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.
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?
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
SOCCER COUNCIL WILL IMPORT COACH
By BILL FLEMING
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 certifícate 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.