Sir James Gosse once said that Australian football was the finest thing in existence for the public to look at, and he spent all of his rich sporting life putting his time and his money where his mouth was.
Jimmy, as he was popularly known, started with Norwood as a teenage ruckman in 1894, going on to captain both his club and his State in 1905, his last year as a player. He participated in two Norwood premierships, but it was as an administrator and benefactor that Sir James had his greates influence on the game.
He was president of Norwood for 20 years, and of the SANFL from 1945 until his death in 1952. Sir James had a special interest in past players and officials of all clubs. He believed they should stay involved with the game, to the benefit of everyone. As patron of their association, he was always helping out.
The former great Tom Leahy told the past players’ annual dinner that each year Sir James paid for the tickets of those who couldn’t afford them. Tom said Sir James would kick him in the backside for letting on about this, but he thought the players should know. At the other end of the football lifecycle, Sir James was known for his generosity to junior and school teams.