Playing long balls into empty space since 2012.

Thursday 27 June 2019


The Japanese player penalised for handball (1.26) against the Netherlands got me thinking

How has the game gone from a situation where marking was part of the game to one where incidental/accidental handball is penalised severely?

Think back to Harry Kewell 

Let's look at some deep history of the rules of the game.

The first attempt to bring together a collection of rules that should be used everywhere the game was played was made at a meeting in Cambridge in 1848. Representatives from different British schools attended and the meeting would result in the “Cambridge Rules”, which was the first attempt to unify the rules of the game.

However, a debate would last about if the shape of the game. It took several more meetings until it was decided in that once for all that football was a game what exclusively should be played with the feet and not by the hands – this would also result in the dividing of football and rugby. Until 1863, carrying the ball with the hands was still practiced in several schools.

The early development of rules would also make football a less violent and brutal game. Some consider the game of today a fierce and intense, but it is nothing compared to the game in its early days. Before 1863 “hacking”, kicking down an opponent, was a part of the game and a feature that marked was that seen as a masculinity objective.

Thus, by 1863 a standardization has been reached, but it was still far from the modern game we are familiar with. Here are some rules that were applied:
  • No crossbar was used and the goal was not specific to a limited height.
  • If a player catch a high ball, he was rewarded a free kick.
  • If the ball crossed the sideline, the player that first got the ball was rewarded with the throw-in.
  • Throw-ins were made with one hand (this was not praticed in Scottland though).
It's a game where handling in various forms was an important practice.

In 1869 [??] the practice of marking was outlawed and only the keeper could deliberately handle the ball.

This word deliberately is where the angst lies.

Read from Beastly Fury:


It is an offence if a player: 
  • deliberately touches the ball with their hand/arm, including moving the hand/arm towards the ball
  • gains possession/control of the ball after it has touched their hand/arm and then:
  • scores in the opponents’ goal
  • creates a goal-scoring opportunity
  • scores in the opponents’ goal directly from their hand/arm, even if accidental, including by the goalkeeper
It is usually an offence if a player:
  • touches the ball with their hand/arm when:
  • the hand/arm has made their body unnaturally bigger
  • the hand/arm is above/beyond their shoulder level (unless the player deliberately plays the ball which then touches their hand/arm)
The above offences apply even if the ball touches a player’s hand/arm directly from the head or body (including the foot) of another player who is close.

Except for the above offences, it is not usually an offence if the ball touches a player’s hand/arm:
  • directly from the player’s own head or body (including the foot)
  • directly from the head or body (including the foot) of another player who is close
  • if the hand/arm is close to the body and does not make the body unnaturally bigger
  • when a player falls and the hand/arm is between the body and the ground to support the body, but not extended laterally or vertically away from the body
The goalkeeper has the same restrictions on handling the ball as any other player outside the penalty area. If the goalkeeper handles the ball inside their penalty area when not permitted to do so, an indirect free kick is awarded but there is no disciplinary sanction. 

Friday 21 June 2019

100 years ago today 27 June 1919

The Herald (Melbourne)

Spotswood v. Albert Park, at Spotswood, Ref. Medlicott; 
N. and D. v. Footscray Thistle, at Albert Park, Ref. M'Culley; 
Preston v. Melbourne Thistle, Ref.- Downic; 
St. David's v. Windsor, Ref. Campbell; 
St. David's "A" v. Spotswood "A,". Ref. M'Kenzie.

Queensland Times (Ipswich)

My word, watching the crowd of "soccer" enthusiasts lining the Bundanba ground, last Saturday, reminded me of the many stubborn-fought games of British Association football I had witnessed on that spot. I was viewing the contest from the stewards' stand. on the Bundanba course, and the occasional glmpses I obtained, through a pair of glasses, were very thrilling. The barricklng was as lusty as formerly, and the ball seemed to be kept going between the two goals.

