The OHAFC mourns the premature passing of the inimitable and much-loved Ben Langford-Jones at just 43 years of age. A driver for Metro trains, Ben suffered a cardiac arrest at the end of a shift last Friday.
Ben, known universally around the club as “Beanie”, was a man of great humour, warmth and spirit who brightened the club and the life of those around him. He spent many of his childhood winters along with sister Shae growing up around the OHAFC with Andrew and Rose being an essential thread in the fabric of the club. Father Andrew played over 200 games, coached the senior team for three seasons and played a major role in rescuing the club from its grimmest days in the early 1980s. Uncle Bruce was also a fine player in the 1960s and is one of the club’s most enduring supporters. Cousins Sam, a former senior captain, and Paul played in premiership teams and have long had active involvements with the club.
Beanie made his playing debut for the Bloods in 1994 while still at school but his career started in earnest two years later when he was joined by mates such as Brett Carson and Shane Walden as well as cousin Paul in the team. The longevity that came with that sturdy frame saw Ben take longer than any other player to finally reach a highly cherished 200-game milestone in his 26th season in 2019 and join Andrew and Sam as a Life Member. According to great mate Andrew Bonwick, the double century became something of an obsession, and nary a season commenced in the late 2010s without Ben and/or ALJ questioning the authorities whether all his previous games had been counted!
The Langford-Jones with other prominent OHAFC families at the club's 50-year celebration in 2011
Proudly holding up his truck, a young Ben Langford-Jones at the feet of father Andrew, senior coach with the 1984 team
Numerologists would have appreciated that the familiar 55 on Ben’s broad back represented not just a number towards the end of the playing list but made perfect sense to club property stewards given his late-career jumper size of 5XL. Beanie’s final tally of 201 games (29 goals) was the most of any player not to play in the firsts, comfortably ahead of the next best 136 by Peter Merrett. Had a tally been kept of late call ups on Friday nights and Saturday mornings for a Reserves team short of players, Ben would have been just as far ahead of the pack.
Beanie celebrates that cherished 200th game
Ben never resisted the call from the club to help out when numbers were low in the reserves. The reserves were a struggling unit in those times but the result was secondary to Beanie. Playing for the Bloods with his mates was his passion and it sums up Ben’s commitment to his club that he was there when needed and something he wore as a badge of honour. The heavily bearded Beanie simply enjoyed the notoriety that came with this sort of territory and not taking footy and life too seriously. Despite some heavy losses, Beanie would still be trying to lift the spirits of others as he proudly strode to the showers wearing just a jock strap and a large smile.
After finally hanging up the boots, Beanie squeezed into the tight bright pink Runner’s top to help out as a much adored mentor for the Under-19s in season 2021. He did not miss a training and was there on Saturdays delivering the messages coach Traum would convey to him. No doubt they were delivered with kindness and humour in the Beanie way.
The love this year’s 19s players had for Beanie was unprecedented and in tough times he was a rock for many of them struggling with the issues COVID has dished up, regularly checking in on them with calls and texts which was greatly appreciated and needed. The group will be forever linked to their friend and mentor. Beanie was really looking forward to season 2022 and helping out again with the remaining players and a new batch of boys to mentor.
Pretty much the last OHAFC-related memory of Beanie was his performance at the Under-19s’ remotely-held vote count just weeks ago. Having convinced Andrew Bonwick to wear a dinner suit for the Zoom event, Beanie appeared in a printed cartoon tuxedo t-shirt with Bonners (stitched up) in the full dinner suit, and as usual provided much of the entertainment for the event.
In the life of the OHAFC, Beanie was a remarkable man from a remarkable family who has left all who came across him with life long memories of a fun loving and kind man who loved the Bloods and the people he touched. Everyone needs a Beanie in their life!
Our deepest sympathies are extended to Ben’s parents Andrew and Rosemary, his sister Shae and the wider Langford-Jones family.