Playing long balls into empty space since 2012.

Thursday 28 May 2020

Coaxing the Coaches

Vince Rugari published a piece in the SMH during the week in which he talked about the Australian-born coach, Roberto Venturato who is making a strong statement in Italy with the minnow club Cittadella.
In an ancient walled city, around an hour's drive north-east of Venice, a born and bred Aussie is on the cusp of an Italian football miracle. 
Roberto Venturato doesn't have an Australian passport, citizenship papers, or anything close to a public profile. What he has is much more important: a spiritual and emotional connection to the country where he first fell in love with football, which has shaped him in a way that sets him apart from the crazed, often chaotic sporting universe he now belongs to.
It got us thinking about a possible lack of focus on coaching in the historical records.
I approached Vince about coming on to discuss the piece and he said: "Dunno mate, I'm not a historian". But he did text me the following:
Not sure what more I could add except for that I was astounded nobody had done the work to tell his story before. When Cittadella were in the playoffs last year his name did the rounds on twitter but all anyone knew was that he was born in Atherton. Nothing else.
I emailed the club many months ago asking for an interview, got no response, but tried again post-COVID because I figured it’d be half a chance with everyone stuck at home. Turns out I was right. Story was written in early April from memory — SMH only ran it yesterday [May 25]!
Sure, we all know about Ange Postecoglu and maybe even have a thought for the code-hopping Darren Burgess (conditioning coach with Liverpool, PAFC, Arsenal, now Melbourne Demons). But who are the other great Australian coaching exports?

But before that we probably need to look at a history of the the imports:
Who are some of the biggies?
  • Puskas
  • Dockerty
  • Venables?
  • Hiddink?

I went off to trove to start a search using the search terms soccer and coach. (Rider here is that the story I'm about to tell is speculative and impressionistic)
As usual, the impressions vary from location to location. Perth for example seems more aware of coaching in the early 20C given that the game is very much focused on development through schoolboys.
pre 1900
Coaching is a term used across sports. It seems to involve a combination of mentoring/organising/selecting -- a little like a club captain in a contemporary cricket club.

In this period many of the references to soccer coach were to the mode of transport. Some instances of coaching were found, sometimes to an active captain coaching on the field.
Coaching - training
During the war . . .
Judy Masters coaching juveniles in 1921. Stays 'coaching' with Balgownie for 20 years. Interestingly he's also club secretary during that time.
Seems in the early 1920s many of the coaching references are to bringing young players up to speed.
After the English tour in 1925 . . .
Truth, Sunday 4 April 1926, page 4
SOCCER.AFTER having seen the last English side in action, club officials would do well to go into the matter of getting hold of good coaches for their players. Such men as Alick Mill, Alf Gallagher, Bert Moore, Billy Carroll, and others, who learned to play football almost before they could talk, areof them would be only too willing to give his services free of all charge. It has been proved time and again that we have the individual players, and they only want moulding together to introduce the keynote of all football success, which is combination, and efficient coaches are the ones to do the moulding. 

Coaches are seen to have a new role in moulding and shaping good teams into better teams.


The beginning of the professionalisation of coaching. Coaches are imported from elsewhere.

Just before ww2

Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate , Monday 3 April 1939, page 11

Coach From England 
Australia will have its first professional Soccer coach from overseas this week. Gladesville Ryde Club carried out negotiations during the summer, and secured a prominent English goal keeper to coach the team. He will arrive during the week, and will take up his duties immediately. Club officials refuse to divulge his name, or the amount he is to be paid. Alan Ward, who has kept goal for Gladesville-Ryde, and who played brilliantly at Wallsend on Saturday, has been anxious to retire for Some time.



Argus, Tuesday 17 June 1952, page 8

Victorian Soccer Association will seek permission from the English and Scottish Football Association to appoint a coach at a salary of £ 1,000 a year, to boost junior interest.This was decided at a special meeting between the Soccer Council and members of the junior executive last night.The successful applicant must hold an "A" grade coaching certif√≠cate from the F.A., and must not be over 32. He will be paid £1000 a year, plus cost of living adjustments. Accommodation will be provided. Mr. N. Rothfield said the coach would take up his duties on January 1 next year. The committee, also appointed Mr. V. J. M. Dixon to organise soccer in schools. He will begin his campaign on Monday, and will tour Victoria to sell soccer to the juniors.The association decided to present l8 soccer balls for distribution in schools where soccer is played.The council accepted applications from six country teams to enter for the Dockerty Cup. They are: Pucka Rovers (Army), Maryvale, Upper Yarra Dam, Albury City, O.C.C. Morwell, and Morwell.To overcome transport difficulties it was decided all clubs outside the league would play in the metropolitan area.Entries arc a record. Play in the first round will begin on August 9.

[Len Young arrives in 1954]

A few months later, NSW went through the same process.

