Playing long balls into empty space since 2012.

Thursday 25 July 2019

Newcastle: Looking for Foundations

I've started looking seriously at the Newcastle region's deep history in the game. 

I've consulted 
1. Mosely, 
2. Sid Grant and Harry Hetherington's 'History of Soccer in New South Wales' and 
3. the NNSW Heritage Cup website in gathering this information.

The first task has been to create a database of all the so-called 'heritage clubs' in the region, those over 100 years old. Using the Heritage Cup website we created a rudimentary database of the following.

Name Founded
Minmi Rangers/Wanderers FC 1884
Wallsend FC 1887
Adamstown Rosebud 1889
West Wallsend FC 1891
Edgeworth Eagles FC 1892
Merewether Advance SFC 1894
Dudley Redhead United SFC 1896
Cessnock City Hornets FC 1907
Wetson Bears FC 1907
Lake Macquarie City Roosters FC 1912
New Lambton FC 1917
Maryland Fletcher FC

  1. Minmi Rangers/ inaugural club.
    Also known as Thistles/Squashers/Clippers/Starlights/Wanderers 
    Won a raft of competitions -- the Gardiner Cup in 1892 -- club collapses before ww2
  2. Wallsend FC --- Rovers/Royals/Reds --
    Aside from Ellis Cup in 1889, didn't really start winning much until the 1920s 14 Major Premierships [11 Runners-Up], 4 Minor Premierships, 2 Club Championships, 65 Cups [13 Runners-Up],
  3. Adamstown Rosebud (momentarily Shamrocks)
  4. West Wallsend Athletic/Bluebells/Mazeppas/woodpeckers
  5. Edgeworth Eagles -- previously Young Wallsend
  6. Merewether Advance
  7. Dudley Redhead -- a merger of two clubs
  8. Cessnock (one time Bluebells)
  9. Weston Magpies/Albion/Bears
    founded 1907 in 1909 changed to black and white stripes under the influence of Geordie Bill Hindmarsh. Has to change to the Bears when the Maitland Magpies enter the competition
  10. Lake Macquarie
  11. New Lambton

The second task has been to revisit Mosely
Soccer in the Newcastle District had been organised by the Northern British FA since 1887. By 1900 there were fifteen teams playing in official competitions [6 of them survive] and by 1909 twenty-eight teams. [8 of those survive] In 1910 the Wallsend and District British FA was formed and took over from the Northern British FA. In its first year the new body raised the District’s number of soccer teams to fifty-two.
Third: Sid Grant and Harry Hetherington's History of Soccer in New South Wales on Mark Boric's site

Wednesday 24 July 2019

100 years ago today 25 July 1919

Saturday 19 July
V.A.B.F.A. Metropolitan League
  1. St Davids 1 (McBride) Windsor 2 (Scotchbrook, Harding) Middle Park Ref: J.McCulley
  2. Melbourne Thistle 3 (Anderson, Ogilvy2) Spotswood 1 (Weston) Middle Park Ref: J.Downie
  3. Albert Park 1 (M.Hart) Preston 0 Middle Park Ref: Butler
  4. Footscray Thistle 2 Northumberland and Durham United 3 Footscray Ref: George Dempster
The Age

British Association.— Under Soccer rules the following games will be played to-morrow, and players are reminded that Ihey must be in the field ready to start at thd authorised time:—
  • Spotswood v. Albert Park, J. Downie;
  • Windsor v. Melbourne Thistle, R; Medlicott;
  • Preston v. Footscray Tliistle, J. M'Culloy;
  • N. and D. v. St. David, J. M'Kcnzic. Kick off 3.15 p.m. sharp.

1919 is the year that the phrase "under soccer rules" hits its straps in Melbourne.

Southern Cross (Adelaide)

On the Jufbilee Oval on Saturday, a British Association match was played between Returned Soldiers and a league team. The latter won by 3 goals to 2.
World (Hobart, Tas. : 1918 - 1924), Friday 25 July 1919, page 8

This is the last match, of the second round, and should be interesting, as the Rovers have not yet been defeated. South Hobart Rovers from: Stops, A. Cracknell, G. Cracknell, Williams, Stuart, Marley, Martyn, B. Evans, Boyd, Vout, Mason, Fry, Hudson, N. Evans. Lindisfarne: Benson, Honeysett, Ford, Walker, Miller, Harvey, Boyes, Hale, Wyatt, Clements, Richards reserves, Morgan, Armstrong.

South Coast Times and Wollongong Argus (NSW : 1900 - 1954), Friday 25 July 1919, page 15

(By Observer.)
Saturday's games were not up to expectations by a long shot. Tarrawanna players were unable to play owing to the players selected being sick. Balgownie and Corrimal seniors failed to turn up, which was a great disappointment, as this was expected to provide the star game. About one thousand persons were present to see the games. The first was an extra poor display, a combination of Keiraville and Corrimal v. Russell Vale, and Woonona B. Third Grade game resulted in a draw, 1-1. T- Simmons referee. The only player of merit for Keiraville was Richardson in goal, and for Corrimal P. Holbrow and Smart; the other players showed very poorly. The best for Woonona and Russell Vale were James, in backs, and Frew. I would advise P. Frew to pass the ball a little more and not try to win on his own. The rest not much; no energy in their work. The second game was Bulli and Helensburgh versus Thirroul and Woonona A., Third Grade, which the latter won. 1-0. This proved a better game than the first; the 'Burgh forwards were fairly good, so was T. Evans for Bulli; Dun lop in the backs was good. Hume in goal was not pushed. For the other side, W. Creighton and Shipley proved sterling backs, and had it not been for them their team would have been in a bad way. The rest of the players were only moderate. The next game was a senior between Woonona and Thirroul, which Thirroul won, 3-0. Thirroul has in Davis a fair goalie, Marr and Broadhead are good backs, who worked well together.

