Graham Arnold has called on Socceroos fans to fill AAMI Park for a key World Cup qualifier against Vietnam on January 27, as Australia set their sights on earning a direct berth for Qatar 2022.
The Australian men’s national football team played their first full international, a 3-1 loss, against New Zealand on June 17, 1922. On June 17 2021, our national team will celebrate its 100 year anniversary.
In that 100 years, we have had many ups and downs and a number of different kits have been worn by the many different players to reach the highest level.
In this centenary year, it would be great to both celebrate the history of the team and to also honour all of the players who have so proudly worn the kit of our nation.
To do so, I propose a couple of different ideas for our national team kit.
The kit used by the national team in our first match was a sky blue jersey, paired with white shorts and sky blue socks, with the socks bearing a maroon hoop.
It appears this kit was largely designed to accord with the wishes of the New South Wales and Queensland governing bodies at the time.
I propose that during the 12 months from June 17, 2021 to June 16, 2022, a replica of this kit should be used as our ‘away’ kit, however, with the exception that it is used as our ‘home’ kit in the very first match after the anniversary date.
Yes, it is a radical departure from the green and gold, and yes, it is somewhat focused on the New South Wales-Queensland connection with our history, but it would be right and fitting to have this kit used in our first match of this, our centenary year.
Aside from the use of a special set of colours, it would be important to celebrate and pay our respects to all of the players who have been talented enough and fortunate enough to have worn the playing strip of our nation.
I attended the Melbourne Victory Team of the Decade event back in 2015 and managed to enjoy myself to such an extent that I spent $2000 on one of the commemorative jerseys put up for sale on that night.
Whilst it may not have been a wise investment, it has certainly brought much joy and colour to my study and become a talking point for family, friends and clients over the years.
Some appreciate the Carlos Hernandez reference on the plaque within the frame, while some people have no idea of the name of the club, yet alone the name of a player that only plied his trade here for a few short years.
In any case, the interesting thing with these commemorative jerseys is that each of them contain the names of the 100 players who represented Victory during that decade, along with the names of the five managers who guided the club throughout the same period.
The 105 names, plus some additional text, are located on the front of the jersey, towards the bottom, and take up about a quarter of the front of the jersey.
The text is of a size that is easily legible and does not extend to the side panels or back of the jersey. The text, in fact, stops about 2-3 centimetres from the edge of the front adjacent each side panel.
I propose that in both the first home and first away matches after June 16, 2021, the jerseys used should be special commemorative jerseys, bearing all of the names of the players who played for the team in the 100 years up to June 16, 2021 (up to and including our World Cup qualifying match against Jordan).
As I write this on June 13, I have just looked up the Football Australia website and seen that Ruon Tongyik has become the 612th player to earn the honour of playing for the Socceroos.
Using the Melbourne Victory example as a guide, while it may be a bit of a squeeze, we could fit all of the players names on that jersey’s front and side panels, without having to extend to the rear panel.
If all players’ names were on the front panel or front and side panels only, this would also allow for Football Australia to frame and sell a number of these jerseys as a celebration of the 100-year anniversary, in addition to the ordinary retail sales they could make.
So, there you have it: my thoughts on what should be done with our kits in the upcoming year.
Roarers, I’d love to hear what you think of this and what other alternative kit ideas you think would be appropriate to celebrate this important anniversary.