A GREAT crowd turned out for the return to New Norfolk last Friday of the town’s favourite son, Peter Hudson, and the launch of his biography, A Football Genius.
The occasion in Arthur Park was one of a series of mini-launches across Tasmania, beginning at Petrarch’s in Launceston in the morning, to events at King George V Oval in Glenorchy and Blundstone Arena in Bellerive the following day.
The New Norfolk-born and raised footballer, considered among the game’s greatest exponents, returned to his home town for the event, along with the book’s author, Dr Dan Eddy.
The book tells Hudson’s story through his own words and those who knew him through a first-class football career over seven years, five seasons in which he kicked more than 100 goals per season, and a peerless record of 5.64 goals per game at Hawthorn.
Hudson and Eddy spent much of the late afternoon signing copies of the book for fans and friends alike.
Local bookstore owner Alexander Okenyo from the Black Swan and Hudson family friend Leesa Winter had to move quickly to meet demand, at one point chartering a taxi to bring an extra boxful from Dymocks in Hobart.
The now 76-year-old Hudson demonstrated an aspect of his character that has long endeared him to those he encounters: his easy familiarity with those he and his family knew in the Derwent Valley.
Many of those faces and names – neighbours, friends as well as friends of friends, old teammates and more than a few rivals – came to see the man, up close and personal.
They were greeted warmly and well remembered by the footballing great. Hudson today lives on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria.
He may be a step slower than in his heyday, but carries his 188-centimetre frame well.
In a quiet moment, he admits life is different now, even a little boring at times.
But beside the bronze statue that bears his name in Arthur Square – and joined by many who shared those days with him more than a half-century ago – Peter Hudson, the football genius, was back.