Tuesday 23 July 2019

A Rosebud by any other name would smell as sweet

By Graeme McGinty

The mention of Adamstown Rosebud and West Wallsend Bluebells on a recent 'If You Know Your History', and the musing over why those particular names or nicknames were chosen drew parallels with Scottish non-league football where clubs with similar names have existed for well over a century. Some have disappeared while others still survive to this day.

The suffix “Thistle” is of course well known in Scottish football. However there many other flowers around:  Crossgates Primrose, Dundonald Bluebell, Bonnyrigg Rose (linked to Bonnyrigg in Sydney?), Hill of Beath Hawthorn, Dundee Violet, Montrose Roselea & Easthouses Lily to name a few. All are still playing semi-professional football.  Those clubs no longer with us include a Loanhead Mayflower & East Benhar Heatherbell.  A couple of short-lived Rosebud’s existed in the 1880s

Older supporters still refer to Newmains United as "The Dallies", a Scots version of Dahlias.

Many of these teams come from former mining (both coal and shale) and heavy industry areas/ One theory is that the flower names represented a brighter picture than calling the team "Colliery" or "Ironworks", painting a picture of what delights await at the weekend to help you through the grim realities of life in 19C industrial Scotland.

Another interesting theory I have read is that this 'flower habit' could have arisen among largely 'protestant'-run teams, to distance them from the rife sectarianism of the times. It was hoped that being associated with such a benign totem would decrease the likelihood of internecine supporter violence, and presumably help attract players of both faiths.

Whether either or both of those theories hold any truth is up for debate, but it does draw parallels with the Newcastle / Northern NSW area which of course is renowned for mining and heavy industries, as well as influxes of Scottish immigrants eager to play the game.

There are other interesting names still kicking a ba’ in Scotland. Lochgelly Albert from Fife for instance, nobody knows for sure why Albert was chosen, perhaps a tribute to Queen Victoria’s husband although the clubs was formed many years after his death.  The other theory was that it is in fact as a memorial to the town of Albert in Belgium, involved heavily in WW1 battles where many from Lochgelly and surrounding areas fought and perished, the club having been formed in 1925.

The origin of Aberdeen club Hermes' name doesn't really provide much more than a peculiar anecdote, with the club named after a Hermes 2000 typewriter which caught the eye of a founding member in a local magazine after the members couldn’t agree on a suitable name. It was the 1960s equivalent of naming a contemporary football club in honour of a MacBook.

It’s a fascinating subject, worthy of further research.

Looking for Bell Park

Guido Tresoldi

Finally it happened to me.

I have been reading tweets from Sokkahtwitter that get into the vortex of wanting to find more and more about some soccer history fact. And now it was my turn.

It started with a twitter exchange between Paul Nicholls and Mark Boric about a match between St. Kilda and Preston and it referred about being played on the 'latter's ground'.

As a resident of Darebin, which includes Preston, my interest was piqued. Where could this ground have been? Mark stated that early references to the Preston ground are usually as little as just "Bell" so you have to assume it was off Bell Street somewhere.

This put me on more Trove searching about this ground and indeed there was a match report in The Age of 2 May 1927 which stated that South Melbourne defeated Preston 2-0 and that there was 'bad feeling at the game'. It also stated that this match was played at Bell Park.

Searching more I found when Bell Park was created. The Age reports on the 29th of March 1926 that the "East Preston Ratepayers Association has set itself the task of raising money to improve its section of the municipality. A nine block of land has been secured as a reserve known as Bell Park"

Frustratingly this article gives no indication of where this park will be located.

So I looked next at the Darebin Historical society page. This society stopped operating some time ago and it has been taken over by Darebin Libraries. And here I hit the snag that many before me encountered. The amnesia that has occurred in sport history about soccer. How it has disappeared completely, like it never happened.

Looking at the 'Darebin Heritage' page, under 'Sport & Leisure' we have "football" (which is Australian Rules) cricket, athletics, bowls, golf and water sports but no soccer. There is nothing malicious in this. I don't believe that soccer was deliberately excluded. I think that as it happened in many other places it faded from memory. For some reasons no one kept the flame alive. Like all those trophies we hear being thrown out on "If you know your history" on FNR radio, soccer disappeared. In the post war era this area has had a huge interest in soccer being one of the populations with the highest number of non English speaking migrants in Australia, but I would venture that many of them would be aware of the history of the game before the second world war.

So where next? I thought about aerial photography, but the earliest ones in Melbourne started in the late 1940s. The Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works extensive 160 feet to 1 inch maps are from 1950, which may be too late. But what about street directories? Would that give me the location of this park? Before Melways (which started in 1966) there were 2 street directories for Melbourne: Morgan's and Collins. These are freely available on the Victorian State Library site.

Looking at the 1926 and 1927 maps gave me no indication. The details of these street directories were nowhere near what we have with the Melways or Google Maps now.

So I went to the 1945 aerial map. Bell Park may have been obliterated by then. But it was worth a shot. I imagined that as Mark suggested, with the name 'Bell' the ground could have been on Bell St. So I looked along the street on the aerial map, and one area jumped at me. A rectangular piece of what it looked bare ground. What made it peculiar was that it was sorrounded by houses, which could have perhaps indicated it could have been a sport field in the past.

