ROBERT Holmes has always been a football tragic and the pride with which he talks about his time involved with football at Stawell is evident for anyone to see.
The 69-year-old’s first involvement with football was with the Warriors in the 1968, a premiership year for the club, and it was not long before he was part of the club’s success.
“We played in a grand final in 1969 in the final year of the old South Wimmera Football League but couldn’t get over the line,” Holmes said.
“We then went for two or three season without winning a game in the Ararat and District Football Association.
“After that we had a bit of a recruitment campaign – which I was one of the instigators of – because things were getting a bit stale.”
The club then went on to win the premiership in 1978 before enjoying plenty more success during the 1980s.
“We had a bit of a premiership hangover in 1979 but then we appointed Ian Brilliant as coach in 1980 when I was president and we won three flags in a row,” he said.
“That was a great achievement on its own because we’d been in the doldrums for so long.
“From there it just kept on going.”
The side won further premierships in 1984 and 1986 before winning flags again in 1995 and 1996.
The Warriors merged with the Stawell Redlegs ahead of the 1999 Wimmera Football League season to become the Stawell Warriors.
One season later Holmes was president of the fledgling club when it when it claimed its first premiership.
"It was a bit of sensation to win that flag,” he said.
“We were the underdogs against Ararat because they had thrashed us a couple of times during the season.
“I think that was as good as winning the three in a row during the 1980s.”
He said he enjoyed being part of the club whether it was successful on field or not.
“It’s really fantastic to be a president of a club when it wins a premiership though,” he said.
“There is so much hard work that goes in that people don’t see – you’ve got to be fully committed and I was because I just love my football.
“This club has always had a good culture right from when I first started in 1968 until now.”
Holmes said the club had flourished since the merger whereas he had seen others fall away.
“We’ve been able to keep a strong interest from within both of the original clubs,” he said.
“We’ve got great clubrooms, great people running the club and I think one of the best grounds in the league.
“It’s always been a family club, that is something I really enjoy and it’s a really important part of the community.”