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THE HISTORY OF THE FOOTBALL BUDGET

In 2011, to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the first edition of the Football Budget (which was called the WA Footballer when it first launched), I wrote a feature article about the people who had run it over the years. The article is re-printed below. However, since publishing, I have found many further details and discovered a few errors. As a result, the version below has been refined.

Perhaps the question I am asked most about the Football Budget is: "why is it called the budget"?

Well, the answer is quite simple. The word "budget" first appeared in the English language in the early 15th century and was then the name for a leather pouch. It first came to be used in the financial sense in the early-mid 18th century and was derived from the suggestion that a country's budget related to the holdings in the Treasurer's wallet. That same meaning was transferred across to newspapers, where a "budget" was used to describe a bundle or collection of news. There were many newspapers that used the word "budget" instead of "chronicle" or "gazette".

THE EARLY YEARS

For generations of football-loving West Australians, The Football Budget has been the sport’s Bible.
It could answer all the questions like “who’s that wearing number 24 for Old Easts?” or “what will it do to the ladder if we knock off Perth today and Subiaco beat Swans?”
It was unthinkable to enter the ground at any of Perth’s suburban football venues without getting hold of one and, though many were left on seats or in the grandstands,
just as many somehow found their way into peoples’ homes.
Most footy fanatics will have one lying around somewhere.
But, for the Football Budget and its predecessor, The WA Footballer, it has finally come to light that we have the South Australians to thank. That’s right, it was a
bunch of Croweaters who started the WA Footballer and ownership was held by a succession of South Australians right up until World War II when it was finally taken over by a bona fide Sandgroper.
If that wasn’t enough for any selfrespecting West Australian to bear, then the links with illegal gambling and Freemasonry are even more intriguing.
But there wasn’t a hint of either when the first edition was published on May 7, 1921 - 90 years ago - featuring star West Perth halfback Harold Boyd on the cover and titled “McMahons WA Footballer”.
It cost threepence – about 70c in today’s terms – and featured the team lists for all six WAFL clubs.
Just as they will this afternoon, South Fremantle took on West Perth, while Claremont and Swan Districts were still just glints in the eye of league president Alf Moffat. Peel was only to be found on the half-time oranges.
In an introductory column, the editor claimed the publishers had a contract with the WAFL which gave them the exclusive right to publish players’ numbers and that WA had lagged behind the other footballing States in providing such a publication.
In fact, he was right. As early as 1907, the league refused a request from a budding entrepreneur who wanted a £10 grant to start a weekly program. By this stage, the Victorian Football Follower was already available to Melbourne’s football lovers. But the spurned 1907 opportunity would have seen us beat both Victoria’s Football Record (1912) and SA’s Football Budget (1914) into print.
“The Australian game is the finest code of football in the world,” the editor wrote in the first WA Footballer in 1921.
“Boom it. Make it better if possible. The game is the best, so is the State. Our advertisers are the best, so is the ‘WA Footballer’. And our players are going to be the best next August. So blow the whistle, and bounce the ball. Viva la Australia.”
Of course, the WA Footballer was really about as West Australian as Roy Cazaly. But at least the editor correctly predicted WA would be victorious at the national football championships held in Perth later that year.
Who was that editor? Well, that is perhaps a question which will probably never be answered.

