TO suggest that Good Friday will be the biggest event in the life of the 121-year-old Lang Lang Football Club could be said to be an understatement.
History buffs might suggest that the four premierships won during that time were the biggest (1909, 1922, 1928 and 1936).
People close to the club are saying that the events on April 2 will outshine anything that has happened in the past and will bring the biggest crowd ever to the new state-of-the-art stadium at Caldermeade.
The day and night will certainly draw big crowds if for the reason that this will be the first game of competition football to be held in Gippsland since 2019 and the only sporting event to be held on the first day of the Easter holidays.
Club president Chris Brew, who will be presiding over the event said: “We were fortunate that the Ellinbank & District Football League were right behind the event and as a league they are pleased to have the opportunity to showcase our league on a stage such as this.
“With three games of football and six games of netball against the Poowong Magpies, we are certain to draw a large crowd of desperate sports fans from all over Gippsland and the suburbs, as well as supporters from both clubs.”
Brew said everything is in readiness for the big event.
He said it had been a massive logistics project to get everything right for the day-night event.
The logistics of putting an event such as this will see traffic management plans involving security personnel and local police providing assistance to ensure patrons can safely enter and exit the facility.
Besides the grand opening of the ground as a football venue, the club will also be hosting the launch of life member Bob Utber’s book ‘Heart and Soul – A History of the Lang Lang Football Club 1900 –2020’.
Brew said they were fortunate the book will be hot off the press for the great day.
“Bob Utber and his statistician and Lang Lang Footy club historian Lachlan Barwick have done a marvellous job in putting together a book such as this.
“It will be added incentive for members and people interested in Lang Lang to be able to purchase the book from the author himself. This is not a picture book per se but nearly 200 pages of the club’s history”.
As a niche book, only 300 copies have been printed so it will be a case of first in best served.
Author Bob Utber said: “Lachie and I have been lucky enough to trace back relatives who had family members play in premiership teams and although we have been unable to cater for them on the day at the event’s dinner function due to COVID-19 protocols, we hope they can get to the day’s events.”
Indoor COVID protocols only allow for a limited number of people to attend the official club dinner function, which is unfortunate in some respects, but it is expected 2000 or more will pass through the gates on the day.
The recent announcement by AFL Victoria that community football crowds will now be classified as low risk tier 2 events with a 5000 capacity now means that excited local footy fans can head to the game with the confidence that they can attend games without being turned away.
Brew said the club had gone to great lengths to ensure that this event is a COVID-safe event.
“A QR registration code will be handed to all patrons as they enter the ground on the day, a full-time cleaning crew has been appointed to ensure that all toilets and wet areas are regularly cleaned during the event.
“There will be at least a dozen sanitisation stations in key locations around the venue and volunteer COVID-safe officers will be encouraging all patrons to maintain safe social distancing.”
Gates will open from 1pm with the first netball game commencing at 1.40pm and netball will continue throughout the day and night. With no fourths at Lang Lang this year, the first football match will commence at 3.15pm with the senior match commencing at 7.20pm. There will be non-stop action throughout the day and night.