Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Not So Random Pictures

Yes, it's the return of one of the Blog's franchise series, a Random Pictures post. Only not that random as they are all from a collection of photos loaned to me by Heidelberg United, so there's a strong Alexandros theme.

Speak of the devil....



No doubt there are some in football that will cringe at this image of our ethnic football past. Even less doubt that many of those aren't as tolerant of other cultures as they like to make out. Screw the hypocrites, all hail Alexander!


Ollie Norris interviewing then Sydney Olympic coach Tommy Docherty.


Manny Poulakakis and Ollie Norris present legendary VFL coach Tom Hafey with a commemorative Phillips Soccer League plate.


Ange Koutos presents Collingwood FC icon Lou Richards with a ball in the short-lived Collingwood Warriors era.


The multi-media mega star takes on Koutos.


A youthful John Anastasiadis.


Peter Tsolakis heads the ball under pressure from George Petrov.


Heidelberg's Phil Stubbins is tackled by Melbourne Croatia's George Hannah with Stuart Stevenson watching.


Jimmy Rooney tries to get away from Croatia's Ned Batinovic.


The third of the trilogy, Jamie Paton battles with Croatia's Steve Kokoska.


Celebrations for Gary Cole, Jimmy Tansey, Derek Hunter and Jimmy Campbell.


Heidelberg United from the Victorian Premier League in 2000.

Back (LtoR): Andrew Charalambous, Bill Makris, George Angelos, Peter Di Iorio, Alfonso Opazo.
Middle: Cameron Brown, Manny Pappas, Arthur Tsonis, Leigh Tsoumerkas, Sean Cunningham, Robbie Grakovski, Gerry McAleer.
Front: Jeff Stefanidis, David De Propertis, George Katsakis, Jeff Olver, Phil Peladarinos, Mile Medjedovic.

                                           (Click on images to enlarge)

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Soccer Action Is Well And Truly Here!

Last August I started putting my Soccer Action collection online, and in under a year the task is now complete. Which is a bit ahead of schedule as I initially anticipated uploading just one or two a week and thought it would be something that would be completed in five or six years. The device of posting links to the new uploads on Twitter every Friday brought about the hastened completion of digitising the collection, making sure I did a few week then pushing me to do a few more than the week before.

It went from being happy with four uploads a week to trying to hit ten every Friday. I'd like to thank John Morris for giving me my original collection, and Damian Smith for the inspiration in putting them online. Thanks to Pave Jusup for allowing me to add to that collection by letting me copy from his own. Thanks also to Shahan Petrossian of Soccer Nostalgia, Miles McClagan and his amazing flickr scans, Paul Mavroudis of South of the Border and George Cotsanis of My World Is Round for further inspiration in making sure the collection was shared for all to enjoy.

Thanks also the the great statistician and historian Andrew Howe for providing me with a few missing pages and moral support. Thanks also to everyone who provided encouragement via the comments section of the blog or on Twitter, knowing people wanted to share the memories contained in the papers is what it was all about. The great Gary Cole falls into this lot, as well as the final group I need to thank, those that provided us with Soccer Action in the first place - Laurie Schwab, Les Shorrock and Craig MacKenzie.

Of course the the job is not quite finished, as my collection is not complete and after a break I will look towards finding and scanning the missing issues. The starting point to that, of course, is listing them here.

There are a few editions I have that are incomplete. They are:

1980

March 19 (pages 13 and 14 missing)

1981

March 25 (pages 13 and 14 missing)

July 1 (pages 5, 6, 7. 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 missing)

July 22 (pages 3, 4, 13 and 14 missing)

1986

July 9 (pages 3, 4, 13 and 14 missing)

July 16 (pages 1, 2, 15 and 16 missing)

And the editions I am missing completely are:

1976

February 4

March 31

1979

March 14

July 25

August 29

1980

May 28

June 4

June 25

September 10

October 15

October 22

November 5

November 19

1981

April 1

1982

January 27

February 10

March 3

March 10

March 17

March 24

April 14

May 19

June 30

July 14

August 11

September 22

October 20

1983

February 16

March 16

March 23

April 6

June 8

July 20

August 10

August 17

October 19

October 26

1984

April 4

September 12

1985

September 4

September 25

October 2

October 9

1986

February 12

February 19

February 26

March 19

April 9

April 16

May 7

May 14

June 11

June 18

June 25

July 2

August 6

August 13

August 20

September 3

September 10

September 17

September 24

October 1

October 15

October 22

So it's 387 down, 71 to go. Currently the file full of scans comes in at 5.96GB, so it may be that one day you can carry a complete set of Soccer Action's with you on an 8GB USB. The wonders of modern technology.



Saturday, 13 May 2017

Soccer World, Week & News Plus A Spot Of Tennis

A few years ago I got a USB from leading historian Roy Hay which contained files of scans of old Soccer newspapers. The file was labelled the John Punshon-Tom Wall Collection. John is another of the great football historians, largely responsible for the Victorian state league section of OzFootball. I don't know who Tom Wall is.

The scans were a mixture of jpeg and pdf files, but each file was just a single page from the paper. They must have been able to scan full size A3 pages and are great quality. Having discovered sites that allow you to make pdf files of jpeg images, and merge single page pdfs into multi page documents, I can now add these papers to the various archives on the blog.

Soccer World

The Green Paper (not hard to figure out where this nickname came from) was Sydney's soccer newspaper from the 1960's to the early 1980's with Andrew Dettre and Lou Gautier chief contributors. Jim Cook was the longtime Melbourne correspondent.


If you scroll down the History Documents page, you will find the Soccer World archive.

The new editions added to my previous scans of 1970's issues are:

1961 September 8

1962 Septmber 21, 28 October 5

1963 August 9 November 8

1964 June 12

1966 October 7, 14

1967 June 9

1968 May 3 July 26 September 13 October 4, 11

1969 January 24 May 9 August 22 September 5, 12 October 3

Soccer Week

I've blogged about this mid-1970's Melbourne paper before. Now I can share the following editions, also found on the History Documents page:

1975 April 23 June 9, 18 July 9, 16 August 6


Soccer News

The old faithful Soccer News underwent several changes in the 1960's. Having begun as a small A5 booklet in the 1940's, it grew slightly larger in the late 1950's. In the 1960's it would go full newspaper size, also becoming Soccer Weekly in 1962 in an attempt to go national. Reverting back to Soccer News the following year, it became Soccer News & Soccer Life in 1966 and then Soccer Tennis News in 1968 with the legendary Harry Hopman involved in the tennis section, again reverting back to Soccer News for 1969.


Some of the news scans are missing pages, but I've added them to the archive as there may be information someone is after and something is better than nothing. The Soccer News Archive now has had the following added to it:

1962 August 30

1963 April 11 October 3

1964 February 27 March 26 April 2, 16, 23 May 21 June 25 July 30 August 27 September 17
         October 15 November 5

1965 March 12 May 27 September 9

1966 June 2 August 11

1967 April 6 June 8 and better versions of June 15, 22 & 29

1968 April 25 May 16 June 27 August 1

1969 May 22

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Vic Soccer '88

I've always maintained that Vic Soccer '88 is one of the greatest things ever published. When Soccer Action died, the great Les Shorrock started up Soccer Star, and Vic Soccer '88 can be considered the Soccer Star Annual of 1988.

Following the Great Computer Death of 2015, I gave a box of items to Paul Mavroudis of South of the Border to have a look at while I began to put my collection back into order. Thanks to his efforts in scanning and hosting, we can now share Vic Soccer '88 with a wider audience.

Personally nothing can hit the nostalgia sweet spot for me better than this publication. It's hard to turn a page without finding someone I know. On the cover is the great Josip Biskic hoisting the Dockerty Cup. Biskic was a proper footballer, and a gentleman as well. There are team photos of all the Victorian NSL clubs, all the clubs in the Victorian State League, all the Victorian boys junior state teams, the NYL-winning Sunshine George Cross youth team and touring Dinamo Zagreb side featuring the legendary Zvonimir Boban. Even the Industrial League champions and Cup winners get their pictures included.