The Journal (Adelaide)

British Association.
The Cheltenham-Hindmarsh match at Cheltenham last Saturday attracted a great deal of. interest, and it is pleasing to note that the residents of that district, support the soccer game with enthusiasm, and have a keen sense of partisanship. It is a pity the Cheltenham ground is in such a bad condition, otherwise the play would have been of a character equal to any first-class game in the old country. As it was, there were flashes of scientific football at times, and the game was fast from the beginning. The home team were lucky to win at 3.2, for Hindmarsh gave them a gruelling right through, and the last point was scored with very little time to go. Hindmarsh have lodged a protest with the association gainst a goal notched by Cheltenham on the goal line, and it is likely that a replay will take place. When in doubt the referee should make it his business to consult both linesmen and weigh the evidence fairly before giving a decision, and in this case it appears that he awarded a goal before he was sure.

The Arrow (Sydney)


The Soccer Association have had a busy week-end owing to the holidays, and their games on Monday at the ShowGround were well attended. In the evening the dinner and social evening were all that could be desired, nearly 80 persons being present. Amongst the guests were Mr. R. Storey (hon. secretary of the N.S.W. Soccer Association). Mr. West (president of the Metropolitan Junior Soccer Association), artd Mr. S. Allen (assistant secretary of the Metropolitan Junior Soccer Association). All the officials of the N.D.B.F.A. attended while the president and secretary of the Northern District Referees Association represented their body.

To-morrow afternoon Holmesville and Adamstown are the senior teams occupying the Show Ground, and although the former were defeated by two goals to nil at their last meeting they have made big improvements as was shown by their 4 to nil victory over Minmi last week. Nevertheless they have a hard nut to crack in Adamstown who, so far, have not tasted defeat this season. Holmsville's incentive to play, however, is a big one as their last chance of capturing the Ellis Cup for this season will disappear should they suffer defeat. Hamilton will make the journey to Minmi to morrow, where Coppock and Co. are expecting to get both points from the Greens. Jennings will play outside left for Hamilton, Bywater half-back, and probably Sneddon centre forward, but they will find it a hard task to make the journey to Minmi and win. in fact their ability to do so is questioned in some quarters.

Saturday 15 June 2019

100 years ago today 20 June 1919

Ball's paddock??

World (Hobart)

A meeting of the newly-revived British Football Association was held on Monday evening at the Public Library. There was a good attendance of members, Including many of the old players and supporters. Mr. J. H. Storr-occupied the chair. The sub-committee which was recently appointed recommended that the association should continue working on the old lines, which had been so successful before the war broke up the game. It was recognised that the challenge cups and other trophies would be handed over to the revived association. They further expressed the hope that as many as possible of the old members should be placed on the committee. The report generally was approved.
The following officers were elected:— Hon. treasurer, Mr. Harry Parkinson; hon. secretary, Mr. Lambert Morgan. The committee included three members from each club, players or non-players at option, together with Messrs. J. H. Storr, W. H. Benson and W. Jones, with power to add to their number. It was decided, in view of the difficulties of the ferry service to town on Saturday afternoons, to ask the clubs drawn against Lindisfarne to play on the ground of the latter.
A very successful meeting was closed with a vote of thanks to the chairman, who expressed his satisfaction at the prospects of soccer football very shortly reaching the high level it had attained when interrupted by the war. South Hobart Royers v. Lindisfarne play at Lindisfarne to-morrow afternoon at 2.45 o'clock. South Hobart Rovers from: B. Stuart B. {Marley, H. Morrison, J. Morrison, W. Williams, T. Hudson, G. Shirley, W. Webber, G. Cracknell, H. Martyn, C. Inman, V. Vout, E. - Shirley, F. Fry, E.  Manson, G. Griffiths.

Lithgow Mercury

Newcastle Sun
Starting from this week the Show Ground will be used by the Soccer Association.
The chief fixtures this week will be at the Show Ground between Adamstown and West Wallsend. This will be their second meeting this season. At Adamstown in the opening game, a draw (two goals each) was recorded. West Wallsend are leading in the competition, but they have played a game more than Adamstown, who are second. Both teams are undefeated.
The Blues will probably play the same team which defeated Minmi with, perhaps, one exception, M'Kay having a lot of supporters over Smith. The final choice only goes to show how strong Westy are when they can afford to leave M'Kay or Smith, both of whom were considered for representative honors last year, out of their team.
Adamstown will not hear of defeat. They think that their defence, which has only been beaten once since their opening game, will be able to keep Coates and company out, while their forwards can easily get a goal or two and so win the game. Whether their ideas will work out as they desire remains to be seen, but the game should certainly be a hard one.

