On the outside looking in: How football has helped shape Australia

John Didulica Roar Guru

By John Didulica, John Didulica is a Roar Guru New author!


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    Football's place in Australian society is no less significant than any other sport. (AAP Image/Paul Miller)

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    To choose football in this country is to choose the life of the outsider.

    We all have our experiences. As a kid, the National Soccer League was a different universe to the playground. It was a secret society unlocked not by password or handshake but by culinary tastes and exotic languages.

    My weekend adoration of Zeljko Adzic and Mark Bosnich would switch, from Monday to Friday, to Gary Ablett and Allan Border. This was done without second thought, so conditioned and compartmentalised was the inner working of even a young mind. Your soccer world existed separately to your life as an Australian.

    As an adult, little changes. The distant table at the black-tie function watching luminaries from squash and swimming and sailing being inducted into halls of fame. Meanwhile, the deeds of Frank Farina, John Davidson, Mark Viduka, Cheryl Salisbury and Harry Kewell drift anonymously into history; living only in the stories passed from member to member within the secret society.

    Football has only two living players, Ray Baartz and Peter Wilson, in the Sport Australia Hall of Fame. Level with canoeing. Baseball has more players inducted. Hockey has ten; rugby union 11.

    At times, in our desperation to be invited to the ball, we are prepared to be strangers in our own game.

    Objectively, I always considered football’s story and Australia’s story to be perfectly symmetrical. Yet, despite having punctuated public consciousness in quite profound ways at different times, football has never been embedded as a thread within the orthodoxy of Australian life, be it media or politics or celebrity.

    Increasingly, the mythology of Anzac Day and its observance acts as an anchor to define what it means to be Australian or to lead an authentically Australian life. Unlike other sports, football’s connection to the Anzacs is rarely, if ever, eulogised. This flies in the face of history and does a disservice to the contribution of football and footballers to the Australian narrative.

    In 1916, the Sun newspaper in Sydney, under the headline ‘Footballers’ Response’, reported that of the 1500 players registered with the Metropolitan Association (one association in Sydney) some 1200 “answered the Empire’s call”.

    Letters published in the Gosford Times in October 1916, from the pen of then Labor candidate, Captain HJ Connell, told stories of soldiers on the battlefield playing “soccer”, or at least spending their time looking for “sticks” to erect as goals.

    West Wallsend, described by the Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate as “one of the keenest districts to be found in New South Wales”, lost so many players to the Great War (44 in total) that it did not have enough to field a team to “defend their second place from the previous season”.

    In Newcastle alone, 500 of the region’s 625 registered players enlisted in the Great War.

    Ironically, the Newcastle Sun would prophesise a bright future for football, on the back of the football community’s visible contribution to the war effort: “the northern soccerites left for active service in such great numbers that, coupled with the great advance in public favour in which the game has made, bodes well for the future of the game”.

    In Football and War – Australia and Vietnam 1967-1972, authors Roy Hay and Bill Murray piece together the tale of a group of young Australians who were dropped in Saigon in 1967 at the height of the Vietnam War to play football.

    Those Australians would emerge with our first ever international trophy and the tournament would be described as the birth of the Socceroos.

    Fast forward 41 years to a Tuesday evening in mid-April.

    Paul Lederer stood on stage deep in the heartland of Western Sydney with a trophy under his arm. He arrived in Australia when he was ten years old with his extended family, including his uncle Andrew. In 1956, the Lederer family had become refugees after losing their livelihoods amid the collapse of the Hungarian Revolution and would, under the care of the United Nations, set sail for Australia.

    Now, as a billionaire businessman and owner of Western Sydney Wanderers, Paul would hand over the trophy for National Youth League Player of the Year.

    The trophy was handed to Abraham Majok – a young man who himself arrived in Australia as a refugee after being born to South Sudanese parents in a Kenyan refugee camp.

    This was the virtuous cycle of Australian life in full view. A nation welcoming a European refugee boy to its shores who in turn would build a platform that would allow another boy, two generations later, an opportunity to build a transformative life in his adopted country.

    There is no shortage of commentators trying to tell us what it means to be Australian, particularly on a sacred day like Anzac Day. What is Australia if not the sum of our collective experiences and the story of its people? That football is, and has been, an integral part of shaping this nation is inescapable.

    Football has given too much to this country to be content with standing on the outside, looking in.

    Thanks to Andy Harper for providing reference material relating to World War I which has been developed as a part of extensive research by Ian Syson and Athas Zafiris.

