AFC Hall of Fame: Bob Hammond
Bob Hammond did not kick a football for Adelaide, as he did for North Adelaide, Norwood and South Australia. He did not coach the Crows to a premiership, as he did with Norwood.
But Hammond was the influential and visionary first chairman of the Adelaide Football Club, who diligently guided the first South Australian-based AFL team through its first decade in the national competition.
Hammond was a successful businessman with a long record of outstanding football service when he was headhunted by the SANFL President Max Basheer and Chief Executive Leigh Whicker to join the interim board and breathe life into the new club from September, 1990.
Seven years later, Hammond’s shared vision of building a Club to play finals football was no longer a dream after the Crows claimed their first AFL premiership.
Establishing a new club under the umbrella of the SANFL changed South Australian football forever and Hammond played a significant role in smoothing the road.
However, the three-time North Adelaide premiership player and two-time Norwood premiership coach said Adelaide’s first trial game against Essendon in January of 1991 was a key moment in the Club’s early development.
“The Club was still viewed with some scepticism and some pessimism but we gained our first step of credibility in that game, in the eyes of the public,” Hammond recalled. More than 40,000 fans turned up at Football Park and watched the Crows win by 27 points, a result that created fresh hype around a Club needing corporate support and membership.
Building a training facility for the players at West Lakes in 1996 was another significant moment under Hammond’s leadership before he served as an AFL Commissioner from 2001-2011. The Crows players’ race at Adelaide Oval was named in his honour in 2014 and in 2015 he was inducted into the AFC Hall of Fame and then the Australian Football Hall of Fame.
Hammond died in May, 2020, aged 78.