Playing long balls into empty space since 2012.

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Carrying Coals to Newcastle? Day 1.

Breakfast in Hamilton and pick up a local paper with a double spread on local soccer (plus a bit of overseas) and a back page promo of the impending Grand Final. Sigh.

Yesterday was a big day. Up at 6 and off to Tullamarine airport. Flew into Sydney at 10am and wended my way to Glebe Point Rd where I caught up with Greg Werner and we spent the day nattering about NSW soccer. We were both filling in time before the launch of John Maynard's,The Aboriginal Soccer Tribe at Gleebook's at 6pm but Greg was both generous and full of great stories.

During the day I took some calls so I think my feelers are starting to work. Michael Parris from the Newcastle Herald called me and I think he's working on an article for publication next week. Geoff Brown from the Edgeworth Eagles contacted me and he has promised me some terrific stories. I'll catch up with him at the grand final.

The launch went well but if I may be critical, the absence of prominent advocates of indigeneous soccer was noticeable. A good smattering of sokkahtwitter was there, including Paul Nicholls, John Smith and a number of other but where were the Craig Fosters and other leading figures of indigenous soccer advocacy?

The book was launched by Larissa Behrendt who, for a non-soccer person, (or to use John's marvellous appeallation, 'a wobbly-ball person')  did a good job of getting across the issues and opening John up for some stories in their Q and A after the 'official' launch.

A good set of questions from the floor demonstrated just how important this book (and the issues and problems it consolidates) is.

It was great to make contact with John again (and his redoubtable publisher Bonita Mersiades) and hopefully I will catch up with him on Wednesday (day 6).

My problem of getting to Newcastle was solved by the very generous offer of my new hero Todd Blackwell to give me a lift from Glebe to the door of my hotel in Broadmeadow. We shared a terrific couple of hours, crossing the Harbour Bridge then the Hawkesbury and into Newcastle. I think I learned the team colours of the Newcastle NPL teams on the way and heard Todd's story of his role as semi-official photographer for Newcastle soccer among many other stories.

He's a great guy. Thanks again Todd.

Today I will meet David McGaw shortly who has (also incredibly generously) offered to take me to a number of memorial sites this afternoon where I will get a picture of the task in front of me, trying to track down all of Newcastle's soccer Anzacs from the first world war. It's a big task but it will be rewarding.

More on this later.


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