Phil Stubbins, Andy O'Dell, Dean Hennessey, Roy Maclaren, Carl Gilder, Stan Webster, Steve Blair, Ange Goutzioulis, Jimmy McBride, Stuart Cannell, Nick Gourlias and Willie Raynes are all pictured, men who I served under as team manager in their senior, senior assistant or reserves coaching roles. It's a sign of my old age that some players pictured that I handed shirts to now have children who are NPL stars.

As a pictorial record, it is without peer. Carl Recchia even makes it into a picture as a club mascot. All the tables are there, which is a basic feature that the VSF came up short in with their late 1960's Yearbooks often lacking the final reserves tables. A slight fault could be lacking full details of Cup Finals (full line-ups, but that's probably being too picky). It was also clearly published before Croatia was stripped of that Dockerty Cup Final win for bringing on a substitute who had been suspended in a NYL game.

The only possible thing that could surpass it would be Vic Soccer '89, which I'm told by George Cotsanis of My World Is Round did come out. But for now, behold the beauty that is

Vic Soccer '88



Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Musings on Recent Research

As steady work continues on the Statistical History, frustration at years of poor record keeping continues to grow.

A fortnight ago, I visited the State Library to check out some old VSF Annual Reports they had retrieved from storage for me. Unfortunately rather than ordering all the years I'd requested all I got was that for 2000, and I had to re-order the others and go back a week later.

The good news was that in the 2002 Annual Report I was able to find the missing State and Provisional League Best and Fairest Award winners. As well as the missing reserves league champions for that year. The 2000 Annual Report had already given me the missing reserves league champions for that season, with full final tables no less!

The Annual Reports generally have reports from the President, CEO etc at the front, a Roll of Honour of past champions and award winners in the middle along with lists of that season's award winners and champions plus state team achievements. At the end are financial reports.

What I found odd was that the 2000 Report had all final tables, yet the 2002 one didn't. Given that the VSF had ceased producing a Yearbook in 2000, I would have thought it may have been the other way around. With no Yearbook to record the final tables in, they should have been in the Annual Report. A lack of foresight from those at the VSF at the time, who obviously assumed their results system would still be operational and functional in the years to come rather than dead and holding so much data in it's grave.

The foundation of my research began with the Rolls of Honour in the mid-1990's VSF Yearbooks. I added to this by visits to the State Library to check out the major daily newspapers and The Sporting Globe on microfilm in the Newspaper Reading Room. Then came the internet and OzFootball and later Socceraust. Trove then made going through old newspapers so much better, with a search function that covered what winding through whole newspapers on microfilm in a darkened room may have missed.

So when I look at the Roll of Honour in the 2000 VSF Annual Report, I can't help but be a little angry.

                                                     
                                                       (Click on image to enlarge)

Look at that list of PREMIER LEAGUE RESERVES CHAMPIONS. 1983 and then nothing until 1972. 1970 and then nothing until 1961 and then nothing before that time. Now 1973-1982 is hardly ancient history. How come no-one with any sway was able to say that this was not good enough and try and improve this sad neglect of history? A bit like the version of the FFA Hall of Fame on their website, can such an embarrassing record of history really be labelled a "Roll of Honour"? Where is the honour? All is see is disrespect.

At this point in time I'm one or two years short of being able to extend that lineage all the way back to WWII, and with around 80% of the reserves champions before that also established. The FFV, meanwhile, no longer even bothers to maintain a Roll of Honour, they have in fact gone backwards.

Similarly incomplete was the list of top flight leading goalscorers. Pre-1970 all that was listed was 1969, 1967 and 1963. Wouldn't it be great to see if the current four time consecutive champion, Milos Lujic, was the all-time record holder? I've been able to add 1960, 1962, 1965, 1966 and 1968 to that list, as well as large chunks of 1930-1941. Looks like the great Frank McIver was top scorer on 5 or 6 occasions, so Millsy will need to keep on banging them in for some time to come to catch up.