ANONYMITY AND FRAUD IN THE FIRST YEAR

WHILE the identities of the men who wrote the WA Footballer are unknown, the men who controlled the business in 1921 were South Australian printer Bernard Francis McMahon and his WA-based business manager Frederick Charles Crease.
The first three editions were actually titled “McMahons WA Footballer” before it simply became the “WA Footballer”.
Mr Crease, who may have originally come from New Zealand, arrived in WA sometime shortly before the first edition was published and set himself up in the Criterion Hotel in Hay St. From there, he dealt with Mr McMahon in SA and the printers at Bryans Ltd, who also printed the Sunday Mirror and the Catholic newspaper, known as the WA Record, a short distance away in Murray St.
In Adelaide, McMahon’s Agency was a wellknown printing and newsagency business.
Run by Patrick Joseph McMahon and his brother Bernard, it had bought SA’s Football Budget from Gustave Baring and William Levy in 1919 and changed its name to the SA Footballer.
When the McMahons identified a similar niche in WA, they started The WA Footballer in 1921 and simply copied the design.
The McMahons were country boys, made good. Born to a large Catholic family at Cudlee Creek, 35km east of Adelaide, they had headed to the big smoke early in their careers and made their fortune by starting their eponymous news agency.
From there, they moved into running Adelaide’s newsboys and into publications like the SA Footballer.
It’s hard to know how the WA Footballer went in its first year. But a massive fraud perpetrated on the company couldn’t have helped.
As the 1921 season was nearing its climax, advertising salesman Ernest Henry Grow pleaded guilty to six charges of having obtained money by false pretences from the WA Footballer.
The City Police Court was told Mr Grow had earned 20 percent commission on his sales and had claimed to have won a full season’s advertising contract with Bairds Co.
He collected his commission, but when the bills were sent out to Bairds they went unpaid.
Bairds knew nothing about any contract with a football newspaper.
Worse still was that Mr Grow claimed to have secured advertising deals with five other firms - the XL Soles Rubbers Co, the Easy Terms Furnishing Co, A Vincent & Co, Cosgrove & Sons, and T Oswold & Co. The ads were printed, the commission cheques collected and bills were sent to the firms. But none of them existed.
Mr Grow, who collected £36 2s in total, was sent to Fremantle Prison for six months. But the WA Footballer lost more than £200 in the scam and Mr Crease left WA at the end of the season.

ALL BUSINESS FOR BILL MACK

BY the start of 1922, a new man was in charge in Perth - SP bookmaker William Ernest Mack, though he still shared the business with Bernard McMahon.
Born to a publican in SA in 1887, Mr Mack had started his career as a bookmaker around Glenelg and racked up a few convictions by the time he married Jessica Vincent and had four children in the 1910s. But tragedy struck in 1921 when Jessica died of pneumonia and heart failure.
William Mack’s grandson John, who played in Swan Districts’ 1961 premiership, said Mr Mack had arrived in Perth in 1922 looking for better work prospects for his young family.
He had brought with him a new girlfriend, Lillian Oermans, whom he had married later that year and the pair had another three children.
Just how William Mack became involved with the WA Footballer is unknown. But it’s certainly a possibility that he already knew the McMahons from SA. The McMahons were known gamblers.
John Mack said his father Allen, who turns 97 this year, could still remember being drafted into the family business.
“He used to have to go down to football matches and he used to have to drop them off and pick them (the unsold programs) up,” John Mack said.
“He had to account to his father WE Mack the numbers that were not sold. But once, he dropped a bundle over the Fremantle bridge on the way back. He just couldn’t be bothered bringing them all the way. I don’t know what he did (to account for them).”
John Mack said William Mack had his fingers in many pies. He had Mack’s Advertising Agency in Furnival Chambers in St George’s Terrace, but that was really a front for
his bookmaking business.
He was certainly a shrewd businessman. In 1923, he drove a prospective rival out of business when he convinced the WAFL to flex its muscle and place an advertisement aimed at protecting their exclusive agreement.
“The WA Football League desires to intimate to the public that the numbers of players appearing in the booklet called the ‘Footballers’ Index’ is not authentic or correct.
The only reliable information is contained in the official booklet, the ‘WA Footballer’. WR Orr, Secretary.”
William Mack’s other surviving son Eric, 87 this year, also remembers having to sell the WA Footballer well into the 1930s.
“Of the five sons, I think four of us had to sell the WA Footballer program at the front gate,” he said.
“But I don’t think it was actually his. He had control of the distribution of it, but I don’t think he had anything to do with the writing.
“But he never worked for anybody. He was a self-employed go-getter and four of the five sons ended up as bookies like he did.”
Eric Mack said his father had treated the WA Footballer as a business venture and had not really been interested in the game.
He had been far more interested in the horses and had owned 1942 Perth Cup winner Temple Chief and 1958 Interdominion winner Free Hall.
“In those days the betting shops were tolerated but illegal,” Eric Mack said.
“He had two betting shops in the city and the real estate agency could have been a front for the betting.
“At one stage he had the franchise for cinema advertising, too. My father never ever stopped at anything for very long.”
The synergies between the WA Footballer and the bookmaking scene were obvious. The biggest advertisers in the WA Footballer were Perth’s hotels.
The hotels were also a hotbed of gambling activity.
Quite what deal Mr Mack had struck with the McMahons to get sole control of the WA Footballer at the end of the 1922 season is not known. But it appears he held on to the rights until the end of 1935.