Wednesday 27 May 2020

100 Years Ago Today 31 May 1920

Queensland Times, Monday 31 May 1920, page 5

"Soccer" Footballers Welcomed.
A civic reception was tendered by the Mayor of Brisbane (Ald. Maxwell) yesterday morning to the New South Wales "Soccer" football team. There was a large attendance of sportsmen. In the course of a felicitous speech of welcome, the Mayor referred to the interference of the sport by the war, and said it was very gratifying to welcome Soccer players who had returned to Australia after engaging in the more serious business of fighting. Good, honest legitimate sport was a thing to support. (Hear, hear.) It helped to curb the tempers of men and to make them respect the opinions of other people. He noted that in Brisbane there were 49 clubs, embracing 1500 players, who followed the Soccer game. That fact very amply demonstrated its popularity and importance. He proposed the health of "The Visitors." Mr. J. W. Kendal (president of the Queerisland B.F.A.) supported the toast and Mr. E. Lukeman (manager of the visiting team) responded.

Weekly Times, Saturday 29 May 1920, page 21


There are sixteen teams playing "Soccer" — British Association rules. The game Osborne House v. Melbourne Thistle attracted nearly a thousand spectators to Middle Park. finished In favor of

  • Osborne House by four goals to one. Other results were : — 
  • Windsor five goals, v. Welsh United., one: 
  • N. and D., five goals, v. St. David's, nil.
Argus, Saturday 29 May 1920, page 19

Keen interest is being displayed in the interstate [Australian rules] match, Victoria vs South Australia, to be played on the Melbourne Cricket-ground, this afternoon. The visitors have been showing excellent form in practice, and a close game is expected
Prior to the interstate match there will be an exhibition of the British Association game, in which teams from the Renown and Victorian clubs will compete. The British Association game is not known to the majority of Victorians, but the league has arranged for the publication in the Victorian "Football Record"-the official organ of the League--of the rules and a description of the game. The numbers of the players will also be supplied. Play in this match will begin at 1 o'clock.

Sun, Saturday 29 May 1920, page 7

Ingenious Athletes
Many clubs, particularly those consisting of boys fresh from School, have set to work and cleared fairly level paddocks in outlying suburbs in their spare time. Then with the owner's permission they mark out a field. Such a process is more usual among juvenile Soccer teams.
Moore Park each evening presents a wonderful picture. Each of the long-established clubs has a definite position, one the wide expanse recognised by the League of Clubs. Of course, the League of Clubs does not exist on paper, hut nevertheless a spirit of kinship between the clubs which practice near one another night after night has sprung up. Woe-betide any newcomers who try to rob any of the veterans of their time-honored area. It is then that the league would rise to a man and eject the foreigners.

Newcastle Sun, Friday 28 May 1920, page 2

An additional game has been added to this week's fixture list. It should be a very attractive addition. The H.M.S. Fantome, which is engaged in ihe Survey Department of the Imperial Government, arrived in Newcastle on Wednesday. The Fantome is one of the boats belonging to the Australian Navy, but still carries her English crew, most ot whom hail from Portsmouth. The majority of the naval boats carry a Soccer team, and the Fantome is no exception. Immediately they arrived they sought a game, and Adamstown promised to accomodate them. so that the H.M.S. Fantome v. Adamstown game, will be played at Adamstown Park on Saturday at 3 p.m.

Thursday 21 May 2020

No Free Ride For Soccer Players

Responding to Vince Rugari's request to investigate soccer in Griffith/Riverina, I came across this doozy. It's a bit of fun but it also speaks to a number of important issues: 

  • the Depression and sport, 
  • social class and soccer, 
  • the supposed unfair treatment of soccer, 
  • and Australian bureacratic idiocy.

Murrumbidgee Irrigator, Friday 7 July 1933, page 1

'Scotty' Campbell made a passionate appeal to the police magistrate at the Leeton Petty Sessions Court yesterday, when John W. Staines was charged with carrying players to a football match on his lorry.
Why pick on the poor soccer boys and not the rich Rugby club. There were dozens of Rugby enthusiasts travelled in motor cars that day, was the text of his appeal. 
Railway Inspector Stanley, who laid the information, said that on April 30, the defendant conveyed 12 passengers from Leeton to Griffith to a football match, when on that day a special train also ran.
The defendant; John W. Staines, said that he had to go to Griffith on that day and he offered to take the Soccer players, who were in low financial circumstances, over on his lorry free of charge. He was not aware of the Road Transport Act. 
Inspector Stanley drew attention to the fact that the lorry driver for carrying passengers on a vehicle constructed for carrying goods, was liable to pay one penny per mile per passenger. Reckoning at 30 miles to Griffith, that was 5/ per passenger to Griffith and back, whereas the fare on the special train that ran under the guarantee of the Rugby club, was only 3/3. 
Sergeant Thomson said that this was the first case of its kind in Leeton, although others were pending. A civilian had approached him for permission to speak to the court. Mr. Parker agreed to let him have his say, and 'Scotty' said his piece. 
Mr. Campbell also added that travelling on lorries had been going on for years. All the Soccer boys were poor, most of them out of work, and if it hadn't been for the generosity of Mr. Staines, the team couldn't have travelled anywhere.
Mr. Parker said he could only observe the law. Being the first case he would only inflict a nominal penalty; of £1, with 8/ costs and £3 road compensation. A month was allowed to pay. 
Approached after the above case, Mr. Stanley informed our representative that the carrying of passengers on vehicles primarily constructed for carrying goods is prohibited, unless a special permit is applied for from the police. Only 1/ is charged for such permit, and a permit must be secured for each trip. The Railway Authorities then deal with each case on its merits. If the trip is not made in competition with the trains, then the charge of one penny per mile per passenger may not be imposed.

