1969 was a momentous year.
Man walked on the moon. The Beatles performed for the last time. Woodstock happened. Midnight Cowboy won the Academy Award for best film. The Manson clan went on the rampage and Rod Laver took out a calendar Grand Slam.
All of this pales into insignificance, though, compared with what was really important about 1969: Maitland won all three football codes!
In the first Newcastle rugby league grand final to be played on a Sunday we beat Lakes 19-9 in front of 20,000 supporters. It was the first of our golden run of five straight grand final appearances, three of which we won.
In the lesser sports - on the day before our league win the Maitland Blacks beat Stockton 14-2 in the union final (their first premiership in 32 years), and the following week the Magpies beat Mayfield United to take home the soccer trophy as well.
It made for a festive feel in Maitland that year in celebration of our success in the winter sports.
The city held a civic reception for all the teams at the town hall. Shopfronts, department stores, the butchers... everything was decked out in black and white, through the midst of which rode Sparra Farra - Maitland's number one supporter - on his black and white bike decorated with black and white streamers.
I was reminded of it all by a phone call this week from a reader (he played for the Blacks in '69) pointing out to me that it is fifty years since that year of triumph, and that, funnily enough, each of our teams in the three codes are in contention this year and so, hopefully, there lies a very real possibility of a repeat performance on this fifty year anniversary.
I did wonder as to the wisdom of publicly bringing up such a possibility this early in the season - you don't want to put the mockers on anybody - but then both the league and union teams got trounced on the weekend, and the roundballers drew, and I figure maybe it's more important to let them know what's at stake here.
Imagine a three-code win, on our fiftieth anniversary year! The challenge is before you, you lot.
1969 was a year of upsets. For one, odds on favourites, South Sydney, lost to an unbackable Balmain, 11-2, in front of 58,000 people. But my favourite upset was the Country seconds win over City. It was a competitive time in representative football. I was kept out of Country firsts by Les Hutchings, and so was playing for Country seconds.
The City seconds side contained, incredibly, ten internationals - somehow also kept out of the firsts side - two of whom now make the 'immortals' list. There was John Raper, Bobby Fulton, Billy Smith, John O'neill, Freddy Jones, Tony Branson, John Brass etc.
As we walked into the stadium I heard the bookies were offering 25 points start on Country seconds.
I said to our coach, Arthur Summons, 'if we only lose by 25 I reckon we'll have gone ok.' We beat them. 24-8.
After the game I swapped jumpers with Billy Smith. He probably painted the house in mine. I kept his. I donated it recently to a fundraiser for an injured footballer. A St George supporter payed just short of five grand for it.
The results for this last weekend's NRL round showed a lot of very close games. Too many too close for credibility if you ask me. It really does seem to reinforce what a lot of people are observing - that the referees are making subjective decisions aimed at producing desired crowd-pleasing outcomes.
And now Annersley has come out saying that the standard of the refereeing is unacceptable. It seems to me that the mess is one of Annersley's own making, caused by his pre-season statement that the referees would be rewarding 'attractive football.'
I get the feeling that the referees are now completely confused as to how they should actually be going about things.
And while we're on refereeing: Wouldn't you like to be a linesman or an umpire at Wimbledon? The way players such as Tomic and Krygios speak to the match officials is totally unacceptable.
Simply put, the administration's inaction is condoning bullying.
I cannot understand why some of the umpires don't just pointedly refuse to officiate at their matches. What I'd really like is for one of them to decide that enough is enough and to 'return serve,' by telling Krygios in the clearest and bluntest of terms what they think of him.
I mean, the job can't pay that much...