WA FOOTBALLER BECOMES FOOTBALL BUDGET

WHEN William Mack wrested full control of the WA Footballer from the McMahons at the end of the 1922 season, he soon set about overhauling the business.
Gone were the Catholic printers at Bryans Ltd and in their place was the firm of RS Sampson & Co, the Hay St firm owned by WA’s new Colonial Secretary Richard Stanley Sampson.
Like Mr Mack, Mr Sampson was a prominent freemason and that connection could well have played a part in the change.
Born near Reynella in South Australia in 1877, Mr Sampson worked as a printer for The Advertiser and The Sporting News in Adelaide before working his way up the Murray River.
He was unable to find work in Broken Hill and eventually arrived in WA in 1894 where he was involved in the printing of the nowdefunct newspaper The Morning Herald when it first hit the streets in 1896.
His RS Sampson & Co and United Press firms were two of the biggest printers in Perth before the turn of the century and by 1901, aged just 24, Mr Sampson was running for local council.
In 1910 he became a key player in one of the country’s biggest scandals when he petitioned the court for a divorce from his wife, whom he claimed had engaged in adultery.
The case was reported in all the newspapers of the day and went all the way to the High Court of Australia where Ethel Esther Sampson won the right to stay married.
But, back to the WA Footballer.
RS Sampson & Co took up the reins in 1923 and printed the program continuously through until the end of the 1939 season.
During this time there was no change to the cover price of threepence. In reality, there couldn’t be.
The Great Depression had put an end to inflation. There was also little change to the format. Just as they had in 1921, a star player appeared on the cover each week.
But, sometime in the 1930s, RS Sampson & Co took over full ownership from Mr Mack and it was decided in 1936 to give the WA Footballer an overhaul.
In truth, the owners simply copied the South Australians again, which was unsurprising given Mr Mack and Mr Sampson were both Croweaters.
The WA Footballer became the Football Budget, which was what the SA program had been called since 1914, other than a few years in the 1920s when it was the SA Footballer.
In the first edition, the editor wrote glowingly about the program’s future, and that of the sport in WA.
“In no branch of sport is tradition more zealously guarded or more richly prized than in the national code and league and clubs have it within their power this season to make the record of Western Australia’s part in the game still more imposing,” he wrote.
“In this commendable task, the Football Budget, of which this is the inaugural issue, will co-operate wholeheartedly. It represents the most ambitious undertaking of its kind in the State, marking an entirely new era in literary service to the code.
“Its pages will be devoted to a comprehensive and informative cover of league and club activities, personalities of the game and other features, supplied by critics whose knowledge and experience are unrivalled.
“In launching the ‘Budget’, the proprietors feel confident that they have made available to the public a production the merits of which will command widespread support and appreciation.”
Richard Sampson died in 1944, by which time he had founded and controlled 27 monthly and weekly newspapers. Most of them were in country centres. But, by this stage, the firm had let go of the printing side of the Football Budget.
Among those to receive generous bequests in his will was the man who managed his firm and looked after the Football Budget - Norman McRae.

