The Essendon Football Club today mourns the passing of Emil Eugene - one of its longest serving and most dedicated volunteers.

Emil died yesterday at home after a prolonged period of ill-health. He was 89. 

Emil’s love for his Bombers began shortly after he arrived in Australia from Cyprus in 1948, while still in his teens.

A neighbour, Jack Williams in Moonee Ponds, took Emil to his first Essendon game shortly after and so began his lifelong love for the Essendon Football Club. 

Emil became a member of the club in 1950 and remained a member every year throughout his life.

In 1964, he began volunteering to raise money for the club through its fundraising and marketing committee, wholly run by volunteers.

For decades, Emil and his colleagues sold raffle tickets, arranged Pleasant Sunday Mornings, ran barbecues and organised club functions and balls. The committee still exists today as the Essendon Social Marketing Committee, and until his death, Emil had been the committee’s longest-serving president. 

Emil was a familiar sight at Windy Hill and later at Marvel Stadium at Gate 3, and at the MCG at Gate 5, where he would sell raffle tickets at every home game - rain hail or shine. Even as his health began failing, Emil wouldn’t miss a shift, with a chair the only concession.

Emil also spent decades volunteering at reserves games, and at times jumped in to work the scoreboard at Windy Hill when extra hands were needed. 

The club recognised Emil’s contribution by honouring him with life membership in 1985.

Emil Eugene was honoured with life membership of the Essendon Football Club in 1985.

Emil knew every player, committee person and staff member at the club for decades, as well as thousands of supporters.

By some estimates his fundraising raised millions of dollars for the club over 60 years. 

Decent, humble and friendly, Emil dedicated a lifetime of service to his beloved club. 

The committee, staff and players extend their condolences to his wife Mary, daughter Jan, two grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

The Essendon players will wear black armbands in tonight's game against Brisbane as a mark of respect.