David Jack is a football enthusiast, living in Sydney, Australia. His father, also David Jack was a respected football writer for 40 years both in the U.K. and Australia. David has been active in the finance industry for many years, plays guitar and is a big fan of 1960's music
David has just completed his first book, "In Search of the Great Australian Dream" - The Simple Guide To Home Loan Finance
David Ronald Jack, my father, was born on 6th June 1925 in Bolton, Lancashire. David was the only son of David Bone Nightingale (“DBN”) Jack and Kathleen Jack (nee McCormack). David was a sports writer, author and TV Presenter and he and his wife Rose had seven children during their lengthy marriage. David wrote primarily on Association Football for 40 years, split almost 50/50 between working in England and in Australia. David attended and reported on a number of FIFA World Cup tournaments including milestone achievements of Australia’s first ever World Cup Final’s appearance in 1974 as well as being present at Wembley Stadium on the occasion of England’s World Cup victory in July 1966.
The Jack name had been synonymous with British football for generations. In 1885, David Jack’s grandfather, Bob Jack was amongst the earliest Scottish professional footballers to infiltrate the predominantly amateur game as it was at that time, south of the Scottish border. Bob Jack played professionally for Bolton Wanderers and Preston North End and managed Plymouth Argyle for 29 years. Bob Jack had three sons, Rollo, Donald and David (hereafter referred to as DBN Jack), all professional footballers, although DBN Jack was the stand out.
The Jack family excelled in a number of sports, including tennis and Rollo Jack became a high ranking lawn bowls player. DBN Jack scored the first goal in an F.A. Cup Final at Wembley in 1923 and was twice transferred for what were then world record transfer fees. DBN Jack captained England on a number of occasions. DBN Jack’s signing by the legendary Arsenal manager, Herbert Chapman in 1928, was the catalyst for almost a decade of continued success for “The Gunners”. DBN Jack made the difficult conversion from a strict Scottish Presbyterian upbringing to Catholicism, to allow him to marry Roman Catholic Kathleen from Derry, Northern Ireland. DBN Jack scored the only (winning) goal for Bolton Wanderers in the 1926 F.A. Cup Final, just three years after scoring the very first cup final goal at the Empire Stadium, Wembley in 1923.
Having a father who captained England and two professional footballing uncles, it was inevitable that young David might himself look to earn a living playing football. David was a capable centre half (now known as a central defender) and played in the North Eastern Wearside league. His father considered that David might make a decent third division centre half but in those days, footballers’ wages were capped and David’s father, an English international, was only earning £8 weekly. Young David was encouraged by his father to get a “proper job” so he joined Barclays Bank. Admittedly, banking wages were no better than those of a third division footballing centre half, however behind the banking counter there was less chance of David sustaining a broken leg or knee cruciate ligament injury, so the prospect of long term employment was more secure in banking.
Although working as a London bank teller, David’s desire to earn a living from football was strong and in 1947 he applied for and was successful in securing a cadetship in journalism with the Sunday Empire News. Initially restricted to court reporting and mundane stories of garbage bin and cat theft, David’s break in sports journalism came in November 1947. Not yet considered for matches featuring high flying clubs such as Liverpool, Manchester United or Wolverhampton Wanderers, David’s first match report was an intriguing first round F.A. Cup match between non league club Vauxhall Motors and third division Walsall, with the car assembly specialists losing a close encounter 2-1.
In 1947, English football was a seasonal sport and when not engaged in football writing, David covered weightlifting, wrestling, tennis, cricket, speedway and whatever sport entertained post war Great Britain. With the advent of European football championships and England’s belated inclusion in World Cup football, David’s job took him further afield and he spent more time covering his primary sporting love, football locally and internationally
Leaving court reporting behind him and gaining confidence as a writer, David ghosted footballer Len Shackleton’s book “The Clown Prince of Soccer” (Nicholas Kaye Limited 1955). The subject Len Shackleton, was possibly the original “maverick” footballer, long before the term was ascribed to players such as Rodney Marsh, Frank Worthington, Paul Gascoigne and the like. A controversial footballer, Shackleton only played a handful of times for England but was famous for his party tricks, including playing one two’s off corner flags and sitting on the ball in the penalty area during a game, pretending to comb his hair. The book sold well and to this day is still best known for Chapter 9, “The Average Director’s Knowledge of Football” – The chapter was blank.
Nearly ten years into his journalism career, David was a reputable and respected football writer. In 1956 however, his reputation risked coming unstuck, the result of a damning but what he considered, honest report of a First Division match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Birmingham City. Both clubs were unhappy with the report and consequently banned David from press box and directors box facilities at their respective grounds. The banning of a journalist became a “cause celebre” and the matter was discussed at length on BBC television. David reported the next match from the terraces and Wolves and Birmingham eventually reinstated his press access, but not before legal action was threatened by both sides.
In 1957, David ghosted another book, “My Story” (Souvenir Press 1957) Manchester United manager Matt Busby’s autobiography. Although first published in 1957, David revised the book 12 months later, adding another chapter, after the plane crash at Munich the following year, in which eight Manchester United players and eight journalists were killed. Ironically and sadly, the review (below) of “My Story” had been written by the esteemed Manchester based journalist, Donny Davies (“An Old International”) who died in the Munich crash.
It was just good fortune that David was not on board that fateful BEA aeroplane that crashed in Germany on 6th February 1958. David had travelled to Dublin in September 1957 to cover the European Cup preliminary round match between Manchester United against Shamrock Rovers. When United had progressed to the quarter finals of the European Cup and a match up with Red Star Belgrade, David expected to travel to Belgrade to cover this clash. David’s editor however, asked him to travel to Stockholm instead, to cover the 1958 FIFA World Cup draw, scheduled for 11th February 1958. The eight journalists who died on board the flight at Munich, returning to England from Belgrade, were all grouped together at the rear of the plane. There was every chance that at the age of four, I could have lost my father, had he travelled to Belgrade.