    John Didulica is a licensed legal practitioner and the chief executive of Professional Footballers Australia. A former National Soccer League player, Didulica was awarded PFA Life Membership in 2008 for his services to football.

    This article was originally published by the PFA as On the outside, looking in.

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    The Crowd Says (93)

    • May 16th 2018 @ 7:03am
      AGO74 said | May 16th 2018 @ 7:03am | ! Report

      Good read. Thanks John. The story of the Socceroos who played in Saigon and won our first ever trophy in the middle of a war zone is in my opinion one of if not the most remarkable stories in Australian sport.

      • Roar Guru

        May 16th 2018 @ 7:52am
        Griffo said | May 16th 2018 @ 7:52am | ! Report


      • May 16th 2018 @ 12:11pm
        reuster75 said | May 16th 2018 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

        Well said! This is a story well worth telling in a visual format (maybe a two part mini series) and could be rolled out ahead of the Asian cup every four years as a celebration of our history in the asian region.

    • May 16th 2018 @ 8:23am
      i miss the force said | May 16th 2018 @ 8:23am | ! Report

      football is all that is great in this country. nothing else matters

    • May 16th 2018 @ 8:26am
      Caltex & SBS support Australian Football said | May 16th 2018 @ 8:26am | ! Report

      The picture of Johnny Warren holding the Australian National Flag entering the stadium in Vietnam is the first I have seen of it.

      “Football and War – Australia and Vietnam 1967-1972, authors Roy Hay and Bill Murray piece together the tale of a group of young Australians who were dropped in Saigon in 1967 at the height of the Vietnam War to play football.”

      Although I may well remember the Australia’s Football team participation in that tournament, the Australian media were absent in reporting of it. Hardly a word was written about it when I lived in Sydney. Thank you, John, for writing this excellent article—a great read and one we should continually revisit from time to time.

    • May 16th 2018 @ 8:28am
      morebeer said | May 16th 2018 @ 8:28am | ! Report

      Great article.

    • Roar Guru

      May 16th 2018 @ 8:50am
      AdelaideDocker said | May 16th 2018 @ 8:50am | ! Report

      Woah. Very good article.

    • May 16th 2018 @ 9:21am
      Redondo said | May 16th 2018 @ 9:21am | ! Report

      Surely football is slowly outgrowing its outsider status, if only because of the huge – and increasing – numbers of Australians who play the game, and the fact that the game is played worldwide.

      Based on player numbers, Rugby League and Rugby Union (in particular) seem to have hit terminal decline. In both cases, the commercial viability of the pro forms of those games will surely continue to decline as well. These sports seem to be dying from the bottom up.

      Cricket is fragmenting, with Test cricket slowly dying and being replaced by short forms of the game that are more like baseball than traditional cricket. Big bash is currently very popular but it is likely to be as perishable a commodity as one-day cricket turned out to be. The fragmentation of the pro side of the sport, with two distinct sets of top-level participants, could cause a similar fragmentation at lower levels of the game, and lead to a slow death, but from the top down.

      AFL is a cultural anomaly and it’s difficult to predict where it will end up. The fact that it is only seriously played in a couple of regions in one country in the world can’t be a good basis for a long life. Strangely for an indigenous sport it is also culturally divisive – people in northern states are liable to say they like all sports, except AFL (and vice versa from people in AFL regions with regard to the Rugbies). AFL is likely to die from in-breeding.

      Netball is a major national sport in Australia, but suffers from the fact that it is primarily a Commonwealth country sport. It is also almost exclusively played by women. The recent resurgence of basketball in Australia must be a threat, given the similarities of the 2 sports, and Netball’s isolated player base.

      Football on the other hand is truly a world game. Commercially, that means top level Football in Australia will always be disadvantaged by the presence of better quality leagues around the world. Those leagues suck players and viewers away from the local leagues (male and female).

      In a broader sporting sense though, because so many countries play Football, and Australia is an immigrant country, Football will quite likely always have a strong participation rate. Being good at football is also a handy way to travel and earn money overseas. Football should continue to grow in Australia simply because the sport is so dominant internationally.

      Given all of that, it’s hard to imagine that a Football-following child in Australia in 10 years time will have the same schizophrenic experience the author had as a child.

      • May 16th 2018 @ 10:09am
        Nick Symonds said | May 16th 2018 @ 10:09am | ! Report

        You left out field hockey.

        No Barassi Line. No media bias against it. No Eurosnobs. No old soccer new football rift.