Thursday 13 June 2019

Soccer Over-reach 1885

Paul Nicholls has sent us an interesting snippet.

A classic case of football over-reaching itself
In 1885, New South Wales raised a contingent of volunteers to serve with British forces in the Sudan. On 3rd March a huge crowd came down to the harbour to see the troops off. A steamer, Nemesis, escorted the transport Iberia down the harbour but near South Head the two ships collided. Two women on the Nemesis were killed in the accident. One of them, Margaret Capell, was 38 years old and left behind five children.

A fund, known as the Capell fund, was set up to help the family. However, Sydneysiders did not support the fund very well.

Enter the Caledonian British Football Association club - a club for Scotsmen formed earlier that year. In July 1885 they decided to hold a soccer match in aid of the Capell fund. In The Sydney Morning Herald it was announced that:
“A first-class exhibition of pure football will be given (no carrying of the ball being allowed), and a large attendance is hoped for.”
The game was advertised in the press and the Agricultural Ground was secured in order to collect a gate. Soccer was displaying its civic credentials while doing a bit of code promotion on the side. But despite the weather on the day being good, the turnout was small.

The Australian Town and Country Journal on 11 July 1885 wrote:
“The Caledonian-Wanderers match on the Agricultural Ground, in aid of the Capell relief fund, was not patronised as it deserved. Whether the contra attractions were too many, or the charge, 6d, for admission, was too exorbitant, it is impossible to say. Had it been upon Moore Park, no doubt the crowds of partisans would have been so numerous as to impede the progress of the game. And while on this old and dire contention let me say that the matches upon Moore Park were witnessed by fully three thousand people. Not that their lawful patronage is begrudged, but it is against the "crowds" we complain, who generally make themselves obnoxious at free matches and invisible when a sixpence is begged for worthy ends.”
This from The Daily Telegraph:
“it is extremely doubtful that the small attendance of the public will admit of even a trifling sum being handed over to the fund.”
The result was slightly embarrassing for football. A classic case of over-reach.

Wednesday 12 June 2019

100 years ago today 13 June 1919

Results from last week's games

Saturday June 7


Windsor 3 St Davids 0 Middle Park Ref: J.Campbell
Footscray Thistle 1 (Scotchbrook) Spotswood 3 (Jones, Laycock2) Footscray Ref: H.Means
Melbourne Thistle 2 (J.Anderson2) Preston 0 Middle Park Ref: B.Butler

Albert Park 1 (McLean) St Davids A 0 Middle Park Ref: George Dempster

Arrow (Sydney)
The epidemic has hindered the carrying out of the schools' sporting programme. On Wednesday Fort Street defeated Technical High School at Soccer 1-0 in a fair game, though there was some rather wild kicking. Dudley was very safe in Fort-street goal. An acquisition from Newcastle in Jones promises to develop into a very serviceable back. Hopman, who was last year in the champions, Rosehill, was the best on the field, at centre, and Shand and Storey were the pick of the forwards.
Technical played a hard game, and are sure to improve. Markham, who appeared to lack practice, is as keen as ever.
The High Schools are fortunate in having R. Goldsmith, of School for the Deaf, available for refereeing.