This was a very difficult time in David’s life. Those journalists who perished at Munich were his friends as well as being colleagues. Two weeks earlier, David’s mother Kathleen died followed as did his father, later in 1958. After the Munich crash, David was posted permanently by his newspaper, to the North West of England. David’s transfer was to help fill the void caused by the Munich journalists’ deaths. David and Rose purchased a house in what is now a prized piece of real estate in Wilmslow, Cheshire.
David continued to write biographies and next up was “Finney on Football” ( Nicholas Kaye Limited 1958) the story of Tom Finney, one of England’s greatest ever footballers and then “Right Inside Soccer” (Nicholas as Kaye Limited 1960) the musings of Burnley FC Irish inside right, Jimmy McIlroy, coinciding with Burnley’s winning the English First Division. To avoid being typecast as a football writer, David had also written the autobiography of Bill Ferguson (Nicholas Kaye Limited 1957). Ferguson was the official scorer of the Australian cricket team and had travelled with all the famous Australian cricketers, Bradman included, in the first half of the 20th century. David donated all proceeds of this book to Bill Ferguson’ wife who was widowed soon after the book was published. The foreword to the book was written by Australian Prime Minister R G Menzies.
Seeking a new challenge, in 1965, Dad decided that he and my mother would buy a newsagency at Thornton Cleveleys near Blackpool. David continued to write on football and in 1965 was elected Chairman of the Football Writers’ Association (“FWA”) – the first freelance writer to be appointed to that position. As sitting chairman of the FWA, David had the honour of presenting Bobby Charlton with his Footballer of the Year award in 1966, the year of the nation’s biggest ever footballing triumph, the winning of the FIFA World Cup.
Like a typical journalist, David was always looking for “the big story”. He thought that he had this in 1966 when contacted by a former Scottish footballer, Jimmy Gauld, the ringleader of the British football betting scandal of the 1960’s. Gauld, who was serving four years jail at the time, had incriminated himself by selling his serialized story to the Sunday People for £7,000 in 1964. Not satisfied with The Sunday People articles, Gauld asked David to write a book with the whole story! Many letters were exchanged between Gauld and David and I still recall travelling with Dad to Wakefield as a 12 year old, where I dutifully waited outside the prison in the car, for what seemed hours. Ultimately, the book did not eventuate but dad received many letters from Gauld sent from prison, often covertly, which provide very interesting reading.
By 1966, tired of getting up daily at 5.00 a.m. to take delivery of the morning newspapers and filling in for absentee paper boys in the snow and rain, David decided that the family would emigrate to Australia. In February 1967, David and his family embarked from Southampton on the Chandris Lines ship “S.S. Australis”. The total cost under the assisted passage scheme was just £20 and motivation for this significant life change, was the promise of sunshine and the suggestion that the warmer climate might assist my brother Paul’s asthma. Also, a former journalist colleague of Dad’s, Tony Horstead (“Hotspur”) was living in Sydney and writing football for the Daily Mirror. Tony sponsored our trip and found us temporary accommodation at Manly outside the delightful former St. Patrick’s College, a Catholic Church seminary. Waking to an expansive view over the Pacific Ocean and the blue sky above, was worlds away from looking out to a drizzly cold morning in Thornton Cleveleys, Lancashire.
Setting off from England in 1967, David had no employment guarantee but still nine mouths to feed. Upon arriving in Australia, David had to prove his worth as a journalist, which he achieved by writing a series of articles for Pix magazine. One in particular on Australian jockey Mel Schumacher, caught the notice of the industry and as the Sydney Sun did not have a full time “soccer writer” (to use the preferred Australian vernacular), David was offered a permanent job in April 1967 with that newspaper. Recognizing that a football environment did exist down under, David soon became an important part of Australian football. Having been used to receiving as much column space as was needed in the United Kingdom, David was often frustrated by the lack of paragraphs allocated here, to what was a minor sport at the professional level. His pleas to his sports’ editors often fell on deaf ears but he continued to try to grow the visibility of Australian football encouraging his employer to support football at the grass roots level.
David was convinced that the way forward for Australian soccer was to attract the non committed fans of the rugby codes and Aussie Rules and to entice Australians and the latent British football fans down under, to watch local soccer. David wanted to have club names changed to clearly identify with a local district rather than having a connection to a European nation. David felt that this was the only way to appeal to the greater population. Though this would be frowned upon today, David’s forceful writings on this subject were not motivated by racial bias but a burning desire to make the whole nation embrace soccer in this country. David had a very good association with the clubs, officials and supporters of those clubs sponsored and supported by post World War II immigrants and he wanted to retain the support of these groups but supplement them with disenchanted rugby and Aussie Rules followers.
David was never afraid to speak his mind – his experience in the Wolves v Birmingham match attests to this and soon after starting with The Sun newspaper, he had a falling out with his long time friend, Matt Busby. Manchester United played a Sydney XI here in June 1967 and Ron Giles, formerly of South Sydney Croatia, suffered a broken jaw after an off the ball scuffle with United’s livewire, striker Denis Law. David reported Law’s “involvement” in the incident, upsetting Busby, the respected Scottish born manager, who would have preferred the incident to be hushed up. To his credit, Busby, a man of integrity, apologized to David, soon after.
Australia’s qualification for the 1974 FIFA World Cup brought widespread optimism for the future of the game and the media started to provide more coverage of Australian soccer. As a result, David was asked to host a soccer segment on Sunday mornings on Channel 7’s Sports Action which later became Sports World, chaired by former rugby league and union international, the bombastic Rex Mossop. The weekly appearance was far from lucrative for David, although I do remember the family being well stocked with “delicious hams from Meapro” and numerous bottles of Patra orange juice. The Sports World exercise ceased after Rex abused David for allowing Socceroo Atilla Abonyi to wear the wrong brand of tracksuit on the show (Rex had a deal with an alternative sportwear provider). Aside from insisting Abonyi strip down to his underwear, there was not much that David could do, prior to going to air. He subsequently resigned from Sports World. Rex asked David to reconsider, however the peace was short lived and some time later, when Rex Mossop abused one of David’s guests for being 90 seconds over time, David again resigned, never to return. The tardy guest just happened to be the well known football identity and businessman, Frank Lowy.