        High speed and flowing with loud raucous atmosphere, without need for gimmicks.

        If done right it might become quite big.

        • May 16th 2018 @ 10:27am
          Redondo said | May 16th 2018 @ 10:27am | ! Report

          I only left it out because in Aus it’s relatively small.

          • May 16th 2018 @ 11:14am
            peeko said | May 16th 2018 @ 11:14am | ! Report

            so player numbers mean terminal decline? netball is in trouble because its women only and restricted to commonwealth countries? test cricket is dying despite record crowds the last 2 years?

            • May 16th 2018 @ 11:37am
              Redondo said | May 16th 2018 @ 11:37am | ! Report

              1. If the number of people playing a sport declines year on year then ‘terminal’ is probably a suitable description of the sport’s health.

              2. I said Netball has challenges. One huge problem is that women’s sport struggles for media coverage so the game borders on invisible except to its current participants.

              3. Test cricket crowds are generally poor except for the blue ribbon series, and that is primarily the Ashes.

              I’m not having a go at people who enjoy those sports – I’m simply making an observation about the future viability of the sports themselves. I might be wrong but probably not.

              • Roar Guru

                May 16th 2018 @ 1:19pm
                Matt H said | May 16th 2018 @ 1:19pm | ! Report

                Netball has just jagged a free to air contract with Channel 9. Visibility is high. Participation rates are massive. You may not be close enough to the sport to recognise this.

              • May 16th 2018 @ 2:41pm
                Redondo said | May 16th 2018 @ 2:41pm | ! Report

                Matt – participation rates have always been high. The problem for Netball has always been converting players to spectators/fans.

                Back in the days when print was still viable and sports magazines did well, Netball magazines struggled to attract readers despite the fact that Netball was easily the dominant womens sport.

                The Netball ratings on 9 are pretty impressive currently but it will be interesting to see if that can be sustained. As with all womens sport, there is next to no newspaper coverage.
                However, Netball is pretty safe as a sport in this country.

                I think Netball’s biggest problem is knees! The design of the game results in an inordinate number of serious self-inflicted knee injuries. Run, catch, STOP, twist, throw – snap goes an ACL. I know Netball Australia is trying to educate players and coaches to minimise the problem, but what is really needed is a tweak to the rules (not sure how though).

      • May 16th 2018 @ 11:02am
        The Joy Of X said | May 16th 2018 @ 11:02am | ! Report

        @ Redondo 9.21 am

        Your comments that “….it (Australian Football) is only seriously played in a couple of regions in one country….”, and “AFL is likely to die from inbreeding”, are obviously offensive and incorrect.

        Soccer (previously called British Association Football until about 1914) supporters have been tiresome in predicting the demise of Australian Football since about 1890 : “It’s not international, it cant play against England, the home country. We want to play England etc.”.
        The A League, embarrassingly, had an average combined (FTA and Foxtel) total Ratings of about 80,000 per game (5 games only per round) in 2018 -feeble. They are dwarfed by the AFL and NRL.

        Soccer participation numbers in Australia are excellent, but this does not necessarily translate to cultural resonance/ dominance -nor indicative that soccer will challenge other sports to become the most followed.
        Soccer is easily the no.1 participant sport in the USA, Canada, NZ -and is strong in Ireland (where its main opposition are the GAA AMATEUR football and hurling). No independent professional sports’ analysts in these countries consider soccer will become the most widely followed sport.

        I reject your unsubstantiated assertion that “….it (Australian Football) is culturally divisive…”, re the northern states.
        Australian Football participation has had strong growth in the northern states – and, nationwide, is likely to overtake soccer as the biggest participant sport in Australia in 2018. Australian Football, anecdotally from several sources, will again show strong growth in 2018 numbers.
        The AFLW (whose Ratings per game far surpass the A League) has only played a total of 16 Rounds since its inception in 2017 -and will expand to all 18 teams in a few years. This will cause another surge in the numbers of females playing; and increase viewing Ratings.

        AFL Official Registered 2017 Participation Numbers -1,596,660
        FFA Official Registered 2017 Participation Numbers -1,631,041

        (As the FFA have included coaches and referees in their 1,631,041 Registered Numbers, I have adopted the same principle for Australian Football)

        • May 16th 2018 @ 12:11pm
          Redondo said | May 16th 2018 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

          Goodness X – I didn’t intend to offend you. Apologies!