Going back to the street directories again gave me no joy. The area in question had no indication.

This became the site of the Preston and Northcote Community Hospital (PANCH) which was constructed between 1951 and 1961. The Darebin Heritage site state that the land was once a dairy farm, but then the whole of Preston was, and we can see from the aerial photograph that it was well in a housing area by the mid 1940s. This is also shown by photographs taken during constructions where the site is bounded by houses. Something very reminiscent of a rectangular sport ground.

The hospital was closed down in 1998 and the site has been refurbished as Bell City, with a resort-style hotel, office spaces and corporate venues.

Was this the site of Bell Park? We'll probably never know. The location of those passionate games played by Preston in the mid 1920s may not never be found. But this is indicative of how soccer is perceived in Australia. A foreign game, an imported game, a game which is repeatedly described as a 'new thing' forgetting its past. While the memories of games played in the working class northern suburbs of Melbourne echo like forgotten ghosts in the renovated houses and hipster cafes of the present.

Thursday 18 July 2019

Notes for IYKYH 18 July

reg rapley > Beaney > Beeson


  • Kunz
  • Goldsmith
  • Maynard

What's in a name?
Graeme McGinty's piece 
Garry Mckenzie  
Ipswich had Call Backs, Coursers, Dinmore Ivanhoes and Bundanba Riff Raffs, but the winners are Booval Pompadours.


  • Minmi Squashers
  • Pineapple rovers
  • Berserkers
  • Blue Adriatic

And our first pome.

'What’s in a (football club) Name?' from Paul Nicholls

In Sydney in the 1880s, was a team called the Ambrose Natives
Whose members it was sworn, were all Australian born
At the same time was a club, who used to meet in Qoung Tart’s Tea Rooms
In black shirts with a blue slash, known as the Parkgrove Pilgrims

Before the Great War was a club, at whose origins I’ll take a stab
The Pyrmont Blue Swimmers - were named after a Sydney crab
Contemporary with Pyrmont, was a sterling bunch of fellas
Taking their name from their suburb, were called the Rozelle Rosellas

The Granville Kewpies were named, after an iconic doll
(And I suspect after seventeen seasons, the club it had to fold);
In the 1930s in Sydney, was a factory team much famed
The Metters Stovemakers or ‘Stovies’, as they were aptly named

Greta Blue Bells graced Newcastle fields, before the 19th century was over
And you couldn’t get more Queensland, than the mighty Pineapple Rovers
And surely the natural predator, of Ipswich’s Dinmore Bush Rats
Was a 1940s ladies team, known as the Guildford Black Cats

Growing up in the Sutherland Shire, there was an alliterative name or two
We had Miranda MagpiesEngadine Eagles, and the Kirrawee Kangaroos
There were the Lilli Pilli Berries, although none named after blossoms
But my favourite one of all, were the mighty Gray’s Point Possums

100 years ago today 18 July 1919

Tomorrow (ie 19 July 2019 is Peace Day)

All around Australia plans are being made to integrate sport into peace carnivals.

Herald (Melbourne)

Footscray Thlstle v. N. and D at Footscray. referee Dempster; 
Melbourne Thistle v. Spotswood at Middle Park, Downie; 
Albert Park v. Preston, at Middle Park, Butler; 
St, David's v. Windsor, at Middle Park, M'Cully.

Darling Downs Gazette

Advertiser (Adelaide)

The exhibition football match, to be played by the British Association League on the Jubilee Oval tomorrow, will start at 3 o'clock. The teams will be representative of the 'Returned Soldiers versus The Rest of the League.
Returned Soldiers' team-Greening, Cameron, Clarke, MeLeod, F. Draper, W. Shepherd, V. Armstrong, J. Murdock, Leigh. F. Richardson, and J. A. Crozier; reserves--Ormrod, Teague, Richardson, and Squires.
Rest of League team-Griffiths, Ardern, Wood, McNaughton, Hewish, Rowley, Lowe, H. R. Draper, Gormlie, Watson, and Evans; reserves--Gibson, Whalley, and R. Crozier.

Daily Mail (Brisbane)

Newcastle Sun

Tuesday 16 July 2019

Reg Rapley and Broken Hill

Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 - 1954), Wednesday 29 July 1914, page 5