David travelled to the 1974 World Cup Finals in West Germany and by this time, he was happy with his lot in Australia and never contemplated returning to the UK. David’s trademark pipe was familiar with the local football fraternity and David continued to be outspoken about the local game and he received more than one threat of legal action from Sir Arthur George, chairman of the Australian Soccer Federation at the time. David founded the Australian Soccer Weekly and Soccer Monthly News and sought interest from local publishers for writing a number of books, including the Australian coach, Rale Rasic’s life story. Australian football unfortunately had still not captivated the population sufficiently to attract publishers to Australian football or its’ characters. David did collaborate with Andrew Clues, a UK ex patriot coach in the writing of “Soccer for Coaches & Players” (Australia & New Zealand Book Company 1977). Clues had high hopes for the book, however to this day it remains a “collector’s item”
Until his dying day, David strongly advocated that Australia should not play football in summer and the matter was once debated on SBS television. The former SBS presenter Les Murray and one time Australian coach Eddie Thompson argued in favour of playing in summer. Now, however, whenever watching a local A League game and the heat results in players taking mid half drinks breaks, I think of Dad and say to myself “You were right”! David lived most of his Australian life on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, notably Fairlight and Harbord. David spent many hours on Freshwater Beach, caked in Coppertone sun tan lotion, listening to his adopted country playing cricket against the country of his birth, on his National Panasonic transistor radio (yes, in the brown leather case). He continued to play tennis regularly on the court at their Harbord home. David often promised an appearance from Ivan Lendl, apparently a friend of the then Sun newspaper photographer, Anton Cermak. Lendl never fronted so we had to make do with a less than talented tennis player in Socceroos coach, Rudi Gutendorf.
As one might expect of a journalist, David had an extensive vocabulary. This came to the fore when playing family Lexicon card games. On numerous occasions, David would come up with what we would think were the most unlikely of words, only for him to be proved correct when a challenge was lodged. We think that he wrote the dictionary being referenced !
David married Rose Costelloe in December 1950. Rose came from the seaside town of Ballybunion, County Kerry and she and David had seven children. From their wedding day onwards, Rose understood very well the ramifications of marrying into a committed professional sporting family. The wedding ceremony had to be at 11.00 a.m. as her father in law, DBN Jack was then manager of Middlesborough F.C. who were kicking off at White Hart Lane at 3.00 p.m. against Tottenham Hotspurs. The wedding was specifically arranged for that day, to coincide with Middlesborough playing in London.
A competent piano player and armed services cornet player, David loved his music, especially Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jnr. and Peggy Lee. He had played cornet in the RAF band at Aldershot during World War II and family photo albums indicate that cornet playing appeared to be David’s pre eminent contribution to the war effort. David however always insisted that he “kept the Sunderland (UK) skies clear of The Hun”. David had a very dry sense of humour, garnered from the British comedy greats of the 1950’s and 1960’s – Spike Milligan, The Goon Show, Tony Hancock, Sid James and of course the silliness of Benny Hill.
David was always calm and thoughtful and loved all of his children equally and they loved him similarly in return. David Jack retired from sports journalism in 1988 and he and Rose moved down to Sussex Inlet on the NSW south coast. David continued to write for the local Probus club. He even started to march on ANZAC Day, perhaps reminiscing about his Royal Air Force days when he could produce some beautiful sounds on his RAF cornet.
Surprisingly, despite David’s substantial 20 year contribution to football in Australia, he has never been inducted into the local Football Hall of Fame.
David Ronald Jack died on 1st June 1990 at the age of 64.
Rest in peace Dad.
P.S. All of David’s published books are still selling consistently.
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
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.
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,
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
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
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.
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.
Property ownership and the means of financing a property purchase are ever present in the minds of most Australians, “The Great Australian Dream”.
My book provides an easy guide to home loan financing, from deciding where you might purchase a property through to settlement of both your home loan and the property purchase. There is information on all aspects of home loan finance and the book explains so many aspects of a home loan, which can often be confusing for the novice home loan borrower. There are also numerous hints in the book to help the home loan borrowers save thousands of dollars over the loan term.
The early chapters provide hints on accumulating savings, where you might source your home loan from and preparing to make an offer on a property. This is followed by information on costs involved in purchasing a property and taking out a home loan and documents that would be required to approach a lender.
The types of home loans and repayments then are detailed together with information on features such as an offset account, redraw facility and a fixed interest rate lock. A chapter noting the time frame between loan approval and property settlement, allows the reader to understand at what stage they should be, week by week as settlement of the property purchase approaches.
Post settlement, there is then a chapter explaining how a borrower can speed up repayment of their home loan and also provides hints on managing the home loan after settlement.
The book ends with a glossary of common terms, explanation of different types of property title and information on contacting the relevant land titles offices in each Australian state and territory.
I hope that the reader finds my book helpful, educational and allows them to comfortably negotiate what can be a tricky pathway to purchasing a residential property.
MICK JONES – THE UPS AND DOWNS OF A PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL COACH.
In early 1969, Michael Aloysius (“Mick”) Jones arrived in Australia as a ” Ten Pound Pom” on the S.S. Canberra with his wife June, daughter Daryl Ann (10) and son Ricci (12), to take up a coaching position with Pan Hellenic in Sydney. At the time, Jones, with his English Football Association full coaching certificate, was one of the most credentialled football coaches to have worked in this country. Jones was a dapper, handsome, Yorkshireman with a thick north country accent and hair that was always immaculately coiffured, even when sitting on the sidelines of the most windswept of football grounds. Mick Jones fell in love with Australia and he was to spend the best part of 50 years in his adopted country until he passed away in March 2021.
