If picking the best player ever is a recipe for countless pub debates, Australian football has gone several steps further by asking fans to also nominate the sport’s best team and best coach.
Will the chosen one hail from the so-called “golden generation” of the last two World Cup finals – players like Lucas Neill, Harry Kewell, Tim Cahill, Mark Bresciano, Craig Moore, Mark Schwarzer and Mark Viduka?
Or from the first Socceroos to reach the big stage in 1974, where the likes of Peter Wilson, Jimmy McKay, Johnny Warren, Ray Baartz and Manfred Schaeffer stood tall.
Or perhaps from the in-between years – someone like Aurelio Vidmar, Charlie Yankos, Frank Farina, John Kosmina, Ned Zelic or Paul Okon?
How about an old-timer such as Joe Marston, the first Australian to appear in an FA Cup final?
Fans can vote online at www.greatesteveraustralianfootballer.com by Friday June 22.
Their votes will determine 50 per cent of the outcome, the other half coming from a judging panel of leading players, commentators and administrators, including Jack Reilly, Andy Harper, Craig Foster, Melissa Barbieri, Les Murray, Jamie Warren, Moya Dodd and George Negus.
The winners will be announced at a Johnny Warren Football Foundation fund-raiser in Sydney on July 12.
“We have an embarrassment of riches in Australian football,” said judging panel member George Negus.
“To try and select the nominees, let alone the greatest ever winners, is a tough task.”
The 72 nominees are:
Greatest Australian team( In 1-4-3-3 formation):
Goalkeepers: Ron Lord, Ron Corry, Jim Fraser, Mark Bosnich, Mark Scwharzer.
Defenders: George Keith, Doug Utjesenovic, Alan Davidson, Tony Vidmar, Luke Wilkshire, Paul Okon, Joe Marston, Manfred Schaeffer, John Watkiss, Peter Wilson, Charlie Yankos, Milan Ivanovic, Alex Tobin, Ned Zelic, Craig Moore, Lucas Neill, Col Curran, Harry Williams, Jim Tansey, Stan Lazaridis, Scott Chipperfield.
Midfielders: Jimmy Rooney, Johnny Warren, Murray Barnes, Paul Wade, Brett Emerton, Jimmy McKay, Paul Okon, Vince Grella, Josip Skoko, Jason Culina, Ned Zelic, Tim Cahill, Les Scheinflug, Ray Richards, Oscar Crino, Robbie Slater, Mark Bresciano.
Strikers: Atti Abonyi, Frank Farina, Aurelio Vidmar, Tim Cahill, Adrian Alston, Ray Baartz, John Kosmina, Graham Arnold, Mark Viduka, Branko Buljevic, David Mitchell, Eddie Krncevic, Harry Kewell, John Aloisi, Reg Date, John Watkiss.
Greatest Australian player: from the above nominees.
Greatest Australian female player: Julie Dolan, Julie Murray, Cheryl Salisbury, Jo Peters, Joanne Millman, Collette McCallum, Alison Foreman, Heather Garriock, Lisa De Vanna, Melissa Barbieri.
Greatest Australian coach: Joe Vlasits, Rale Rasic, Frank Arok, Eddie Thomson, Terry Venables, Frank Farina, Guus Hiddink, Pim Verbeek.