Farewell to a gentleman

A lot of people don’t get 1Eyed Eel. They see the argy bargy, the cynicism, the venting after each shitty performance, and they can too-quickly jump to conclusions about what the site is all about. Those that don’t get it, never get to learn that it’s actually one big family. A highly dysfunctional, often infuriating family, I grant you. But then what fair dinkum family isn't?

Unfortunately, the 1Eyed Eel family has lost one of its most treasured father figures, with the passing of the great Sir Col.

Supporting the Eels, you get used to your fair share of heartbreak, but when I popped in today to see how restless the natives had gotten following the Souths match and was greeted with the RIP banner… well, it’s the kind of heartbreak that genuinely does ache deep down at a level far beyond the realms of sport or footy. 

I called Col last month when I learned he was sick. I wanted him to know how much I appreciated all he had contributed to the site over the years. He immediately threw back a couple of self-deprecating digs at himself and his senility and then proceeded to gush as to how terrific he thought 1Eyed was. 

So you should all know just how much this rogues gallery meant to Col. And it’s clear from the outpouring of respect towards Col over the last few days, just how much that appreciation is reciprocated. It is a level of respect that is so thoroughly deserved, and I truly hope that his unreserved humility didn’t get in the way of him actually understanding just how highly regarded he was by us all.

Which is not to say that Col didn’t have his own complicated relationship with the site. He quit a bunch of times but his self-imposed exiles rarely lasted more than a few days. What I always appreciated about Col was that he was reasonable. When he would message me to complain or critique my moderation, you could talk through the issue and find common ground. He liked to talk up his age and supposed declining faculties, but Col was a deeply intelligent man and knowing that, meant you could speak to him genuinely and honestly.

Indeed on the few ooccasions, I felt Col stepped over the line himself, he would always reiterate what a dope the other party was and argue as to how his commentary was justified, before conceding he’d probably gone a bit far and apologising.

I can’t ever remember having to ban Col. However, he would periodically mistake his latest technical snafu as a potential banning before I would reassure him that no, he hadn’t been banned and we’d then try and work out what was causing him technical grief this time around. 

For the most part, though, Col used his wit and sense-of-humour for good. And while he didn’t suffer fools - and many of us copped a pointed lambaste from Col at some point in time - he wasn’t mean or overly personal about it. Indeed, to the contrary - he was one of the most kind-hearted and generous gentleman I have ever deal with. It’s a little sad, and unfortunately ironic that I saw so much of that when he went so out of his way to make sure that Peter/Drop Bear had a fitting send-off, and subsequently the energy he put into promoting organ donorship. 

On a personal note, Col always put his hand up to help me with whatever the latest project I was trying to flog at any particular time. He was a moderator for quite some time and he was hugely supportive of the constitutional reform process, the supporter coterie and other such initiatives we’ve attempted to launch through the site over the years. When the constitutional reform process was struggling, he even offered to fly down here to Sydney and do what he could for a couple of weeks to drum up support. 

He cared deeply about this Club, its history and its future success. 

So yeh, I called Col because I wanted to tell him he was appreciated. I thought I might be able to cheer him up a bit, too. I found him in great spirits and we had a chat that I enjoyed immensely. We talked some shit, and I laughed a lot because he really is a funny bastard. And then we got to talking about family, and at some point during that discussion, he became the one doing the counselling, comforting me as regards to my own grief issues.

Col was just a first-class bloke with an enormous heart.

So my kindest thoughts and best wishes to Col’s family. I hope they never minded too much that they had to share him with us. We were blessed that he fell into our family and he will always be remembered as one of our finest. I know every October when Orf Seezun rolls around, we will have an excuse to remember Col, to feel a little sad that he is no longer with us, but to appreciate him for the friendship and good times he shared with us all.

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  • Nicely said Phil.

    Life would be boring without flavour, and Col certainly brought some spice to the site. Col, you will be missed, but not forgotten.

  • RIP Sir Col

  • Don't always agree with you Phil and how you sometimes choose to deal with things or not deal with them.  That is fine, we are all different.  This is however a wonderful site and I am personally very appreicative of you taking the time to acknowledge Col and what he contributed to this site. He was a good man and like all of us, sometimes disagreements, personal situations impacted posts, good and bad as you may call it.  I personally willl miss Col.  One the things that showed the man that he was, was when he sometimes crossed that line, he knew it and after cooling off would think about it, come back and apologise, explain or PM people. I think we can all learn from that, myself included. Wonderful words from you and acknowledgment of a long termer.  I just wish the Club could have pulled their finger out and made something happen before he died, when it would have meant something to him, rather than after he passed.  Not your fault in anyway, but you are no doubt in position that you can pass this feedback on to those involved.  The duck shoving and undelivered promises from those involved the Club, have politely left an aweful lot to be desired. Again, this last comment is not aimed at you.  Just hoping that with your position, you may be able to influence some change with situations like Cols.

    • PS Phil, absolute credit to your offsider Super.  I have pushed and pushed and Super has done everything possible to follow up and try to make things happen. I also know he feels the same frustration that I am expressing.  Super has been wonderful and credit to him. 

      • Hey EE, Super's his own man. The site is his and he runs at he wishes without any involvement from me, so more accurate to dub him my successor than offsider. He did let me know that there were plans to do something for Col, but it seems they didn't come to fruition fast enough, which is sad. The conversation I had about family with Col, was actually along these lines. I expressed regret that I didn't spend enough time with my old man when I should of, and there were things I promised him, that I never got to do for him in time. and he said to me, that he was sure Dad knew that life gets complicated and as you get older, you learn just to appreciate everything positive that comes your way. Wise old bugger!

        • I'm not sure about too many misgivings EE, Col was elated with the site response and I have no doubt we put a month of enormous value into his life and he was forever grateful for that.

          Its a pretty long haul from the clubs perspective for a single person in Queensland, subsequently Jim Saratinos has been made aware of his passing and aknowledges same.

          All said I share your passion and love for Sir Col and look forward to remembering him with you and others as life goes on.

        • Cheers Phil.  Appreciate the response and yes, you are correct.

  • I have missed some nice discussions with Drop Bear and I know Sir Col will also leave a big hole in our sometimes dysfunctional family..It is difficult to divorce this mob

    • He was a contrary old prick at times to be sure!!! But I soon found plenty of common ground and learned to take the piss out of him as much as he did me, actually, thinking back now I'm pretty sure he had my number... 

      It wasn't always smooth sailing with Col, and I'm sure most agree with your sentimemts there Phil, and most if not all had a run in or 2 and copped it from him,  but the respect he has been shown the last few days is an absolute mark of the man.

      • Brissy, shame you could not have spent some time in personal messages with him.

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