When we hear the owners of A-League clubs bleating about how much money they have put into a club they chose to buy into, and from which many gain untold publicity, few fans of the game bat an eyelid. Why? The answer is simple, because everyday around the country there are many individuals who are ploughing equally large sums of money by their own standards into clubs that gain very little media coverage, and they do it because they love the game and their club. A club that invariably means something to them and a community.
One such man was Sigfried “Siggy” Kramer at Inglewood Kiev, more recently known as Inglewood United in the Western Australian NPL. Siggy was and always will be linked with Inglewood. He was Inglewood. On a match day he would be seen helping out all around the club, yet come the start of the match he would be in a suit and a tie welcoming and looking after his VIPS. Siggy was old school, he was not afraid to get his hands dirty as President of the club, but just as he expected his players to perform to a certain level when the whistle sounded, so too would he maintain those standards at the sounding of the whistle.
Many had disagreements with Siggy, because he was a man of strong opinions; many which were frequently right, yet so few chose to listen. In fact I remember arriving at Hamer Parade to play for the Western Knights and Siggy was manning the gate. He asked why he should let me into the ground, I told him that I was playing, but that held no stall. With cars backing up behind me he launched into a debate over a comment I had made to the Crawford Report that he took issue with. Siggy said then that the changes that would come about may improve the game at the top, but they would hurt the game as a whole. I did not believe him. Now with hindsight I tend to agree, and am glad that I was able to share that view before his passing away last night.
Siggy was a club man there can be no other word for it. Having joined Inglewood Kiev in 1953 he remained at the club until last year in an official capacity. He started as a player, then a coach, committee member and then long standing club President. He also injected a great deal of money into the club to keep it going, but it was his personality that he stamped on the club and that will be missed the most.
Siggy not only served his club, but also the game, he was on the Professional Soccer League committee from 1998-2001 and served on the board of the Soccer Administration of Western Australia (Administrator prior to Football West). These roles and his work that were recognised when he was inducted into the Hall of Recognition.
Siggy’s passing will be a great loss to Inglewood United and all the players who have passed through that club. He will be a great loss to the game. Hopefully many club presidents will reflect on his thoughts on the newly formed NPL aired at Macedonia Park last year. Siggy was never afraid to share his thoughts, thoughts he was always passionate about. They were never about him, but always about the game and the club he cared so passionately about.
When we talk about giving to the game, Siggy Kramer was a special one, and could not have given more.
May he rest in Peace.