MCRAE HAS HIS SAY

A journalist and publisher, Norman McRae was heavily involved with the WA Footballer and the Football Budget from the late 1920s until the early 1940s.
And, like it or not, so was his son Ross.
Ross McRae was born in 1926 and believes his father was already working for RS Sampson & Co by that time.
He recalls Richard Sampson, or “Uncle Dick”, as being “a real impressive fellow” who lived in Plain Street in East Perth and drove a chevy with dodgy brakes.
His father worked for RS Sampson until the outbreak of war, serving as manager for much of his time. In about 1940 or 1941, he went to World War II and was invalided out of the air force in 1943, later becoming State Censor.
Ross McRae remembers his father’s involvement with the Budget, even if he doesn’t recall his own duties with such fondness.
“He started as a journalist and worked for The West Australian for a long time and then got involved with printing material for the RAC before RS Sampson,” McRae said.
“I was involved with the Budget too because they had ads for all the pubs from Midland to Fremantle and I used to deliver all the invoices on my pushbike.”
Ross McRae believes his dad had little to do with the content of the Budget but a lot to do with the printing, advertising and distribution.
“We used to go to the footy every week at Subiaco. Dad was involved with the league.
Billy Orr (league secretary) used to run it and they were pretty good mates,” he said.
“I would say the name was changed (to the Football Budget) by (league president) Wally Stooke and Orr. Dad used to go to WANFL meetings every Wednesday night and Masons on Monday.
“I think he was more involved with the commercial side rather than writing,” he said.
“Sampsons used to print a lot of things, likes Wireless Newspapers, and dad was manager. He even used to do publicity for singers and operettas.
“Dad might have written some of (the Budget). Most of it was written by people like Harry Potter, who was sporting editor for the Daily News.”
The identities of the journalists who wrote the WA Footballer and the Football Budget, other than the likes of the erstwhile Mr Potter, are unfortunately lost in time.
While no bylines were given to the journalists of the WA Footballer, bylines appeared in the first edition of the Budget.
Perhaps more accurately, a single byline.
The style of the time was to use a nom de plume and the journalist who wrote almost the entire first edition of the Football Budget in 1936 was known simply as “Handball”.
In the following years of Norman McRae’s reign, other bylines appeared, including “The Gossip”, “Rover”, “Reserve” and “Onlooker”.
It wasn’t until 1943 that an editor put his name to the program.
Ross McRae remembered his father and the football world’s excitement in 1938 at the arrival from Victoria of three football stars.
“They sent over Les Hardiman (Geelong), Haydn Bunton (Fitzroy) and Keith Shea (Carlton) and they were going to enliven football in WA. That was quite a thing and
there was a lot of publicity about it,” he said.
It didn’t help Subiaco, though, who secured all three of the stars but remained cellar dwellers in the following seasons.
Before both the 1937 and 1938 seasons, the league had put out to tender the rights to produce and sell the Football Budget. RS Sampson had won on both occasions.
Ross McRae said his father left RS Sampson in 1940, but retained control of the Budget and took it to be printed at Shipping Newspapers.
“There were some ructions,” he said.
“I can’t remember if it was during that last year at Sampsons or the year at Shipping Newspapers that they weren’t printed in time and we were running around trying to get them to the games.
“But that was the start of the war and everything was a bit dicey. Down at Sampson everyone was pretty easy going, but when it changed to Shipping Newspapers, this fellow was always on edge.”
That “fellow” was most likely Stanley Roy McKay - the senior man at Shipping Newspapers.