South Coast Times and Wollongong Argus
(By Observer.)
Ball's Paddock was the scene of the best game of Soccer ever seen in this district, when Sydney met the pick of the South Coast. The crowd which witnessed the game was easily the biggest ever at a football game in the Illawarra district; it was estimated between 1500 to 2000. The ladies, who are becoming very enthusiastic re the Soccer code numbered about 300 or more, and they enjoyed themselves and barracked as keenly for the Coast boys as did the menfolk. The committee seemed to have their hands full trying to keep the crowd off the line, which is always a hard job, especially when the game was exciting as was Monday's game. The Bulli Band was in attendance and provided good music during the afternoon.
Judging the two teams as they sat for the camera, Sydney was far heavier than the local team. The curtain-raiser was a competition game between Woonona A. and Bullli All-Blacks, which the latter won after hard play by 4-0. Players who did well were Joe Woods, J. Roberts, Coulson, Evans for Bulli, and Creighton, Hill, and Mitchell for Woonona. The big game got going on time, the Coast scoring the first goal; after some splendid play Sydney equalised with a shot, which Brown in goal took too cheaply and failed to stop. No further scores were recorded for either side. Players who were especially good were A. Jones, A. Kerr, A. Woods for the Coast, and Sydney had something good in their goalkeeper, who saved their reputation for them, also A. Creighton, G. Smart and Dodger White were good; in fact, the teams were splendidly matched.

The Swan Express

To-morrow Midland Australs travel to Perth to try conclusions with the Claremont Juniors on the Esplanade. Kick off 2.15 p.m. sharp. The following players are requested, to travel by the 1.53 train: Clarke (2), Wright, Motteram, Oswald, Bond, Birch, Wilderspen, Christian, Hummerston, Randalls, Hodgson, Hall and Brackenridge.

The Journal in Adelaide

At the end of a rather long article called Fotball Gossip[ we are told that Norths beat Cheltenham 1-0 at Cheltenham

Someone has tagged this as AUFC in Trove. This is quite offensive.

Thursday 6 June 2019

Sacred Sites

Grounds for Discontent

During the last week I became involved in an unpleasant #sokkahtwitter pile-on against someone who had objected to the new Melbourne Victory complex in Footscray Park next to Victoria University.

I suggested that the person's sporting alignments meant that their position lacked some credibility. 
You'd have a little more credibility on this issue if you weren't such a hard-core footy fan. Checked your time line for [sporting] references ..... . Soccer doesn't doesn't seem to figure in your world view so of course you oppose the creation of space for the game.
I regret doing that but only because this person was viciously attacked by a number of trolls. I don't regret the content of my statement or the tone in which I said it.

The complainant had several gripes
  • alienation of parkland
  • ratepayer subsidy of a wealthy professional sporting organisation
  • where will the people do "park" things?
I suggested that if this person understood the history of soccer's exclusion from inner city infrastructure and enclosed grounds a less antagonitistic tone might be adopted.

This argument had little impact unfortunately.

Going back

There are a number of points of contention across Australian soccer history:
Soccer is a game which Is getting a big hold on the Sydney public, but the trouble with which the controlling officials have to contend is the lack of central grounds. This code of football is wonderfully thrilling to watch when played by flrst-class teams. Queensland and New South Wales are to meet at Wentworth Oval, and as they played an exceedingly close game in Brisbane It is fair to assume that enthusiasts will have something special served up in the coming match.

PARKLANDS are our heritage, they belong to us the people, and we must defend them, the Rev. Dr. C. Irving Benson; said yesterday
Labor 'must save the parks for children's play'
THE Labor Party had to fight to preserve Melbourne's inner parklands, Mr. F. McManus, A.L.P. assistant secretary, told the opening session of the annual Victorian A.L.P. Conference last night.
He was replying to criticism of the Labor Party's veto earlier this year on a proposal to fence a section of Albert Park for soccer matches.
The veto was criticised by Senator Kennelly, chairman of the Albert Park trustees, who said migrants from overseas should have a right to play and attend their own type of football in a minute area of the 688-acre park, where no sport had been refused a ground.
Mr. McManus said professional soccer interests, which had great influence and large amounts of money to spend, should not have priority over other sports in the search for playing areas.
These soccer interests showed no interest in grounds in the outer suburban areas. If the trend of fencing off parklands continued, a ring of enclosed grounds diverted to a single sport, would be established on Crown land in industrial areas.
Mr. McManus said once a fence was erected, buildings would arise. Finally the children from industrial areas would be excluded following claims that sportingproperty had to be protected.

