The 2021 ANZAC Friendship McMillan Dinner saw long time player (the only to feature in every single Friendship Match over the last 13 years!), captain, committee member and passionate Swan inducted to the club Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame is the highest accolade the club can bestow on it’s MVPs and Billy was flattered to join those who had set the direction of the club in place before he arrived and throughout his journey.
Years Active: 11
Position/s: Full Back, sleeping in the corner
Awards/Honours: Caption, Committee Member, Life Member + Hall of Fame
Induction Speech – Eric Kerrison, McMillan Dinner – 24th April, 2021
Well, what can I say about this person?
They have been a tremendous support for me over the last 5 years in my role as President. Their knowledge of all things Swans has certainly made my job a lot easier. In saying that, when they get on a roll with messages, it can be confusing!
This person has come a long way since their first tour, where they were shown sympathy and offered the job of photographer, and in what would later become a trademark, they left the camera behind.
A more passionate Swan I haven’t met, and I am so honored today, to induct a truly worthy recipient as Bill Crang into the Vietnam Swans Hall of Fame.
Ron and Ailsa Vernon – Vietnam Swans Life Members
Bill is a Swannie through and through and so deserving of this honour. Behind the scenes we know he has suffered many frustrating moments in his role but all dealt with with good humour and patience. We have shared some fun times with Bill and look forward to being able to do so again before too long. Congratulations. Honk, honk!!
Stan Middleton OAM and Life Member of the Vietnam Swans
Well deserved – from an old digger. You display all the spirit of the ANZACS when playing footy for the Swannies!
Phil Johns – Swans Hall of Fame, Former National President, Godfather of the National Vietnam Swans
Billy, a massive congratulations on reaching this moment where we Swannies part like a sea to form a guard of honour that announces and celebrates your induction into our Hall of Fame.
Way back on Saturday 25 April 2009, we played our first ANZAC Match, a match hosted by the Tigers in Kanchanaburi. You were champing at the bit. All you wanted to do was to get the hellfire pass over to Thailand to participate in something bigger.
The Club needed a pictorial record of this tour to properly document a defining chapter in our developing history. The Club also wanted you, a passionate and well deserving Clubman, to run onto the ground. The solution was for the Swannies to offer its first official Club sponsorship, I think $100, to support a key person in making a tour.
Armed with your camera and a good eye, you took poignant photos of the Services at Dawn and the Cemetery as well as the pre match formalities. Then, together with your team mates on the oval, we were belted under that baking sun and scorching opposition. Yet, it was only when the sun was setting, in the presence of the three distinguished former POWs, led by the venerable Bill Haskell, that we felt completely lost.
As the bus drove away towards BKK airport for the trip home, we received a phone call from Kanchanburi. They had found what you didn’t know you had lost: your camera.
Billy, you had one job…
When your parents visited Vietnam, they were almost reverential, eternally grateful to the Swannies “for getting Bill back on the rails”. You should be eternally grateful that, dumbstruck in our collective state of disbelief at your parents’ observation, we said nothing and kept their dream alive.
As it’s transpired, rails have become a tool of yours, helping to guide the Swannies on and off the field. You have a respect for history and a thirst for new experiences which helps to keep the Club grounded, fresh and relevant.
One of the hallmarks of the Swannies is our culture of inclusiveness and here, you set the example, leading like a forward.
Another Bill, Bill Clinton, says that everyone has a story to tell – but not everyone knows how to tell it. You always reach out to new people, encouraging them to share their story. This goes some way to explaining why, unprompted, half the Club tells me that “Billy’s my best mate”.
The above attributes and qualities manifest themselves magnificently with your fantastic podcasts for the Swannies – and AFL Asia where you are also highly respected and admired.
For a man who has loved to court controversy for the sake of a good reaction, you will be enormously irritated to know that your induction to the Hall of Fame didn’t elicit a single dissenting voice (well, not from Saigon…).
Billy, that $100 to get you to Kanchanaburi was a genuine gift. But it is you who has been the gift that has kept giving. And giving.
On behalf of the generations of eternally grateful players who have come / gone / stayed since then – whether we be female, male, Asian, Caucasian or whatever – thank you, Billy.