Wednesday 20 May 2020

100 Years ago today, 21 May 1920

Thanks Mark Boric

Argus, Monday 24 May 1920, page 11

Sufficient indication of the growth in popularity of the "soccer" game is found in the fact that, whereas in 1919 there were only eight teams, this year 10 are in existence, of which four are junior
clubs. The game has claimed the enthusiasm of many returned soldiers, who had opportunities to learn the art in England and "over there."
There were nearly a thousand spectators at Middle Park on Saturday, interest being centred in the match between Melbourne Thistle and Osborne House. The latter comprised naval men from the submarine base, Geelong, who were well supported in the crowd which lined the field. In the first half the two teams seemed evenly matched, and played cautiously from the kick off until Robertson, after a fine run through, scored the Thistle team's first (and only) goal. The submarine men rallied, and the spectators witnessed a dashing and scientific display of "soccer"-certainly the best ever seen at Middle Park. Rope defeated the Thistle goalie with a fine shot. At half-time the scores were equal; the work of both teams having earned great acclamation from the crowd. On resuming the "submarines" showed to even better advantage with the wind, and quickly took the aggressive, obtaining the lead, when the Thistle goalie kicked the ball on to one of his own men, and it rebounded into the net. Following a well-placed centre pass, Maxwell drove tbe ball through the Thistle posts, despite strong opposi-tion. Shortly afterwards the third goal went to his credit. Much could be said of the splendid play which the losers brought against the com-bined and determined attacks of the "submarines," particularly after Yates had added another goal to the naval men's record. The final scores were: Osborne House, 4; Melbourne Thistle, 1.
There was a fair attendance at the match between Windsor and Welsh United. A few moments after Windsor had kicked off against the wind Scotchbrook booted the ball to centre, where Hopgood snapped it between the Welsh team's posts. Generally, the Windsor defence was weak, but the forward counter-balanced with consistent pressure on their opponents' goal. Harris made the score even, but just before the whistle blew Dewey smashed the ball home for Windsor, following brilliant play by Corp. The scores at half time were:-Windsor, 2; Welsh United, 1. During the second half there was some dissention re-garding the decisions of the referee in respect of some off-side play. Windsor maintained their superiority, Dowey and Fraser registering a goal each. The final scores were:-Windsor, 5; Welsh
United, 1.
N. and D. beat St. David's by 5 goals to nil. The scorers were H. Weston (2), Miller (2), C. Grieves.

Fremantle Times, Friday 21 May 1920, page 2

The League tournament was advanced another stage on Saturday last. Claremont entertained Casuals, and a very exciting game resulted in a draw of of two goals each. Claremont missed two penalties, "Billy" Davis and Renshaw having left their shooting boots at home. Casuals are playing good football this season and should have something to say in the final stages. Rangers United played Training College on the Esplanade, where a good crowd witnessed a fast game. College have played many better games, and were defeated by three goals to one. For Rangsrs Paton was in fine form at back, while Jones and Roberts played well up forward . Perth City United and Thistle met on Wellington-square and a strenuous game not altogether free from blemish, ended in a victory for the City by 4—0, "Jimmy" Gordon and "Snowy" Hancock each scoring twice. Fremantle were extremely unlucky in having their game postponed owing to Perth being unable to raise a team without the Brothers Cruickshank, who have just lost their mother. All Soccerites join in sympathy with them in their bereavement. Thistle next week, boys! Roll up, we want a couple of points, and should be able to annex them. (By "Corner."). FREMANTLE ROVERS. Fremantle Rovers, "A" Grade, commenced the season badly with a lose against Thistle Juniors," on the Esplanade last Saturday—3-1. Being short-handed the Rovers had to play two of their second juniors— Hodge and Groves—who are far too good to play second juniors, and would make a fine addition to the first team if they could be persuaded to play for them. Messrs. Nester, Mountain Murray and Leake were by far the best, while Bancroft will make a fine half-back if he is only put in his right place. Ferridge, in goals, is not bad with his hands, but very shaky with his boots. Is it his new boots doing it? Legg should remember that when the Rovers play Thistle they don't play the grandstand. • iside'man's duty* is to fall back and help the halves. Hackett has got a roving commission, tthicli although in accordance with Fremantle's name, is 110 good on the field. -Don't forget, Nicholas, you signed a form for first juniors; if you plav "for seniors there will be trouble if you don't get a clearance. The team to represent- Fremantle Rovers against Perth City at the Esplanade, Perth, at 2.15 p.m.', will be as follows :—Pendy, Hodge, Clarke, O'Donnel, Galvin, Loukefi. Ryan, Bee Groves /captain), Legg, and Field; emergencies, Bancroft.

Moora Herald and Midland Districts Advocate, Friday 21 May 1920, page 2

To the Editor.
Sir-At the breaking up of the Moora Soccer Club in the early days of the war, Mr Bingham, who acted as secretary and treasurer of the club, left the whole of the papers concrning it, including a balance sheet with a Credit of £1 18s 8d in my charge. Subsequently I paid various accounts amounting to £1 6s which leaves a balance of 12s 8d, The whole of the accounts and correspondence are open to the inspection of those concerned, and I shall be glad if someone of them will make a suggestion as to what is to be done with the 12s 8d mentioned,
as 1 want the matter cleared up. It would probably amount to a beer each those of the members left in Moora. —Yours etc.,
Moora, May 16, 1920.