LARRIKIN LAVERY LOST THE BUDGET

WHEN Norman McRae went to war and relinquished control of the Football Budget, it was another jack-of-all-trades who took over.
Hugh Lavery, born in Southern Cross, was the first West Australian to control the Budget some 21 years after it was first published.
His background in publishing is unknown because he ran a service station on the corner of Welshpool Road and Albany Highway.
A larrikin who liked a drink, he was often in trouble for selling petrol after hours when trading laws were stricter than they are today.
Pat Holt, Hugh Lavery’s 84-year-old stepdaughter, remembers him as a staunch Labor man who attended Prime Minister John Curtin’s funeral and followed South Fremantle.
“He was mum’s second husband and I started to live with them when I was about eight. They took over a garage and my mother ran the garage and he had the Football Budget,” she said.
“He used to do part-time carpentry but he chucked it in to be with her. He had the Budget during the war and organised everything and got the ads. He probably finished about 1950.
“When he was 21 (in 1948) he gave me a party at the dog track and a couple of years after that he gave up the Football Budget and he used to do a lot of work with a credit union.”
It’s unlikely that the young Pat knew it at the time, but Hugh Lavery didn’t “give up” the Budget at all. He went bankrupt.
Hugh John Pollock Lavery was forced into bankruptcy in 1951 and claimed his financial circumstances were caused by “a large assessment for taxation which has no relation to actual figures”.
He also had large debts relating to a car accident in 1946 in which he crashed into a bus. The owners of the bus had sued him, as had the owner of the car he was driving.
Mr Lavery said in official bankruptcy documents that he had neglected his bookkeeping since he suffered head injuries in the accident, but owed £4489 12s 8d to 12 creditors – more than £3500 of that to the Taxation Department.
He also owed £380 to Shipping Newspapers – the printers of the Football Budget. To offset these debts, he had three blocks of land in East Cannington, a car worth £120 and a half-share in a caravan.
But it wasn’t nearly enough to pay out his debts. Perhaps that’s why the price of the Budget doubled to sixpence late in 1950.
At the end of the year, the league took the Budget back from Hugh Lavery and refused to relinquish control of it for another 30 years.
Hugh Lavery lived out life as a poor man.
During Mr Lavery’s time as the publisher of the Budget it was forced to change.
At the height of World War II, when rationing was forced upon all Australians and the competition reverted to an underage one, the Budget was reduced to just 16 pages – a far cry from the editions of 1939, which had reached sizes of up to 64 pages each.
It meant editor Claude Vivian Woodbridge Morris would have had a much easier time producing the Budget than his predecessors.
Born in 1911, Morris was seven when he attended his first WAFL game and one of his earliest recollections was of being smuggled into East Perth's changerooms to listen to legendary coach Phil Matson addressing his almost unbeatable side of the late teens and early 20s.
But, probably because he lived near the ground, Morris supported the maroon-and-gold, rather than the blue-and-black.
He was educated at Christian Brothers College in the city and eventually became a journalist, working for the Sunday Times, The Mirror and The Call at various times.
From 1935, he was involved with the ABC's football coverage, helping to prepare the Friday preview show and the match coverage on Saturday. He was also involved with the WA Temperance League.
It was 1942 when he took over as editor of the Budget - the first year of the underage competition.
Perhaps surprisingly, Morris was the first editor to publish his name in the Budget (from 1943), though he did write articles under the nom de plume “Experience”.
Claude Morris’s name disappeared from the Football Budget at the end of the 1948 season, but it would only be another three years before another editor’s name appeared.

