Former Australian football captain Bob Bignall has passed away, aged 91.
Bignall made 424 first grade appearances for Corrimal, Woonona and South Coast United in a career which spanned 24 years.
The tenacious defender was handed the captaincy for the 1956s Olympics in Melbourne.
‘‘I always thought if they were willing enough to pay my fare to play football, I’d be good enough to be a gentleman,’’ he once said.
‘‘I think that’s the reason they picked me as skipper. I also had a lot football experience behind me.’’
Named in the Mercury’s 50 best ever Illawarra sportspeople in 2005, Bignall was also a talented cricketer and tennis player, as well as a greyhound trainer, recording a number of winners at city tracks.
Australia beat Japan 2-nil in 1956, but were eliminated when they lost to India four days later.
‘‘We beat India three times running and the day we played them [at the Olympics] we scored three goals in the first half and they were all disallowed,’’ Bignall said.
‘‘If we’d won that game, we would been on the MCG playing in the semi-finals.’’