Moora Herald and Midland Districts Advocate, Friday 28 May 1920, page 2

Notes by " Centre "
Last week's matches resulted as follows: Wanderers, 5 goals, 11 behinds (41 points). Rovers, 2 goals, 12 behinds (24 points). Berkshire beat Coomberdale (scores not available). Wanderers undoubtedly proved the better team ; particularly was this so in aerial stunts. The black and whites appeared to have more than their share of the ball. They, however, were frequently penalised for flagrant breaches of the rules, and the sooner they obtain a better understanding of the rules of the game, the better it will be for the game in general. This remark applies equally to all the clubs. The game, as it is now being played in Moora, makes some of its old champions shudder; it is a mixture of soccer, Rugby, and our game well stirred up, and served to a suffering crowd of spectators.

Armidale Express and New England General Advertiser, Friday 21 May 1920, page 11

A practice match under Association rules will be played on the Armidale racecourse to-morrow (Saturday), when all intending players are invited to attend. Play will commence at 2.30.

World, Friday 21 May 1920, page 4

These teams met tor the first time this season on the Elwick Show Ground. St. George were without Almond, Mirrlees and Gould; and Hobart without J. H. Honeysett. Fletcher and Burton, nevertheless both sides were numerically at full strength. In the early stages of the game, Hobart. playing down the slope, did most ot the attacking, but were unable to score. In the second half the Saints had more of the game. and there were some exciting moments, first at one-goal mouth and then at the other. When full time was blown the score sheet was still blank. The game throughout was a good one, a notable feature being the improved form of the youneer players. The ball was swung about nicely. The older players showed early signs of "weanging," and occasionally faulty footwork, suggesting want of training and practice. Benson, St George's goalkeeper, called forth applause on one occasion by turning a shot round the post, having to go out "full length" to it. 
These two teams met at Lindisforne on Saturday for the first time this season. Both teams were strong, and as was expected a hard game was fought out. In the first half the combination of South Hobart showed to advantage, and they did most of the pressing. A nice run on the left wing resulted in Followes scoring with a good shot, Half time; South Hobart 1; Corinthians, nil. In the second half Corinthians tried hard to equalise but Griffiths, South's goalie, played a sure game. South spoilt several good openings by infringement of the offside rule. Final: South, 1 goal: Corinthians, nil. Mr. Lawrence gave every satisfaction as refereee.

World, Monday 24 May 1920, page 3

... It was decided to invite the British Association to meet the league next Friday night to make arrangements for the holding of a soccer match on the top ground on June 22 prior to the league match.

Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate, Saturday 22 May 1920, page 2

The Minmi third- grade football team lost six points as the result of the British Football Association's finding in regard to senior games played by their full-back, H. Willoughby. Willoughby withdrew from the team last week, and J. Auld was placed in his stead. The local team defeated Kia-Ora by 2 goals to nil, thus giving Minmi the only 2 points they now have to their credit. The employess of the Duckenfield Colleiry have 10 1/4 days pay to draw this rfiterioonth ils ?ing one f, the .:hrgoot pays diiwan atMml for sonic consIdert atble.tlr f'iho mole '~iheetlin rope brolte one aity. last w ee iied ,uspends d "ll operitions o l rtIre dey otherwile fill time nodIiage eveeteeted.

Wednesday 13 May 2020

Neos Osmos: 100 years of 'Soccer Football' in Warwick

Neos Osmos: 100 years of 'Soccer Football' in Warwick: First published 1 June 2012 It will come as a surprise to many that today marks the 100th anniversary of the first stirrings of organised ...

100 Years ago today, 14 May 1920

Great Southern Leader, Friday 14 May 1920, page 5

British Association Football.
(By Penalty,)
The determination of the Narrogin British Association Club to resume its former standard will be further augmented by a visit from the Claremont Club on Saturday the 22nd; The visitors have a great reputation to sustain them and the Narrogin Club are willing so that a good encounter may be witnessed. At any rate, Tom Hogg takes assiduous breathing exercises every morning and a perspiring figure that looked very much like Bro. Clunas was observed trotting up the Williams Road hill one day at early dawn. Webby is making goal posts, and Joe Johnston gets in a great deal of practice with little Joe.

(Is that a found poem?
At any rate, 
Tom Hogg takes assiduous breathing exercises 
every morning 
and a perspiring figure that looked 
very much like Bro. Clunas 
was observed trotting up the Williams Road hill 
one day at early dawn. 
Webby is making goal posts, 
and Joe Johnston gets in a great deal of practice 
with little Joe.

Referee, Wednesday 12 May 1920, page 11

...First Grade Rugby [League??] is not often played on the Parramatta Oval, but it was there that Annandale tackled Western Suburbs in the presence of 600 enthusiasts. Many years back Rugby had a following in the district, but in Granville and Auburn ot late years Soccer has estabiished a sound footing with a few grounds in regular use. The Rugby authorities ought to inspire movements aiming at the creation of a few grounds in the places contiguous to Parramatta, and which are embraced in the Western Suburbs.

