The Roar
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Roar Guru
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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.

Roar Guru
Roar Guru

To the spoilers goes the Victory

Melbourne Victory’s fourth A-League title in Saturday’s grand final was achieved by a side that has done it the hard way, coming from fourth place to claim the championship, the first time a team from outside the top two has lifted the A-League trophy.

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

Which only proves you missed the point.

A message to the big leagues: Don't play until we all can

Beni, that’s a pretty ridiculous comment.

A message to the big leagues: Don't play until we all can

Forty Twenty
fair point, and it’s not like I DON’T want to see the NRL start, or all the other sports. But I don’t want to see sport operating in a bubble when the rest of society is still under restrictions. That’s the point I’m trying to make. I appreciate there is a financial aspect to this, and I don’t begrudge the NRL for trying to get back to playing. However, most health authority and medical experts are advocating the continuation of the current conditions for longer than June.

A message to the big leagues: Don't play until we all can

That isn’t scaremongering, it’s a real situation. If you can’t see the connection between that and watching NRL players smash into and lay all over each other, then with respect, you haven’t been watching the news.

A message to the big leagues: Don't play until we all can

Max Power
Atmosphere, pure and simple. It’s soulless.

A message to the big leagues: Don't play until we all can

Duncan

Cafe owners might not necessarily agree with you. As for “normal” circumstances, I get the point, but playing games in empty stadiums is not something that I personally will watch. I know many people will have a different viewpoint, but I’d rather games not go ahead until spectators can safely attend in some capacity at least. That was what the heading of the article was alluding to.

A message to the big leagues: Don't play until we all can

Greg, thanks for a really detailed response to the article. I’d have been shocked if everyone did agree with it!

A message to the big leagues: Don't play until we all can

Forrty Twenty, I must admit, I don’t understand what your comment is trying to convey. Why would my “instincts” be any different in June? That comment is based on the fact that people are being asked to stay home and avoid social contact for safety reasons. Yet NRL players will be required to do exactly the opposite if the competition resumes. If we are all still required to be doing this in June, my “instincts” will be the same. If by June, many of those restrictions have been lifted (and unfortunately, the prevailing wisdom of medical professionals suggests that it won’t be that early), then the idea of watching a collision sport might be more palatable.

A message to the big leagues: Don't play until we all can

Hi Nat
If my article suggested that the NRL were looking for “special treatment” I apologise for the inference. However, my concern is with the image that will be portrayed by blokes crashing into each other while the rest of us can’t even give our mum a hug. Sometimes the right message for sport to portray is to be the best reflection of society. These are difficult times for all.

A message to the big leagues: Don't play until we all can

Admiral, it was on the list but I realised most of the games I had there went to penalty shootouts!

Ten classic football flashbacks I’d love to see on TV

Brian
…and that game came a few days after one of Australia’s most famous victories – a 4-1 trouncing of the reigning world champions Argentina, complete with the Charlie Yankos “wonder goal.”

How the '80s made football my life

Middy, I watched the first two episodes last night on the recommendation of my partner (we are isolated from each other at the moment) Great show.

How the 1970s made me a football tragic

Kangas
I did play for Newcastle Austral – fantastic memories from those days, with every second weekend a road trip from Birmingham Gardens to Sydeny, Wollongong or Canberra.

How the 1970s made me a football tragic

Thank you for that, Natalie.

How the 1970s made me a football tragic

How do you get the Match of the Day theme as a ringtone?? Please educate me!

How the 1970s made me a football tragic

MarkfromCroydon, I was the same – I thought the FA Cup winners were the best team in England. It took an old coach of mine in the Under 15s to set me straight – he was a Scouser and while Liverpool kept winning the league, they hadn’t won the cup since 1974, so when I suggested that the cup winner was the champion side, he would gently remind me that to win the cup, you had to win 6 games – to win the league you had to be the best after 42 games (as it was then)

How the 1970s made me a football tragic

That was the game, 1979 final, Arsenal v Manchester United, and Man Utd scored in the 87th and 88th minutes to take the game to 2-2 before Alan Sunderland scored in the 90th minute to win it.

How the 1970s made me a football tragic

Can you name a higher one?

The code wars are here, so let's have at it

This is what works: fudging participation numbers to try and get AIS funding; paying local councils under the table to quarantine suburban grounds so only Aussie Rules can be played on them (even if there are no registered clubs in the LGA); assuming that AFLW was the invention of womens sport; sweeping widespread allegations of player misbehaviour under a carpet of obliging media until the carpet becomes too lumpy. Not sure I’d want to grovel at those feet.

The code wars are here, so let's have at it

The native game derived from Irish Gaelic?

The code wars are here, so let's have at it

Because Usain would have fixed everything.

The code wars are here, so let's have at it

The Eels sellout was the first event of any kind at the stadium. It received massive publicity and was always going to be full, whether tickets were sold or given away (I’m not suggesting there were loads of freebies, I don’t know) The next home game will most surely sell out, being the Sydney derby.

Six talking points from A-League Round 1