100 years ago today 6 June 1919

Follow up to last week

Darling Downs Gazette

Another version in Toowoomba Chronicle

South Coast Times and Wollongong Argus


The Age

British Association.— The following matches will be played to-morrow under Soccer rules:— Footscray Thistle v. Spotswood: Referee, H. Means. To be played at Footscray. Albert Park v. St. David's A: Referee, G. Dempster. Melbourne Thistle v. Preston: Referee, B. Butler. St. David's v. Windsor: Referee, J. Campbell; at Middle Park. Kick off, 3 p.m. Teams— Spotswood: Twigg, lssard, Harper, Weldon, Maton, Griffiths. Laycock, Weston, Morton, E. Thomas, Jones, Froggatt and Shrives. Windsor: Tunn, C. Grieves, Hurd, Walker, Johnson, G. Kennedy, Baker, D. Kennedy, J. Grieves, Scotchbrook, Hopgood, Shepherd and Smith. A match between teams representing North and South will be played at Spotswood, on King's Birthday. The South team will be selected at Middle Park on the conclusion of to-morrow's games.

The Week (Brisbane)

Match, 15/s each.
No.1, 6/6 ; No.2, 7/6 ; No.3, 9/6 ; No.4, I0/6.
No.1 3/9; No.2, 4/3 ; No.3, 4/9; No.4. 10/9. '
No.1, 1/9; No.2, 2/; No.3, 2/3; No.4, 2/9; No.5, 3/3; No.6, 4/. All Post Free.

The Sun (Sydney) (NB from 6 May)

Football at Jervis Bay [naval college]
Information having reached the League that the Australian game was not getting a fair deal at Jervls Bay, a deputation from that body was appointed to Interview the responsible Minister on the subject. The statement was made that the English officers would not permit the Australian game to be played. A similar state of affairs existed not so many years ago in the schools of West Australia, But the local league, headed by the indefatigable Mr. J. J. Symons, saw the Minister for Education, who made it compulsory for all codes — Australian, Rugby, and Soccer— to be placed on an equality, letting the boys decide. The result was satisfactory.

Sunday 2 June 2019

The Tracks We Travel

Cultural Supporter Pathways in Australian Soccer
Greg Page

It's a cold winter morning at the end of May and I'm on the 635am V-Line broad gauge from Bungambrawatha to Naarm (Albury to Melbourne). I haven't caught a broad gauge Victorian train for years. It takes me back to my teenage years when we'd excitedly catch the train down on a Sunday to spend a wonderful day in Melbourne, mostly dashing from one record shop to the next. I wasn't into books so much back then. Well, I was, but the local Albury bookstores were probably enough for me. I was a bit of a snob and enjoyed the 20th century classics. Our local stores were adequate for these.

Today's Saturday morning train is full of Collingwood supporters. They must be playing today. At the MCG? I don't care. In my mind I thought, 'I should have worn my Sydney FC shirt.’ Just to counter this extremely dominant Victorian cultural narrative presence in front of me. I grew up with this, this is Victoria!

At least, I used to think this way. I've given up a bit now with soccer. Culturally. I mean, I still go to matches, I'm still a Sydney FC member, but now I can see the A-League changing again. There will probably be promotion and relegation; they'll probably get rid of the salary cap; and they'll probably abolish the finals. Even then, ultimately, it won't be enough. I really thought the introduction of the A-League would be the great leap forward. I was wrong. I'm disappointed. I've come to a wider realisation about the culture of this sport in Australia. Everything is about supporter pathways.

Supporter pathways
Culturally, Association Football in Australia is many separate sports. The only thing which hangs them together are the use of the same rules on the field. I know enough about other people's cultural supporter pathways (CSPs) to realise many of us see our sport very differently. In almost incompatible ways.

I'll explain by giving my own CSP. I 'found' the sport in 1979 when mum dumped me off at pre-season training with Albury United at Jelbart Park in Lavington. I knew virtually nothing of the game then. I was just one of many kids who signed up in the minor hype of the 1974 Socceroo World Cup qualification. Virtually the only thing my white, Anglo parents knew of the sport up until then was that it was an Olympic sport in Melbourne in 1956.

