17 April 1922
14 March 2003 (aged 80)
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 18y 80d
Last game: 32y 133d
Height and weight
Height: 173 cm
Weight: 73 kg
Fitzroy: 14, 30, 7
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Allan Ruthven was a champion schoolboy footballer who became one of the greatest rovers of the 1940s and early '50s. While growing up in the Fitzroy district, Ruthven's greatest hero was the club's triple Brownlow Medallist Haydn Bunton, whose number 7 jumper Ruthven would later wear with pride. Belying his comparatively diminutive stature, he was also a larger than life character who gloried in the nickname of 'The Baron'.
First rover in Fitzroy's 1944 premiership side, Ruthven later won club best and fairest awards in 1946 and 1948-9. Somewhat ironically, after playing even better in 1950, and landing the club's sixth Brownlow Medal, he conceded the club award to Bill Stephen.
Tough, talented and tenacious, Ruthven was renowned for his ability to gain possession of the ball under the most challenging of circumstances, and then to use it purposefully and well. He was also dangerous near goal, and won the Maroons' goal kicking award on three occasions. In 222 VFL games between 1940 and 1954 he amassed 442 goals. He also played 17 interstate matches for the VFL.
Captain-coach of Fitzroy during his final three seasons in league football, one of the highlights of Ruthven's career came when he steered the side to a heart-stopping one-point win over Carlton in the 1952 First Semi Final. Fitzroy won despite having nine fewer scoring shots than the Blues, and 'The Baron' capped a best-afield performance by snapping the match-winning behind in the dying seconds.
After retiring as a player, Allan Ruthven became a household name to an entirely new generation of football fans when he appeared as a regular panelist on the Channel 7 TV show World of Sport.
Author - John Devaney