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The night old soccer came home

Last Saturday night in Sydney, Heartbeat of Football – a fundraising organisation founded and driven by well-known football identity Andy Paschalidis – hosted the first ever reunion of players, coaches and identities from the National Soccer League.

Pffft, kids these days…they’ll never experience the LSD-fuelled production values of H.R Puff’n Stuff…

What should football’s new Network Ten/Paramount+ commentary team look like?

He at least CALLED it football when the Ten/Paramount deal was announced, unlike the rest of the Project team who called it soccer.

What should football’s new Network Ten/Paramount+ commentary team look like?

Middy
Andy Pascalidis still knows his way around a commentary box better than most in this country.

What should football’s new Network Ten/Paramount+ commentary team look like?

Can someone let me know the 24 leagues that are better than the A League? And is it even relevant?

What should football’s new Network Ten/Paramount+ commentary team look like?

This would explain why Adelaide were awarded three incorrect penalties against the Mariners earlier in the season, being the “bigger” club…?

What should football’s new Network Ten/Paramount+ commentary team look like?

I googled Tony Palumbo just to see if he was still with us, and Wiki tells me he’s a capo for the Genovese crime family. Hire him as a consultant!

What should football’s new Network Ten/Paramount+ commentary team look like?

Duncan, that’s some serious long term planning.

Farewell Bobby Fulton, a childhood hero

Albo
Many years ago I read a book by legendary fitness trainer George Daldry. George was an old-school trainer and he used to do the conditioning work for a lot of the the rugby league clubs in the 70s and 80s. In the book, he said that Fulton was the fittest, strongest, most committed trainer and player of his generation.

Farewell Bobby Fulton, a childhood hero

AndyAdelaide, That is the most delusional analysis of the game I’ve read. But congrats on the victory!

VAR blunders produce yet another A-League comedy act

John, great to hear from you. Frank was a fantastic motivator and those cage sessions and the goalkeeping sessions with Fred Wall were as physical and as intense as any training I’ve done. YOU were a big part of that – training with you was another level, so all these years later, thank you for that.

Vale Frank Arok: A man ahead of his time

I’m not sure they were a “dominant force” but of course, the All Whites made the World Cup finals in 1982 at the expense of Australia, and they did beat the Socceroos twice in 1983.

Club Australia: Frank Arok's Socceroos of the '80s

JB, Yes, it was 1989 and that crucial game against Israel, which drew a record crowd to the Sydney Football Stadium (a record which was never bettered, no matter how the NRL try to spin it). I remember that players like Krncevic and Yankos had come back from Europe for the game, and were clearly not in tune with the match. It was an era where “some” players had gone to Europe but the squad was still largely home-based, which as you point out, did not gel with Frank’s Club Australia concept. Ironically, had ALL the players been based in Europe, as they were more than a decade later, the Club Australia would still have worked just as well.

Club Australia: Frank Arok's Socceroos of the '80s

Thanks Middy. They have sad lives when they must troll other sports. Best ignored.

Vale Frank Arok: A man ahead of his time

Tigertown, thank you very much for that. Frank, as you can gather, was a big part of my footballing career, along with many hundreds of players who were touched by his genius.

Vale Frank Arok: A man ahead of his time

Tigertown, The book’s proper title is Frank Arok; My Beloved Socceroos, and is written by Robert Lusetich.

Vale Frank Arok: A man ahead of his time

JB

Having now read the Appendix, the suggestions Frank made about the NSL are eye-opening:
– All NSL clubs should be franchised or licensed, thus providing financial stability
– The league must be stable, so there should not be any direct relegation or promotion
– The NSL should try to go professional in the next four years (including a set number of professional players at each club, say six within two years
-An apprenticeship scheme should be implemented at every club
– There should be no more than two foreign players in one club and they should be of first class pedigree

And this was written in 1990.

Vale Frank Arok: A man ahead of his time

jbinnie

I have the book next to me right now and will re-read that Appendix with a lot of interest.

Vale Frank Arok: A man ahead of his time

Loren

What fabulous memories of Frank. Thank you for sharing them. He was an iconoclast, the Frank Sinatra song “My Way” might well have been about him.

Vale Frank Arok: A man ahead of his time

Thanks Daniel, a great man I will never forget.

Vale Frank Arok: A man ahead of his time

Haha. No, definitely not!

Diego: A genius unbound

George Best was an absolute genius, no doubt about it. That he never got to perform at a World Cup finals is a complete shame.

Diego: A genius unbound

Ren
The two I was thinking of were Muhummad Ali and Pele, as Midfielder espoused in a comment below.

Diego: A genius unbound

I think making comparisons is unhelpful. The NSL was the highest level a player could attain in this country while it existed. It was not fully professional (no sport was until the late 90s), and to play in it, you had to make a lot of sacrifices. Training 3-4 times a week after already working a full-time job, having to arrange for time off if there was a midweek game to play, very often sorting out your own medical needs given that even a full-time physio was a luxury at some clubs…And yet the league produced some outstanding talent, without the advances in professionalism that a modern A League club provides. What it also had was a proper Youth League, not the farce of today. It existed in its own time and space and I think should be appreciated for pioneering the concept of national club competition. I am a rusted-on A League fan and have a team to follow, not something I had in the NSL. But I played in the NSL, with and against some of the finest players and greatest blokes I’ve rubbed shoulders with. It was a wonderful experience and honour. I think that, understandably, some of the great players of that era felt disrespected by the way their achievements were dismissed as “old soccer” in the early years of the A League. It was a slap in the face that NSL records were not even included in official statistics for at least the first half decade of the A League. That would be like saying Liverpool have never been English champions because they’ve yet to with the Premier League.

NSL dinosaurs need to ease off the contemporary Australian footballer

I wouldn’t necessarily agree that WC qualification is now a “walk in the park” compared to past campaigns. From 1985-2005, Socceroos qualification was ultimately dependent on one home-and-away play-off match. The opponent for that one match was a South American nation 4 times (including 1989 when the Socceroos didn’t make it to the final stage), a European nation once and an Asian nation once. Yes, that one tie was tough, but everything leading up to that was far less so, with only New Zealand and Israel providing a stern test from time to time. Qualifying through Asia is absolutely fairer but easier? I’m not so sure.

NSL dinosaurs need to ease off the contemporary Australian footballer

A really in-depth analysis which would have taken a helluva long time to compile. Great stuff.
However, I think the reasons that the league shifted to summer in 1990 still hold true today. Ground availability is one thing.Ensuring a quality surface is another, which would be extremely difficult if sharing a ground with rugby. There is also the issue of the already-crowded winter sports calendar, which would further limit the A League’s already minimal press coverage.

The A-League stadium situation: Part 2

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