• April 17, 2012

Certain words spring to mind when characterising Glenn Manton. Multi-skilled, insightful, confident, full of aspirations and family man are just some ways to describe this unique individual. While Glenn is renowned for his impressive career as a Carlton and Essendon football player, it is his unbelievable talents and array of accomplishments off field which have contributed towards the man he is today. Too commonly celebrities fall off the ‘band wagon’ due to stardom, Glenn however retains his authenticity. With Glenn Manton’s outlook on life- nothing is impossible to achieve, life is merely about being true to one’s self.

Glenn is certainly an individual who has had a diverse career. The extensive list includes: athlete, comedian, teacher, author, charity worker, media personality and motivational speaker. Being a father is Glenn’s number one priority, his face instantly lights up when speaking about his three children aged 12, 11 and 8. “I’m 38 and my career highlight is without a doubt, being a father. There’s nothing which vaguely parallels that. My parents time and effort they put into me as a person, I really wanted to pass that on. Even in the earliest media interviews I did, I would stress the point of wanting to be a dad. Being a parent has its challenges but I live for it, I love it.”

Glenn has built a career on working with young people and in particular disengaged youth. In 1999 Glenn co-founded ‘Whitelion’, a not for profit organisation assisting youth in crisis within the juvenile justice system. ‘Whitelion’ works with young people who are in the child protection system due to their experience of neglect and abuse. Straight-forward and honest speaking, Glenn answers the question, “Are you a role model?” without any hesitation, “Definitely, yes. The problem I have with that is people often think it’s exclusive. Manners and integrity is important. There’s going to be days where you don’t open the door for someone but if you’re looking to do good things more often than not, it is essential to show manners. I make mistakes and I’m not bigger or better than anyone else. You just have to work with people’s perceptions.”

Glenn does not relive his football days. He does not have pictures up in his house of the glorious football days and does not watch excerpts of television programs or read articles about himself, all memorabilia is locked away in the garage. Although his days of playing competitive sport are over, fitness and health still remains an integral part of his life. “I wasn’t allowed to play competitive sport until I was 12. So from a competition side I had no choice until I was that age to compete in football. I love playing football, any and all sports from the get go was just something I was encouraged to do. At times it provided the mental respite which I needed and the physical aspect of the game is extremely beneficial. Health, sports and football are huge parts of my life, I can’t get away from them nor do I wish to.”

Glenn thrives under pressure and his confident persona stems from an early age, crowds have never been a problem for him. “I knew the bigger the game, the bigger the task, the bigger the crowd, the better I’d play. I like being put under that sort of pressure, I thrive.” Nowadays Glenn is not interested in barracking for an AFL team, he attends approximately five football games a year. For him, football is not about putting on a football jumper, standing and cheering. Glenn is extremely intrigued by the training, relationship, communication aspect and he is interested in seeing the effect football has on people who cannot play the game which is embedded deeply in our culture. “A lot of young men hang their heads in shame when they can’t play football. Just because you can’t play a competitive sport to the highest level by any means does not mark you as a failure. My perspective on AFL football is slightly different and I think worthwhile because if we all look at it the same way then the game doesn’t grow and its greatest benefit probably isn’t felt.”

Glenn has lived in various areas of Melbourne. He grew up in Strathmore, lived in Napier Street, Fitzroy for 20 years (the original street of Essendon’s football ground, Windy Hill), Ascot Vale and Coburg before settling in Williamstown where he has been contently based for 12 years. “There’s no doubt that Williamstown is a metropolitan sanctuary in many ways. I think my favourite days in Williamstown are the rainy days where you can almost feel like you’re the only person who lives here which is lovely. The vistas back to the city and out towards the bay and the boats is what I love about the area. The last six years in particular, The Strand has exploded because of its location. I think The Strand will continue to push forward.”

Glenn has a deep affection for the western suburbs as he recounts the endless list of attractions. “The western suburbs are quite raw, somewhat innocent in some ways. The proximity to the city is excellent. The growth those suburbs have in a physical sense, probably outweigh some of the other suburbs throughout Melbourne. I think Footscray, Yarraville, Seddon and Williamstown have a very rich history. In terms of the western suburbs it’s a nice experience to think you are going to play a part of history of these areas developing into all that they can be.”

For someone who has achieved so much in his life, it is inevitable to ask Glenn the question, “What is the key to success?” Glenn answers without hesitation, “It’s been a very curious life. The key to success is about being authentic, to covet a knowledge of self, ask yourself who am I as a person? That’s something you have to put time and effort into, understanding who you are, how you fit within your own framework of your home and beyond. Your mind, ability to communicate and ability to build relationships is important. While not all relationships will be successful and not every day you will communicate well, it is essential to think along these lines. Be prepared to step out of your comfort zone and take a risk, I’m good at that.”

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