Magic DOES HAPPEN When You REALLY Want It To.

Magic Johnson and Steve ‘Magic’ Anson


Pictured here are the only two people in the world that I know as ‘Magic’.  The one in the suit is Magic Johnson, the retired pro-basketballer for the Lakers, and the one in the Lakers Shirt is Steve ‘Magic’ Anson the Club Manager (COO for The Epping Club).    The irony of this pic is that it really should be Magic Johnson in the Lakers shirt and Steve Anson in the suit !

So what’s this blog about?  Some of you may know that I worked at The Epping Club for a few years in the early 1990’s (along with two other clubs prior to that).  My immediate Supervisor at the time was Steve Anson, and just to prove the loyalty of the team at The Epping Club, Steve has been employed there since 1991 (26 years as of 2017) and as a side note, the next boss up was Peter Saez (the now CEO) who has been at the club since 1989 (28 years).   Talk about loyalty !

Steve lived, breathed and bled basketball ??.  I knew that his blood was honestly purple and yellow, which suited me fine as they too are my favourite colours??.  His number one hero was Magic Johnson from the LA Lakers.  Since 1992 I have not ever called Steve, “Steve”.  I started calling him ‘Magic’ a few months into working together and I have respectfully called him by that name ever since (never have I called him Steve).   Late last year, I even sent one of our purple and yellow company Wiz Balls to (Steve) ‘Magic’ as I thought that it would make him smile as it was a ball and it was in Lakers colours.  I told him that he was to use his office bin as the basket and shoot goals all day.  I knew that he actually would do this.

WhiteNow WizBall in Lakers colours

So this is a story about passion, dedication and dreams coming true.  Steve’s dedication to his role and his club saw him heading across to this year’s G2E (Global Gaming Expo) in Las Vegas.   Steve was so excited to hear that the Friday’s Keynote speaker was the one and only Magic Johnson.   Steve was smart enough to bring along a Lakers shirt, but who would’ve thought he would go against all tradition and actually WEAR it to the session.  Well, lucky he did ! Magic pulled Steve out of the audience and brought him out the front for about 5 minutes.  Steve said that he was incredibly nervous and shaking, but ridiculously excited at the same time.   Little did Magic Johnson know that he was Steve’s life long idol nor did he know that Steve actually has a small tattoo on his ankle of Magic.  Steve was too shy to show Magic but Steve’s friends in the audience made sure that Magic knew.  Steve was able to ask Magic some basketball questions and have a decent chat.  Then, Magic signed his shirt.  A shirt that will surely never be washed again.

Sign away Magic ! Steve will never wash that shirt again.

I was told about this amazing meeting a couple of days after the event.  I am sure that all of you come across people, friends, colleagues and acquaintances that have idols that they are so passionate about.  I know a fair few people like this.  Those with SSTID / Rabbitohs logos tattooed to their chests alongside images of Greg Inglis.  I even know someone who was such a fan of the Disney character, Jessica Rabbit that he had her tattooed on his arm knowing full well that he would never meet this fictional idol.  Steve ‘Magic’ Anson is one of these truly passionate people.   As soon as I heard that Steve got to meet Magic, I had tears running down my cheeks.  All I could think was “Steve is so deserving of this – I am so happy for him“.   It was almost like I knew that after Steve had a family, that this was his other one desire and WOW, his dream ACTUALLY came true.

Sometimes you just have to keep on doing what your doing,  and ‘stuff just happens’.  I am sure that if Steve had tried to somehow meet Magic over the last 20 years, that it would not have been possible.   I am also sure that Steve would not have guessed that by just being in the room with Magic would lead to being next to him chatting away.  Steve’s decision to wear his Lakers shirt that day was the smartest move he could make.   Well done Steve, I am so glad that this has happened and I really do have some insight into how important this meeting has been to you.   A champion bloke meets a champion basketballer.

Magic grabbed Steve out of this audience to be the person to come up front to ask his question

It would not come as a surprise to anyone who is reading this that Steve’s Facebook Profile Pic is now Magic and him in Las Vegas.  The funny thing is that this new pic replaced his previous pic which was Steve with a bronze statue of Magic Johnson.  Life just became more real for Steve ‘Magic’ Anson !

