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Bill Meaklim OAM - Richmond FC Historian

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Bill Meaklim OAM - Richmond FC Historian

event date: 26-Sep-2017
Bill Meaklim OAM - MHS Exit 1949
ABC News 19 September

Richmond stalwart Bill Meaklim knows what it's like when the drought breaks.

The 83-year-old first started barracking for the Tigers after watching them win the 1943 flag — and then had to wait 24 years for the next one.

"I clearly remember the anticipation in 1967. It's just the anticipation that the drought will break, and when it did break, boy oh boy," he said.

Richmond will face Greater Western Sydney in the preliminary final on Saturday.

If they win, they'll have a chance to break an even bigger drought — 37 years since the club's last premiership in 1980.

"I've been involved within the club for three premierships and I've had to warn the staff, be prepared," Mr Meaklim said.

"The merchandise shop will sell out overnight, they'll need to have more staff than Myer."

Mr Meaklim received an Order of Australia medal earlier this year for his decades of service to Richmond.

He was the Tigers' statistician for 25 years before becoming club historian in 1986.
Richmond fans hold up yellow-and-black flags and banners at the MCG.
Photo: Richmond fans will turn the MCG into a fortress when they play GWS this weekend. (AAP: Julian Smith)

He reckons he once saw 1,200 Richmond games straight, not missing a pre-season practice match, final or anything in between.

But he has seen nothing like the hype surrounding the Tigers this September.

"It's been exceptional really. We did have a 24-year drought, but the lead-up this time is multiplied by many hundreds," he said.

"Thirty-seven years. People who have never seen Richmond win a premiership running around in Richmond gear. The buzz is unbelievable and unequalled in my journey."
Lounge room can rival MCG atmosphere

Mr Meaklim doesn't get to as many games as he once did. There is no interstate travel and night games are a bit of a stretch.

"The atmosphere at the ground is really important I reckon, but by gee there's some atmosphere in my lounge room, I really let go," he said with a laugh.

"I still get excited. Silly old bloke, I still get up and yell."

Mr Meaklim is also secretary of the Richmond Former Players and Officials Association, and his phone has been running hot this week with past players chasing extra tickets for Saturday's match.

"Only two days ago I spoke to Royce Hart, Ian Stewart, Dick Clay, Jack Dyer Junior — the buzz is there among them as well."

Mr Meaklim's knowledge of past players, whether they played one game or 300, is encyclopaedic.

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