Fred “Chocka” Bloch attended Adelaide Boys High and then while working for the National Bank, was offered a chance to study for an economics degree at the University of Adelaide. After graduating with honours and through his friendship with Professor Geoff Harcourt, Chocka started in the commerce department as a Lecturer. Professor Harcourt also suggested Adelaide Uni’s football club appoint Chocka as assistant coach of the club – including being coach of the A2 side in 1968. We’re eternally grateful to the Prof Harcourt for encouraging Chocka to the AUFC.
Fred became involved in the Student Union, and was Chairman in 1971 and ’72. He was also in a Uni Jazz band – playing the guitar. Chocka’s musical talents were later put to use in arranging the lyrics to the club song to the timeless classic California Here I Come.
Chocka, after being involved in the club from 1968 to 1972 moved around with work and study commitments – including a spell overseas. Chocka returned to the club, coaching the A1 side in 1980 and ’81, but in his own words, realised he was better suited to administration rather than coaching. As he moved into an administrative role, his overall influence on the club increased – in particular, in the lower grades.
While every Blacks player past and present cares about the success of the A-Grade side, the club’s folklore has been built on a vigorous sense of the ridiculous, and an ethos that showers glory on the meek and demands humility of the mighty. There’s no better example of this ethos than the cult of Bob Neil, which Chocka embraced immediately. He was, in reality, the main instigator of the Bob Neil myth.
The Adelaide Uni footy presentations are called “Hold your Bowlies”. The name is sourced back to Chocka while at the Royal Adelaide Show with mates. In sideshow alley, a lady plugging the clown game seemed to be yelling out “hold your bowlies!” so everyone started imitating her and, inadvertently, “Hold Your Bowlies” was born. Chocka was the host of “Hold Your Bowlies” from 1980 to 1990. Chocka gave every player in the club a nickname and several players have individual songs about them; Our Don Haslam (to the tune of Our Don Bradman), Fatty Little Darren Graetz (We’re Happy Little Vegemites) and Sandy Climb Every Mountain Hancock, are just a few.
Chocka Bloch conducting one of his time-honoured “Hold Your Bowlies” sessions in the 80s.
Every opposition club and ground also had a nickname. In the later days, Chocka would only reprise his Bowlies role for Kilburn games, with his motorcycle jacket and his off-color humor. Other highlights were “Can the Blacks crap on the Catholics today? And the answer is?” (for Rostrevor College etc.). There were the Tarnished Spooners of PAOC and the Silver Spooners of SPOC, and so on.
Arguably, Chocka’s greatest influence was the introduction of contract sides where groups of mates played together, and each with their own name. There was Hancock’s Half Hour, The Glamour side, The Chardonnay Socialists, Fosters Green Ars—oles, the Bastards and The Scum are just a few examples of the team names. Each side developed their own culture, almost becoming a club-within-a-club. To be recognized and offered a so-called contract to play in one of these sides is highly valued, and a form of acceptance, with guys more excited than winning the Lotto when signed up. Chocka was the crucial person in implementing and developing this structure, and hey, imagine picking 8 sides purely on ability! You’d never finish selection.
Chocka was incredibly organised with all 350 players, their photographs and personal details all catalogued for each year. He personally registered every player and this was all before the era of digital technology. Chocka Bloch was the key plank in keeping the club running efficiently, with the administrative tasks of running a club with eight sides all basically run on volunteer labour. Just astronomical!
Like a lot of academics and teachers, Chocka was basically able to run the economics department due to having all his lectures catalogued and stored – with a few variations, of course. Generations of Adelaide Uni accounting undergraduates have cut their teeth on computational methods and hypothetical football scenarios involving The Blacks coming out on top. Many of the club’s finest players first heard about the club through Chocka in this setting.
Chocka was also heavily involved in the SAAFL at the committee level. He was committed to the values of amateurism and the advancement of community football and wrote a book on the history of the league. The history of the Amateur Football League book was seven years in the making, and was a huge project involving an enormous amount of communication and organising with all the clubs. He helped Big Al Statton and Elaine Davoren in particular with the running of the league.
For Chocka it wasn’t whether you won, it was how you went about it. if you would win having fun and staying true to your values, well it meant even more.
He is an incredible person; funny, gregarious and with a unique ability to communicate and have fantastic relationships with anyone from any upbringing. At the club centenary dinner in 2006, Chocka was roundly recognised with a standing ovation from the 1,000-strong group at the Convention Centre as the living, beating heart and soul of The Blacks. As Peter Maddern said, “the 1986 Glamour side was a mixture of western suburbs junkies and decent Spooner folk.” Without Chocka, this sort of thing would never have happened.
In 2020 our second oval was moved from Park 10 to the newly created Park 12 oval 2. Our main oval at Park 12 had been called “Bob Neil #1” for nearly 40 years and the club named the adjacent second oval “The Fred Bloch Oval” in recognition of our inaugural Hall of Famer. Chocka cut the ribbon personally and was supported by 3 generations of his family on the day.
Fred did all things at the footy club through about 30 years of dedicated service.
The contemporary fabric of the Blacks has Chocka’s fingerprints all over it. His influence on this footy club has been utterly profound. He is truly a club legend.
Not just “another” North Adelaide player, but Chocka himself (from The Pash Papers – Jeff Pash)
- Awarded an Order of Australia (OAM) in 1999 for services to youth and Australian rules Football through his involvement with Adelaide University Football Club.
- Played 77 games for North Adelaide 1961 to 1967
- Runner up Best and Fairest 1964 (despite only playing 12 games due to a broken hand. The winner, Barrie Barbary, played 20 games)
- Won North Adelaide Best and Fairest in 1965
Adelaide University FC
- Coach A2 Side 1968-72 (Captain-Coach 68)
- Coach A1 1980 – 81
- Secretary 1984,1987-1989,1995-2001
- Football Coordinator 1982-2000
- Hall of Fame 2012