Vale Bill Turner

The Football Family has lost an innovator and great man with the passing of Bill Turner last week to Pancreatic Cancer.

The Football Family has lost an innovator and great man with the passing of Bill Turner last week to Pancreatic Cancer.

“Bill Turner is synonymous with football in the Hunter and he was a fantastic person and role model for the game,” Jets CEO Robbie Middleby said.

“From everyone at the Newcastle Jets, we send our sincere condolences to his family and friends.”

Bill Turner is well known in school football as the figurehead of the Bill Turner Cup which will be contested for the 35th time this year. A high schools knockout competition run in the football states of Queensland, Northern NSW, NSW, ACT and Victoria.

Northern NSW Schools Football Incorporated administers the 15 years and under boy's Bill Turner Cup as well as the girl's equivalent Bill Turner Trophy.

The committee of the day, some 30 plus years ago, had the foresight to name the competition after Bill Turner. Mr Turner, then teacher at Booragul High School, became the driver of the junior high school tournament - he was involved in the formation of the senior boy's Tasman Cup, which later became the Commonwealth Bank Cup and now referred to as the Errea Cup.

"Bill was enormously proud to be associated with Northern NSW Football and Booragul High, where amongst others he coached the Tredinnick brothers and Craig Johnston," said Lindsay Hewison, President of Northern NSW Schools Football.

"Bill was an international referee in the 1960s and refereed amongst others Everton and Dundee. He was a staunch supporter of all referees and claimed he 'watched the ref rather than the game'."

Bill Turner was a lot more than a football man, he was a family man that immersed himself in music, the church, table tennis and wrestling to name a few of his interests, or in most cases his passions. On one occasion his commitment to the church saw him reject an appointment to referee Manchester United.

"Dad refereed around Newcastle, the Hunter Valley and Lake Macquarie regions," said Lloyd Turner.

"He declined refereeing the match between Manchester United and Northern NSW in 1967 due to a conflict with church commitments.

"Bill's family are very proud of his football achievements, he had such a vision to develop junior talent and worked tirelessly while he was a school teacher - organising trials, development programmes and overseas tours.

"The amazing thing was that he concurrently did the same for music - he conducted a 90 voice school choir and organised Hunter Region music festivals that were the forerunner of the Spectaculars of today. Then on the Sunday, he was off to referee at the highest level.

"Bill will be greatly missed by his family, his football family, his church family and the many fellow teachers, students and players who appreciated his ability and humour."

Bill would start work the day after the finals on the next year's Bill Turner Cup and Trophy but in recent years, given his age and at times his health, the committee were more involved in the day to day running of the competitions that encompassed in excess of 400 schools both boys and girls. His influence always shone through - if there was a problem the committee would ask: "Bill what do we do?"

Now they have to ask themselves: "What would Bill have done or said?" The committee, in part, that named the tournament after Bill Turner, in 1979, is still active and with the newcomers, like myself, have the responsibility to uphold Bill's ethos for the Cup and Trophy that bears his name.

"Fun, Fitness and Fair Play and to say NO to Tobacco, Sugar Drinks, Alcohol, Junk Foods, Drugs, False Advertising, Racism, Bullying and Anti Social Behaviour."