The late Scottish football manager, Tommy Docherty famously quipped that he, Docherty, had had “more clubs than Jack Nicklaus”. By the end of Mick Jones’s coaching career however, “The Doc” may have needed to share that dubious honour with the erudite Yorkshireman. Docherty found many ways to end his employment, including having an affair with the wife of the physiotherapist at Manchester United and severely abusing a referee while on an end of season tour of the Caribbean with Chelsea.
No such indiscretions cost Mick Jones his coaching jobs but despite successful stints with a number of clubs, standing up for his football principles was often the Jones “crime”. These principles, which included promoting young local born players over imported footballing journeymen and denying selection interference from club committee members, did not always sit well within the boardrooms of Australian football clubs, where professionalism often gave way to cronyism. Coincidentally, both Mick Jones and Tommy Docherty included coaching Pan Hellenic (later Sydney Olympic) in their extensive coaching resumés and Mick Jones briefly served as an assistant to the exuberant Scotsman at Rotherham United in 1967.
Born on 20th October 1935 in Doncaster, Yorkshire, Mick Jones grew up surrounded by professional football clubs. Aside from his home town club, Doncaster Rovers, there was Rotherham United, the Sheffield clubs, Wednesday and United and Michael Parkinson’s beloved Barnsley only half an hour’s drive from his Doncaster home. A little further north you could find Leeds United, Huddersfield and the two Bradford Clubs and Scunthorpe United was not too far away. Being immersed in a football environment, it is not surprising that Jones should pursue a career in football.
Upon leaving school and before turning his full attention to football, Mick worked in the Bentley and Conisbrough coal mines where the threat of accident and injury were ever present. He later found less risky employment working for an insurance company before chasing his love of football. At school Mick was a talented footballer, being picked at the age of 16 to play for Yorkshire boys and subsequently being selected to trial for England schoolboys. Jones was offered and turned down an apprenticeship with Derby County, preferring to join the ground staff at Doncaster Rovers.
At the age of 18 Mick was conscripted into the army to carry out national service. Unfortunately, Jones contracted rheumatic fever whilst enlisted and he was forced to leave the army. The prognosis was not good and the combined effect of the rheumatic fever and a serious knee injury suffered on an icy football pitch, brought Jones’s promising football career to an early end.
Mick Jones was determined to forge a career in football and he took up refereeing, gaining a senior certificate at the age of 20 before turning his attention to coaching. In 1960, aged 25, Jones obtained his Football Association (“F.A.”) preliminary coaching certificate, advancing to his full badge in 1963 at Loughborough College. Among those graduating in Jones’s coaching group was the future Chelsea, Queens Park Rangers and Manchester United manager, Dave Sexton.
Keen to put his newly acquired coaching skills to practical use, Mick Jones was appointed trainer / coach of International Harvesters, a works team in the Doncaster senior league. Jones then coached Frickley Colliery in the Cheshire League Division 1, with whom he won two successive championships. In March 1966, Jones was appointed manager of Bridlington Trinity in the premier Yorkshire League competition. Again, Jones was successful winning the championship with Trinity in both seasons under his tenure, as well as taking out two cup competitions over that period.
For those not familiar with post war Australian club football, Pan Hellenic, were the best supported club in the NSW Soccer Federation with fanatical, but at times, tempestuous supporters. Pan Hellenic were keen to have Jones get on the boat as soon as possible and within weeks of arriving in Sydney, he guided the Greek sponsored club to the final of the 1969 Ampol Cup. Mick Jones’s Australian honeymoon however came to an abrupt end only two months later. Pan Hellenic’s supporters were impatient for success and when committee members sought to influence Jones’s team selection and there were rumblings of players being trained too hard, Jones and Pan Hellenic parted company.
It is difficult at any time to lose one’s job, but having uprooted his family and travelled half way around the world to suffer this ignominy, was particularly challenging for Mick Jones. As much as there is always employment uncertainty in being a football coach, there are always opportunities and almost immediately, another migrant supported NSW Division 1 club, Yugal – Ryde hired Jones. At the time Yugal were languishing a distant last in the competition however Jones was able to perform a great Houdini act, allowing the club to stave off relegation. This was achieved despite Yugal having lost star Yugoslav import Roko Ille, who was suspended for 12 months after having kicked the flamboyant, Croatian born referee Tony Boskovic.
Yugal – Ryde were keen to renew Jones’s contract at the end of the 1969 season but he was snapped up by Hakoah Eastern Suburbs, also playing in the top level of New South Wales football. For Jones, the Hakoah job was a plum appointment as the Jewish backed club counted numerous Australian internationals in their squad, including Ray Baartz, Peter Fuzes, Willie Rutherford, Dennis Yaager, Danny Walsh and former national team captain Alan Marnoch.
In 1970 under Mick Jones, Hakoah set a blistering pace at the top the NSW Federation Division 1 scoring 27 goals in their first five matches. Hakoah ultimately topped the table winning the minor premiership and were firm favourites to do the double by taking out the Grand Final. To the surprise of most, Hakoah stumbled at the last hurdle and a humiliating 6-3 loss to South Sydney Croatia saw them eliminated from Grand Final contention. Nevertheless, Mick Jones had enjoyed a very successful season and a new contract with Hakoah seemed a formality.
To Jones’s and most observer’s amazement, Hakoah declined to offer Jones a new contract. Undaunted and growing accustomed to adversity, Jones continued to work as Assistant Coaching Director for the NSW Federation and in 1972, he took control of second division Manly Warringah. In his first season, Jones missed out by one point in securing promotion for the Seasiders. He followed this up the following year having a similar outcome with Melita Eagles, just failing by a slender points margin to gain promotion for that club.
In 1974 Jones took over coaching Granville in the NSW Federation second division and in his first season in charge, Granville won promotion to the first division. The club was surprised by the immediate success of the team and many officials openly admitted that they didn’t really want promotion at that stage. Whether this was a factor or not, Granville did not retain Jones’s services despite the Magpies having topped the table. Now, disillusioned by the uncertainty of continued coaching in Sydney, Mick Jones moved to Perth briefly, didn’t settle there and returned to England to again coach his former club, Bridlington Trinity and assist at Doncaster Rovers..