Sydney Morning Herald, Friday 14 May 1920, page 11

Sir,-In reply to Mr. J. R. Taylor's further letter of 7th inst, I have little to add. So far as I know, I have neither evaded any issue not misrepresented any fact; and I adhere to every statement I made in your columns.
On the contrary, it is Mr. Taylor who evades the substantial questions. The controlling bodies In cricket, baseball, British Association football, Australian football, tennis, athletics, and rowing will have nothing whatever to do with the extraordinary atti-tude the Sporting Federation has taken up with reference to League football. Both the Public and Catholic schools are now included in the list, and everything points to the addition of hockey and swimming authorities. The A.S.F., therefore, does not repre-sent amateur sport in this matter, and its hostility, though full of sound and fury, signifies nothing.
I am, etc.
President University Amateur League Club.

Sydney Morning Herald, Friday 7 May 1920, page 8

Sir,-Pressure of business and absence from town have alone prevented me from answering ere this the letter of Mr. H. V. Evatt, president of the University League Amateur Football Club, in your columns of 29th ultimo. In every point of Mr. Evett's reply to the statement of my federation re amateurism there is eithor evasion or misrepresentation.
(1) It Is not my complaint, but my statement, that under the league definition an "amateur" may be granted expenses for travelling and accommodation not only when on tour, but also when playing ordinary grade football in Sydney. This is not "a quibble."
It is a plain statement of fact. How frequently or infrequently those expenses are claimed is quite beside the point. So long as the definition exists anyone playing league football is a professional.
(2) Mr. Evatt says: "In point of fact, the Northern Union is entirely controlled by office-bearers receiving no pay for their ser vices. It is not therefore a professional or ganisation." On the contrary, the Northern Union is admittedly a professional organisation. It is not affiliated to any amateur body in the world. It is a proclaimed organisation. It is never referred to in any way other than as a professional organisation. And whether the N.S.W. Rugby League is or is not controlled by the Northern Union is also entirely beside the point. It is affiliated to or in agreement with the Northern Union.
(3) It is Mr. Evatt who is absolutely incorrect. Professional players are not debarred from league management. The league management does not consist entirely of amateurs. The first grade league players- nearly all of whom are professional footballers- possess a vote in the appointment of league office-bearers. So long as the league has a professional franchise it will remain a professional game.
(4) Whether or not "the ex-professionals, i.e., men who have retired, on the league committee receive nothing for their services" or whether or not "these are very few in number," the fact remains that so long as even one of them remains on the league committee the league game is professional.
Once again I wish to emphasise that, with the growing importance of the Olympic games, it behoves Australian amateur sportsmen to be more than ever on their guard against professionalism lest they may find themselves debarred from participating in the games. The Grand Australian Olympic Council in Melbourne last week announced that no athlete who participated in a professionally controlled game would be eligible for selection as an Olympic competitor. I feel it my duty to issue this warning in the interests of those who might be Influenced by the misrepresentation of facts to lose without deliberate intent their amateur status.
It must be distinctly understood that I am not opposed to the 13 a side game as a game if under amateur control.
President N.S.W. Amateur Sporting Federation and Olympic Council.

May 6

Age, Tuesday 11 May 1920, page 10

Windsor entertained the Submarine team from Geelong, the teams, being:— Windsor: Bingham, Corp, Torn, Hopgood. Jones, Hurd, Gray, Rust, Gardner, Clark and Blackburn. Submarines: Field, Black, Kendall, Hammond, O'Hara, Bennett, Rope, Crutt, Maxwell, lnwood and. Hooper.
Referee, W.A. Cummings. Windsor won the toss, and the navy kicked off against the sun. A sharp burst by the front line found Corp at fault, and lnwood shot hard in, Bingham saving, but the ball rebounded to lnwood, who found the net with a hot shot, put ting the navy one up. From the centre Kick Windsor made play on the left, and Blackburn had hard luck with a shot, which went just outside the post . Good work by Jones and Hopgood looked promising, Black relieving by robbing Gardner in the mouth of goal. The navy again pressed, and a grand shot by O'Hara was well saved by Bingham, and Windsor got down. Blackburn, however, missed a good, chance by sending too for forwardand Black stopped Gardner when a score looked a certainty. O'Hara again got his forwards on the move, and Maxwell, drifting in between the backs, put his side two up with low shot from short range, Bingham having no chance of saving. Shortly before half-time Blackburn and Clark, made a clever run on the Windsor left. Clark centred to Gardner, who scored with a good shot, the interval coming with the navy leading by 2 goals to 1. On the resumption of play Windsor at once made heailway. Field saving his goal with a crowd on him, O'Hara dropped back and booted tbe ball out of danger. The navy rushed to the other end. O'Hara shot hard in and Bingham brought off a brilliant save.The game, was now very fast and evenly contested, Blackburn shooting just over the bar. Hooper, for the navy, also went close. A scramble in the Windsor goal mouth caused Bingham to retire with a strained arm. Tunn took his place in goal and saved one or two good shots until Bingham was able to resume. A rush by Hooper forced Corp to concede a corner, Hopgood clearing from the free kick. Inwood returned, and Bingham brought off another grand save. In the closing minutes Jones nearly brought the scores level, but he was penalised for impeding the goalkeeper. 
[note: the dot points below have been introduced for the purposes of radio]

  • A fast and clever game ended in a win for the navy by 2 goals to 1 [over Windsor]. 
  • Melbourne Thistle paid a visit to Spotswood, The result being a draw of 1 goal each. 
  • Welsh beat Burns by 2 goals (Walkim, Wilks) nil. 
  • N and D easily defeated Preston by 4 clear goals, tbe scorers being H. Weston(3) and Miller. 
  • Albert Park were much too good for St. David's. and gained both points by 5 goals(Clayton 4. T. Anderson 1) to nil. 
  • A fast and even game was witnessed between St. Kilda and Footscray Thistle, the latter winning by the odd goal in five. The scorers were Biggart(1) Fletcher (2), for Footscray; Slade (3), Church(1) for St. Kilda.

