Australian Football

AustralianFootball.com Celebrating the history of the great Australian game

 

Key Facts

Full name
Alan Belcher

Known as
Alan Belcher

Born
2 December 1884

Died
2 July 1921 (aged 36)

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 19y 227d
Last game: 34y 173d

Height and weight
Height: 179 cm
Weight: 86 kg

Senior clubs
Collingwood; Essendon

Jumper numbers
Essendon: 4, 1, 20

Recruited from
Brunswick (1904); Collingwood (1906)

Family links
Vic Belcher (Brother)

Alan Belcher

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV
CollingwoodV/AFL1904410.2550%0
EssendonV/AFL1906-1915, 1918-1919176400.2354%0
V/AFL1904, 1906-1915, 1918-1919180410.2354%0
Total1904, 1906-1915, 1918-1919180410.2354%0

AFL: 982nd player to appear, 828th most games played, 2,327th most goals kickedCollingwood: 104th player to appear, 889th most games played, 757th most goals kickedEssendon: 130th player to appear, 50th most games played, 207th most goals kicked

No gamer or better battler is playing league football than Alan Belcher, Essendon’s captain ..... Although a capable man at either end of the ground when in a place, his specialty is following, where his immense bodily strength has full play. He is a magnificent high mark, untiring, always helping and encouraging his weaker brethren, and in spite of his many years’ service in the pack, where the strenuous portion has always fallen to his lot, is still going strong.¹

An outstanding ruckman and on field leader, Alan Belcher's football career was laced with misfortune, and his life was tragically short. He was born in Derwent Valley, Tasmania but, like his brothers Norm and Vic, played all his senior grade football in Victoria. After playing briefly for Brunswick in the VFA he crossed to Collingwood in 1904, but managed just 4 games for the year, and the following season saw him back with Brunswick. After a solid year with the Pottery Workers, Belcher returned to the VFL in 1906, this time with Essendon. 

Powerful and inspirational, he led from the front, a propensity that was officially recognised and endorsed in 1910 when he was appointed club captain-coach in return for a weekly payment of £1. He was vice-captain in 1911 when Jack Worrall took over the coaching reins, and if he felt disappointment at this it was nothing compared to how he must have felt later in the year when injury forced him to miss playing in the winning grand final against Collingwood.

The 1912 season saw Belcher re-appointed club captain, a role he was to retain for the next four seasons. Once again, the Same Old lifted the premiership, and this time Alan Belcher had the satisfaction of leading the side to victory against a South Melbourne team which featured his equally talented brother Vic.

After going into mothballs for two years because of the war, Essendon resumed in 1918, with Alan Belcher playing both that season and the next to finish his league career on 180 games, 176 of which were with the Dons. He had also played for Victoria in 1906 and 1907, as well as at the 1911 Adelaide carnival. After leaving the game, however, he was beset by a series of personal tragedies which ultimately led to his untimely death in 1921.

Author - John Devaney

Footnotes

1. “The Australasian”, 31/5/19, page 21.

Sources

Full Points Footy's Tasmanian Football Companion, Crème de la Crème

Footnotes

* Behinds calculated from the 1965 season on.
+ Score at the end of extra time.