The sunshine and Sydney’s northern beaches drew Jones back to Australia for good in September 1977 and he was appointed coach of Ku-ring-gai in the NSW Federation Division 2 for the 1978 season. Yet again, Jones was immediately successful, with Kur-ing-gai topping the league and the club being promoted to the first division.
Always chasing new horizons, Mick Jones was signed by State League Division 1 club Toongabbie (to become Blacktown City) for the 1979 season. The club finished a creditable fourth in Jones’s first year and then Blacktown City were unexpectedly promoted to the Phillips (National) Soccer League at the expense of Sydney Olympic. Given little chance of survival, the national league newcomers under Jones, held their own with the 42 year old former Manchester United star Bobby Charlton making one guest appearance for Blacktown, contributing a goal in a 4-2 win against St. George.
The 1980 season concluded and Blacktown City’s committee advised Jones that they did not want a full time coach in 1981. They also notified Jones that they wished to have a say in the recruitment of players for the upcoming season. Unable to accept these terms, Jones once more packed his bags and signed with Manly Warringah for a second stint. During this period with Manly, the club hosted an exhibition match against the local Dee Why side, who included another former Manchester United superstar, 37 year old George Best, in their line up.
Jones remained at Manly until the close of the 1983 season and in 1984 he received an S.O.S. from National Soccer League club Sydney Croatia, following the sacking of Attila Abonyi, Croatia’s then coach. The challenge that Jones was to face at Croatia was exemplified by club president Tony Topic’s comment following the dismissal of Abonyi. Topic was quoted as saying that “Abonyi may have been a Yugoslav by birth (he was actually Hungarian) but he was not Croatian”. How then would an Englishman cope at a Croatian sponsored club? Jones’s second match in charge of Croatia saw their first win under his tutelage and president Topic jubilantly said after the game “I always knew English coaches were the best in the world”. The following week Mick Jones resigned as Sydney Croatia coach after beer bottles were hurled at him and his car tyres slashed by disgruntled club “supporters”. Is it any wonder that Jones was just one of six different coaches engaged by Sydney Croatia in the 1984 season?
Mick Jones made a triumphant return to (Parramatta) Melita Eagles in 1985, guiding the club to a 4-0 victory over Fairy Meadow in Melita’s first ever Grand Final success. Jones announced that he would be retiring from coaching after the Grand Final and inspired by two goals from the prolific goalscorer Barry Walker and one each from John Davies and Peter Hensman, Melita gave Mick Jones a deserving send off after a most eventful sixteen year, ten club Australian coaching career.
Mick Jones left the game quietly to enjoy retirement on his beloved Sydney northern beaches. He loved music and was a more than competent keyboard player and singer. As a football coach, Jones was not one to engage in histrionics nor melodrama or seek publicity. Among the very early ” tracksuit” managers, Mick Jones knew coaching, he knew football and he would never compromise his footballing principles. Jones enjoyed coaching success with many clubs both in Australia and England and will be remembered fondly by the football community. Mick Jones gained the respect of his players from the respect that he gave them and the manner in which he treated them. A footballer can ask for no more from their mentor.
In recent years I was fortunate to be able to chat with Mick and we both lamented the changes that modern football has brought, each of us longing for the return of “the good old days”. We both acknowledged though, that like the Yorkshire collieries, football as we knew it no longer existed but at least we still had wonderful memories of the Bobby Charltons and the George Bests – not as 42 year old or 37 year old football has beens on the superannuation circuit, but as enduring examples of the best that the our football has to offer.
With another grassroots football season almost upon us, participation rates in Australian football for female and male players continue to increase. Not only are the numbers growing in the traditional winter season but so many now enrol in summer football competitions from under 6’s through to football’s elder statesmen and women of more senior years. With so many playing “Association Football” you would expect the game’s popularity to translate into expanding the profile and awareness of the game at elite club (A League & W League) and national level. Sadly, this is not the case and in more than fifty years of following Australian football, I dont believe that I have witnessed such a lack of interest or so much apathy towards our game from the general public.
Obviously, the impact of Covid 19 has affected the effective functioning and fluidity of the A League and W League and postponement of the men’s World Cup qualifiers has created a drop off in interest in the national team but even pre pandemic, the attention and interest of the Australian population in our football was diminishing. The reasons for this are many, not the least being the harmful and often embarassing invasion of the Video Assistant Referee (“VAR”) on the game. Remarkably, this has only drawn an indifferent response from Football Australia – “nothing to see here?”
Thriving elite competitions would help boost the game’s image and visibility but despite some commentators assertions that we are seeing a better standard of football this season, I am not convinced. Long after Hyundai drove off into the sunset, the A League still has no naming sponsor, attendances continue to decline and TV ratings are struggling. Clearly, the A League, our elite male competition cannot curently be the knight in shining armour that would rebuild interest in Australian football.
In 2005 with the formation of the A League, traditional clubs such as South Melbourne Hellas, Marconi, Melbourne Knights (formerly Croatia) and Apia Leichhardt were cut adrift from the top tier competition with no opportunity to prove their worth on the playing pitch. Not only was there a disconnect with the senior players who were denied the opportunity to compete, but critically junior players and their parents in these clubs and their surrounding associations, were deprived of the chance to support their senior team in the premier men’s football league in the country.
How many grassroots players and their families have lost interest in supporting their local team and football in general, because the team cannot be a part of the elite national competition? Promotion and relegation between all tiers of our football must be incorporated as soon as is practical or the A League will disappear like the former National Soccer League (“NSL”) onto the Australian football scrapheap.