Argus, Saturday 15 May 1920, page 21


The interstate match, Victoria v. South Australia, is to be played on the M.C.C. ground on May 29, and the League has arranged for an exhibition of the British Association game before the interstate fixture. The team will be one from H.M.S. Renown and the local Association.

Thursday 7 May 2020

N and D

Back to Mildura

Mark Boric tweet inspired me to return to a very early part of my research. He pointed out that some more material was coming online in Trove relating to Mildura -- so I went and had a look.

Unfortunately it's not yet fully online -- we can only see previews. But the propects are interesting.

It nonetheless got the juices flowing.

Tantalisingly, in an 1891 summary of the football season there's a reference to 3 English men taking up the Victorian game: 
I think a word of praise is due to those three English players, Langstaff, Reid and Evans, for the manner in which they have picked up the Victorian game; and for the fine form they have displayed.
This raises the idea that there was indeed a cohort of English sportsmen in the region, some of whom might have been ready to play their game. Indeed it seems there was. In 1892 we read the following
Mildura Cultivator, Saturday 13 August 1892, page 3
Football under Rugby rules in Victoria is a novelty. The Australian game reigns supreme. Rugby is the popular form of this pastime in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, N.S.W. and Queensland, but you must not talk Rugby in Victoria. Indeed, I don't know where it would he tolerated in this colony if not in Mildura. You see, Mildura is novel in itself. The conditions, social and industrial, are so very different from those prevailing in other parts of Victoria. There are many young English men here, fresh from the schools and colleges, who want to preserve their accustomed games in this new sphere of their operations. And it is only natural that they would not give up their beloved Rugby for the hybrid Australian game. Several of them resolved to show the cdolonias the superiority of Rugby, and a match was arranged last Saturday to be played under Rugby rules between the town and coantry. There was a fair roll-up of spectators to see the fun, and the Hospital benefited by the proceeds. Whilst the country team comprised all country men, the town teams had to draw on some of the latter; but every player woas not an Englishman. Perhaps the Englishmen and Australians were balanced. Only a few of the Australians knew the rules, which made much sport for the onlookers. The game was rough-and-tumble from start to finish, and the general opinion was that whilst it furnished plenty of fun for the spectators, it was much inferior to a game ender the Australian rnles. However, as no particular rules were maintainlcd and as the game certainly could not be called Rugby football, which requires some skill as well as staying power and strength to play it properly, a fair estimate of Rugby could not be made. The town team was supposed to have won.
What about soccer then? It seems it's not until 1895 that the game takes off (significantly at a time when it is dead in Melbourne).

Mildura Cultivator, Saturday 18 May 1895, page 9
ENGLISH ASSOCIATION. A scratch match, under the foregoing rules, will be played on the Recreation-ground on Friday, May 24th, starting at 3 p.m. Teams will be picked from the following:--Alder, Barton, Cunningham, Hedley (2), A. Henderson, Izard, Johnstone, Murray, McLaren, Newman (3), G. Nevill, Reader, Short. J. Smith, H. Smith, F. Southee, Tilley and others.

This is followed up with a report two weeks later 
Mildura Cultivator, Saturday 1 June 1895, page 9
Queen's Birthday Entertainments. The town presented quite a deserted appearance last Friday, as most of the inhabitants were holiday-making. Besides the well-attended picnics held by the Congregational Sunday School and the Salvation Army there were several other attractions. Enthusiastic sportsmen enjoyed a good day's shooting and bagged numerous ducks and other game. An enjoyable afternoon was spent by supporters of football in watching a well-contested match played inder English Association rules on the Recreation-ground, when Mr. Alder's team beat Mr. Newman's team by two goals. Several cyclists visited Wentworth to take part in the programme of the Sports' Club. The mile bicycle race was won by Barnsley (110 yards), Pugsley (45 yards), second, and Hawkins (scratch), third.

This seems to establish the game of soccer in Mildura. But can we be sure that this is the starting point? 

The following year occasional games were played between Mildura and Renmark 

Mildura Cultivator, Saturday 11 July 1896, page 7

The Gem on Monday took away as passengers, Mrs. Nash and Miss Miller. and also Messrs. Alder, Smith, Newman(3) Hawkins, Linton, Henderson, Hoops and Hedley, who are proceedrling to Renmark to play a game of Association football against one of the clubs in that settlement.

But the sad state of sport in the town is made clear in July

Mildura Cultivator, Saturday 25 July 1896, page 9

With only one football club playing under Victorian rules and another practising the English Association game, there is very little life in local sporting circles.

