Jeff Tozer, a coach who had a huge influence on Waikato club football over the past four decades, has died, aged 70.
Tozer was instrumental in helping various clubs improve their coaching and helping teams play at Northern League level.
His primary club was Ngaruawahia United, and its founding club, AFFco Rangers (Horotiu), who he joined as a player in 1972.
He later had spells with Melville United (1989-1990) and Huntly Thistle (2013-2016) before returning to Ngaruawahia in 2018,
Tozer died at Waikato Hospital on October 5 after battling motor neuron disease.
Ngaruawahia United have published a detailed record of Tozer’s career at the club where he made 209 appearances, scoring 51 goals.
“One of the most lasting memories of Jeff in the minds of many footballing fans was that he seemed to always wear shorts, no matter what the weather was like,” the club’s online tribute says.
Former Melville United coach Steve Williams, who played alongside Tozer at Ngaruawahia in the 1980s, paid tribute to Tozer on Melville’s website (click here for Melville’s obituary >>>>):
“Jeff was a 100-per-cent kind of bloke, a rum-and-coke guy, a gym monster, and always super fit.
“He was a tough guy who wore his heart on his sleeve. If he shook your hand, you knew he meant it. He was not a fabricator or a bull-shitter. Right or wrong, he always meant what he said.
“Jeff always got stuck in, and would usually do it for free as well.”
As well as coaching, Tozer became club president at Huntly Thistle.
In a tribute on Thistle’s Facebook page, the club said: “Jeff’s commitment to coaching and football was second to none. He truly loved the game and was passionate about passing his knowledge on.
“The combination of his infectious smile behind that iconic moustache, the ability to absolutely rock a bumbag and some of the best one-liners you have ever heard made Jeff one of a kind.
“Although this time at Huntly Thistle was short, Jeff made a huge impact and will always have a place in the hearts of those he coached.”
Photo: Jeff Tozer in the dugout… courtesy of Huntly Thistle.
The following appeared in the Waikato Times:
TOZER, Jeffery Peter (Jeff):
Passed away peacefully at Waikato Hospital on 5th October 2021. Dearly loved son of the late Herb and Nan. Much loved darling partner to Vi. Loved brother and brother-in-law of Gay and John, Cynthia and Bruce and the late Chris and David. Loved uncle to all his nieces and nephews. Special friend to Karen and Bryce. Covid levels allowing, a service for Jeff will be held on Monday 11th October 2021 at 1.30pm, at Seddon Park Funeral Home Chapel, Cnr Seddon Road & Somerset Street, Hamilton. Jeff will remain in the care of Seddon Park Funeral Home. If you wish to pay your respects, please call 07 846 1561. All communications to the Tozer family, C/- 18 Knighton Road, Hamilton 3216.