It was with much sadness that we learnt of the death of Club and VAFA Legend Manson Russel this week. Manson, small and diminutive in size, was a giant of Old Scotch Football Club and the VAFA. You can read below of his schoolboy and VAFA playing record, and of the contribution he made to the VAFA in an administrative capacity. In my time at the club Manson was a constant presence who will be sadly missed. He was a friend to all and was highly respected by young and old. Bryan Gibbs perhaps best exemplified the esteem in which Manson was held through the enormous time, care and patience he gave to him in recent years. Hats off Gibbles.
In 1948, Manson Russel was recruited from Scotch College, but played three senior games while still at school, debuting in our Seniors 14 August 1948. He then went on and played a then record 235 games with the Old Scotch Collegians Football Club from 1948 – 1962, playing in the number “4” jumper. In 1950, he was the club’s Best & Fairest and the VAFA A Section Best & Fairest. Later he was named our club’s Best Team Player in 1953, 1955, 1956 & 1957.
He was our club’s leading goalkicker from 1949 – 1954 & 1956 – 1959, totalling over 400 goals.
Manson captained the club in 1953, 1954 & 1957 – 1960.
He was a Victorian state representative in 1952, 1953, 1956 & 1959.
During his playing career, Manson was also the tenth Secretary of the Old Scotch Collegians Football Club in 1955 & 1956. Manson coached our club for four years from 1958 – 1960 and again in 1963. He also managed to play in our 1961 Reserves premiership team. Manson was awarded Life Membership of the club in 1970, having also played 200 games for our club back in 1961.
Manson acted as the club’s VAFA delegate from 1949 – 1971, becoming a member of VAFA Executive from 1963 – 1983, then later VAFA Chairman from 1971 – 1977 and VAFA President from 1978 – 1980. Manson was elected a Life Member of the VAFA in 1978, awarded an Australian Football Foundation Merit Award in 1979, and made a Patron of the VAFA in 1984. Our annual award to a senior player for “Most Sacrificial Acts” is named after Manson. In 2007, Manson was awarded an OSCA Certificate of Merit.
Manson is father of former OSCFC player Tim Russel (1984 – 1995). In 2000, Manson was named as deputy vice-captain in the forward pocket of our OSCFC Team of the Century. He was made a “Legend of the Big V” in 2008 and Patron of the club in 2015.