SOCCER WORLD – 14th MAY 1971

Recently I came across a May 1971 copy of “Soccer World”, the encyclopedic weekly football newspaper. I don’t believe that in Australia there has ever been a football publication that compressed so much information into an eight page newspaper and so much credit is due to the late Andrew Dettre and his former Soccer World colleagues.

The paper published the six NSW Federation Division 1 match reports, as well as reports of the Division 2 and lower competition matches and their league tables. Results of second and third grade matches were included. There was also a page dedicated to overseas football as well as previews of the upcoming week’s Federation Division 1 games. The match reports provided player ratings ranging from 1 – 6. Scores of “6” were rare and those who scored a “2” would be assured of a dressing room ribbing from their colleagues.

This copy of Soccer World has enabled me to reproduce a little piece of NSW football history and here is my summary of the matches played on the 8th & 9th May 1971, completed with more than a little help from Soccer World.

Hakoah 4   –  Prague 2                    WENTWORTH PARK

Ray Baartz at a sparsely populated Wentworth Park

Joint leaders Hakoah beat Prague 4-2 at Wentworth Park, for many years, the spititual home of NSW Federation club football. Master striker Ray Baartz scored all four goals for Hakoah with an own goal and Jimmy Rooney providing the response from Prague. Soccer World correspondent, Lou Gautier reported that “the match was surprisingly rough” with Brazilian import Hilton Silva and Prague’s Geoff Harcombe being sent off. There were a number of internationals on the pitch along with Baartz and these included, Allan Marnoch, Johnny Watkiss, Dave Keddie, Willie Rutherford, Jimmy Rooney and Dave Zeman. Not to be forgotten was Hakoah’s former Scottish international goalkeeper and more than competent singer and entertainer, Frank Haffey. Such was the strength of the Hakoah squad at the time that Dennis Yaager, another international was left on the sideline. A small crowd of 1,485 was in attendance, many of whom would have enjoyed the half time Sargent’s meat pie, always a tasty offer at Wentworth Park. Parking was often difficult for patrons and the dog track annoying from a spectator viewpoint. Pitch quality was always a plus.

Marconi 1  –  South Sydney Croatia  1       BOSSLEY PARK

At Bossley Park (now Marconi Stadium) Marconi under nomadic coach Mick Jones, were held to a 1-1 draw by South Sydney Croatia. In 1971, Bossley Park was out in the sticks and if you had kids in the car as you were travelling endlessly along Polding Street Fairfield, they would be chanting “are we there yet?” The cheers of the football fans were often matched by the enthusiastic Bocce participants outside Club Marconi.

Col Curran (dark shorts) playing for NSW against Dynamo Moscow

The mustachioed Socceroo Ray Richards scored the opening goal for Marconi after only 2 minutes and his future national team colleague, Col Curran was “very lively in attack” for Marconi, as described by Soccer World writer Keith Gilmour. Mike Harris of South Sydney Croatia was foiled by two brilliant saves by Marconi goalkeeper Billy Rorke. The first from a header and then from a searing 35 metre strike. Harris was replaced in the second half by Frakes who nabbed the away team’s equalizer in the 68th minute. The ever reliable turnstile operators were on the money and a crowd of 2,000 was recorded – not one more, not one less. The imposingly framed Keith Lockrey was referee. South Sydney Croatia boasted Australian international goalkeeper Ron Corry in their line up together with the talented John Doyle, the future “Captain Socceroo”. Another international, Ernie Campbell the former APIA striker was in the home team line up. Parking was often problematic at Bossley Park and it was advisable not to upset the home fans by parking where you were not welcome. The on site Club Marconi was always a very convenient location for post match relaxation. 

South Coast United   2  –  APIA  1              WOONONA “OVAL”

Very few teams came away from Woonona with two points when facing South Coast United and APIA were no exception. As picturesque as the drive down the Bulli pass was, the reception in the compact South Coast home ground,

Stan Ackerley & George Keith on national team duty and my father

particularly from the British contingent, was always vocal and boisterous A crowd of 4,816 attended with Socceroo captain Peter Wilson and Max Tolson on display for the locals in a match described by Soccer World’s Peter Schumacher, as a “crowd pleaser”. South Coast United were dominant in the first half, causing many problems for Apia’s international full back pairing of Stan Ackerley and George Keith. South Coast took the lead through Max Tolson in the 19th minute and APIA equalized soon after through Brian Tristram. George Ramage in the home team goal then pulled off two superb saves from APIA’s Danny McKinnon, keeping the home team’s hopes alive. South Coast scored the winner 6 minutes from full time when Brian Harvey finished off a 30 metre run with a shot that gave goalkeeper Dave McQuire no chance in the APIA goal. Both custodians, McQuire and his opposite number George Ramage for South Coast United, had excellent games. For APIA, the brilliant 18 year old Terry Butler was outstanding, snaring a spot in the Soccer World “Team of the Week”. Frank Sbisa, well known as a Mascot furniture trader, as well as a football referee, officiated. The sporting club across the highway was always handy for post game refreshments but the trip back up the Bulli Pass was not quite so picturesque for the vanquished APIA outfit.