Just to put the lack of records in the 1960's and 1970's into perspective, I've been able to complete a record of the "Local International" played between 1908 and 1937. Complete, and almost with line-ups, the major issue in that regard being the newspapers of the day only using surnames (no initials) and possible various spelling differences actually being the same person needing to be clarified. Once that's worked through, I'll be able to list everyone who was "capped" in these games. The data is there though.

As it is, the local international was contested annually bar for some years during WWI and 1910 when it was held twice (possibly because the 1-1 draw in the first game was an unsatisfactory result). Some reports state it began in 1909 with the first organised league, but there was a contest in 1908 that I've included in the records. There are also selected teams for the 1884-1886 versions, but for some reason no results found for those games.

The home of the local international was the Fitzroy Cricket Ground, which held 12 contests. The Motordrome was used 4 times, as was it's successor Olympic Park. The fields at Middle Park were utilised 3 times, with the Exhibition Oval used twice and a single event held at East Melbourne Cricket Ground.

In the end, honours were even. Scotland had 11 wins, England had 11 wins and there were 4 draws. The Scots did inflict some heavy defeats on their foe though, with the goal difference being 64-50 in their favour.

J.Maxwell (of Windsor, and later Prahran City) was England's greatest ever scorer with 7 goals. P.Dowker got 5 with G.Brown, Percy Lewis, Hawkes and Frank McIver all getting 3. Jock Baxter led the way for Scotland, netting 9 times. Johnnie Johnstone got 7 with Thompson on 4 and Jim Lurton with 3 next best.

From 1970's Soccer Action I see that when the Bill Fleming Medal was run by the press, independent of the VSF and the Rothmans/Gold Medal, there were also press awards for Under 21 VSL Player of the Year and VSL Coach of the Year. I will add these winners to the lineage of their later VPL/NPLV equivalents, as they should be. Maybe in the future the FFV will do the same.

Monday, 27 March 2017

This Year's Draft of the Statistical History

Last week I uploaded a pdf version of the Statistical History of Victorian Football, which can be downloaded from here:

Statistical History of Victorian Football - Draft 8

I thought I'd explain the layout and content a little. All the final league tables, and scores of Grand Finals, Finals and any games relating to promotion and relegation are on the left of the page. In a column down the right there are details (date, venue, referee, score, scorers and line-ups with substitutions) of top flight Grand Finals and Dockerty Cup Finals. Next will come scores and scorers of any other Cup Finals that year. Finding details like for the Grand Finals and Dockerty Cup Finals for all these games would be impossible, I'd estimate there would be less than 10% of that information available, so I'm just running with score and scorers.

The next information I'm looking to record are the winners of the league best and fairest awards and top goalscorers for each division. Then comes a list of reserves league champions. In the years of the District Leagues I include a list of champions in that league above the list of reserves league champions. To include District League tables would add more pages to the document than is necessary, a line has to be drawn somewhere.

I've only used pictures to fill in gaps where there was no text. The use of pictures has been along these lines: Team shot of league champions or Cup winners. Player pic of best and fairest winners, top goalscorers or member of league championship or Cup winning team. I'm not looking at adding pictures where it would mean adding another page for that year.

At the end, a month or so ago, I've added a National Competitions section using the same format, tables on the left, details on the right. In this section the tables and details on the page may not necessarily be from the same year. In future I'll probably include details of NSL and A-League Grand Finals, though that information is widely available elsewhere.

Another section I'm looking at adding between the Victorian and National sections would be a couple of pages to list non-playing awards like VPL/NPL coach of the year. There I would also like to add a list of the various media awards for the VSL/VPL over the years as issued by Soccer News, Soccer Action, Soccer Star and Australian and British Soccer Weekly.

Since that last draft I've corrected the wrong table being cut and pasted into the box for the First Division in 1969 as well as the scores in the 1984 and 1989 State League Cup Finals.

