End of Royals era as Marbles quits
End of Royals era as Marbles quits

One of WA football's most colourful and enduring characters, East Perth general manager Alex "Marbles" Wilson, has stepped down after 28 years with the club.

Wilson, 70, will be succeeded by former East Perth, Fitzroy and West Coast star Dean Turner, who took a redundancy from CUB last year and will return to football full-time on Monday.

Wilson will continue in a part-time role.

He is unsure what to do with the rest of his time but doubts it will involve jogging or gardening.

Wilson, who ironically played juniors with rivals West Perth, joined the Royals as a marketing manager from the Blue Note Tavern in 1984.

He said the public perception of his departure would be that the Eagles had flexed their muscle and put Turner in charge of the club which they will be aligned with from 2014. But Wilson stressed that was not the case.

"Bronte Howson and I have worked on a succession plan for more than 12 months," he said. "We had someone in mind previously but that didn't work out.

"When Dean finished with CUB, things escalated and that was solidified on Monday.

"This has been amicable. There are no sharp edges here."

A master of the quip and rhyming slang, Wilson spoke with great fondness of friendships with key Royals such as Mal Atwell, Laurie Kennedy, Howson and Jim Haines.

He spoke less fondly of former Perth Glory owner Nick Tana, a sparring partner as the Glory moved into Perth Oval and East Perth vacated their spiritual home.

Premierships in 2000, 2001 and 2002 were a highlight. The saddest time was the death of the popular Jeremy Silcock on a players' trip to Bali in 1996. He vividly recalls having to ring Silcock's father John to break the tragic news.

Asked how he would like to be remembered, he said he hoped as a "plus rather than a minus".

"I don't think you please all of the people all of the time," Wilson said.

"I would rather do someone a good turn than a bad turn.

"I have tried to get on with all people in football. It is easy to do your chewy but I have only ever done my chewy twice and I have regretted it. When I get to that point I turn right and let it settle."

Turner played 143 games for the Royals and won their best and fairest in 1981. He played 110 VFL games with Fitzroy and West Coast.

He was made a life member of the Royals in 1999 and had returned in a part-time coaching role last year.

Turner said he was not concerned with any perception of him as a West Coast appointment.

The West Australian

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