A series of games between the two towns in 1897

1908 a query to the Cultivator about the rules of soccer

Mildura Cultivator, Wed 6 September 1911, page 7

Though the football season proper is ended, it is proposed to arrange a game of "Soccer" in aid of the Hospital. Messrs Dawes and Keil have the matter in hand and have already received the names of some 14 or 15 players of the English Association game. They will be glad to get other names, on receipt of which they will arrange and announce the event. It is a long time since we saw a game of "soccer" in Mildura, so it ought to attract a crowd.

Following this there were more game in September and an association was formed.

From this point a fairly strong local culture starts to develop. Two, sometimes three, teams and a strong committee, organising games, working bees and so on.


This is all of course brought to a shuddering halt by WW1.

I've spoken on this many times. Up to 10 of the Irymple team and several Mildura players are killed during the war. 

Understandably, the game is slow to begin after the war

I had orginally thought that it was not until the late 1920s that soccer started to re-emerge. This is where Mark's tweet is important. It alerted me to the Sunraysia Daily coming online on Trove and it indicates that the game splutters into life again in 1922 with teams eventually forming in Cardross, Cardwarp, Redcliffs and Mildura -- but sadly not Irymple. I have to wait until the articles are fully linked.

I'll finish with a sad story that has a degree of symbolism.

Barrier Miner, Tuesday 7 June 1927, page 4

Death AT SOCCER MATCHCOLLAPSE OF UMPIRE AFTER BLOW IN STOMACHMelbourne, Tuesday.While umpiring a Soccer match be-tween Mildura and Melbourne at Mildura yesterday Enoch Blount (46) collapsed and died. Blount, it was said, was struck in the stomach by a ball. The match was abandoned.

Yet  the return match was organised and the Mildura team visited Melbourne 

Table Talk, Thursday 1 September 1927, page 34

Melbourne proved too good for Mildura in Saturday's Inter-Association game at the Amateur Sports Ground. Above are scenes and incidents in the game, including, from the left, the referee and his friends, the Melbourne team. Bottom row: the Mildura team and, on the right, some of the residents who accompanied it.

From this point there seems to be little in the way of club competition and only the occasional inter-town games with Broken Hill until WW2. A story that's repeated across reginal Australia.

Australian soccer history really is a tale of two countries.

Sunraysia Daily (Mildura, Vic. : 1920 - 1926), Thursday 24 April 1924, page 4


I was very pleased to notice an advertisement calling lovers of Soccer to meet at the ground in Ninth Street tonight. As many friends from the old country are in Mildura, there should be a good muster. Last year's season was very short, leaving the honors decidedly with Red Cliffs. They defeated Carwarp by 2 goals to 1, and then finished Mildura by 5 goals to 1. But Mildura rapidly improved, and in the next two games Red Cliffs won by 2 goals to 1, and the second game was a draw, the score being 1 all. With an early start this year a better season is augured. It is pleasing to note that Mildura has still some of its good players living here. I notice a formidable half-back line (A. McLean, W. Wolstenholme and "Jock" Smith) are ready for the fray. But as Charlie Grant is a good centrehalf, I would advise Wolstenholme to go forward as centre. I notice Finlayson is still here to help as inside right, and Wee Jock Sloan to go either in the goals or inside left. He is a plucky player, and has a good eye, but lacks the necessary height for a goal-keeper. If another good goal-keeper is obtainable, it would he advantageous to put Sloan as inside left. As left wingers are scarce, Tommy McLean will be sadly missed. Sturdy J. Blount is still here to strengthen the defence. Who else is here I have not yet noticed; but I think that a formidable team is available. I hope to see a good backing by the people, and if Mr. Harston carries on his secretarial duties as he did last season, a good time is assured.

Sunraysia Daily (Mildura, Vic. : 1920 - 1926), Tuesday 27 May 1924, page 4

Mildura Players Unable to Find Opponents
Like Alexander the Great, who is alleged to have wept because there were no more worlds to conquer, the Mildura Soccer Football Club is badly disappointed because it cannot find any other team willing to play match. The Mildura club has a strong membership list. This afternoon there were no fewer than twenty players on the Ninth Street ground, all eager for a game, but since advertisements inviting other clubs lo play them have not brought a response, they had to play a scratch match. Now then, Red Cliffs, Carwarp, Merbein! The Mildura club promises good reception and a fair game to any combination pitted against them. A message to the secretary. Mr. G Harston, 64 Lemon Avenue, will start the ball rolling.

Friday 1 May 2020

100 Years Ago Today, 7 May 1920

Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), Monday 3 May 1920, page 10