From what I was seeking here I've found the referee of the 1991 Dockerty Cup Final and the reserves champions of Provisional League Division One South East 2002. The rest still remains unknown. Please share the document with anyone you know who may be able to assist in filling in the gaps. There must be players out there who recall playing in some of those 1980's Cup Finals where only the only record the VSF kept was the name of the winner inscribed on the trophy. There must be old team managers and club secretaries with a collection of VSF Yearbooks or memos from the VSF with final tables (mainly reserves missing now) or their own records of Cup finals. I'm really hoping that someone somewhere has a list of award winners, top scorers and reserves champions for 2002 seeing as the FFV can't open that year's Annual Report.

It would be nice to be able to work out which players have played in the most Dockerty Cup Finals, or had the most wins in it. Referees are people too, it would be nice to know which ones have had the honour of reffing the most Dockerty Cup Finals. Surely every senior and reserve team that won a championship deserves having that feat noted somewhere for posterity? Would anyone expect the AFL to have a gap in it's list of Brownlow Medal winners? Then where are the 2002 State and Provisional League best and fairest winners and top goalscorers?

If we can get most of what I listed in that blog post, I can just make up some of the pre-War stuff and we're finished. Well, I wouldn't do that but a few asterisks could tie things up.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Moorabbin Thirds Stories

This is yet another blog entry that stems from the Why I've Arrived Where I'm At piece from a few weeks. back.

I consider myself to have been lucky in arriving at the club culture I fell into at Moorabbin City, especially compared to what I've observed in my latter years involved in the game. Now players have always moved club, but when kids aged 19-20 have had four clubs in a two year time span, something is wrong.

Being a late arrival into the competitive playing ranks, I was more than satisfied to play third team/Sunday League football at Moorabbin. The reserves were on their way to winning a second successive championship, and I never thought breaking into that squad was likely.

Player movement was not as great then, and older players were more inclined to settle at a club towards the end of their careers. Reserves teams were very much that, not as focused on being youth sides as they are now. This meant that in my time I saw many players move down from playing first team football, to the reserves and then finally the thirds. I'm not sure this happens as much these days.

The third team was usually the core of the senior clubs supporter base as well, as well as generally containing around half of the committee as well. A true reserves side also usually provides a lot of support for the first team, whereas we now see many youth/reserve players leave straight after their own game.

When I arrived pretty much all the thirds players went by a nickname and I soon picked up my own. As the youngest player in the team I was linked with the second youngest in the side. That was Eric Igoe, who had been nicknamed "Yogi Bear" (later just "Bear") due to his hulking physique. So I was given the Yogi Bear's offsider's name - "Boo Boo". Thankfully this was quickly reduced to just the single Boo.

There were a couple of memorable incidents involving Bear at games. Doing it tough away at Boronia one day, several goals down already, he had enough when the referee awarded a penalty against us. "Why don't you take it for them as well, you cheating cunt?' he uttered, and with that we were down to ten.

His best effort came against one of the University sides. His opponent (probably on the losing side, they were never much good) didn't take kindly to Bear's marking and chat and informed his apparent social inferior "I'm at Uni, one day I'll be your boss!" Bear set him straight with "Well, I'm an apprentice bricklayer and one day I'll shove a trowel up your arse!'

Some nicknames were based on physical appearances. There was "Buddha" for Sam Laverty and "Fergie" (in honour of the red-headed Duchess) for his brother John. Andy Loney was "Squiggle" after the Mr Squiggle children's tv puppet with the massive pencil for a nose. Peter Crawford was "Little Pete" due to his diminutive stature. Mark Feehan was "Max" for Max Headroom, the MTV character. Nowadays it's probably seems racist but Trevor Bishop acquired "Shaka" when the Shaka Zulu tv mini-series was a massive hit at the time.

Irishman Richard Robinson naturally became "Spud", with Gerard Robinson being "Mash". Little cousin Davie Swords therefore became "Chip". There were a couple of oft-told stories about Spud. One Sunday morning I arrived to see him despondent, head in his hands. When I asked what's wrong he pointed to the pitch. Lining the pitch the morning after a pub crawl following the senior game the day before was not advisable. Neither is trying to scuff out a line with your foot and having another go. Repeat this process three or four times and you get what looks like a group of snakes intertwined. Luckily the ref let us play with some cones to mark the true line down that side of the pitch.

