(pic: Melbourne FC)
What I know about Dean Bailey.
Dean Bailey played 50 odd games for Essendon in the late ‘80s, early ‘90s. While watching those matches, I remember I used to comment that Bailey always started his games well and was a nuggety on-ball type player. I have since seen video footage of him playing for Essendon on my father’s extensive range of old VCR footy replays and he was perhaps a better player than I remember. He kicked a booming long 60 metre goal on the run at Windy Hill against Sydney and had the ball on a string that day. He also played plenty of great games as an important ‘run with’ player in the Bomber’s teams of the day.
Dean Bailey’s two boys Mitch and Darcy played footy and cricket at the Strathmore club with my own son Adam. Dean was often there watching his boys and while I can’t claim to have known him well (I knew him as “G’day Dean”, he knew me as “G’day Mate”), I do have a couple of memories that spring to mind.
Dean always seemed to have a joke or a dry witty comment or an observation on the game. He was extremely approachable and he would often voice his comments on the game to those standing with him. It was easy to forget he was the AFL star that he was in his day job. He was just another dad at the local game on a Saturday morning. Mitch and Darcy always went out of their way to say hello – most often before being spoken to first.
If I was rostered to collect the boys’ subs money for the day’s game, Dean would point towards his wife and comment ‘Caron’s the finance lady!’
I sat next to Dean at a cricket match one morning and had a general conversation about the Essendon Football Club in his time of playing there. He was very open and frank about the ins and outs and the workings of the club. He seemed to have loved his time at Essendon and was very obliging in letting me in to some of the secrets of the personalities and workings at the Bombers at the time.
There was just the two of us chatting on this occasion and I have always remembered that conversation.
Dean Bailey – tragically taken too soon.