FERGUSON HAD THE WHOLE FAMILY INVOLVED

ALAN Duke Ferguson can likely lay claim to being the Football Budget’s longest serving editor.
His son Ashley said he believed his father, who died in 1997, had started at the Football Budget in the late 1940s, perhaps when Claude Morris finished at the end of 1948.
“At the time, he worked for my grandfather Carlysle Ferguson who ran The Guardian,” he said.
“Dad was by then bending towards becoming a sports journalist because he didn’t like normal journalism.
“It just came about through connections really. A very good friend of his, Sydney Briggs, was the manager of Bowra and O’Dea and their office was very close to The Guardian office.
“Sydney was also a great sportsman and played for Subiaco and it was Sydney who got wind of the fact that the person running the Budget was pulling the pin.”
Ashley Ferguson said his father had been born in New Zealand in 1912, but was brought up in Victoria where he followed Essendon.
When he arrived in WA he supported East Perth because he was friends with Mick Cronin.
“The old man wrote everything (in the Budget). Me and my sister remember it well.
Tuesday night was club notes. Thursday night was injuries, along with the team lists,” he said.
“The clubs would phone through the listings on Thursdays and sometimes I would have to drop them off to Shipping Newspapers on Thursday night.
“My mother, who was brought up in Queens Park and was a staunch Swan Districts supporter, produced the footy tables every Thursday night and she had to keep tabs on the leading goalkickers.”
Ashley Ferguson said the league owned the Budget and his father worked for a wage, also taking a commission on advertisements he booked. In the off-season he produced speedway programs.
Alan Ferguson edited the Football Budget from at least 1951 right through until the end of 1972.
When Ashley went away on National Service, his father sent him a copy every week.
“It was quite a job. And, of course, many famous footballers called at home,” he said.
“I think he wanted to write a feature on them or something like that and he would ask them around and they would just turn up,” he said.
“Polly Farmer and Barry Cable and so many of them called. Just about all the big name players and some of the coaches as well. Polly was one of dad’s favourites because he was such a great player. Blue Foley was another guy who used to call.”
In 1972, 38-year-old Peter Bowler was appointed as general manager of the WAFL and decided he wanted to upgrade the Budget.
Ferguson said his father’s time as editor came to a sudden halt.
“The 1970s was a period of disruption,” Ashley Ferguson said.
“Some members of the WAFL board wanted it revamped or updated or something.
"They thought we better get someone in. So they appointed an overseer. At the time, there was dad and another reporter who worked for The West. They both pulled the pin.”
That overseer, as Ferguson put it, was Ross Elliott Media Services, which took over the editorial contract.

SHIPPING NEWSPAPERS A FAMILY AFFAIR

RIGHT throughout the years in which both Hugh Lavery and Alan Ferguson ran the Football Budget one thing was a constant - Shipping Newspapers.
The Perth arm of the international printing company printed every edition of the Football Budget from 1940 until the middle of the 1970s.
The man who handled the Football Budget was Stanley Roy McKay Senior. After he finished, Stanley Roy McKay Junior took charge. Both were prominent freemasons.
“Sometimes as late as 10.30pm to 11pm at night someone from each team used to ring at home and confirm who the players would be for the weekend,” Stan McKay Junior’s daughter Teri Planken said.
“Dad would rule through the players and add in any new players.
“He would check that the guernsey numbers were correct. He would make notes underneath appropriately.
“There was sometimes a last minute flurry to print more when the weather was better than expected.”
In fact, they even took out insurance to cover them in case sales were down because of inclement weather.
But they must have kept costs down, because the cover price wasn’t increased again until the changeover to decimal currency in 1966 which resulted in the price going from sixpence to five cents and, by the end of the year, to 10 cents.
The Football Budget side of Shipping Newspapers was a family affair.
There was Stanley McKay Senior and his sons Stanley and Donald. But the McKays also had the distribution contract on the side and Teri’s mum ran the show at home.
“The men used to call through about an hour apart from the game. They had a specific time to call and they reported how many they had sold and how many they had left and whether they wanted any more. Each of them had a team of young boys who were about 12,” Teri Planken said.
“The Football Budget was part of our lives and we always thought Shipping Newspapers was a family business.
“We thought dad and pop owned it. I was around 11 or 12 when it finally dawned on me (that we didn’t).”