The opening games under Soccer rule at Middle Park were well attended, the most interesting game being between Albert Park and St. Kilda, The teams, with W. Cumming as referee, lined up as follows:— Albert Park: H. Barnett, Rae, Mackie, Hart,
R. Barnett, Reid, Byley, J. Anderson, Clayton, T. Anderson and Hood. . St. Kilda: H. Lowe, Lamb, Cann, Spencer, Cameron, Keabury, Golding, Church, T. Lowe, Bulman and Slade. The saints won the toss, and the Park kicked off against the wind. Lowe ahd Church made play down the centre. Mackie relieved the pressure, and Lowe shot outside shortly after. A corner to St. Kilda looked dangerous, when Slade gained pssession in the mouth of goal, but the shot was blocked by Rae. St. Kilda still pressed, and good efforts by Lowe and Church were spoilt by the high wind. The Park next had a turn at attacking. T, Anderson broke through, only to be well tackled by Limb, and Claytons shot went past the post. The Park though playing against the wind, continued to have a fair share of the game until Church got going for St. Kilda. He centred to Lowe, who shot hard in. but the ball hit the post, and bounced out of danger. At half time the score sheet was blank. The restart saw the Saints open with a strong attack, only good defence by Rae and Mackie keeping them out until T. Lowe got his head to a fine centre, completely beating Harnett. He put St Kilda one up. From the centre kick the Park attacked, Cann clearing trom T. Anderson, and another rush by the Saints forwards brought the second goal,T. Lowe again break-ing through. In the closing stages the Park had the most of the game, Anderson making several good attempts to score, but the Saints defence was sound. A good game ended in a win for St. Kilda by 2 goals to nil. H.M.A.S. Submarines paid a visit to Spotswood, and after leading at half time by 1 goal to nil, ran out easy winners by 6 goals to nil. Melbourne Thistle received Welsh United as their first opponents and scoring, through Acquit-toff (2) and J. Anderson, gained a victory by 3 goals to nil. Burns were to have played Windsor, but owing to some misunderetanding, failed to turn out, so Windsor will be awarded the points. Windsor defeated Thistle by a goal to nil in a friendly match. 

Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), Friday 7 May 1920, page 10

The following matches are down for decision on Saturday (kick off 3.15 sharp), to be played on the grounds of the firstnamed clubs:— Section A- N.&.D. v. Preston (Medlicott); St. David's v. Albert Park (Campbell); St Kilda v. Footscray Thistle (Butler). Section B: Burra v. Welsh United (M'Kenzie); Windsor v. Submarines (Cumming); Spotswood v. Melbourne Thistle (M'Donald). There will be a meeting of the council and the Referees' Association on Monday next at 7.30 p.m., at the Amateur Sports Club.

Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (NSW : 1876 - 1954), Friday 7 May 1920, page 3


Yesterday afternoon the Catholic Schools of the Newcastle district opened their Socccer competitions. Thirteen teams, representing eight schools, are participattng in the competitions, comprisng A and B grades, the former taking in boys under fourteen years, the latter limiting the age at twelve years. Through unforseen circumstances, teams from Hamilton and Mayfeld were unable to leave their schools to meet teams from Broadmeadow and Newcastle respectively. Stockton was scheduled for a bye. Results:--A grade: Wallsend v. Merewether, the former team won, 2-1; Meehan scored for the losers, J.Blake for the victors. Marist v. Hamilton P, 1-0; victory for Marist, King scored. Adamstown v. Tighe's Hill, 4-0, Blake, Dent, Lysaght and Stauffer scored for Adams town. B grade: Hamilton P. v Merewether, a scoreless draw.

Arrow (Sydney, NSW : 1916 - 1933), Friday 7 May 1920, page 5


West Wallsend against Wallsend played T. Coates in his old position of outside right, and evidently he was a success. In Weston's ranks Lambert played centre half, and put Gilmore in as full-back. In view of the point which Weston dropped in their home match, it is likely that Lambert will decide upon a return to full-back and play Gilmore in the forwards, and make Jack Seddon, the ex-Magpie player, centre half for the game against West Wallsend on Saturday. The question of allowing substitutes to take the place of injured players has long been a matter for argument, and up to the present Newcastle has always followed the rules laid down by the New South Wales F.A. Provided the captains and referee agree, first-half substi-tutes are allowed in Sydney this year, and it is pointed out that until the new rule has been passed by a meeting of Newcastle delegates, the allowing of such substitutes is not in order. Senior fixtures for Saturday are : Hamilton v Adamstown, at Hamilton (referee, W. Stott); Weston v Wallsend, on the latter's ground (J. Dunne: West Wallscnd a bye. 

World (Hobart, Tas. : 1918 - 1924), Friday 7 May 1920, page 4


At a meeting of the association, (soccer), held last night, it was decided to officially open the season to-morrow (Saturday), with-the first round of (he Cottrell-Dormer Cup competition. The following draw was made for to-morrow's matches:—Corinthians v St. George's, at Llndisfarne. Kick-off 3 p,m. Players catch 2.30 boat. Referee. Mr. Everard. St. George's team from: B. Wise. W. Jones. J. Smythe, J. Gould. W. Benson, Ford, Almond (2); Parkinson, Boyes, B. Richards, E. C. Stephens, Grimmond Mirrlees. Harvey, Bradd. Corinthians' team -Lovett. Stoner, Roberts. Williams (2), Storr, Pease, Sunderland, Sproule, Shirley (2), Wilklns. Kerruish, Thwaiites. Puvis. South Hobart v. Hobart, at South Hobart Recreation Ground. Kick-off at 3 p.m. Referee, Mr. Karfoot. South Hobart team; B. E. Vout, B Stewart. G. Cracknell. E. Hudson, E, Manson. W. Williams. L. Honeysett, S. Fearnley, C. Griffiths, B. Marley. A. Cracknell, H Martyn, Hobart team (colors, white) : C. Honeysett. F. Gilbert. J. H. Honeysett, J. Fletcher, B. Lovett. B. Tate. C. Dillon. W. Sneddon. A Kirby. F. Newman. Paul. M'Neal. Wettenhal (2), Millar, Wyatt, Bloomfield.