ON a warm morning this year, Brian Cook went to Frank Costa’s house and helped him into his car.
The close mates were heading off on an excursion.
Mr Costa, in ill-health and keeping a low profile that defied his very public life, was to pay one final visit to GMHBA Stadium.
It was through the work of Mr Costa and Mr Cook that this venue exists in its current form as the greatest stadium in regional Australia.
And it was because of their work that the Geelong Football Club remains in the city that bears its name.
Mr Cook wanted to take Mr Costa to a training session, aware he would not have the chance to attend any matches.
He didn’t expect much, just a smile on Mr Costa’s face as he got the opportunity to see his team in action.
What happened next was something Mr Cook, in more than 50 years in football, had never seen.
“What we did, we placed Frank on the boundary on the grass in some shade and we just watched training,” Mr Cook said.
“But every person who had experienced Frank in some way as a player or supporter came over and shook Frank’s hand.
“The players were actually leaving training to come over and I have never seen that before where training continued. But one by one the players were taking their turn to individually greet Frank, to hug him and thank him and ask how he was going, and then go back to training.
“I have never seen anyone receive that sort of welcome.”
It speaks volumes of the esteem in which Mr Costa was held by the Cats, stemming from the enormous impact he had as president of the club.
Support is growing for the erection of a statue of former Cats president Frank Costa, who passed away at the weekend.
The idea was initially proposed by local developer Rory Costelloe, and has now won support from a number of community leaders as well as the Barwon Health Foundation, which had a close relationship with Mr Costa.
Mr Costelloe, the executive director of Villawood Properties, suggested the statue could depict a 12-year-old Frank famously selling newspapers at the corner of Moorabool and Ryrie streets.
He said it would “recognise the story Frank told everyone about his first job, where he learnt the concept of wholesale."
He said the statue idea had been on his mind for quite some time, and he felt the time was now right.
"It can easily be something to happen, as long as (Geelong) council's happy to have it plonked on their footpath," he said.
“It would be great to celebrate, every day in the middle of our city, that sense of community importance with a statue of Frank as a young kid setting out in life."
Geelong council has been approached for comment.
When you think about it, grief can affect the players adversely as well as inspire.It would be glib to say a H&A win was for you Frank given how much you gave but I’d like to think at least a small part of the result is a tribute to you.