The North Melbourne Football Club is in mourning following the death of club great Albert Mantello in the early hours of Sunday morning. He was 87 years old. 

Mantello played 107 games for the Roos between 1954 and 1962 and was a key figure in North becoming a football force during the 1970s. 

Mantello was a versatile player, capable of playing as a midfield general, providing run off the half-back line or even holding down a key forward post.

Renowned for his toughness and team-first ethos, Mantello captained the club in 1960, before retiring due to injury in 1962. He then served as the club’s Vice-President from 1968 to 1979 and President in 1980.

In his time as an administrator, Mantello was a key figure in convincing Ron Barassi to become North’s coach. He was also a crucial player in one of the greatest recruiting drives in the game’s history, when, among others, Barry Davis, Doug Wade, John Rantall, Malcolm Blight and Barry Cable were lured to Arden St.

North Melbourne Chairman Ben Buckley said it was a sad day for the club. 

“Albert was a giant of our football club, on and off the field,” Buckley said.

“As well as his fine contribution as a player, Albert was one of the architects of our first VFL/AFL premiership in 1975.

“Alongside Allen Aylett, Ron Joseph and Barry Cheatley, Albert helped pioneer the Grand Final Breakfast. In that sense, his impact on the club is still being felt today.”

Mantello’s contribution to Australian Football didn’t stop at North Melbourne – he also served as an AFL Commissioner between 1988 and 1992.

He was ultimately inducted into the North Melbourne Hall of Fame in 2009.

“Albert’s influence on the game extended deep into the footy community. We’re indebted to his work as a beacon of transformation for the club, but he’s also someone we’re immensely proud to call our own.

“On behalf of the club and the entire North Melbourne community, I want to pass on my sincerest condolences to the extended Mantello family and his many friends.”