Over the years, “marquee” / overseas guest players have lifted crowds and recognition of Australian football. Our game needs quality star players but with current Covid 19 travel restrictions and the dire financial position of many A League clubs, it is doubtful that we will see any foreign superstars gracing our football pitches for some time to come. The benefit of guest players has been questionable at times but many such as Takis Loukanidis, George Best, Kevin Keegan and in the A League’s short history, Dwight Yorke, Shinji Ono and Alessandro Del Piero have sparked the local game and made more Australians aware that we too play the “World Game”.
Particularly post World War ll, Australian football managed to retain a profile with visits from overseas clubs. The 1960’s especially, saw English clubs Everton, Chelsea and then reigning Division 1 champions Manchester United tour as well as AS Roma and a Scottish international team that included Sir Alex Ferguson in its’ playing ranks. Brazil’s Santos arrived in 1972 with an ageing Pele and in 1979, few will forget the match between Australia and “Kaiser” Franz Beckenbauer’s New York Cosmos at an overflowing Sydney Showground. Although the touring teams often outplayed their local opponents, the games were always competitive, well attended and media attention and exposure were guaranteed.
In recent years we have been visited by English Premier League giants, Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool but these visits now coincide with the Australian off season, where the rusty, under prepared local A League opposition is usually cannon fodder for the tourists. The matches draw big crowds but the football has become secondary to merchandising and the promotion of these wealthy overseas football clubs. The crowds at these fixtures include many “Eurosnobs”, fervent fans of the touring team but generally not interested in supporting the local game consistently.
I consider that the foremost reason for the drop off in interest in Australian football is that we very rarely get to see our male international players in Australia. The retirement of Socceroos stalwarts Tim Cahill and Mile Jedinak in the last couple of years has not helped but the Australian national team has lost it’s identity. Even during the pandemic, Australian sports fans have been able to watch the best we have to offer, whether it be cricketers, rugby or tennis players but not our footballers. Of course, Covid 19 has made it virtually impossible for our overseas players to return but even pre Covid, we rarely got to watch our international stars. Understandably, scores of Australian players seek the perceived glamour and recognition of playing in Europe but before local players were lured overseas by dubious promises and petrodollars, it was possible to travel to Wentworth Park in Sydney, or Olympic Park in Melbourne and watch the best Australian players turn out for their club teams. Peter Wilson, Adrian Alston, Jimmy Mackay, Billy Vojtek, Johnny Warren and the rest were on show every week and even non football fans could be tempted to catch a bus to a modest suburban Hurstville Oval in Sydney in 1971 to watch a St. George team littered with Socceroos.
The country’s international stars were real, visible and on show every week – not Scotsmen who had never set foot in Australia and were playing on the other side of the world. Today, the neutral onlooker would not know Martin Boyle or Harry Souttar from a boiled haggis. In contrast, 1974 World Cup squad member Ray Richards, who played all his senior club football locally, would have been familiar to all Australian sports fans, if not for his drooping moustache and London accent then for his incredibly long throw in ability.
Most of our current international players are out of sight and as a result, out of mind. Australia no longer plays “friendly” international fixtures or if they do, they will be played at Craven Cottage, Fulham’s home ground in London. Try tapping your Opal card to get to Craven Cottage ! Local fans deserve the chance to see the Socceroos and the Matildas compete regularly against other national teams. Australia had memorable friendly international victories over Greece in 1969 and Uruguay in 1974 both at the Sydney Cricket Ground. These results lifted the profile of Australian football and many non believers started to show an interest in what Australian football could achieve.
Improving neighbouring Asian nations such as Thailand and Vietnam would provide stern opposition for the Socceroos as well as the Asian powerhouses, Japan, South Korea, and Iran. Aside from World Cup or Asian Cup qualifying matches, we don’t play these countries. Why don’t we invite New Zealand here to play a full international? Rugby union and rugby league can manage it and although I understand that many players may not be released from overseas clubs, why not reward the best local players with caps and make the overseas incumbents fight for their positions?
I acknowledge that Covid 19 has made international fixtures almost impossible but internationals in Australia outside of cup matches, have been non existent for many years not just for the last twelve months. The national governing body, Football Australia needs to show some initiative and put the Socceroos and Matildas, (even under strength if necessary) on local display consistently and make Aaron Mooy, Mat Ryan and maybe even Harry Souttar, household names. This will help lift the profile of Australian football and get office workers again talking about our football over their morning coffee.
Awareness of Australian football has also dropped off as broadcast operators promote a number of rival sports that do attract higher ratings and crowds. It has always been difficult to obtain media coverage of Australian football and over the last twelve months, a reluctant Foxtel has signalled that its’ affection lies with other sports. Print and digital media editors have picked up on the game’s deteriorating profile and are loath to promote and support what appears to be a sinking ship.
Australian football will never die. It is to be hoped that our hosting of the 2023 Women’s World Cup will give the game a desperately needed injection of interest and remind the population that we can have a viable local competition and also competitive international teams, both female and male. The huge groundswell of those playing the game will always prop up our football but the challenge is to convert all those trundling around our local pitches every weekend, into diehard supporters of the game at every level.
I have been intending to write this piece for some time and the recent passing of the late Australian football coach, Frank Arok has prompted me to pen my thoughts on football coaches and managers worldwide. Deservedly, Arok has been touted as one of Australia’s better coaches but for someone to call Arok an “icon”, a term today used to describe a person or thing worthy of veneration, exemplifies the unjustified acclaim afforded football coaches in the modern age.
Over the last twenty years, particularly in the English Premier League, we have seen elite level football managers and coaches elevated far beyond their true worth, with those such as Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho and Jurgen Klopp commanding outrageous salaries and twenty four hour seven day a week media attention. Do these football managers really deserve the status and celebrity sent their way? A coach or a manager cannot transform an average footballer into a good footballer. Sir Alex Ferguson did not make David Beckham, Paul Scholes or Ryan Giggs the players they were. Despite Manchester United winning thirteen Premier League titles under his management, if my late mother had been given the squads and financial resources at Ferguson’s disposal, I’m sure that mum could have sent Ferguson’s Manchester United teams on to the pitch and achieved similar results.