          But can I just point out that you make the common mistake of treating the A-League as if it is the whole of Football. A-League ratings are a function of many things, not least of which is the fact that Football fans can get their Football fix from anywhere in the world. AFL has no such problem.

          Commercially, there is no doubting that Football (the A-League) struggles to compete with Aussie Rules (the AFL). But Australia is the only country in the world where that statement even means anything. Commercially, on a global scale, Football is a behemoth and AFL is a flea.

          As sports, in terms of participation, Football and Aussie Rules are roughly comparable in Australia. But, again, only in Australia. Globally, it’s the behemoth and the flea again.

          I am not commenting on your love for Aussie Rules or your enthusiasm for its one national professional league – you are free to enjoy whatever you want. In the same way that Gaelic Football is part of Ireland’s cultural heritage, Aussie Rules is part of Australia’s cultural heritage.

          I will comment though on your hair-trigger response to my comments about Aussie Rules. That’s typical of many Aussie Rules fans. I guess that’s because the sport itself suffers from extreme existential angst, brought on by its globally tiny player and fan base. There is nowhere else to go if Aussie Rules fades in Australia.

          All I am saying is that in an increasingly connected world, it’s hard to imagine a future for Aussie Rules that is better than its present. We may want to preserve Aussie Rules because it’s part of our cultural heritage, but preserving cultural heritage can be a real challenge.

          Finally, in terms of cultural division, the Barassi line is not hypothetical.

          • May 16th 2018 @ 12:22pm
            chris said | May 16th 2018 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

            I can see us playing Aussie Rules in a museum one day.

          • May 16th 2018 @ 2:39pm
            c said | May 16th 2018 @ 2:39pm | ! Report

            i think Aussie rules is currently going to China and then India

            • Roar Guru

              May 16th 2018 @ 3:30pm
              Cousin Claudio said | May 16th 2018 @ 3:30pm | ! Report

              Mate, AFLX, AFLY, AFLZ and AFLW have taken over the world already and people in China are just going crazy about it.

              After the fabulous exhibition game in China in front of 30 paying spectators, its generated hundreds of trillions of dollars in export trades to China.

              Everyone in China now eats Aussie beef Big Macs and drives a Holden ute.


              • May 16th 2018 @ 4:14pm
                Redondo said | May 16th 2018 @ 4:14pm | ! Report

                It’s only a matter of time before Chinese and Indian AFL fans start spamming the Roar Football tab

          • May 16th 2018 @ 3:04pm
            Joe B said | May 16th 2018 @ 3:04pm | ! Report

            Redondo, you really like to mention how big soccer, compared to aussie rules, is on a global scale. I mean you seriously bang on about it. How it is bigger than the rugby codes, gaelic football, hurling, netball, basketball, hockey, and I will presume every sport in the world. It must really irk you, that in a country that has 4 professional football competitions, of different football codes, going head to head, aussie rules and rugby league top soccer. And in NZ, rugby tops soccer. And in the US, american football tops soccer. But you go all ISIS and declare the infidels will perish. What a horrid world it would be, if all we had was soccer… seriously horrid… and you can apply that to any sport seeking world domination.

            • May 16th 2018 @ 3:30pm
              Redondo said | May 16th 2018 @ 3:30pm | ! Report

              Actually Joe, as far as I’m aware, Football is bigger globally than all those sports you mention. That obviously irks you.

              On the other hand, I’m not irked that professional Football in Australia lags any other code commercially. I was simply pondering the future of the other codes, given their narrow market and player base – globally, that is.

              And I was only pondering that in the context of John’s fine article, in which he described his experience as a Football-supporting child in a country that mostly regards Football with suspicion.

              I was simply hypothesising that in a globally-connected world, Football may well become more mainstream in Australia, and in future children won’t have the same experience as John.

              You, on the other hand, panicked and reached for the hyperbole.

              • May 16th 2018 @ 7:28pm
                Joe B said | May 16th 2018 @ 7:28pm | ! Report

                ? Everyone knows soccer is the biggest global sport, no one contests that… but you bang on about it. Your passive aggressive barbs at other codes are transparent. Why bother pondering the decline of a global presence when it doesn’t exist to begin with? You just can’t seem to get your head around the fact, that, despite the presence of soccer in this country for just as long as the other codes… the other football codes grew in popularity a lot more quickly. This irks you. That is hilarious.

              • May 16th 2018 @ 10:30pm
                Redondo said | May 16th 2018 @ 10:30pm | ! Report

                It doesn’t irk me – it fascinates me. What is particularly interesting today is the obvious decline of previously entrenched sports like the 2 Rugbies.