Steve’s NEW Facebook profile pic !
Steve’s previous Facebook profile pic prior to meeting him and being his new BFF !


Jenny White, CEO and owner of White Now


The Big Panther Has Gone But Will Never Be Forgotten – VALE: Roger Cowan

Thursday 12th October 2017 saw the final farewell to Roger Cowan OAM.  Roger was CEO of Panthers for 40 years up until 2005.  I was so honoured to be at Roger’s Memorial amongst those who knew, loved and admired this great man.

Roger Cowan’s Memorial Service

Roger took Panthers from an average team operating out of a ‘shed’  to be the leading club in NSW  which Roger grew to eventually oversee 14 clubs within the group.  I learnt at the Memorial Service that Roger was Dux of his school (no surprises there) and School Vice Captain.  He was an achiever and a leader from the get-go.   It was a tribute to Roger and testimonial to his achievements that his ceremony was held on the property that he built and where he showed his core principles and values for so many years.

As I listened to incredible tributes from Greg Alexander, Barry Walsh,  Max Cowan,  Glenn Matthews (read by a representative as Glenn was overseas) and by far the most important speakers of all, his Grand kids, I reflect on some of the words that resonated with me and really showed who Roger was.

Following are some of the comments from those speaking on the day;

“Roger always told others – Learn, learn, learn, learn at every opportunity that you have”

“He recognised everyone’s values and treated everyone equally”

“Play the ball, not the man”

“He taught me to be kind and more humble”

“Roger just made things happen”.

“He always taught us to never go out to intentionally or deliberately hurt anyone”

“Roger put Penrith on the map.  He had the vision to buy the land”.

“If it was good for Penrith then it was good for Panthers”.

Roger built Panthers, the team and the club to be the largest in the State.  In 2017 Panthers employs over 1000 people and sees 2.5 million people walk through its doors annually.  What an achievement.

Up until about 2005 I knew Roger as a client but in a client/supplier sort of way.  I was always a bit hesitant of him because of who he was.  I think I was in awe of this icon, so was perhaps a bit nervous around him.  As I grew in my business and Roger watched my business grow from the outside, we grew to trust each other and assist each other in different ways.  I was so privileged to spend many hours in the car with Roger visiting clubs as we were working on projects together.  I got to know Roger ‘the person’.  I spent hours bleeding him dry of his business tips and business philosophy.  What I found amazing though was that he also spent much time asking me about my business philosophy and successes.  He used to comment on some of my ideas with “I think that is very wise.  I will use that”.  Imagine that – Roger Cowan listening to me and taking advice from me.  Trust me though,  if we were putting percentages to the advice I gave him vs the lessons and advice he gave me it would be 2%  vs 98%.  I used to bring my own lunch on our road trips to save me $10 a day (which I still do to this day).  No matter what I did though, I could not convince Roger to do that.  He used to sort of shake his head at me every time I would get my lunch bag out, well not shake, more that he would nod knowing that I was never going to change.  We had some laughs but more importantly we had great respect for each other and to me, he will always be someone that I had such admiration for.  I really did see his values and his passion.  I still see those traits in his kids Max and Steve – I call them kids as they will always be ‘Roger’s sons’ and gee they must be oozing with pride.

Thank you to all those who really cared for Roger since his stroke.  Those who visited him and gave him such comfort.  Special mention goes to his wife and family, to Barry Walsh and Glenn Matthews (affectionately nicknamed by me as the Little Panther) who often visited him and to Rhonda Bowen and her partner Michael who were tireless in their efforts to support Roger in so many ways through his past few years.

Last but not least I want to thank Roger Cowan OAM for paving the way for all those in our industry, not only the Football Club industry but all registered clubs.  He did so much across all areas of his life and he did so with humility and love for his teams and his family.  Thank you for treating every one as equal and for leaving this world a better place.  To me you will always be at the top of this Panthers Wall of Honour ….

Roger on top of the Panthers Wall of Honour

Roger’s son Max has paid tribute to Roger through images.  Please watch this YouTube Video here:

The BIG Panther with The BIG Panther !
Roger – water skiing in his suit – of course


Jenny White
CEO: White Now