A football coach is not a teacher but a supervisor and can never bestow upon a player the ability to play football. Who taught Bjorn Borg the tennis skills to win five successive Wimbledon championships? Who showed Muhammad Ali how to “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee” and can anyone name Sir Donald Bradman’s batting coach? In fact, Bjorn Borg’s mentor, Lennard Bergelin warned against coaches trying to change Borg’s rough looking jerky strokes. Of course, the innate natural ability of these famous sportsmen was born and not coached.
The predominant value of a coach is their capacity to get the best out of his or her players and to maintain harmony within the playing squad. In a professional club, the coach will have input into the recruitment of players and he or she will then pick the best eleven and devise tactics based on the players at the coach’s disposal. Aside from these aspects of the coaching CV, can someone explain to me how Jurgen Klopp can justify his £10m (AUD 17.6m) annual salary and the God like status granted him by the adoring football media? The little known American, Emmert Wolf once wrote that “a man is only as good as his tools” and likewise the man, Jurgen Klopp is only as good as the collective ability of his Liverpool “tools”
I’m sure that coaches spend hours working out their systems whether it be 4-2-3-1, 4-1-4-1, studying videos of their opposition or just holding press conferences. They probably agonise as to whether they should play with a “False 9”, “inverted wingers”, “two number 10’s” or whatever new vocabulary and positions are topical. In saying this, it would be appropriate to recall former Liverpool manager Bill Shankly’s opinion that “football is a simple game made difficult by those who should know better”. Fellow respected Scottish born manager Sir Matt Busby’s pre game instruction to his Manchester United teams would often be limited to “go out and enjoy yourselves”. Busby knew he had the players capable of playing the style of football he wanted, knew their limitations and no further instruction was necessary. The players from those Liverpool and Manchester United teams had enormous respect, if not affection for their mentors, traits that the modern day manager would find more difficult to extract from their pampered, extremely wealthy footballers.
The “Magical Magyars”, the wonderful Hungarian team of the 1950’s owed their success primarily to exceptional footballers in Puskas, Hidegkuti & Bozsic. Their coach Gusztav Sebes, was tactically astute in his use of Hidegkuti as a withdrawn centre forward but the players were instrumental in that country’s achievements. In 1958 & 1962 Brazil’s World Cup victories were built on the wonderful performances of Pele and Garrincha rather than any outstanding coaching. In 1966, England manager Sir Alf Ramsey was praised for his “wingless wonders” playing a 4-3-3 system without wing forwards. That England triumphed however, was primarily due to a superb goalkeeper in Gordon Banks, the defensive qualities and leadership of Bobby Moore and the goalscoring prowess of Geoff Hurst and Bobby Charlton. In fact, it would be difficult to nominate any manager who had a major influence on a World Cup win since the inception of the competition in 1930.
Blanket TV and other media football coverage has magnified the persona of the game’s players and coaches /managers with the numerous “expert” pundits micro analysing matches and seeking to make the game into the science that it is not. Unfortunately, the focus on coaches and their tactics and systems, has filtered down through all levels of football. Believe it or not, we now have grassroots’ coaches asking Under 10 kids to play as a “6” or for another to play “in the hole” as a “10”. Children don’t need tactics, confusing terminology nor their coach barking instructions to them consistently throughout the game. They need to get out and play as often as they can, without interference from parents and coaches. By all means let the parents and coaches encourage and support the children but that’s as far as it should go. On the football field, like elsewhere, necessity can be the mother of invention. If the child has a ball at their feet as much as possible, their intuition and football ability will ultimately come out on top, irrespective of any coaching input.
In the early 1950’s with television growing in popularity, the famous English cricket batsman Denis Compton wrote that watching ten minutes of quality players from any number of sports, was more beneficial for the budding player than ten hours of reading a coaching manual or 10 days of physical coaching. I agree wholeheartedly with Compton’s opinion. Watching football as a boy, either on television, at Old Trafford or just a local park, was my football education. I played as much as I could – in the schoolyard, the beach and even in the vacant guard’s compartment on the train going to school, all the time trying to emulate the skills of those better than myself.
I played football from the age of five and emigrated from England to Australia at the age of thirteen. It was not until I was selected in the Manly Warringah Under 14 representative team, that I received any form of coaching. Three years later I was scoring goals for the Manchester United “B” team. I don’t believe that the lack of coaching impaired my football development.
In 1958, Tom Finney, one of England’s finest footballers lamented that “British football produced more great players in the days when coaching on a national scale was non-existent”. There is no shortage of people wanting to make a dollar out of the game. This has seen football academies grow in massive numbers throughout the world. The academies feed off parents desperate for their children to become the next Lionel Messi or in Australia, a Harry Kewell or a Sam Kerr. Sadly, the parents have to foot the bill, not just pecuniary but in time, ferrying their children to their many coaching sessions. If the fundamentals are there, a good coach can improve a player’s sense of positional play and blend a group of eleven units into a machine but no amount of coaching will transform a player with two left feet into professional footballer.
As long as football retains its’ popularity and the TV pundits and the media scrutinize every word and action of professional coaches and managers, the myth of the coach’s importance and their influence on the game will live on. If Jose Mourinho ultimately fails at Tottenham Hotspur, there will be another club that will be prepared to pay his extravagant salary, suffer his bouts of sullen behaviour and maybe even pick up the tab for his living in a luxury hotel for two and a half years. If Liverpool are prepared to pay Jurgen Klopp £10m annually, being the market rate for his managerial pedigree, I’m fine with that but if Liverpool win the English Premier League this year, you will not convince me that Jurgen Norbert Klopp was the fundamental reason for the club’s success.
