PUT simply, the sustained run of success North Bendigo has enjoyed over the past decade in the Heathcote District Football-Netball League wouldn't have been possible had Keith Robertson not taken a stand and saved the club many years before.
Robertson was a much-loved and revered figure at the Bulldogs and that's why a highly emotional day will play out at Atkins Street on Saturday following his death aged 89 earlier this week.
The Bulldogs host Huntly in round six of the HDFNL season in what's their annual Golden City Cup match where - fittingly - the North Bendigo player adjudged best on ground will be awarded the Keith Robertson Medal.
The Bulldogs have become a modern day powerhouse of the HDFNL having contested every senior grand final played since 2014 for three premierships.
But there was a time during the 1990s when the club was on its knees and almost out of business before Robertson led the Bulldogs out of the doldrums as he returned for a second stint as president at the end of the 1994 season having previously held the position from 1989-93.
"At the end of the 1994 season the club was really struggling on and off the field in the Bendigo league and at the crossroads, which led to a crisis meeting with the outlook for the club looking really grim," North Bendigo vice-president Scott Pysing said on Friday.
"But Keith stood up at that meeting and said, I'm not about to see this club fold, I'll take over as president, who is with me?
"So Keith and a new committee went about resurrecting the club. 1995 was our last year in the Bendigo league and that was a really tough season before the club applied to join the Heathcote District league in 1996.
"Keith oversaw the move to the HDFNL and had he not taken a stand that night at the crisis meeting to save the club then all the success we've enjoyed in recent years, none of that happens without Keith fighting for the survival of the club."
Keith oversaw the move to the HDFNL and had he not taken a stand that night at the crisis meeting to save the club then all the success we've enjoyed in recent years, none of that happens without Keith fighting for the survival of the club- Scott Pysing
Robertson is a life member and inaugural inductee of the Bulldogs' Hall of Fame - along with daughter Denise and son Kevin - who not only had a major impact on his beloved Bulldogs, but also on the HDFNL having served as the chair of the league for 10 years between 2000 and 2009.
Coaching the Bulldogs on Saturday will be Robertson's grandson Rob Bennett - a dual premiership coach with the club in 2015 and 2016.
"We're a fairly large family and we'll all be in attendance on Saturday to celebrate pop's life," Bennett said.
"North Bendigo was always part of our whole family growing up and pop was always at the forefront of that, whether it be on the committee or as president and obviously through that difficult time in the '90s when he rallied the club when it looked like the doors were going to be shut and he said this isn't happening."
In a tribute on its Facebook Page this week, North Bendigo said Robertson's "name is firmly foot-printed in our club's folklore".
"North Bendigo is a blue-collar club and Keith's hard work ethic, strong moral fibre and resilience typifies all that our club stands for."
The Bulldogs have this week added another Robertson family member to their list with Keith's grandson, Billy Robertson, joining North Bendigo after being cleared from Sandhurst.
The Bulldogs' side also includes another of Keith's grandsons, triple premiership player Ryan Alford.
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