John Elliott and Andrew Peacock (Images: AAP)
John Elliott and Andrew Peacock (Images: AAP)

"We acquired Rolling Rock brewery and then we moved onto Molson's... ," the small and stooped man was saying into the lectern microphone as we arrived late at the John Elliott memorial service, shuffling among the 300 or so guests arrayed in the stand -- sorry, the LEGENDS! stand -- at Princes Park.

The grass of the grounds was green, the sky was blue, and the rusting iron of the ground's oldest stand shone in the sun, as the battered face of Johnny -- boxer's nose, snaggle tooth -- stared from a big screen, wobbling slightly. The speaker -- Geoffrey Lord, from the Melbourne establishment gathered here: 20 tiers of blue blazers, Real Housewives hair and fake tans -- was reciting the history of Elders-CUB-Fosters, etc, the jam manufacturer that Elliott turned into a corporate behemoth. Reciting that history up to a point of course. Up to a point.

"We have to ask," Lord continued, "what was John's achievement?" Then a pause. He had an answer, but he left the pause a little too long...