Slick Nick: How Politis kicked off at the Roosters

Nick Politis lives and breathes the Sydney Roosters.

He has put his heart and soul and plenty of cash into the team since the 1970s when he first came on board as a sponsor, creating a first in the Sydney premiership by having the name of his business, City Ford, emblazoned across the front of the side then known as Eastern Suburbs.

Politis went on to become the Roosters' chairman, a position he still holds today, and has been at the forefront of the club's sustained success in the NRL era - they have made eight grand finals, collecting three premierships since 1998. 

Titled Slick Nick, this article first appeared in Rugby League Week on March 20, 1976.

NICK POLITIS is Eastern Suburbs' number one supporter for the next three years and he doesn't mind paying the club $150,000 for the privilege.

Nick Politis is the managing director of City Ford, the progressive Ford dealer, sponsoring premiers Easts for the next three seasons.

Although the sponsorship deal is a calculated gamble Nick Politis has become a Rugby League history-maker.

Nick Politis with Roosters co-captains Jake Friend and Boyd Cordner and the 2018 JJ Giltinan Shield.
Nick Politis with Roosters co-captains Jake Friend and Boyd Cordner and the 2018 JJ Giltinan Shield. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

He is the first person to have sponsored a Sydney team. But he won't be the last.

Already a transport company, Bell Freighters, have agreed to sponsor the financially
stricken Cronulla club.

And, as sure as I drive a Ford Cortina, others will follow.

Who then, is Nick Politis, and why did he decide to associate his company with a Rugby League team?

Nicholas George Politis was born in Ipswich, a prosperous Queensland Rugby League city, 34 years ago.

He attended Queensland University where he graduated in commerce and economics in 1964.

Described by leading lights in the Ford company as a "whiz kid" Politis set a sizzling pace in the fields he knows best — marketing and selling.

Nick Politis and coach Trent Robinson address the Roosters after winning the 2018 grand final.
Nick Politis and coach Trent Robinson address the Roosters after winning the 2018 grand final. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

At 29 years of age, he became the youngest state manager ever appointed by Ford.

In 1973 he resigned as Queensland manager of Ford and, with a partner, took over the Ford dealership of Wright Ford.

After a change of boss and a change of name, Wright Ford became City Ford and today Nick Politis has branches at William Street, Kings Cross and Mascot, Maroubra, Chullora and Campsie.

As you can see, the bulk of his business is situated in and around the Eastern Suburbs, hence his interest in the Roosters.

Nick Politis has always been a Rugby League fan. Anybody born and bred in Ipswich has to be.

He attended Ipswich Boys Grammar School where he dabbled in Rugby Union. His Brisbane team was Wests and he still follows the Panthers fortunes through the pages of Rugby League Week.

I had the pleasure of introducing Nick Politis to Ron Jones, the team manager of Eastern Suburbs.

It was obvious from the moment he walked into Jones's plush office on the top floor of the Easts Leagues Club, that a deal was in the offing. They had mutual respect.

Don't kid yourself that City Ford's commitment stops at $150,000.

Jones told Politis how much he wanted; Politis told Jones what he expected in return. It was as simple as that.

The only difference of opinion was on the term of the sponsorship. Jones wanted three years, Politis one with an option. 

But as Ron Jones rightly pointed out: "We don't want to be known as the City Ford team one year and Jack's Bakery the next.

"We want continuity, and we want to be associated with a major company."

Politis preferred the one year because of the possibility of Easts' form somersaulting.

Nick Politis with star forward Sonny Bill Williams and Roosters director David Gyngell after the 2013 grand final.
Nick Politis with star forward Sonny Bill Williams and Roosters director David Gyngell after the 2013 grand final.

But he agreed to a three-year sponsorship deal and is pinning his hopes on Jack Gibson keeping the Roosters on top throughout that period.

Don't kid yourself that City Ford's commitment stops at $150,000. There are "over-heads."

The company is providing Easts with a super-gear van. They have supplied the club with 60 tracksuits with of course, the Ford name emblazoned across the back.

City Ford will also provide Easts supporters with incentives if any of them are contemplating buying a car.

 

City Ford announces its arrival in the big league via Rugby League Week in 1976.
City Ford announces its arrival in the big league via Rugby League Week in 1976. ©Rugby League Week/NRL Photos

 

After all, Nick Politis's business is selling Ford cars.

He believes the greatest football team seen for many years can help him do just that.

And who's going to argue with a graduate in commerce and economics?