(By "Linesman.")
The two league matches played on Saturday ended in drawn games. The Caledonians and Brökens failed to score a goal and the De Bavay and the Y.M.C.A. scored two each.
For the fifth consecutive match De Bavay were two men short and played three forwards.The two players who failed to put in an appearance gave the Y.M.C.A. a point.
Aided by a breeze and with the sun behind them, the "magpies" were soon pressing, but the attack was not sustained. The Y.M.C.A. had a run at
the other end, and Andrews shot high at goal, Brown being fortunate in tip-ping the ball over the bar. Clark was getting in some good work at left back, and Walsh and Marshall combined well together.
The first half looked like leaving a blank score board, but a centre from Seeley came well into goal, and Clark, in heading the ball, scored for the Y.M. It was hard luck for De Bavay; Clark should have left the ball to his goalkeeper.
Play in the second half, had boon in progress about 10 minutes when Welsh gathered up a pass from Perry and made straight for goal ; he made the scores equal with a good shot. From the kick-off Rapley looked dangerous, but Shelly cleared, and Perry increased the "magpies' " scores with a rising shot. Rapley was playing a good game, and but for Seeley keeping Continually offside the Y.M.'s would have done better. Andrews was hurt in a
collision and Marshall had a nasty fall at the other end. Rapley scored with a splendid shot, which gave the goal-keeper no chance. Welsh beat his opponents, and when about to shoot was given off-side; and a few minutes after wards the whistle blew for time.
The Y.M.C.A. gave an improved exhibition. The defence was sound, Hopewell being the better of the backs. At centre half Rapley played a splendid game and was a continual worry to the De Bavay defence. The forwards did not combine ; Josephs was new, but if he overcomes his nervousness he will be useful : Hall and Andrews were good, but Seeley was too frequently offside.
De Bavay's, considering they were two men short, must be congratulated. Clark played a good game at back, and was unlucky in giving that goal away. Shelly is improving, and Perry played well at centre half, but the other halves were weak. The three forwards did well to score twice.
Leigh, however, is too selfish, and tries to beat the opponent instead of centring.
The "Possibles" and "Probables" meet on Saturday on the Western Oval to enable the selection committee to pick the team to oppose South Aus-tralia on August 8. The teams will be:- . ,
"Possibles": F, Brown, goal; S. M'Clintock and A. Henderson, backs: Bahamian, R. Rapley (captain), and E. R. Clark, half-backs; Seeley, Tod, Smith, Marshall, and Leigh, forwards. "Probables": M'Cowall, goal; Wood and Hopewell, backs; Johnson. Gregory, and Earle, half-backs; Bailey, Hall, L. Welsh, W. Mellor (captain), and Davis, forwards. Reserves, S, Perry and D. Andrews.
These teams seem well matched, and I expect a good game to result.
Apparently four of the players who made the trip to South Australia are not satisfied at the way the money that resulted from the trip had been dis-posed of. The £9 0/6 that the associa tion received has been put to tho association funds. .Every one who has the
game at heart, and wishes to see soccer prosper in Broken Hill should be glad to see the B.F.A. act in the man-ner they have. Had this money not come along the clubs forming the association would have had a big deficit to meet. As a sum of £6 has been voted to be expended for medals for the winning team, it seems very paltry for players to grudge the association an amount which means so much in putting soccer football on a sound financial basis here.
The B.F.A. may, however, consider the advisability of presenting the players chosen to meet South Australia this season with interstate caps, as some tangible memento of the honor accorded them is certainly desirable.
At the association meeting at Tattersall's Hotel on Monday night, the new chairman (Mr. C. Rehn) presided over a good attendance of delegates. Correspondence included a letter from the town clerk stating that the Western Oval had been booked for the Champions v. Rest of League match on August 29. Arrangements were made for the accommodation of the South Australian team visiting here on August 8. The game will be refereed by. Mr. Bircham. Messrs. Step-hens and Clark will be trainers, and each club is expected to provide a gate-keeper. The programme for the smoke social on August 8 was left to Messrs. Gregory, Brown, and M'Lintock to arrange.

The League Table;
The league table, corrected to date, is as follows:--
Played; Won. Lost. D'n. Pts.
Brokens . . . 11 ... 7 ... 2 ... 2 ... I6
De Bavay's . 11 ..; 3 ... 4 ... 4 ... 10
Y.M.C.A.". ..11 :.;-4 ;..-. 5 ... 2 ... 10
Caledonians .. 11 ... 3,.-.. 6 ... 2 ..; 8

Brokens, 24 for 12 against;
De' Bavay, 18 . and 10 ;
Y.M.C.A., 20 and 20;
Caledonians 13 and ,27.

Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 - 1954), Tuesday 11 May 1915, page 1

At the strangers' tea, provided by the ladies' committee, reference was made to the reports appearing in print, concerning two Y.M.C.A'. boys, Messrs. Reg. Rapley and Jack Evans, who had been wounded in the fighting at the Dardanelles; and it was resolved to forward messages of sympathy, and sincere wishes for recovery, to the young men members and to their families.

Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 - 1954), Monday 24 May 1915, page 2

Private R. Rapley, of Broken Hill, was reported yesterday among the men at the front who had died of wounds. Mr. Rapley migrated to Australia three years ago, and was single. He was for 20 months assistant secretary of the Broken Hill Y.M.C.A., where he was most popular as its leading Soccer player. He acted as secretary of the Cricket Club, and was keen in promoting clean, healthy sport. He identified himself with the religious work of the association, and was a member of the Sulphide-street Methodist choir and school.

Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 - 1954), Monday 24 May 1915, page 4

The general secretary of the local branch of the Y.M.C.A. writes:
'In the latest casualty list is reported the death of Privately Rapley (previously reported wounded). Private Rapley who was for twenty months assistant secretary of the Broken Hill Y.M.C.A., was most popular, took a keen interest in sport, was a first-class soccer player, acted as secretary of the association cricket club, and willingly gave of his time and talents in the interests of the association work. He identified him-self with religious work, assisted at the Men's Sunday Bible Class, was a member of the Sulphide-street Methodist Choir and School. Immediately the news of his wounds were announced the board of the association dis- patched a cable to Private Rapley, conveying sympathy, also congratulations to himself and other members serving in the Dardanelles. The association, has reason to believe that this message reached our late member some days before his death."

Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 - 1954), Friday 11 June 1915, page 1

The secretary of the Broken Hill Y.M.C.A. (Mr. W. P. Wishart) writes:
"The attached is a copy of a letter received yesterday addressed to me from Mr. Harry L. Barkell, a member of this association, who is in touch with some of our members, and whose letter, which comes from the theatre of war, is dated May 9, conclusive clean up. any doubt in respect to Mr. Reg. Rapley, as we are assured that he is with his comrades in the trenches. Mr. Harry L. Barkell saw active service in the South African war, joined the forces at the outbreak of the war and is serving in the Signalling Corps of the 8th Battalion."
- Private Barkell's letter states:
"You will wonder how we are all get tine along. Well, old friend, you will see by the papers we are having a rough time. Our casualty list is a pretty big one, but we did all they asked us to do, and to-day Australian troops have nothing to be ashamed of. On the field-: they acquitted themselves in a manner that made me feel proud to belong to their unit; their work altogether was grand, reckless certainly, but brilliant. They started, and did not know when to stop ; they performed a feat that seemed an impossibility, and their effort was a great victory, for they secured an almost impossible position against superior numbers of the enemy, and drove them back three miles-drove them out of their trenches like ferrets would rabbits from their burrows.
"Our losses were great. One of out old boys, Jack Evans, was severely wounded - a bullet right through the left shoulder. Poor Randell has been in bad health. Reg. Rapley is still in the firing-line and-keeping- up his end. Old Reg. is just the same old boy - good as gold and straight as an arrow. Life at the front is very rough, and the boys' spirits are keeping up wonder fully. They are never happier than when in the firing line. We hope to accomplish what they ask of us, aw trust to Providence to see our dear old Australia again. But not until the war is over ; no man desires to see Australia again till his mission is accomplished. We all hope tb see the war end soon, and when we do come back have a reunion of old friends like the old Sunday evenings of old. Yes,
enjoyed our little tea parties on Sundays, and hope some day to be one of your number again.
"Jack Tune is keeping well, and keeping up his end well with credit to himself. Kindly remember me to a the old boys Jack Latter, and my little friend Potter, should he be there. also my old Scotch friend in No. 4. Hope the Barrier Branch of the Y.M.C.A. is keeping up its strength. We all hope to see it a live institution again when the war is over. I have much to thank the institution for. It is a fine steadier for any young fellow in a place like the Barrier, where temptation is so strong. Your mission is a noble one. and the fine work done out here by the association is helping the lads to go straight and keep them up to the mark in corresponding with their parents. We know lads are apt to be remiss when away from home but taking all the boys all round, they are a fine lot, and they are very mindful of their duties to home and parents, which is an admirable trait. Young Patterson was keeping well when I last saw him in Cairo. Well, old friend I will now conclude, trusting to see you all again some day."

Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 - 1954), Sunday 8 October 1916, page 3

The following letter from Lark Hill Camp England, dated July 31, is from Private Reginald Rapley to Mr. F. Lucas, of the Y.M.C.A. Prior to enlistment. Private Rapley was a well known Y.M.C.A. man and British Association footballer. He was at Gallipoli, and was invalided home, visiting Broken Hill about July of last year, and afterwards returning to attire service. He now writes as fol-lows -
"Just a few lines in answer to your letter I have just received. I am in first-class health, and soon hope to be back in the firing line again. Well, Fred, I never had time to come up to the Hill before I went, as I had only four days to go before we sailed after we had joined up again, but, as for saying I have done my bit, well, I don't think so. Every single man that is fit ought to go, whether he had been there or not. That's what I think about it. I have four other brothers doing their bit. Don't you think it is up to me to help them, instead of sitting back quite comfort ably? Then, again, I have a mother and six sisters. Shouldn't I fight for them? If it is my lot to die, well, I have tried to do my bit, and when I am doing that I feel justified that I am serving God, King, and country. Remember me to all the boys that are left; also to the members of the Y.M.C.A. We are at Lark Hill Camp, Salisbury, now. We arrived here a week ago to-day. It is much warmer now than when I was in England - the beginning of this year. We had a lovely trip over from Marseilles to Havre, and from there we went across to Southampton by boat. I am expecting to go home some time this week to see my parents; they were surprised to hear that I was in England. One of my brothers was wounded the other day. They have had some awful fighting just lately. I heard last night that my old battalion got it rather warm, poor fellows. Don't for get to remember me to those at the Sulphide-street Methodist Church, also Mr. Perry. Tell him I was very sorry I did not see him before I left."

Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 - 1954), Thursday 10 July 1919, page 2


» » »
Private R. Bapley, formerly of the 10th and 43rd Battalions, A.I.F., re-turned to Broken Hill this morning, having arrived back from the front by the transport Nestor. Private Rapley was among the earliest to enlist in Broken Hill, and was one of the "originals." After a spell on Gallipoli he was returned home, on sick leave in 1916, biit on recovering again joined his comrades in arms, this time in France. Here he remained till the armistice and the commencement of demobilisation, and during the whole time was neither sick nor wounded. Private Rapley comes of a fighting family. He is one of seven brothers. Five of them were in the British forces and one was in the United States army. One brother was killed on August 23 last: on August 25 he was to have gone up for his commission. Another brother was in the "regulars" before the war broke out. He went to France in 1914 with the very first detachment of "contemptibles," and has been right through the campaign with-out getting a scratch. When Private R. Rapley left for home this brother was still with the British army of occupation at Cologne. Private R. Rapley is an old "soccer" football player of the Y.M.C.A. team, and on the journey home he encountered other well-known Broken Hill soccer players in Corporal Bastian, of the 2nd Tunnelling Corps, who was on the Nestor also, home-ward bound, and in Adelaide W. Mar-shall, ex-artilleryman. Private Rap ley returns to Adelaide by this after-noon's train, and will play for the North Adelaides on Saturday, but may later on return to Broken Hill. While abroad he was captain of the battalion eleven which played in France when in rest billets and in England during demobilisation period.

Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 - 1954), Friday 11 July 1919, page 3

(By "Linesman.")
The British Association code was becoming very popular in Broken-Hill in 1914, when the war broke out". The "call to arms' did not appeal in vain to the majority of the players, few of whom lost any time in doffing the striped jerseys in favor of the khaki tunics, so that for five winters we have had no "soccer.'
However, the war is now over, peace is declared, and. some-not all-of our lads are coming back. I have had a number of inquiries about the prospects of restarting the old game in Broken Hill. Judged by the enthusiasm displayed by some, it should soon be set going again. A few fellows could get together, and have a friendly game or two before the winter terminates, and then, with some organising work in the summer, the old Broken Hill-British football Association might be set on its legs again and a competition started in 1920.
Mr Charlie Rehn, the chairman of the old association, is still with us, and has by no means lost interest in the game of the round ball.
This week I met: Reg. Rapley, back from the front. Reg. is to play centre forward for the North Adelaide team to-morrow, but, with the industrial position again normal, he would not be averse to trying his luck in Broken Hill again. He used to be a tower of strength to the old Y.M.C.A. team; and, indeed, to the game generally in local circles. He has seen considerable active service - from Gallipoli to the armistice - and looks not a bit the worse for it. A little more weight, perhaps, but the same old genial smile He was skipper of his battalion team in France, but, he says, they were a poor lot, and did not win a match. In England, however, during, demobilisation, the team was strengthened, and the tables turned on all opponents.
Mellor and Bell, two old Broken Hill "Soccer" players who left for England a few weeks back, have arrived at their destination, so a message received in Broken Hill this week states.;
Among other stalwarts of the game recently heard of are Will Bastian, formerly of the Brökens, since then of the 2nd A.I.F. Tunnelling Company, and more recently seen on the docks of the good ship Nestor, where he introduced himself to Reg. Rapley, who could not recognise him. Also, W. Marshall, with the Norths in the old days, next feeding the guns with the artillery in France, and last heard of careering around Adelaide. Another North player, Captain Reynolds, went over to London, and has since been reported as in the navy; while of the two Clarks, I am told that one, he who used to play so clever a game at back, has passed away, and that his brother and father returned to England,
Those "Soccer" men who feel like a game should get together and hunt up Charlie Rehn. Just now he is mostly seen in the vicinity of the Trades Hall, where he helps along with distress and other matters.

Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1912 - 1923), Friday 14 May 1920, page 1

.... Reg. Rapley, an interstate player, who represented Broken Hill against South Australia in 1914, has been elected captain of South Adelaide.

Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1912 - 1954), Saturday 11 August 1923, page 23

TELFER—HIBBARD. The marriage was celebrated on Wednesday, July 25, at St. Thomas Church, Port Lincoln, of Millicent Agnes, third daughter of Mr. and  Mrs. James Telfer, "Portana" Station, Sheringa, to Bert T. elder son of Mr. and Mrs. S. Hibbard, of Gawler. The bride, who was given away by her father, wore a simple gown of white crepe de chine ornamented with dull white beads, also the usual bridal veil and orange blossoms, and carried a beautiful bouquet of roses and sweet peas. She was attended by Miss Birdie Telfer as bridesmaid, whose dress was heliotrope crepe and georgette stitched with gold. With it was worn a fawn tuelle hat and gloves, shoe of the same color, and a dainty posy of heliotrope sweet peas, and pink carnations, tied with gold and helio-trope ribbon, was carried. Mr. Reg Rapley was best man. The ceremony was per-formed by Rev. H. L. Snow (rural dean), and Mrs. F. Puckridge presided at the organ. A wedding luncheon was served it the Grand Hotel, and later Mr. and Mrs. Hibbard left for Adelaide, the bride wearing a navy braided costume and navy hat, with a yellow drenched feather.

Saturday Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1923 - 1929), Saturday 21 August 1926, page 23

First Round "The Cup." Australian Schools' Soccer Football Association Formed.

.... REG. RAPLEY. One of the most loyal players that South Australian soccer has ever had is Reg. Rapley, for several years an outstanding player for South Adelaide. Reg. is now a retired player, but has taken the boys in hand, and has trained them in preparation for the carnival games. His work and knowledge have been excellently reflected in their play. They are a credit to Reg. and themselves.

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 - 1954), Thursday 2 June 1927, page 17

.... The match prior to China versus South Australia was between two intermediate league: teams Plympton and South Adelaide. The bare margin of the odd goal in seven to South was a well-deserved effort. Reg Rapley who is coach to South is well able to impart the finer points of the game to the young aspirants for senior honors. In his day he was one of our best exponents in almost any position. 

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 - 1954), Thursday 9 June 1927, page 17


  When the history of Soccer football and its spread among the junior ranks is written the name of Reg. Rapley will loom large. A pastmaster of the game in all its departments he has coached the juniors in all the movements that make for perfection. He is too modest to claim all the credit and says that while his precepts may have something , to do with the development of the code H. Follett has had much to do with putting it into operation. He acts as secretary of South Adelaide Juniors and captains the Pulteney Grammar School in the intermediate league. 