Western Suburbs  5  –  Auburn   3              DRUMMOYNE OVAL

The reason that I happened to have a copy of this Soccer World edition, has now become clear. Western Suburbs v Auburn at Drummoyne Oval and I was on the left wing for Western Suburbs. With neither club being notable crowd pullers, 1,083 spectators was not unexpected and the Drummoyne Oval grandstand (capacity 150) was less than half full. Wests had a strong line up touting former APIA colleagues, internationals Cliff van Blerk and Archie Blue as well as

Wests’ Brian Turner (airborne) at Drummoyne Oval

Brian Turner and Greg Byles, outstanding footballers, who both had fleeting international careers. I opened the scoring with a header after 8 minutes and though Auburn equalized soon after, I then scored a second. Dutchman Wim Spiekerman scored a double for us and despite Jack Simpson notching a hat trick for Auburn, Western Suburbs took the points. Auburn were coached by the much travelled Tommy Anderson, later a football writer. Auburn included the charismatic Scotsman Frank Malone in their line up and Frank Brady, brother of the Arsenal great, Liam Brady.  Soccer World reported that Frank Malone was said to have had a “great first half”. Referee was Neill Campbell and Drummoyne Oval was dry and very hard as usual. Wests’ veteran Scotsman George Kinnell, toasted the spoils of victory in the dressing room with a customary dram of scotch.

Ryde  1  –  Pan Hellenic  1                             E.S. MARKS FIELD

Joe Alalgich (7) at E.S.Marks Field

E.S. Marks Field was the setting for Ryde (formerly Yugal Ryde, formerly Yugal) playing Pan Hellenic. The ground was primarily an athletics field and those third graders arriving before midday for a Saturday fixture, risked being speared by errant javelins as they warmed up. A crowd of 6,667 attended (plus 250 on Scotsman’s Hill). Plenty of “action” in this game as reported by Soccer World editor Paul Dean. Future international and fish and chips cuisinier Ivo Rudic, played at the back for Ryde alongside reliable defender Jack Trkulja. The former Manly beach sprint champion Joe Alalgich lead the Ryde front line with Laurie Waters, a fan favourite and corner kick specialist. Pan Hellenic, coached by former national team coach Joe Vlasits took a 2-0 lead through Culledon and Clarke. Edwards pulled a goal back for Ryde but a third goal three minutes from full time sealed the match for the Greek sponsored side. Tony Maglis was in fine form in goal for Pan Hellenic earning a Soccer World “5” rating for his performance and selection in the paper’s “Team of the Week”. The win allowed Pan Hellenic to remain in fourth place on the table behind St. George, Hakoah and Wests.  E.S. Marks Field was not the best playing surface and the lack of a local relaxation venue a negative.

St. George  3  –  Canterbury Marrickville   0          HURSTVILLE OVAL

League leaders St. George hosted Canterbury Marrickville at Hurstville Oval in the final match of the round. St.  George fielded their regular line up, chock full of internationals and in front of a crowd of 2,580, dominated a goalless first half.

St. George 1970 – A champion side starts to take shape
Referee Tony Boskovic confronts an Iranian player as Max Tolson lays stunned (pic. Anton Cermak)

Canterbury goalkeeper Jim Fraser made several splendid saves to keep Canterbury in the match, defying his former St. George team mates on many occasions. Fraser was finally beaten by Australian star and leading goal scorer Attila Abonyi in the 56th minute. In the 67th minute, Jim Fraser could only parry another shot from Abonyi and the energetic Mike Denton lashed home the rebound from ten metres. Seven minutes from full time, Denton, the deadly St. George striker then scored his second goal from a chance created by Adrian Alston. The loss left Canterbury second from bottom of the league on three points and with four points still to be deducted for previous misdemeanors, the club’s position is perilous. The flamboyant Tony (“Mr. Adidas”) Boskovic officiated.

The total attendance for the weekend was 18,631, quite healthy considering the minimal media exposure. Looking through the line ups, spectators were blessed with the number of internationals playing in the local competition on suburban, easily accessible football grounds. This too, was just Sydney and club football nationwide was littered with represenative players, a situation that the current national competition would cherish.

With the demise of print media, there will never be another Soccer World and we are grateful that our wonderful football memories can live on thanks to the work of Andrew Dettre and co. at Soccer World.

David Jack   ©2023

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