As coach, Spud's team talks were legendary. The best came in a crowded room at Bailey Reserve one day. The club bookie, Brian Morris, raised funds by offering 5-1 on correct score bets for first team games. Due to the frequent use of profanities in his talks, on this occasion bets were being taken as to how many swear words Spud would utter during his oration. All bets were null and void when he twigged as to what one corner of the room was counting as it cracked the thirty mark. A tirade was launched with more fucks than anyone could ever keep up with, and he was right, we were all cunts.

There was another tale that a penalty he took against Kew Deaf went so high and wide of the mark it knocked a kid off a swing in the playground behind. That one was more fiction than fact I think, but he did miss the pen.

While I'm on Kew Deaf, there was another Irishman, Mark "Bap" Withers that had an interesting encounter against them. After a crude tackle on one our opponents, the bloke got up and remonstrated with Bap, become more aggressive with his gesticulating. Bap turned around and asked another "What's his fucking problem, I said I was fucken sorry!"

More nicknames: Stirling Sainty was "Seagull", because he was quick to pounce on a chip I suspect. Victor Holder was "Two-Stroke", after the motors found in Victa lawnmowers. Ed Atkin was "Job" because Ed Job was just too good to pass up. Mick O'Neill had picked up "Suck" I believe due to the way he had fallen under the thumb of his missus. John Bris was "Phar Lap" because of his running prowess before becoming just "Brisi". Craig Forsberg was "Double" because inbred Tasmanians are alleged to have two heads. 

Mark Mangan picked up the "Riddler" moniker after a suit he wore which resembled that of the villain from Batman. Paul Morgan was "Woody" after one of the Bay City Rollers. Steve Martin was "Jerk" in respect of one of the movies of another Steve Martin. Steve Seizis was "Alexi" 'cos he looked like Alexi Sayle. Mark Crooke was "Illi" because his temperament matched that of Ille Nastase.

Dave O'Gara's initials meant he was "Dog", not just because he owned a couple. He had a great big Irish Wolfhound, which caused confusion on a foggy winter's night back in my first year at the club 1990. I wasn't driving yet, and my mum had just arrived to collect me from training. As I approached the car, the police arrived and called me over. They informed me that there were reports an escaped lion from the circus being staged down the road at the grounds of Murrumbeena High School had been sighted in the vicinity of the ground, and that I should go back in and inform those left inside to be careful. I didn't, seriously I'd have been slaughtered going back in telling that story. My conscience was spared the guilt of anyone being mauled to death when it emerged that there was no lion missing, a resident simply jumped to conclusions when spying Dog's dog through the blanket of fog.

One legendary character was "Mick the Barman". Mick Bowers was recruited to the thirds via being a barman at the pub the lads stopped to meet in before departing interstate on an end of season trip. An Ocker Aussie, he got talking with the boys and said he wouldn't mind giving soccer a go. He was, let's say, very raw but a very nice guy. Indeed during one game he shook his opponents hand at half-time, thanking him for the half and expressing how he looked forward to meeting him again after the break. We were playing Dandenong, a side loaded with VSL and State team stars from the 1970's, hard-nosed Scots who genuinely wondered if he was taking the piss out of them. He wasn't, he was just like that.

Another instance of that came in what should have been his greatest triumph, when stunning everyone by putting the ball into the top corner from out of nowhere (and thirty yards) on a mudheap at Doveton. For some reason, the ref disallowed the goal, and as we went in to remonstrate it was Mick the Barman who broke it up with "Now, now fellas, the referee is always right".

Doveton was where Tony Wynton picked up his nickname. A former first team player, he was nearing the end of his career, his long 1970's rockstar hair having more than a bit of grey in it. He was having a battle in midfield with a much younger opponent, and after one torrid tussle that opponent's mother called out from over the fence "Leave him alone you paedophile!" And thus for his remaining playing days he was known as "Pedda".

Good, good days.