History as a Roadblock

Category Archives: History

History as a Roadblock

The Australian football community has waited with anticipation for the release of the Joe Gorman tome looking at the history of the national league in Australia from the National Soccer League to the current A-League. The book, “Death and Life of Australian Soccer” has received high praise since early copies began to make their way into the public domain. It is no surprise, as Gorman is arguably the most gifted writer of his generation in the realm of sports. Anyone familiar with his work, would know that reading one of his offerings is a journey. His gift of being able…

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Legends XI – Robbie Slater

One thing that we are witnessing more and more are the nostalgic Best XIs by former football players generally of their teammates at club and international level. Over the coming weeks we’ll be introducing the Best XIs of ex-Australian players, consisting of their teammates for club and country. Debate can then rage as to who’s Best XI is the truly the best. Our first team to be revealed belongs to Robbie Slater. Robbie started his career playing for NSL teams St George and Sydney United. He would head to Europe where he had a brief spell at Anderlecht before making a…

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Rising from the Ashes

“Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it’s much more serious than that.” No words have so accurately captured the passion of football fans as those of the revered Liverpool manager Bill Shankly. It might get lost in the big business of modern football which sometimes gets lost in logos, branding, and packaging but the passion in the terraces is the lifeblood for the game and the clubs. Often we forget that even the biggest clubs in the world had humble beginnings, started by a group of school mates, or co-workers at a factory, or ex-pats looking for…

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End of an era for Australian football

Many people talk about 2005 as the turning point for Australian football. That year was without doubt a landmark for the game in Australia with the beginning of the A-league and more significantly making it back to the big dance, the World Cup. The year 1999, is not one that immediately springs to mind when one looks at pivotal moments for football in Australia though it should be. It saw an end of an era and the last significant contribution on the national stage of the man known simply to his players as, The Boss. Les Scheinflug had become synonymous with the…

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Portugal ’91: A forgotten odyssey

Without question, the squad that travelled to West Germany for the 1974 World Cup were the first Australian national football team to announce our arrival on the world stage with our first appearance in the tournament. It would be a long time between drinks before Australia would once again – in a FIFA international tournament – announce to the footballing world that it was a country with unlimited potential in the world game. The stage this time was Portugal and the 1991 U20 Youth World Cup. Australia had qualified by going through Oceania and then a playoff with a highly-fancied…

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Australia’s comeback kids fall just short

In 1993 Australia would host the seventh edition of the FIFA U20 Youth World Cup and would become the first nation to do so twice after hosting the first official World Youth Championship twelve years earlier in 1981. The tournament was played at five sites located in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Canberra with almost 480,000 spectators flocking to the thirty two matches on offer. FIFA president at the time, Dr João Havelange on the tournament: The tournament itself proved to be superb. As well as the established football nations such as Brazil and England, other countries, in particular Ghana and…

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Australia’s Arabian Knights

No football issue this year has courted as much controversy as the continued probe into the awarding of the 2022 FIFA World Cup to Qatar. While the football world still searches for answers, we look back to the year 1995 when Qatar would come to the rescue of the international football community. The U-20 World Cup was staged in Qatar after it was deemed Nigeria – who were originally awarded the tournament were unable to stage the event due to “reluctance on the part of international insurance companies to provide guarantee cover and problems concerning health and security.” Former FIFA president Dr…

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The Christchurch miracle

Sport is a celebration of the competitive spirit inherent in human nature that pitting opponents against one another in a test of both physical and mental superiority. Often these are even contests that push either side to their limits, other times they are one-sided demolitions. Sport rarely lies. The stronger individual or team more often than not will prevail. But what we love about sport the most is that in any even contest there is always a chance for a David-like upset over a perceived Goliath. On April 25th, 1997 in Christchurch at Queen Elizabeth II Park the Australian U17s…

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The Joeys’ Latin Adventure of 95

The year 1995 saw the introduction of the Internet, the establishment of the World Trade Organisation, the Oklahoma City bombing tragedy, and John Howard became leader of the Liberal party. In football terms, Ajax were crowned champions of Europe, Robbie Slater won the Premier League with Blackburn Rovers, and Eric Cantona gave a Crystal Palace fan a close up of some of his fancy footwork. For Australia, it saw the introduction of two of our brightest footballing stars in Harry Kewell and Brett Emerton to the international stage and a performance in South America we could be proud of. The…

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Leave Johnny Warren’s legacy alone

Revisionism is a favourite pastime amongst the Australian footballing fraternity and this week’s seen the activity reach new levels. As you no doubt know, Thursday marked ten years since Johnny Warren’s tragic passing. To commemorate this date there have been touching tributes from some of Australian football’s biggest names, but there has also been an element of propaganda that has no basis in reality and ignores Warren’s relentless campaign to establish football as a force on these shores. Warren displayed a passion and love for the game that will never be rivalled, he championed the cause of football tirelessly, advocating…

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