Playing long balls into empty space since 2012.

Saturday 1 April 2023

Soccer Honour Rolls

The discovery of the photograph of the 1917 Merewether Advance Honour Board in Newcastle (right) jogs my memory that other First World War soccer honour boards were created around Australia. Several members of soccer twitter searched for and reminded me about them also. It seems that we have a list of six known boards at the moment.

I suspect that there would have been many other honour rolls produced by soccer clubs around Australia and New Zealand, but here are the six we know about (plus a Second World War bonus at the bottom of the article).
  1. Merewether (76 names in 1918)
  2. Adelaide Locomotive (30 names in 1916)
  3. Granville Association (over 60 names in 1916)
  4. Pyrmont (70 names in 1918, with more to be added)
  5. Toowoomba (140 names in 1919)
  6. WA (over 400 names in 1922)
Unfortunately, the Places of Pride web site listing such boards has no record of them. And lest we start to generate a conspiracy about the deliberate marginalisation of soccer, only four Australian rules boards are mentioned while the rugby codes have but one each. Given that hundreds of football clubs across codes contributed thousands of players to the war effort this is a major problem. Is it an oversight in the way we memorialise footballing soldiers or does the responsibility lie with the sporting clubs themselves? Soccer is notorious in the way it shelves and discards its own history. Maybe the other codes have similar tendencies.

In the near future I will investigate the whereabouts of each of the boards and the existence of others.  So far, attempts to uncover the Merewether Board have been fruitless. I won't hold my breath but you never know.

NB. Here's a very specific one from WW2 "bearing the names of members of the South Australian Postal Institute Junior Soccer Club who have enlisted".

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