“From the moment you first walk into the footy club, he makes you feel so welcome in his way. He had that perfect balance between being funny and cheeky but then being so warm and empathetic to you. We could tell our deepest and darkest secrets to him,” Lloyd said.
Lloyd perhaps owes his life to Reid. In 1996, Lloyd suffered a horrendous injury in the preliminary final loss to Sydney. It was Reid who correctly diagnosed the issue after the game.
“I was lying in bed and I was in a lot of pain,” Lloyd said.
“His expertise. He said to me, ‘Matt, I know you’re in pain but just stop for a second, have you got any pain in your shoulder?’ So I stopped for a second and said ‘my shoulder’s killing me, why is that?’ He said ‘get him to the hospital, he’s got a ruptured spleen.’”
O’Donnell had started at the Bombers in the mid-1980s. Reid saw him come and go, and then come back again later as an assistant coach.
“He transcended eras. A lot of players used him as their family doctor as well,” O’Donnell said.
O’Donnell remembered how Reid would fire the Essendon players up on muddy nights at Windy Hill during the late ’80s. By the end of training, Sheedy would be getting dragged through the bog by players. Reid’s urging had provided the impetus.
He had more than his fair share of cheek. O’Donnell remembers an incident before an exhibition match at The Oval.
“We were in Hyde Park. It was 1989 or 1990. You weren’t supposed to have organised training in groups in Hyde Park,” O’Donnell said.
“Reidy had organised a couple of bobbies to come and arrest ‘Sheeds’. This little divvy van pulled up and they arrested Sheeds and put him in the back of the van and drove off!”
Then there was Reid’s tendency to end up drenched.
“He invariably ended up in pools. He’d be fully clothed and they’d push him in,” O’Donnell said.
“He even ended up in the pool at Hirdy’s wedding. I think it was Harves [Mark Harvey]. Later on in the night. It was hilarious. He was drinking a red. Harves pushed him into the pool. I can’t remember the reception centre we were at. He got out, was handed back his red wine and started sipping on it as though nothing happened. Soaking wet.”
Lloyd recalled another such instance.
“Barry Young came hobbling in one day,” said Lloyd.
“Reidy says ‘you didn’t have that hobble before the runner was told to drag you.’ Youngy said, ‘Reidy, you say that one more time and I’m throwing you into the ice bath.’ He couldn’t help himself, and next minute Youngy’s dunking him headfirst into the ice bath at Windy Hill. When Youngy was dunking him in, he was hanging onto Youngy’s gold chain around his neck. So he’s ripped Youngy’s gold chain off his neck, but at the same time he’s dislocated his finger.”
It was his style to stir up the players.
“We’d be all sitting in a room the day after a game. We’d lose by 10 goals. He’d walk in there and say ‘weren’t you blokes shithouse yesterday!’ It just broke the ice,” Lloyd said.
Reid also tagged along on end-of-season jaunts. He would even help opposition players in need.
“We were in Hawaii,” said O’Donnell.
“I think it was Ryan Pagan. He hit his head on something in a hotel room and split his head. The North Melbourne boys knew that we had a doctor with us and he stitched his head as well.
“He was virtually the welfare bloke at the club. A shoulder to cry on. A safe haven.”
He was there for players when they needed a favour. O’Donnell laughed when remembering that Paul van der Haar would hide in Reid’s office to get out of training.
Reid became embroiled in the supplements saga that crippled the Bombers last decade. He famously penned a letter to then-coach Hird and football manager Paul Hamilton expressing his concerns with the rogue elements introduced into the football club. He was charged by the AFL but the league ultimately dropped its case.
“[He was a] proud man and professional man,” O’Donnell said.
“He’d obviously be disappointed that happened when he was there and on his watch. By the sounds of things, he was quite opposed to what was going on, but they went over his head.”
Reid was a competent footballer himself. He played three VFL games for Hawthorn across 1966 and 1967 before forging a VFA career with Preston. Having graduated from medicine, he worked for four years as Richmond’s doctor until 1979 before beginning a stint at the Bombers that culminated in him being elevated to legend status at the club on Monday, the day before his death.
He is survived by his wife Judy and their five children.
Daniel is an Age sports reporter
Read the original article onAhram Online