WAFL BOOM TIME

IN 1973, Bob Cribb took over as editor of the Football Budget, but lasted just a year before a company named Lindawn was given the contract.
Lindawn was majority-owned by former advertising agency partner Harvey Bean, who set about adding spot colour, increasing the page size and upgrading the paper quality. Other shareholders included printer Peter Poat and advertising saleswoman Adrienne Heal.
A trio of young football writers, each of whom took a share in Lindawn, took control of the editorial content.
“Geoff Christian, Colin Hopkins and I took over editorial and Richie Hann did the photos,” journalist Alan East said.
“It was a bit of a goldmine in those days. Harvey Bean had the advertising and distribution contract (from 1974) and that was in the days where you would sell 8-10,000 copies at the game.
“It was a pretty good get for the league for three of the leading football journalists to produce the Budget for them. We would go to the league on Monday morning and Geoff would write a couple of preview stories and a lead.
“One year I would do the layout and organisation and the next year we would swap. Richie would come in at 9.30am or 10am and drop his photos off and we would be gone by 12 and off to lunch.
“Then Colin or myself would check the proofs later in the week. It was a fairly easy laid-back production.”
At this early stage, the printing was done by Jason Industries in Kewdale. But by the late 1970s, the job became too big for that company to handle and the pre-press production was taken over by Action Press in Morley. The printing was done by Bell Publishing in Canning Vale. The covers went to full colour in 1978.
Things changed once the Eagles came along, though.
When Lindawn's contract was up for renewal in 1987, the partners decided not to tender for the rights because of the expected fall in sales.
The WAFL took control of the Budget again.
East stayed on, providing the editorial content under contract using the journalists he employed at Westside Football. Heal took a similar contract to sell advertising.
“Then Bob Gordon popped up (in 1989). He was a publisher around town. He did things like publishing tennis programs and things like that. That left us out in the cold, but I stayed on for a while as the lone journalist,” East said.
The printing operation moved to Printers Print Image in North Perth.
“Bob went through until 1997 when Peter Wright got the contract. But by that stage it had become difficult because of the Eagles," East said.
"Our sales had dropped by more than half and it became a bit of a labour of love.
“But the 70s particularly were good and through to 1986 there was good money in it.
"They were good years for WA footy.”
They were good years for the Football Budget, too. The cover price increased from 20c in 1975 to 30c in 1977, 40c in 1979, 50c in 1983 and 60c in 1985, which was the first year in which the Grand Final edition was published in a full magazine size.
By the time the Football Budget went to full magazine size for the regular season in 1993, it cost $2.

IT WILL ALWAYS BE THE FOOTBALL BUDGET

IN 1997 - Alan East’s last year as editor - the Football Budget changed its name to Real Footy to coincide with the competition’s change of name from the WAFL to Westar Rules. The Budget was officially gone after 61 seasons, but it didn’t take long for it to return.
Journalist Glen Quartermain took over as editor in 1998 and it was renamed Football WA before current editor Tracey Lewis (then Tracey Searle), aged just 26, took over as editor of Wright Media’s suite of magazines for the 2000 season.
Lewis had previously written for the Budget.
“I worked for Westside Football in 1995 and once we had finished working on Westside on a Monday night we (including journalists Scott Coghlan and Brad Elborough) would keep working for Alan East and turn to writing for the Football Budget,” Lewis said.
“I wrote things like football development and award stories and Q&As with some of the game’s rising stars such as Ben Cousins and Phil Matera in a segment called 'What The Rookies Say'.”
By 2001 it was back to being the Football Budget and Lewis stayed on until the end of 2004 when she left to have her first child, daughter Abbey, with husband Ross Lewis, a journalist at The West Australian.
Between 2005 and 2009 Lewis wrote for the Budget and worked as the Media Manager at the WA Football Commission before having her son Jack in January 2009.
In seasons 2005 to 2007 the editorship was put in the hands of Stuart McLea, while Brad Elborough was at the helm in 2008 and 2009.
In 2008, Wright Media sold out to Media Tonic (owned by Mark Treasure and David Fare), who still own the Football Budget. The league started distributing the Budget free with an adult ticket to a WAFL game.
Lewis returned as editor in 2010 and still holds that title for the WAFL’s official matchday program.
Lewis is not a freemason, nor a middle-aged man. It just goes to show how far the Football Budget, and society, has come since May 7, 1921.

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