Collingwood president Eddie McGuire has a flair for big statements and the latest honour bestowed upon Lou Richards was the perfect occasion to let rip.
“He invented football as entertainment,” McGuire said on Thursday in a club statement.
“Millions of fans, for more than 50 years, loved and laughed about their football because of him.”
The 91-year-old Richards was praised by AFL Commission chairman Mike Fitzpatrick after becoming the inaugural recipient of the John Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award.
Kennedy, a triple-premiership coach at Hawthorn and former AFL Commission chairman, presented Richards with the award.
Richards played 250 games for the Magpies including captaining the 1953 premiership side.
He later became a prominent TV commentator and popular newspaper columnist.
“Lou Richards has had a profound and enduring influence on our code, both with a football in his hands and also, at the end of his playing career, with a microphone and a pen,” Fitzpatrick said.
McGuire also unveiled a bronze statue of Richards at the club’s Olympic Park training base.
“Has any man in football history done more for the game?,” McGuire said.
“A champion on the field, Lou Richards became a superstar off it.
“No one person can claim to have done more for the game, or for Collingwood, than Lou Richards.”
Known as Louie the Lip, Richards became famous for his “kiss of death” football tips and also fronted long-running panel shows featuring fellow former star players Jack Dyer and Bob Davis.
Richards was inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame in 1996.
The John Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award recognises individuals who’ve made outstanding contributions to the game across multiple fields.