AFC Hall of Fame: Bill Sanders
Bill Sanders had long been involved with SANFL and club administration, but the arrival of the Adelaide Football Club provided a new full-time opportunity for the bank manager.
After nearly 32 years with the State Bank and fresh from brokering a merger between SANFL clubs Woodville and West Torrens, the Woodville Chairman accepted the new AFL club’s General Manager role and immediately started work on developing the new club from a dingy office under the members stand at Football Park. It may have seemed a risky mid-life change of career for Sanders but it was also the start of two satisfying decades with the Crows as the General Manager, CEO and, later, Director and Chairman.
As CEO from late 1990 until his retirement in December 2001, Sanders worked tirelessly to ensure the administrative, financial and on-field success of the Club. When appointed, Sanders said being immediately competitive was essential: “That’s what we are aiming for, success and more success.”
In this first decade he guided a Club from its rushed entry to become one of the most successful AFL clubs on and off the field, winning two premierships while developing wholly funded and owned training, administration and social facilities. He even wrote the words to the official Club song.
Sanders returned to the Club in 2003 as a Director, and then became Chairman in 2004 until his retirement at the end of 2008. “It has been an absolute privilege and an honour to serve the Adelaide Football Club, I’m proud of what we built for SA football,” he said after 50 seasons of football involvement which started as a player with Woodville in 1959.