The AFL mourns the death of football “visionary” Allen Aylett on the eve of provisional finals weekend

Allen Aylett, the great North Melbourne football administrator, has died aged 88.

As a member of the Kangaroo Team of the Century, Aylett was remembered as a champion player and “an administrator of exceptional vision.”

Aylett served as North President from 1971 to 1976 and helped lead the Roos to their first Premiership in 1975 on the basis of a bold recruiting strategy that began by luring Ron Barassi as coach to include star players Barry Davis, Doug Wave and to sign John Rantall.

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“No individual has had a greater impact on North Melbourne Football Club than Dr. Allen Aylett,” said current Kangaroos President Dr. Sonya Hood.

“He was a great onballer in the 1950s and ’60s and he famously presided over our first successful era in the 1970s.

“It made our football club very proud when he became President of the VFL and oversaw the first steps towards building the national competition that we enjoy so much today.

“He returned home to manage the club from 2001 to 2005 and ‘The Doc’ will forever be remembered as a North Melbourne Legend.”

Club President Allen Aylett in 2003 with Jason McCartney on the night of the player’s comeback and retirement. Recognition: Robert Cianflon/Getty Images

Aylett joined the VFL as President from 1977 to 1984, overseeing the State League’s expansion into New South Wales and the subsequent move from South Melbourne to Sydney.

He also helped expand television coverage, including live broadcasts of the grand final, while the avid cricketer – and dentist by trade – helped the rise of Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket by offering Waverley Park as a venue.

“Allen Aylett is a cornerstone of the national competition that we have today,” AFL Commission Chairman Richard Goyder said in a statement.

“His drive and ambition to make the game as big as possible opened new frontiers for the sport and initiated the difficult but important steps toward building the national competition we see today.”

AFL boss Gillon McLachlan described Aylett as “a giant of our game”.

“[He]had a vision that Australian football should be played in every state and territory,” McLachlan said.

“He was an innovator who continued to vigorously drive change in our game and paved a path that so many Australians can play and see our game today.

“He was not only one of the great idea generators in our game, but also a wonderful man whose passion for football and family knew no bounds.”

Allen Aylett during his playing days in North Melbourne. Recognition: North Melbourne

Aylett is survived by his wife Marj and children Tony, Rick, Julie and Sam.

“Dad passed away peacefully this morning and we are grateful to have been by his side over the past few days,” the family said in a statement.

“Dad was motivated and determined, a man of integrity who was respected by so many. He was a North Melbourne man and a football man, but above all he was a passionate family man.

“We are very proud of Dad’s stellar football career both as a player and as an administrator and as a family we have always happily shared it with North and later the VFL/AFL.

“At the end of the 1972 season he and his pals embarked on a journey to their first Premiership with North and now 50 years later he was just as excited to see what came next for the club he loved more than life .

“The game meant so much to him and will continue to mean so much to our family.

“Our father was a man ahead of his time and we will miss him terribly.”

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Where have the Brownlow favorites played foot? Young coaches reveal everything. The AFL mourns the death of football “visionary” Allen Aylett on the eve of provisional finals weekend

James Brien

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