It is with great sadness we inform you of the passing of a true West Adelaide legend.
Brian Keith Faehse passed away peacefully on Sunday 21st March, 2021 at 96 years old after a short illness, which he battled with the same grit and determination that he demonstrated every time he pulled on the Bloods guernsey.
Brian played 222 games for West Adelaide between 1944 and 1956 which was a club record at the time of his retirement. He kicked 60 goals as well as 19 games for South Australia.
He played 128 games in succession and missed only seven games through injury in his last 12 seasons, earning the name Iron Man. He had the ability to play through injuries which would sideline most. He was never dropped from the league side throughout his career.
Coming from the Eyre Peninsula town of Cummins, Brian made his first appearance for West Adelaide in the Senior Colts in 1943 whilst serving his apprenticeship as an Electrical engineer.
Playing his first game in 1944, for what was then West-Glenelg during WW2, he would break his ankle in his 7th game which would unfortunately end his season.
The player races to enter the field at the old Adelaide Oval were a result of Brian taking on the Port Adelaide supporters after the siren at the halftime break of the 1954 Grand Final. At the time players had to leave the oval through the crowd without any protection.
As a result, the SANFL decided to install the races in the off season to protect the players entering and leaving the field. Ironically, Brian was the first to use the new players’ race, when in 1955 he led West Adelaide onto the field against Norwood.
Brian was last living member of the 1947 premiership side and would regularly attend games. He would sit in the ‘Brian Faehse Stand’ which was named after Brian after he played a major role in the acquision and development of Richmond Oval.
He organised the plan of the oval, arranged earthmoving equipment and clearing of the land, in addition to digging the trenches for the watering system and the laying of the turf for the oval. He banded together past and present players, officials and supporters for the installation.
Unfortunately, he had retired by the time the first game was played at Richmond Oval in 1958.
Brian was a dedicated club man on and off the field who received constant admiration, loyalty and respect through his 13 seasons with West Adelaide. Known to be rugged, tough, talented and totally committed to giving 100% effort every game.
The great Fos Williams said on Brian’s retirement from the game after the 1956 season, ’I’ve never met a better teammate or a more ferocious and determined opponent’
Apart from football, Brian was an accomplished golfer playing for Glenelg Golf Club representing them in the Simpson Cup.
Brian will be remembered as our 1947 Premiership Player, Captain, Coach and a member of our management committee, but most of all as a gentleman.
Brian was inducted as a West Adelaide ‘Legend’ in 2010 and was named as a member of the Team of the Centuries in 2018.
If a football club ever needed a template on which to build a culture, it should look to use the example of the way Brian Faehse conducted himself on and off the field in life and his time at The West Adelaide Football Club.
West Adelaide sends their condolences to Brian’s family and friends. We will miss him around the club on match days as well as his cheeky sense of humor and his love for the club.
Our thoughts are especially with Janet – his long-time friend and companion who has given exemplary care to Brian through his illness.
Vale Brian Keith Faehse
MATCHES FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA