Thursday, 8 December 2016

Where's The History?

Well, where do you start with this? Let's go to the last line "Important our proud history is continuously celebrated & preserved". This is from the organisation that removed the history tab from it's website after it was shown to have contained a few lies.

Let's try a few scenarios to see how well history has been preserved by the FFV.

Mack Heath (no relation to the great Eric) has stepped up to run his local club's website. The history section is pretty flimsy, so he's decided to do some research to flesh it out a bit. He's not sure the few pennants on the clubroom walls are everything the club has won, as there's been a ground change and break-ins over the years. So he heads to the FFV website to go through all the previous final tables over the course of the club's history:

The tables only go back to 2012 and the club was founded well before then.

Can Mack find the final tables for the senior team over the course of it's history on the FFV website? NO

Can Mack find, in the absence of tables, a list of champions for all senior, reserves, women's and junior leagues over the years on the FFV website? NO

Mack asks around and finds out the VSF Yearbook which came out until the year 2000 had all the final tables and award winners in it.

Can Mack find a scanned collection of VSF Yearbooks on the FFV website? NO

Does the FFV have a full collection of VSF Yearbooks in it's possession that Mack can come in and have a look at? NO

Mack discovers that in recent years the information he is seeking is usually found in the FFV Annual Report. This is only available online on the FFV website from 2007 onward though.

Can Mack get this information for between 2001-2006 from the FFV? NO

Jenny Diver is doing a school assignment, and would like to write about her grandfather who she's been told (sadly, he is no longer with us) was a top player in his day and even played for the Victorian state team in games against Manchester United and Roma in the 1960's.

Jenny gets on the FFV website to check out the history of the Victorian state soccer team.

Can Jenny find a list of games played by the Victorian state soccer team? NO

Can Jenny find a list of players "capped" for the Victorian state soccer team and how many games they played? NO

Can Jenny find any footage of the glory days of the Victorian state soccer team on the FFV's Youtube channel? NO

The club Louie Miller is involved with has just had it's home ground renovated by the council. The committee has commissioned him to get a flash looking honours board made for the new clubrooms. He's even been given full list of club Best and Fairest winners over the years from one of the old timers. He would like to add the names of those that have won League Best and Fairest Awards, and League Golden Boots over the years to the honours board.

Louie gets on the FFV website looking for the missing information. Can Louie find a complete list of FFV Player Award winners over the years on the website? NO

Can Louie find a list of League Top Goalscorers since they started to be recorded in the early 1980's anywhere on the FFV website? NO

Lotte Lenya writes for a football website. She's doing a piece on a leading club's new coach, who had a long career playing in the VSL and VPL through the 1980's and 1990's.

Can Lotte get on the FFV's results service to find team line-ups from that era? NO

She can't find a line up to click on his name to bring up his history of which clubs he played for and for how many games. Unlike other leagues and other sports, there is no record of who has played the most games in Victoria's top tier. The FFV frequently changes results service providers, and it seems we are lucky if they bother making sure all the information is correctly added in the present. Maintaining a working database of top tier results and line-ups is not a concern to them.

Some of the above information can be found in a partly complete set of VSF Yearbooks at the MCC Library. That the years between 2001-2006 are not online is appalling given it's hardly ancient history.

The FFV loves putting out propaganda, but until a few of the NO's above can become a YES it needs to stop patting itself on the back and maybe achieve something in regards to preserving history that can be easily accessible to everyone.

Don't take this as an attack on the FFV Historical Committee. A lot of the information missing is stuff the FFV should already have. If the FFV thinks the names of people who have won awards, of clubs that have won championships don't deserve to be recorded there's not much we can do. They just shouldn't expect us to swallow their bullshit comments on their token efforts in preserving history.

Final tables/champions, award winners and state representative honours, these should be the cornerstones we build our history on. I'm not seeing any evidence that this is happening to warrant any boasting. If they are so proud of our history, where is it?

Sunday, 27 November 2016

George Campbell Returns To Aberdeen

Since the beginning of the game in Melbourne, the Scots have been significant contributors to Victorian football. Many early games were drawn along Scotland v England lines, before Harry Dockerty would revive organised competitions in 1909. The importation of Scottish players throughout the 1950's and 1960's saw the standard of Australian football rise to a level which saw the Socceroos able to qualify for the 1974 World Cup Finals.

The signing of a young Scot by South Melbourne Hellas in 1978 created a stir in the football scene, as covered in Soccer Action at the time:

Soccer Action Vol.3 No.11 - Wednesday April 19, 1978

Soccer Action Vol.3 No.15 - Wednesday May 10, 1978

George Campbell had been the youngest ever player to play for Aberdeen. He came on a sixteen year old substitute against Morton in 1975 to make his First Division (current Premiership) debut. Hellas paid a record fee of $20,000 to secure the skillful, tricky youngster already dubbed "The White Pele". In five seasons at Middle Park he would score 17 goals from 104 appearances with the club reaching a best ever NSL placing to that point when Runner's-Up in 1981.

                                               George Campbell at Aberdeen

In 1983 Campbell made the move to NSL rivals Preston Makedonia where he played for three seasons before a transfer to Green Gully in 1986. During his time in the NSL the former Scottish Youth International would occasionally feature for the Victorian State Team. Some of these games included the 2-1 win over Dundee in 1978 and a thrilling 2-3 loss to a star-studded New York Cosmos in 1983.

His time in the NSL was followed by stints with Box Hill (1987-1989) and Fawkner (1989) in the VSL (current NPL). He then continued playing in the lower State League with Nunawading City, then Ringwood City, Knox City and Banyule City until 1998. After an early broken leg which scuppered plans for a return to Scottish League football he would enjoy a career spanning 20 years in Melbourne.

Since retiring as a player he has been coaching in club, academy and school capacities. As well as roles with the FFV and Xavier College he has been involved with the Youth teams at Essendon Royals, Northcote City and his current club Dandenong Thunder.

In October this year he returned to Scotland for a reunion lunch for the anniversary of Aberdeen's 1976 Scottish League Cup win. A special programme was made for the event:


It's fantastic to see a club that celebrates it's past in such a manner. Well done to George on his achievements and his continued involvement in the local game.

                                                      (Click on images to enlarge)

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Channel Nine Soccer 1976

Thanks to Mike Lynn (former star striker with Ringwood Wilhelmina, successful coach at Fawkner, Richmond and Moorabbin City amongst others) and George Cotsanis of My World Is Round, I've been able to convert an old VHS tape of Victorian football onto Youtube.

It had always been my hope that some footage may still exist, and in the following to segments we have about forty minutes worth of the game televised by GTV 9 of Ringwood City Wilhelmina hosting Sunshine City.

The game took place on Saturday June 27, 1976 at Jubilee Park. It was the eleventh round of the Victorian State League season, and the full match details are as follows:

Ringwood City Wilhelmina 2 (Lynn 21' 75') Sunshine City 1 (Kokoska 20')

Ringwood City Wilhelmina: Nick Van Egmond, Keith Adams, David Garthwaite, Richard Plumb, John Bray, John O'Callaghan, Aad Kos (Joe Cankovic 40), John Luyten, Phil Williamson, Mike Lynn, Chris Kent. Coach - Norm Hobson

Sunshine City: Billy Johnson, Peter Lewis, Steve Kokoska, Dave Anderson, Chris Petrov, Wilf Laing, Ian McCarthy, Hugh Howe, Tommy Cumming, Ray Pocock, Jim McRobert (Laurie Smith 63). Coach - Bobby McLachlan.

One standout is what a brilliant broadcaster Tony Charlton is. Inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame, he covers this game in a manner which gives no indication it is not his main sport. Professionally well prepared, he reels off stats and player info smoothly, and keeps comparisons to Australian Rules to a minimum. He is assisted by future VSF President Henry Siwka.

Being filmed from the grandstand, we don't get a glimpse of that sadly departed structure. The surrounds are leafy behind the goal to the left (East). During a break in play we get to see Footscray J.U.S.T. coach Cedo Circovic and some players watching from in front of the stand.

The kids near the microphone are vocal, and they even break out the classic "what a load of rubbish" chant at one point. Support for "Chalky" (Keith Adams) is also clearly audible.

Sadly the first two goals are missing, but Lynn's match winner isn't, as he launches himself between a defender and Billy Johnson to head home.

Channel Nine covered Saturday games for a number of years in the mid-1970's, hopefully more footage will emerge in the future. If not, at least we now have something so this era will not be forgotten.

Thursday, 3 November 2016


Searching Youtube for early Socceroos footage, I stumbled across a great channel which contains classic 1960's through to 1980's British football games, including full episodes of The Big Match and Match of the Day.

One episode is well worth a look for Aussie fans, and it's The Big Match from December 1974. The video is incorrectly labelled as December 12 1979.

I'm old enough to recall having seen a few episodes of The Big Match as a kid in the late 1970's, though the usual late Saturday night timeslot was way beyond my bedtime. The theme tune is a cracker, and in this year's opening you get a few glimpses of cheeky future Socceroos manager Terry Venables.

The featured game is Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United from White Hart Lane on December 29, 1973. Two of the Spurs players, Martin Peters and Martin Chivers, would later play a few games for Frankston City in the Victorian State League. Winger Ralph Coates had a spell with St George in the NSL after leaving Spurs and before joining Leyton Orient in 1979.

The episode is full of highlights. There's the grim Northern English backdrop as Oldham Athletic host Watford in the Third Division. There's Coventry City visiting The Dell to meet Southampton. There's Muhammad Ali telling us he's had enough of Brian Clough. There's Poland eliminating England from World Cup qualification in a game which surely has the record for most missed sitters. There's Sunderland manager Bob Stokoe running amok. There's Franz Beckenbauer and Uli Hoeness!

Then, at 47:20 is THE goal from Jimmy Mackay against South Korea in Hong Kong that put Australia through to the 1974 World Cup. It is in glorious colour and what a strike it was. I'm not sure why this colour version hasn't been shown on tv over the years nearly enough. Most times I've seen the goal it has been a black and white version that was so dark you wondered if the game was played under training ground lights.

What a goal! What a player!

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Updating the Video Archive

I've been able to upload a couple of full Socceroos games to Youtube, from the 1995 series against Colombia. I have a backlog of videos to upload, as well as a backlog of VHS tapes to convert to MPEG/DVD.

I've also added links to Youtube channels other than my own to expand on the archive. Those channels can be viewed here:

I will seek out more links to flesh out the archive in the next few weeks, and in the near future will be uploading a few more videos myself. Unfortunately some of the VHS tapes to be converted are not in great condition.

To view the archive, click on the tab at the top of the page or here.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Wouldn't It Be Nice...

if Australian football history was properly documented?

Conducting some research recently I came across this great blog about the German national team:

Pictures and details from every match the Socceroos have played, how good would that be? Whilst I'm dreaming, how about a section of the FFA site (can't be a book, they only write them about the last ten years it seems) with a pic and bio of everyone that has played for Australia?

Is it in the too hard basket? Given it was only two years ago that the official records finally got the given names of players who previously had just their initial noted, it may well be. Given the maintenance of the Hall of Fame, one must assume the care factor for honouring the pioneers is also minimal.

Another inspiration are the season retrospectives of Italian football put together in Guerin Sportivo magazine:





It would be something to have something like that one day, but I can't see it happening. History is not treasured in Australian football, for many it is a shame. The records are far from complete and not much is being done to remedy that.

Can still dream I suppose.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Failing Football Victoria

The end of the local football season has sadly seen Football Federation Victoria's incompetence rise to the fore yet again.

It began with the social media coverage of the annual Gold Medal Night. For some reason, the tweets announcing the winners were 15-20 minutes behind the actual announcements and presentations made on the night. It was another case of club volunteers putting the FFV professionals to shame.

For some inexplicable reason, the winners were announced with pictorial tweets which did not include their names (or that of their club) in either the tweet or the pictures within:

Even if you happen to know every player in the NPLV, NPL2 and NPLVW by sight, who would you say won the NPLW Player's Player of the Year Award?
There are two players in the picture, was it a tie? Or is the winner the player on the left, or is it the one on the right? Why the need to be so cryptic? Does someone really need to be told that the major part of the announcements was to actually name the winners?

A recurring theme on this blog has been the lack of due respect the governing bodies of the game have shown even when they try and honour people. A look through the #GMN16tag on Twitter will see no mention of the Hall of Fame inductees from the official accounts on the night. Thankfully there were those willing to congratulate the great Jimmy Armstrong on his honour:

Sadly the other two inductees on the night were neglected. Two weeks after the event there has yet to be an update to the Hall of Fame page on the FFV website. Is that good enough?

It took almost a full two weeks for the FFV to publish the final vote tallies for the Gold Medals. It was just the final result, not a match by match listing of the votes. Given there are people claiming players listed as ineligible due to suspension actually weren't, does the FFV have something to hide in opting not to publish the votes? Once again, is this good enough? A club can hand out a list of votes for their Best and Fairest at a Presentation Night, why can't the FFV?

More damaging was the shambolic organisation of the NPLV Grand Final at Lakeside Stadium. Huge lines for entry, with not enough ticket booths open. People still unable to get in even as the game approached half-time. Those that managed to get in forced into overfilling the only part of the ground open to them, with the stand on the opposite side to the main grandstand and both ends behind the goals closed.

Half an hour into the game those waiting outside were apparently given free entry, but it wasn't until after half-time that people were able to spread out beyond the packed stand. Embarrassing for the league's showpiece day, and damaging in terms of the bad taste these kinds of things leave in people's mouths. I really feel for anyone who convinced someone who may have been reluctant to go to the game to attend only to be greeted by such chaos. The FFV is supposed to grow the game, I'm not sure how discouraging spectators works in with that ideal.

The weekend after the Grand Final saw various State League Finals, Semi-Finals and Play-Offs, as well at the NPLV Promotion-Relegation Play-Off between North Geelong and Richmond. Is there any chance these games could have been afforded some promotion via articles on the FFV website or the NPLV website? It was only via searching through the menus of the results/fixtures section of the FFV website that I discovered the State League Division Two Grand Final was part of a double header with the NPLV Promotion-Relegation Play-Off at Jack Edwards Reserve, Oakleigh.

Speaking to people at the Grand Final between Altona Magic and Mornington, it was apparent many did not know there was another game afterwards (albeit with a one hour gap allowed for extra-time and possible penalties). Similarly those attending the second game did not know there was an earlier one. The FFV may have mastered relegation, but they have no idea about promotion.

Are crowds something of an inconvenience for the FFV? They certainly were for the "hosts" of the games at Oakleigh. Shortly after the arrival of busloads of North Geelong supporters, the clubrooms were closed for a private function and no food was available for purchase.

Let's paint the picture: It's 6.30 p.m. People have been on a bus or driving in a car for over an hour. They arrive at the game and are told they can't have any food. Should they then miss what is the biggest game of their season to satisfy their hunger, or should they suffer?

Is it good enough?