PLAYER/COACH/STATE SELECTOR 1948 - 1984
NORTH FREMANTLE AMATEUR FOOTBALL CLUB
The late William “Bill” James is a legend at the North Fremantle Amateur Football Club. He devoted 60 years of his life to the club as a player, captain, coach, and supporter and his dying wish – to have his remains scattered over North Fremantle’s home ground at Gilbert Fraser Reserve – was honoured in a moving ceremony attended by hundreds of people.
Bill started his football career with East Fremantle in the under-age competition during the Second World War before joining North Fremantle in 1948. He remained at North Fremantle until 1951 when he was transferred to Darwin with the Royal Australian Air Force, playing football in the Northern Territory for three seasons and winning the league best and fairest before returning back to North Fremantle. Bill’s remarkable playing career spanned a total of 15 years, 211 games and included four club best and fairest medals at North Fremantle (1955, 1956, 1957, and 1962).
As a player he was highly decorated by not only his club but his peers, earning state selection four times and playing at three national carnivals. In 1959 he claimed the WA Amateur Football League A Grade best and fairest medal and represented Western Australia at the national carnival. His performance on the biggest stage in amateur football saw him awarded the medal for best player at the carnival as well as his first All Australian selection - a feat he would repeat again in 1962.
At North Fremantle Bill was a revered figure, after three best and fairest awards he took the reins as coach in 1960, captain coaching North Fremantle to their undefeated 1960 Premiership. The Grand Final that year was one of the first televised games of football in Western Australia.
After retiring from playing in 1962 Bill continued to be involved with North Fremantle and the WA Amateur Football League. For four years in the early 1980’s he served as selector for the State Amateur Team and was heavily involved in the Colts at North Fremantle, preaching toughness at the ball, respect for the umpires and love for the club. In 2007, the year Bill passed away he was proud that the club had fielded two colts teams, 70 colts players and won both the A and D Grade Colts Premierships.
Bill James was a remarkable footballer, tough, with silky skills and was a great clubman. It’s for these reasons name is etched on the walls of the North Fremantle Amateur Football Club and now in the WA Amateur Football League Hall of Champions.