Football loses three-time Chatham Cup winner who was always a gentleman

posted in: Chatham Cup, News, Obituary

Former Eastern Suburbs coach Fred Dubber, a three-time winner of the Chatham Cup who was “a gentleman on and off the field”, has died, aged 84.

Dubber was a Suburbs mainstay at left back during the club’s cup-winning exploits in the 1960s and became their head coach in the 1970s during the formative years of national league football.

Suburbs patron Paul Rennell — who was a teammate of Dubber in all three Chatham Cup wins — said: “He was a lovely fellow, someone you could depend on. Fred was always there for you, a gentleman on and off the field.”

Suburbs chairman Simon Hilton said the club was saddened to hear the news of Dubber’s death on August 21, sending its condolences to his family and friends.

The Dubber family were deeply involved in the Suburbs club of the 1960s-1970s, with his father Charlie a keen follower of the first team, and his brother Chick also a player at the club.

Dubber’s uncle, Charlie Dempsey, was the driving force behind the club in that era, and went on to chair Auckland’s and New Zealand’s football boards.

A capable defender who went on to coach at national league level

Former New Zealand international Rennell recalls Dubber, who joined Suburbs from the Mt Roskill club, as a steady and reliable full-back who was good at communicating with teammates, and who chose the right times to overlap.

He played for the Auckland representative side but never quite made the national team.

When he retired from playing, Dubber became coach of Auckland City (not the same club that now plays at Kiwitea St) for the 1972 national league season.

But his loyalties remained with Suburbs and he took over from Tom McNab as the club’s coach in 1974 in what was then a 10-team national competition known as the Rothmans Soccer League.

Today’s Suburbs team are preparing for the club’s 10th Chatham Cup final on Sunday September 11, with the chance to take the trophy a record-equalling seventh time.

Their team of 2022 will no doubt be inspired by Fred Dubber and his Lilywhites teammates who helped pave the way …

Main photo: Fred Dubber in 1974. Photo: Dave Barker.

Fred Dubber’s Chatham Cup treble

1965 Chatham Cup final

Basin Reserve, Wellington
Game played September 4, 1965

Eastern Suburbs 4 (Trevor Pugh (2), John Legg (2))
St Kilda 1 (Brian Slinn)

Suburbs line-up: Terry Moore, Bryan Pugh, Fred Dubber, Ken Armstrong, Tom McNab, Paul Rennell, Gerald McCormack, John Wrathall, Trevor Pugh, Philip Rainer, John Legg.

1968 Chatham Cup final

Basin Reserve, Wellington
Game played September 7, 1968

Eastern Suburbs 2 (John Wrathall (2))
Christchurch Technical 0 

Suburbs line-up: Kevin Harlock, Doug Law, Fred Dubber, Bill de Graaf, Tom McNab, John Staines, Gerald McCormack, Paul Rennell, John Wrathall, Ray Mears, John Legg.

1969 Chatham Cup final

Basin Reserve, Wellington
Game played September 6, 1969

Eastern Suburbs 2 (John Wrathall, Bill de Graaf)
New Brighton 0

Suburbs line-up:  Kevin Harlock, Ross Gisby, Fred Dubber, Philip Rainer, John Kroon, John Staines, Ray Mears, Bill
de Graaf, John Wrathall (Doug Law), Paul Rennell, John Legg.

Alfred (Fred) Dubber

The following notice has appeared in the NZ Herald:

DUBBER, Alfred (Fred). Passed away peacefully on August 21, 2022, aged 84. Dearly loved husband of Pam for 61 years. Much loved father and father-in-law of David and Susan, Carolyn and Chris, Janet and John. Adored Poppa to Rebecca, Alex, Maddie, Aimee, Emma, Frankie, Rachel and Matthew. Much loved brother of Chick and Ann. A celebration of Fred’s life will be held at All Saints Chapel, Purewa Cemetery, 100 St Johns Road, Meadowbank on Friday 26th August 2022 at 4pm. Our special thanks to the care home staff at Metlifecare Highlands and Ward 11 at Middlemore. In lieu of flowers, donations to would be greatly appreciated.


Through the publication of obituaries, Friends of Football tries to recognise the loss of those who have significantly contributed to our game.

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