I played and played and fell in love with this strange game. So, weekends we played at Jelbart, Myrtleford, Wangaratta, Diamond Park in Wodonga, and many other places. Great days. Cultural connection outside of that? Well… the World Cup was shown on the ABC every 4 years. Match of the Day was also shown every weekend. That's where I found 'my' Chelsea FC (they weren't so good back then. I can even remember that last relegation in 1988.) The FA cup final was the only live match we ever saw. And, very, very rarely when the Socceroos played someone.

The Socceroos? They were our only local team. Full of players we rarely saw and had never heard of. No-one from our league ever played for them. So they were another team from somewhere else really. And the NSL? Absolutely zero. No-one ever spoke about it and it may as well have been the New Zealand national league for all we understood. I repeat: my CSP had nothing whatsoever to do with the NSL.

As I got older we had a tiny bit of exposure to the wider Australian soccer world. I used to make the Riverina rep teams (Albury, Wagga, Griffith) and once one of the parents took us all to a Sydney Olympic home match at Lambert Park on our way passing through Sydney. That was 1982. It was interesting, but what did it have to do with us? Coming back to Albury no-one knew what the fuck we were talking about when we described our experience.

One of the kids from our league, a goalkeeper from Myrtleford called Steve Mautone, went off to play in bigger teams. The Vic state teams, 'Melbourne clubs' (had no idea who) and, eventually, a start for West Ham in the English Premier League. Last time I checked, he was the goalkeeping coach at Melbourne Victory.

Albury didn’t receive SBS until 1994. So when the NSL began to be broadcast on the ABC around 1990 it was a big deal. I'd left and gone off to University in Canberra by then. I had stopped playing and gone all gothic, highbrow and arty by then too. Meh, it was a phase.

Because of that ABC coverage, though, I did begin to take an (arm's length) interest in the NSL. I happened to be in Melbourne on the day of the 1991 grand final at Olympic Park. So I went. I also went the following season to my one and only match at Middle Park. South Melbourne versus Preston. I wore my Socceroos 'jungle shirt' to that. That probably got a few stares. What was I meant to do? I was trying to fit that place into my CSP.

There were many experiences after that. Canberra Cosmos at Bruce, Sydney Olympic at Belmore, the Wolves at Bardon park. And the Socceroos! Following Chelsea was a dream as they kept getting better, becoming a big club. Even before Abramovic arrived. But, mostly, it was Albury United at Jelbart.

When the A-League came along I jumped. At last! I've been a Sydney FC supporter ever since. The A-League wasn't perfect but it was much better, for me, than anything I'd experienced previously. I always hoped it would be the 'solution'. But it isn't. It isn't because of my realisation of everyone's wildly divergent CSP.

For some people, their CSP is an 'Albury United' who also happened to be playing in the NSL! They may also have had players who went on to play for the Socceroos. So, for them, the A-League would have seemed like the end of an era. They're mostly interested in their club. Often that club centres around their community. Me too. That's good. They want their club back up where it belongs. Where it used to be.

Then there are others whose CSP is their overseas club. This could be Liverpool. Or Chelsea. Or even Barcelona. They may have their local club they play for. They might even stick around after their game to watch the Seniors. Or Ladies team. Their interest after that may be very limited. The A-League? It's 'shit'. So is the NPL. So on.

Then there are those whose CSP is solely the big overseas leagues. They love the game but are 100% disconnected from the local game. Even the Socceroos! I'd say these are the majority of supporters of Association Football in this country. I had high hopes for the A-League attracting these people. But, aside from maybe coming to see Dwight Yorke or Alessandro Del Piero, they simply aren't interested. I am firmly of the opinion that nothing will budge them.

So, located within strong CSPs, we all have our own separate soccers. That's why I'm just putting my head in the sand and focusing on my CSP: Albury United (local), Murray United (NPL), Sydney FC (national), Chelsea (foreign) and Socceroos (international). Oh, and the National Indigenous Football Championships in Nowra every November.

So I'm looking at all these Collingwood people on the train and envying their linear, rigid and traditional CSP. Our game can't beat them. Still… there must be an alienated Fitzroy supporter on the train somewhere. I wonder what they make of it all.