Former Richmond Tiger and the founder of the children’s program now known as Auskick, Ray Allsopp, has died aged 87.
- Ray Allsopp created the program Vickick in the 1980s
- There were 200,000 participants in the nation-wide program by the mid-1990s
- Allsopp was also the co-founder of the Waverley Softball Association
Allsopp played for the Tigers in the 1950s, playing 54 VFL games.
He also played for Victoria but his greatest contribution to the sport would come in later life.
Passionate about young Australians playing the game, Allsopp developed a program called Vickick in the 1980s.
The program exploded in popularity in the mid-1990s with 200,000 participants taking part in the program now called Auskick.
AFL Talent Ambassador Kevin Sheehan called Allsopp “an unsung hero” when speaking about him to AFL.com.au.
“He was the father figure of Auskick,” Sheehan said.
“He was the creator, the inventor, and at a time when we needed someone to focus on skill development in those primary school years.
Allsopp was at the heart of growing the game among juniors before he started Vickick.
He revamped what was known as the Little League in 1980, allowing more than 5,200 young boys to play during half time of VFL clashes.
He said at the time the aim of the games was to allow young children to enjoy the sport.
“Winning is not the main aim of these teams, a fact that some people have unfortunately overlooked in the past,’ Allsopp said at the time.
“Picking the best side available in order to win Little League matches is completely the wrong philosophy.
“The League wants as many boys as possible to simply enjoy the fun and sportsmanship of having a game of football.”
During his 54 games for the Tigers Allsopp kicked 69 goals.
He finished second in Richmond’s 1957 best and fairest behind Roy Wright.
Allsopp was given AFL Life Membership for administration in 2010 and was awarded an OAM in 2017.
His interests were not restricted to football, co-founding the Waverley Softball Association in 1961.
The association wrote on social media their sadness at the passing of a beloved founding member.
“At its peak, Waverley had more than 2,200 registered players,” they wrote.
“We owe a lot to Ray, our sport and association wouldn’t be where it is today with him.”
Allsopp is survived by his sister and softball world champion Norma, children Stephen, Lynne, Rodney, six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.