Robert (Bobby) Tanner was a true clubman. He was the elder statesman of our club and an old school gentleman.
Bob and his brother had a lifetime association with the Wembley Amateurs. In his time there Bobby received many awards and honours recognising his work as a sports trainer, including distinguished recognition in the year of the volunteer, life membership and touring with the state amateur footy team to national carnivals as head trainer.
Bob was not trained as a physio and he did not always see eye to eye with the formally trained physios. He did however possess decades of experience in dealing with football injuries. The universities thought highly enough of Bob to entrust him with several of the physio students for undergraduate practical training. Bob would always give the same advice to the new students each year, who were almost always young females working inside the men’s change rooms – “Keep your eyes down, your mind on the job and just do what I tell you to do!”
After working all day Saturday for the amateurs, he would not blink about coming to our vets games on a Sunday, even if it meant catching a bus to Mandurah or even Bunbury at 7.30am Sunday morning. Bob only had two needs in return for his dedicated service. Firstly that we gave him a lift to and from games and secondly, that we kept him supplied with mid strength beer whilst he toiled away.
New recruits to our club would often experience a soft-tissue injury at training, after no footy for some years. As they hobbled off we would say to them “Just see Bobby Tanner in the change rooms there, he’ll look after you” – And he did! We would often see the new recruit back training in a week or so after some of Bob’s care. Unfortunately we no longer have Bobby’s services and sometimes the last we see of that injured new recruit, is them hobbling towards their car.
Bobby enjoyed working with the Vets as in his own words he said – “The younger boys expect to be treated, whereas the older players appreciated being cared for!”
Bobby Tanner was a much loved and dedicated servant of the Wembley Vets Football Club. Such was the respect for Bobby Tanner at the club that our Best Clubman award has been named in his honour since his untimely passing some years ago.