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 - 1954), Thursday 25 August 1927, page 15

.... South have fallen on evil times. A team that was once full of promise has disappointed sadly. New blood is required. If the remainder of the season is given to advancing the junior talent in preparation for future seasons it will be excellent policy. Rumor has it that Reg. Rapley will be invited to act as coach for the team

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 - 1954), Thursday 5 April 1928, page 12

.... The Metropolitan League has elected Mr. F. Wright as chairman and Mr. R. Fenwick as secretary. Mr. Reg Rapley retires from the position of treasurer in favor of Mr. S. I. Crichton. 

West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954), Saturday 30 July 1938, page 8

FUNERALS. The Late Mr. Joseph Conn. The funeral of the late Mr. Joseph Conn. late of 30 Redfern-street. North Perth. took place in the Methodist Cemetery. Karrakatta. on Saturday. July 16. and was largely attended. Mr. Conn was born in South Australia 80 years ago and, after arriving in Western Australia from Bendigo in 1902. resided in Woolgar. Menzies. Northam and North Perth. The Rev. David Dundas, of the North Perth Methodist Church. officiated at the graveside and conducted a service at his residence prior to leaving for the cemetery. The chief mourners were Mrs. M. Conn (widow). Mesdames S. Ray and W. L. Menkens (daughters). Mr. Rockles Conn (son). Messrs, S. Ray and W. L. Menkens (sons-in-law). Misses Ivy. Mavis and Joyce Ray (granddaughters. and Robbie Menkens (grandson). Mrs. A. Berryman (sister-in-law). Mesdames T. Rouse and W. Allen. Misses May. Nellie and Illa Ellis and Dot Allen (nieces) Messrs. Wilfred Allen (nephew) and Reg. Rapley (friend)

West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954), Friday 23 February 1945, page 1

In order to guard against Imposition notices of Births. Marriages and Deaths must be authenticated by some responsible person to ensure insertion.

RAPLEY.- In undying memory of a dearly loved Sister, Minnie. who passed away at Pinjarra on February 23. 1942. Inserted by Peggy and Reg. RAPLEY.

Sunday 14 July 2019

Goal! 13 years on

Ian Syson

Goal!, a movie released without much fanfare into our cinemas very recently, could play an important part in a renewed imperial campaign being fought on our shores. The global might and vast resources of FIFA (the world football governing body) are being deployed against some powerful and resilient defences – mainly set up by the AFL but with the support of the two rugby codes, all of which are involved in their own programs of geographic expansion.

One of the primary ideological defences of these codes has been the cultural denigration of football (or soccer as it is called in all countries where it is not the dominant sport). The late Johnny Warren called it the ‘Sheilas, Wogs and Poofters’ mentality: the idea that the game is not one for real men – real anglo-celtic men, that is.

FIFA has the economic muscle to wage and win a long war but to get the war over more quickly it needs to win ideological battles first. This is where Goal! comes in.


Supported and sanctioned by FIFA, 
Goal! is the story of the rise and rise of a football-loving Mexican boy, Santiago Munez into the English Premier League. It puts the kind of passion we saw in November when Australia qualified for the World Cup into a fictional but no less affective form.

For all its Hollywood schmaltz and contrivance, 
Goal! is riveting – a compelling and magical story of a boy who refuses to give up his dream despite hurdle after hurdle in his way. The ending has all the audience on the edge of their seats – much like the ending of a tense football match. When Santiago scores the goal that puts Newcastle United into Europe, the on-screen (and off-screen) outpouring of emotion is, again, familiar to any football supporter.

Beneath the slick storyline is a kind of realism not usually captured in sports movies. The bleak and spectacular Northumberland coast, the driving rain and bitter cold of a winter in north east England, the beautiful rhythms and sounds of Geordie dialect and the mad banter of football supporters – not to mention the black pudding – produce a texture that owes as much to the documentary realism of Ken Loach as it does to the fantasy of Hollywood. Unlike a lot of sports movies, the crowd scenes are convincing and the way the actors have been spliced into footage of actual games is seamless and convincing. The cameo performances of stars of the game (Raul, Zidane, Beckham) are appropriately understated and charming.

The four young boys who accompanied me walked out of the cinema uplifted and with stars in their eyes.


But Goal! is more than a very entertaining movie. It is also a piece of FIFA propaganda that is meant to sway youngsters and their parents to the world game.

Significantly, for Australian audiences, 
Goal! does some subtle ideological work. Santiago’s exuberant skills and selfish play are modified for the (supposedly) more physically demanding English game. The Latino temperament makes way for English graft and physical aggression. At one point the Newcastle coach says to Santiago, “Maybe you don’t have the pace and stamina for the English game.” Santiago proves in the end that he is able to ‘anglicise’ himself.

Make no mistake, this movie is about the pointy end of sport capitalism and at stake are the hearts and minds and wallets of football supporters of all codes in this country and around the world.

While the conquest of Australia is important to the world game, there are two far more important markets that have been in FIFA’s sights over the past two decades: China and the USA. China seems smoothly to be taking to the world game whereas the USA is proving to be a much more difficult citadel to capture.

Soccerphobia is one of the USA’s most important defence mechanisms for its domestic sport. In How Soccer Explains the World, American journalist Franklin Foer argues that many of the louder voices in American public culture hate football with a vengeance. It’s a hatred that crosses political lines and the game is seen as one for wimps, girls, Latinos and middle-class ‘soccer moms’ afraid to let their boys play ‘manly’ games. There’s a strong correlation here with the old-fashioned Australian attitudes towards the game.