                As they decline a void opens up to the north of the Barassi line. It’s a race between Aussie Rules and Football to fill that void. I find that fascinating.

                Will Australia further retreat from the world in favour of a one-country sport, or, will it embrace a global game? I have no idea but the answer will certainly say a lot about Australia as a sporting nation.

                I’m a bit bemused that you think discussing bare facts is passive aggressive behaviour but that’s your problem, not mine.

            • Roar Guru

              May 16th 2018 @ 3:32pm
              Cousin Claudio said | May 16th 2018 @ 3:32pm | ! Report

              We mention it because its true, not a made up “fact” from the Victorian Rules marketing department.

              Its a fact.
              Accept it.

        • May 17th 2018 @ 10:12am
          Ian said | May 17th 2018 @ 10:12am | ! Report

          X – AFLW is free to attend. which football code had the first women’s comp? No doubt the Matildas annoy you too.

          In terms of northern states – The AFL does not care about the Brisbane Lions or the Gold Coast Suns. Queensland is dead to them and it irked the administration no end when the Lions won 3 titles in a row. It has paid that back in spades.
          AFL partakes in different endeavours for the sole purpose of spoiling the growth of other sports.
          AFLX is a perfect example. In fact even an AFL supporter on this forum wrote an article and mentioned the Gold Coast Suns were put in to spoil the growth of other codes……not for specific actual growth of AFL. AFL also purposefully acts against the growth of football (channel 7 and NSL coverage/world cup bid)

          AFL’s participation rates are not predicted to be above football. You know this.

          AFL has no cultural resonance for me. Just because AFL markets an ANZAC Day clash does not make you Australian. But fans like you continually bang on how your sport is “aussie”….you have nothing else to market on (knowing your sport came from gaelic football). AFL cannot conquer all of Australia and has no relevance at all anywhere else. It is not representative of Australia.

          It hurts for you to admit this.
          I remember that advertisement for AFL with persons representing other nations – a chinese person, an Italian, American cowboys/gridiron players – all amazed at AFL. Tapping into our psyche for international relevance – AFL used foreigners pretending to love the sport to sell it back to Australians.

          How sad..

          This article has no doubt given you food for thought about a few things but keep banging on AFL is culturally relevant because Melbourne designated, ridiculously, a public holiday for it.

      • May 16th 2018 @ 11:05am
        chris said | May 16th 2018 @ 11:05am | ! Report

        Redondo excellent comment. The dinosaurs that still push AFL and League front and centre are dying off as is their platform to push their agendas. If I hear one more word about Cameron Smiths “retirement” from rep football…
        Rep football consisting of SOO and a few games against NZ and England every few years is hardly worthy of the news coverage its been getting. Almost ranks on the same level on the cringe-o-meter as that most wonderful of 2 horse races, the SOO.

        • May 16th 2018 @ 11:18am
          i miss the force said | May 16th 2018 @ 11:18am | ! Report

          well Chris. your definition of a dinosaur is someone who supports a different football code than you? seems a strange definition? did you use dinosaur as a term because football is new? i dont think so

          Cameron Smith has played 42 games for QLD in the most watched TV event in australia annually. he has won 11 of the past 12 series. he is australian captain and played 40 odd games. its a big deal to a lot of people in the areas it is reported. i am sorry if it doesnt satisfy your interest

          we all enjoy different sports but to dismiss others as dinosaurs and irrelevant is just being snobbish and arrogant

          • May 16th 2018 @ 11:29am
            chris said | May 16th 2018 @ 11:29am | ! Report

            Take away the “code war’ hat for just a minute. Do you really think that someone retiring from “rep footy” is that big a deal? Yes he’s a good player no doubt about that.
            SOO is a 2 horse race that is being flogged to death.
            International football consists of England and NZ. NZ would be lucky to have more than 20k registered players.
            The msm is full of ex leaguies pumping up their own tyres and there is no denying that.

        • May 16th 2018 @ 11:20am
          Redondo said | May 16th 2018 @ 11:20am | ! Report

          Origin is another one of those cultural anomalies. As an outsider, I can understand the passion Origin evokes, but the sport itself leaves me cold.

          Modern Rugby League is ruined by the interchange rules and pragmatic, error-limiting tactics, which make the game even more one-dimensional than it inherently is.

