REAL PEOPLE OF THE GC.
HE MAY HAVE MADE A LIFE OUT OF RUGBY LEAGUE AND CONCRETE CUTTING, BUT THIS LABRADOR GRANDAD IS A SOFTIE AT HEART
Iwas born in 1949 in Narmada hospital, Brisbane – the best part of the world. My mum was a stay-at-home mother, married to my father, who was a returned soldier - New Guinea. He was a tram driver then a bus driver. Me and all my mates we’d jump on the tram with my dad. It was always a free ride. It was fun for us because we rode on the tram, we rang the bell. They had a cord that ran from one side of the tram to the other and if you wanted to get off the tram at the next stop you’d have to ding ding the bell. So us young fellas used to ring the bell for dad.
I always wanted to be a professional footballer, that was my dream. It used to be called Queensland Rugby League back in those days. Everybody’s dream was to play for Australia in my day – against England in particular. It was a big thing. It was the No. 1 sport in Australia. School didn’t care much for me but I cared a lot about rugby league. I spent most of my school years suspended. I was a smart arse. We had street smarts and it wasn’t really appreciated.
You had to be a suck up back in those days. I excelled at being a smart arse. I wasn’t so good at high school, but I had a lot of smarts.
But the two dumbest kids in the school became the most successful in business. I went on to become the biggest concrete-cutting firm in Queensland – Elliott and Fyfe Concrete Cutting – and my mate came to be the biggest printer in Queensland.
When we had our reunion we were the most successful of the class and we were the ones who spent the most time digging holes out in gardens as punishment in high school.
I went on to play the highest division in football, I played Brisbane Suburbs. My business partner represented Queensland – Jeff Fyfe. He was the Rothman’s gold medal winner. We were in business for 30 odd years. I stopped playing when I got hurt. I did my knee.
Business got too big too, we couldn’t afford to play football anymore. Fyfey kept playing for a while, but had to forgo his football career because too much money was lost that could have been made if he was working for the business. It was the right decision.
I met my wife in the grandstand at Lanham Park. I was playing in a competition when I walked up to the grandstand and saw this beautiful blonde with green eyes and I fell in love with her. She was eating a packet of Smith’s chips so I sat down next to her and I went “Any chance of getting a Smith’s?” She told me to piss off. But I persisted and finally took her out. I went round to meet her mother and conned her mother so I could take her out Friday night. Her mother told her “You’re going out with Alan.” Always go through the mother.
First date was a Brisbane Rugby League trophy presentation, I was getting a trophy. I just wanted a beautiful girl to go with me. She was a real sort and I was only 19 at the time, so to go with someone as good looking as my wife was pretty good. At my 21st birthday party I proposed marriage in front of everybody and it’s as simple as that. I’ve been with her all that time. When you marry Miss World it’s pretty easy.
We’ve been married 48 years now and we do something special every big occasion. It’ll be a very big occasion for our 50th. For our 48th we got married again with our three kids as our bridesmaids and groom. Our celebrant got all teary, she broke down. Listening is the secret, always listen.
There’s two reasons a marriage breaks down: money is the first thing, having trouble with money or you don’t listen. She listens to me and understands everything I’m going through and as long as I listen to her with her problems that’s fine. It can’t be a one-way street.
Now, we’re getting to another good stage of our marriage. We feel like we’ve done a fair job and now we’re into our grandchildren and they’re amazing. This is the most beautiful stage of our marriage.
“I WAS PLAYING IN A COMPETITION WHEN I WALKED UP TO THE GRANDSTAND AND SAW THIS BEAUTIFUL BLONDE ... I FELL IN LOVE WITH HER.”