannas toured Osaka each year and the restructuring of JAFL. Gareth also made a huge contribution to the Japanese University teams. He personally attended the freshman sporting club recruiting days and singlehandedly recruited 15-20 new members. This had huge benefits for the JAFL competition and also enabled University rival teams to emerge.
During these difficult years, Hidenori Takagi, known to all his contemporary lizards as “Aussie”, became more and more important to the club. The Goannas kept all its equipment at Aussies house and gave him an official position on the committee as Property Steward. Aussie was always available to bring the BBQ, balls or any other equipment at very little notice. Aussie’s wife washed the team jumpers for three years and helped with any social activities. Never missing a Goannas function or training in 5 years, Aussie’s reliability was a shining light in a period of instability for the Goannas. Aussie was famous for attending each training in a different AFL jumper ; Kangaroos one week, West Coast the next. When Aussie visited Australia his first stop was the AFL shop. Cameron Brooker, Goannas coach at the time, estimated that Aussie had more AFL goods than could be contained in a local Melbourne AFL shop. Based on Aussie’s AFL purchases, we often extrapolated to the extensive AFL profits in Jumper sales alone should AFL gain a significant following in Japan.
The candidate has left a positive legacy on the Club that will benefit future Goannas or Japanese football.
An extraordinary contribution to the Tokyo Goannas and Japanese Football over an extended period of time
An outstanding Clubman
Ronnie has been with the Goannas since 2004. Ron has unbounded energy for the club.He is not only the club`s gun centre half forward but he has held many positions on the committee including two terms as president. He has won the JAFL goal kicking award a number of times. We are proud to have Ronnie as the the first Golden Goanna.
The name Jim Dean conjures up memories of a “Rebel without a Cause” and “Giant” but the Goannas have secretly had their own legend for more than two decades and he is also named James Deane. Jim first had an influence over the Goannas in 1991 at a frantic first up meeting in a cosy pub in Ikebukuro along with some of the founding members of the club. Jim was silly and/or clever enough to put his hand up to design our first ever logo – which has now become one of the most famous throughout all of Asia.
At that stage not much was known about Jim except that he came from sunny Perth and that he could take a bloody good mark. When the next meeting came around, he impressed the boys with his “Picasso” like drawings of goannas in all sorts of positions. At that stage nobody knew that Jim had actually won an award in Oz that enabled him to study car design in Switzerland and that he had played colts with Swan Districts Footy Club – a man of many surprises indeed.
Jim continued an active role with the Goannas for over ten years including domestic games, tours and he is well known for his exploits in the crazy city of Hong Kong. He played with the Goannas until knee problems and broken fingers forced him to retire with an impressive on and off field record. Even after retirement, Jim has always supported the club with his various talents but he has also designed footy club logos for Singapore, The Samurais and Nagoya to name a few. The Goannas are eternally indebted to Jim for his magnificent achievements over an extended period of time and once again congratulate a true Goanna legend.
Being part of the Goannas footie club is not just the footie, boys and beer (and I love all three), it’s the dry Aussie humour that you just don’t find in Japan.