          • May 16th 2018 @ 11:31am
            chris said | May 16th 2018 @ 11:31am | ! Report

            Whatever way you slice it, SOO is a 2 horse race. A lot of ppl in NSW and just about everyone in Qld believe that winning a SOO series is the pinnacle in sporting achievements and is actually hurting league more than helping.

            • May 16th 2018 @ 12:20pm
              Redondo said | May 16th 2018 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

              Which harks back to John’s article. That is, Australia makes Hall of Famers out of dominant figures in local minnow sports, and mostly ignores outstanding local figures in huge global sports.

              We like winners but this form of cultural cringe reaches embarrassing proportions in the case of league icons such as Cameron Smith.

              • May 16th 2018 @ 12:53pm
                chris said | May 16th 2018 @ 12:53pm | ! Report

                It really is something from a bygone era. I contacted them once pointing out their list could do with a little “freshening” up with some real global sports stars (basketball, football).
                The response was something like “Yes good points, we will look to update accordingly”
                That was around 5 years ago….

              • May 16th 2018 @ 2:53pm
                c said | May 16th 2018 @ 2:53pm | ! Report

                lol lol

              • May 24th 2018 @ 10:00am
                poles said | May 24th 2018 @ 10:00am | ! Report

                It’s so ’embarassing’ to appeal to a sport that interest the majority of its audience. It’s not Australia’s (or USA’s) fault we and they have other more interesting sports that has grown as organised as soccer is and is less of a snooze-fest to watch.

            • May 16th 2018 @ 2:09pm
              j binnie said | May 16th 2018 @ 2:09pm | ! Report

              Chris – Not many people are aware of the fact but SOO as you call it only exists because of an idea “stolen” from what others like to call British Association Football.
              In the early 80’s I was introduced to Senator Ron McAuliffe who wanted a question answered.
              The question,
              “How come Dennis Law and George Best play for Manchester United in England and yet play international football for Scotland and Ireland respectively.?
              (Senator McAulliffe admitted to being a fan of Sunday night football on TV)
              As you are probably aware the answer I gave to the Senator was relatively simple “They play for the country in which they were born’.
              Up to that time the inter-state RL series between Qld and NSW had been a financial disaster and it was not until the Senator had the rules changed so that players were picked according to their state of birth, that the SOO became the financial reality it is today.
              A man not afraid to look,ask, and to learn Cheers jb.

              • May 16th 2018 @ 2:40pm
                chris said | May 16th 2018 @ 2:40pm | ! Report

                nice story thanks JB

      • May 16th 2018 @ 1:01pm
        godragonsgo said | May 16th 2018 @ 1:01pm | ! Report

        The problem with this rant is that soccer people have been saying exactly this since the mid-seventies. The other codes are dying because of X,Y,Z. There junior numbers have hit “terminal” numbers. It is only a matter of time. We Australian’s called soccer the sleeping giant. The NSL was supposed to unlock the Sleeping giant. Then Australias World Cup Qualification. Then World Cup Qualification again. The the A-League. But guess what. Soccer is right back where it was in the mid-1970s. A forever it will stay. A game for kids until they grow up.

        • May 16th 2018 @ 1:09pm
          Aussie dave said | May 16th 2018 @ 1:09pm | ! Report

          Your wrong, the game has gone ahead in leaps and Bound’s, in the last 15 years.
          You just want to see it, it is obvious, being in Asia 4 WC qualified ect, it will take time.
          13 season of AL is nothing have a look after the 20 season of AL,
          It is only 20 years since I was at the MCG watching socceroos v Iran, to think what has happen in that 20 years.

        • May 16th 2018 @ 2:43pm
          chris said | May 16th 2018 @ 2:43pm | ! Report

          “But guess what. Soccer is right back where it was in the mid-1970s. A forever it will stay. A game for kids until they grow up.”
          So how do you explain soccer participation rates is the highest across all age groups?

          • May 16th 2018 @ 5:34pm
            fadida said | May 16th 2018 @ 5:34pm | ! Report

            He like a few others like to think that kids only play sockah because their patents didn’t want them getting hurt. When they grow up they’ll then all play sports that require courage levels only seen on the beaches of Turkey in WW1

            • May 17th 2018 @ 7:08am
              chris said | May 17th 2018 @ 7:08am | ! Report

              lol – very funny

        • May 17th 2018 @ 10:20am
          Ian said | May 17th 2018 @ 10:20am | ! Report


          I wonder why it is only certain men in Australia that peddle this.

          Men in other countries don’t share this belief.


          Of course because being as brave and tough as you are, you volunteered to join our armed forces …right?