Like many historic outlines, this story obtains a biographical focus. It seems hard to tell the story of the first decade of soccer in Murray Bridge without also looking at the influence of GR Handley.
GR Handley seems to be a major figure. He is involved in the organisation of the very first game
Mount Barker Courier and Onkaparinga and Gumeracha Advertiser, Friday 9 March 1923, page 4
At the annual meeting of the South Australian British Football Association on Saturday last, held at the Grosvenor, Adelaide, Mr. G. R. Handley, of Murray Bridge, was elected one of the Board of Management - (of the members), to control the game in the State of South Australia. Mr. Handley headed the poll.
Mount Barker Courier and Onkaparinga and Gumeracha Advertiser, Friday 30 March 1923, page 3
ROYAL SOCIETY OF ST. GEORGE.
The Murray Bridge Branch of the Royal Society of St. George is rapidly increasing its membership, and is now nearing the total of 200. At a meeting held on Tuesday night the following resolution was unanimously adopted: "That this meeting of the Royal Society of St. George, Murray Bridge Branch, notes with regret, at a time when every effort being made to foster the relations between Australia and the Motherland that at such representative Australian gathering as the annual meeting of the South Australian Football League, one of the delegates should refer to British Association football as 'foreign,' and while expressing no opinion on the merits or otherwise of the game, regrets the application of the term 'foreign' to any British institution."
Saturday Journal (Adelaide), Saturday 16 February 1924, page 8
Who's Who In the Sporting World
Coming on by leaps and bounds—Soccer; football. Murray Bridge and Peterborough now have associations of their own.
With two international and three interstate matches local Soccer will face an ambitious programme this season. They are already organizing to meet every eventuality.
Seven new senior teams applied for admission to the Soccer Association at Thursday's annual meeting. Where are they all coming from?
Soccer is becoming quite Australianized. Seventy per cent of last year's players were Australian born.
Holden's, the body builders, is raising Soccer teams. A meeting expects to secure about 14 players. Over 50 were signed on, enough for one strong A team and four reserve teams, every Saturday,
The report and financial statement presented by the secretary of the Soccer Football Association on Thursday night at the annual meeting, was easily a record breaker. The code is certainly getting a big hold
News (Adelaide), Friday 4 April 1924, page 4
FOOTBALL AT THE BRIDGE
The game of soccer appears to be dead here. The secretary called three meetings, but only two persons attended. The recreation ground trust is sympathetic to soccer and if the game is revived the trust will leave vacant dates for representative matches. Australian game players are also sympathetic toward the sister game, and they assisted it last year.
Register (Adelaide), Saturday 14 June 1924, page 13
MURRAY BRIDGE CLUB.
At a meeting of soccer football enthusiasts, hold in the Murray Bridge Institute Hall on June 12, it was decided to revive the soccer club. Dr. Wickens was elected President and Mr. Stanley Gordon hon. secretary. It was resolved to affiliate with the South Australian Soccer Association, and to enter for the Cambridge Cup.
- Game v Peterborough on July 5.
- v Norwood July 19
- v Glenlg July 9
GR Handley resigns from state body -- but continues to snipe at figures in the game
1928Mount Barker Courier and Onkaparinga and Gumeracha Advertiser, Friday 20 July 1928, page 6
MURRAY BRIDGE SOCCER CLUB.
Nineteen members ot the newly formed Murray Bridge Soccer Football Club turned out to practice on Satur day last, and some them gave fair in dication of "soccer" ability. A meeting of members was held in Fraser's Lovat Arms Palais on Monday night when Mr. W. J. Smith presided over a large attendance. Mr. Frank Jenkins was elected president, Mr. W. J. Smith vice-president, Mr. Alec. Fraser hon. secretary. It was resolved that the captain, vice-captain, and selection committee be elected at next meeting. Mr. J. Fraser to act as practice captain in the meantime. It was resolved to hold a practice match on Saturday next, at 2.15 p.m., and intending players are invited to attend.
Mount Barker Courier and Onkaparinga and Gumeracha Advertiser, Friday 20 July 1928, page 3
Soccer Football Club
The Murray Bridge Soccer Football Club was granted permission to play on the old recreation ground, Adelaide-Road.
Advertiser (Adelaide), Friday 27 July 1928, page 25
The secretary (Mr. MacDonald) advises that a new club of 19 players has been formed at Murray Bridge, and negotiations have been entered upon for the associa tion to visit them on August 11. The old players have completed arrangements for their social gathering at Moore's on August 6.
Mount Barker Courier and Onkaparinga and Gumeracha Advertiser, Friday 9 May 1930, page 1
BY THE WAY.
(By G. R. H.). [GR Handley]
Football in Murray Bridge this season is dead. The withdrawal of Mount Barker and Strathalbyn clubs from the Hills Association appears to have killed the interest of Murray Bridge footballers, with the result that only junior players are finding games for themselves. One may well ask, "Where are the boys of the old brigade?" and what has become of tbe combination which achieved such success last season? An effort is being made to revive interest in the soccer code, but the enthusiasts are only spasmodic in their efforts aud appear to be too tired to make a vigorous attempt to popularise the round ball game, which is increasing in popularity in the metropolitan area by great strides. There is no reason why the soccer code should not attract young Australians to its ranks, as it is a scientific game and is played in every civilised country in the world, no less than 28 countries being represented on the International Board, the majority of whoin participate in the Olympic games. The propagation of the game in country centres would increase the rivalry between country towns and districts, and teams from the metropolitan area would be pleased to visit country centres, and the result would be advertising of country towns aud the bringing of their industries and attractions before city and country people generally, and in the end the advantage would be mutual and for the benefit of the State as a whole.
Sporting Globe (Melbourne), Wednesday 29 May 1935, page 10
OLD PLAYERS' SOCCER ASSOCIATION REVIVA
By "ROUND BALL"
.... Handley was a member of the council of the association for many years, but his active interest in the game in Adelaide was interrupted for some years when he lived Murray Bridge. While in that town he arranged for visits from Adelaide soccer teams and staged several exhibitions of the game for the benefit of local residents.
Advertiser, Monday 13 March 1944, page 7
Mr. G. R. Handley
The death occurred yesterday at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, of Mr. George Russell Handley, who for several years was a member of the literary staff of "The Advertiser." Mr. Handley was born at Manchester 76 years ago, and worked on newspapers in England. He came to Australia 45 years ago , and, after a brief stay in New Zealand, returned to Australia and worked on papers at Newcastle and Broken Hill. About 35 years ago  he came to Adelaide and joined the staff of the "Daily Herald," and later the ''Register," and in 1913 went to the "River Murray Advocate" at Murray Bridge, where he remained for about 20 years. While in Murray Bridge he frequently sat on the bench in the local court. Mr. Handley also served on newspapers at Renmark and Port Pirie. He was an ardent supporter of soccer, and held responsible positions on the SA Soccer Association. He was also a prominent member of the SA Protestant Federation, and during the last few weeks of his life was acting secretary of that organisation. He has left a widow and a son (FO Russell Handley).