But the USA goes even further in its fear and loathing. Despite the fact that association football is organised worldwide on far more competitive and capitalistic bases than is the draft-ridden and salary-capped NFL, the game is sometimes derided in the USA as politically correct, liberal or even socialistic. To Foer, the confused rhetoric of right-wing shock jocks suggests that the American fear of soccer is ultimately a fear of globalisation. And this is where Goal! makes its most searching observations of contemporary USA.


In the opening scene, Santiago and his family are planning to enter the US illegally, under the cover of night. Santiago is woken and told by his father to hurry and get his things together. One of these things is his most precious possession, a football. As the family are hurrying through a gap in the border fence, pursued by border guards, Santiago drops the ball. When he stops to consider returning to get it his father Hernan stops him, urging him to hurry “leave that stupid ball” behind.

Symbolically, football has been shut out at an American border that has nonetheless allowed the politically loathed but economically necessary illegal Mexican immigrants to pass through.

The action then jumps ahead ten years with the Munez family settled in Los Angeles. Santiago and Hernan are working as gardeners for rich clients.

Despite having lost his precious ball, Santiago’s passion for the game has been retained and strengthened and he stars in minor local competitions. His games are played on dustbowls where no grass has taken root or on fields marked out on a still-evident grid iron. The message is that the game is an alien one. Like Santiago, football cannot get a Green Card.

This seems to be Santiago’s lot until he is spotted by a visiting talent scout, Glen Foy – one-time player with Newcastle United. Foy contrives to get Santiago a trial with Newcastle – as long as he can pay his own way over – bringing Santiago into conflict with his father, who believes that the idea is utter foolishness. To Hernan there are two types of people in the world: those who own the big houses and those who do their gardening or wash their cars. It represents a class divide that is impossible to cross. The American Dream does not apply to the section of the American population among which the Munez family lives.

Despite Hernan’s objections, and with his grandmother Mercedes’ covert financial aid, Santiago makes his way to Newcastle to begin his struggle to make it in the top flight of English football.

While this section is only the first third of 
Goal!, it’s the part where the movie’s politics are laid bare. Its makers clearly see the USA as a class-ridden and culturally protectionist society. The one delicious and central irony in all of this is that in order to achieve what was once thought of as the American Dream, Santiago needs to leave America and go to the banks of the once-decrepit Tyne at the heart of post-industrial working class Britain to achieve his goal.

As FIFA propaganda this movie has done a lot of work already in Australia and elsewhere. And it will keep on doing so.

More significant than this, it may well be signalling the beginning of the end of football’s attempt to woo the USA to its cause. 
Goal! didn’t need to be set in LA. It would have worked equally well had Foy found Santiago playing in any part of Central America. The only purpose of setting it in America seems to have been to reject that country as a place where the world game can take root and flourish. This could mean one of two things: FIFA has given up on favouring the USA; or it has seen the beginnings of the demise of the American empire. Perhaps both.

When an organisation as large and as powerful as FIFA starts making oblique observations such as these we can only sit up and take note. They give us pause to contemplate the future of the American empire and its role in global politics.

Goal! is the first in a trilogy. Perhaps the next two instalments will clarify the political and economic programs FIFA is implementing. Clearer is the impact Australia’s qualification for the World Cup has had on the screenplay of the third movie. The movie’s Australian producer, Matt Barrelle has changed the script to feature the Australian team and local fans.

It remains to be seen what the lasting impact of this trilogy will be on the stocks of association football in Australia. Initially it will be no surprise if it attracts large attendances in Australian cinemas because the word of mouth will be strong. And in this World Cup year word will travel easily.

Had a movie like Goal! come to our shores ten years ago, it would have had a brief success only to be forgotten within months. Periodic spikes of mass interest is the story of Australian football in the past few decades in this country. Twice, more than 80,000 have turned up to support the Socceroos at the MCG. Full houses of more than 40,000 have seen National Soccer League grand finals at Lang Park in Brisbane and Subiaco Oval in Perth. At each point, after a brief surge of interest, ‘soccer’ was returned by the media to its ‘rightful’ place on the edge of the sporting map.

Recently things seem to have changed – though a history of false dawns for Australian football keeps those of us who care prepared for the worst.

Three letters say it all: WCQ. One mad night in November, Australia achieved a victory for which very few dared to hope. At Telstra Stadium in Sydney, we qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 32 years. It was a moment of intense climax and celebration. It revealed the passion of the world game to a gobsmacked Australia, a good part of which was trying to come to terms with the sheer ratings fact that this was much bigger than most AFL grand finals of recent years.

Alongside this, the rejuvenated national club competition, the A League has seen outstanding crowd averages. Last weekend’s grand final between Sydney United and the Central Coast Mariners filled the 43,000 seat Aussie Stadium in Sydney. At the end of May Australia will play European champions, Greece at a more than likely packed MCG before trotting off to compete in the world’s biggest sporting event, the 2006 World Cup in Germany. The gaps between the spikes seem to be shortening.

The world game and its existence here are now firmly planted in the minds of a lot of Australians who might previously have seen it a foreign game – despite its 120-year history in this country. The game still has its many detractors. But even they have glimpsed the passion.

This is why I think Goal! has the capacity to help change the sporting landscape in this country permanently. If for no other reason than it’s hard to walk out of this movie believing that football is a game only for sheilas, wogs and poofters. It will take more than this movie to convert the true disbelievers but it will help to soften even the hardest anti-soccer heart.