Just over two weeks into the 2020-21 A League season, the sky hasn’t fallen in, like the well behaved child, pleasingly VAR has been seen but not heard too much, the impoverished Newcastle Jets are still with us and Central Coast Mariners are on top of the table ! It has been a very interesting couple of weeks and on New Year’s Eve Twitter was awash with tweets from the A League alluding to a “game changing announcement”. This must be big news – Lionel Messi wanting to escape Covid 19 ravaged Europe has signed for Sydney FC ? A knighthood from the Queen for Rale Rasic?
No, nothing quite so earth shattering, just an announcement that the A League was being “unbundled” from Football Federation Australia (and I won’t use this term again as recently, I have been crushed by an abundance of unbundlement). Paul Lederer, the chair of the newly formed Australian Professional Leagues (“APL”) declared it “an historic moment for the future of football in Australia – for the fan, for the player, for the whole game.” Furthermore, Mr. Lederer asserted that this (historic moment) has generated a “euphoric feeling”. Well, I’m sorry Mr. Lederer but now a little over a week since the announcement, I have no symptoms of euphoria although maybe I should get tested as euphoria could be asymptomatic? The outcome of this separation of powers means that the A League and W League will be independent of Football Federation Australia but once again Australian football politics and the game’s administration was the story whereas the focus should truly be on the football.
Enough of the game’s administration and the “U” word, what the initial A League fixtures have shown is that Australian football can survive, though I won’t say prosper at this stage, without a glut of second rate, overseas Air BNB short stay footballers. There has always been a place for longer term quality imports in Australian football dating to English international Doug Holden in the 1950’s through Takis Loukanidis and Roberto Vieri in the former State Federations on to Thomas Broich and Milos Ninkovic in our modern game. The performances so far of four young Australian players have confirmed that given the opportunity and most importantly, an extended run in the first team, players such as Lachlan Rose, Calem Nieuwenhof, Dylan Wenzel-Halls and Ramy Najjarine have the potential to lift Australian premier club football out of threatening mediocrity.
In a first up victory over Western Sydney Wanderers, Rose, a product of the NSW NPL Division 2 sparkled effervescently in the Macarthur Bulls midfield. On A League debut, Nieuwenhof, previously unknown outside of Sydney FC circles, scored a cracking 25 metre goal, only to be eclipsed later by a superlative free kick from another local born player, the grossly underrated Luke Brattan. Dylan Wenzel-Halls, not as green as Rose or Nieuwenhof was also lively and showed rare skill setting up his second half goal for the Brisbane Roar against Melbourne Victory and complementing this with a calm finish. Najjarine too is an exciting talent whose services Melbourne City deemed surplus to their current requirements. Not yet 21, Najjarine is on loan to Newcastle Jets and is keen to show City Football Group why he has represented the national team at Under 17,20 and 23 levels.
Interestingly, a number of overseas based Australian footballers are now returning to, or are considering returning to Australia, maybe with a sense that money can’t buy you a love of football if you can’t get a regular game. The financial impact of Covid 19 and now the employment restrictions of Brexit on Australian players wanting to earn a living playing in the United Kingdom, will see even more Australian born or raised players looking to come home in the near future.
Former Socceroos captain Mark Milligan is back captaining Macarthur Bulls, Tom Juric has returned to spearhead Adelaide United and Mustafa Amini and Apostolos Giannou are also said to be in the airline ticket queue. Add to that the clubless Jackson Irvine and you get the sense that maybe the overseas grass is not turning out to be quite so green. Australian football can’t offer the attraction, financial or career wise of playing football in a major European league but surely playing at BankWest Stadium in a Sydney derby in front of 40,000 spectators (Covid 19 willing) has more appeal than playing for Pontefract Collieries against Brighouse in the English Northern Premier league (personally I would be concerned about playing against any team called Brighouse.)
What playing in Australia can offer is the proximity of family and friends, an agreeable climate and a familiar culture and language. For many players Australian club football should also be able to offer regular game time to help them win or cement a spot in the national team. Part of coach Graham Arnold’s dilemma has been the lack of consistent football for current and potential Socceroos. One would expect that returning incumbent and fringe national team players will become club regulars and that their consistent first team football in the A League, should not only improve the quality of the competition but simultaneously enhance the performance of the national team.
The A League in its’ current format is far from perfect. Promotion and relegation with the formation of a national second division can’t come quickly enough and a new TV broadcast deal is critical. Most importantly, there must be a united front with equal opportunities for all clubs thoughout Australia but I will leave these topics for others to debate. As it stands, post Covid 19 A League clubs will struggle to meet the wage demands of marquee players, let alone those on lower incomes. If however this means that clubs have to blood more Calem Nieuwenhofs, Lachlan Roses, Dylan Wenzel-Halls and Ramy Najjarines, is that necessarily a serious concern?
Ironically, Covid 19 may have delivered the A League an unexpected lifeline. Now is the time to dispose of the corporate speak, talk of ecosystems and stakeholders, the fanciful blueprints and let the players and the football matches do the talking. Then maybe I might start to experience Mr. Paul Lederer’s “euphoric feeling”.
Friday 18th December 2020 Big Music Performance Hall, Crows Nest
It’s not called Big Music without reason and on Friday 18th December in the year of Coronavirus 2020, the Mecca of live music north of Ernest Street, Crows Nest witnessed the biggest musical duel since Sherbet, with “Free The People” defeated Jeff St. John and the Copperwine to win the 1972 Hoadley’s Battle of the Sounds. The male performer’s hair may be a little bit shorter now and the waistlines a little more expansive, but the British Invasion show pitted the Gene Maynard coached “Cats on The Scene” against their arch rivals, Ash Rothschild’s cleverly named “Ash Band”.
Band members had given blood sweat and even shed the odd tear for 14 weeks in the lead up to the finale, a homage to British performers who took the music world by storm in the 1960’s. Gene Maynard had astutely won the toss at rehearsal on the preceding Wednesday night in the absence of opposition coach Ash Rothschild and Maynard elected to bat first in this titanic confrontation.
Naturally with such talent on display and household musical names such as Bill Kable LLB, Peter White and Nigel Smyth present, the show was a sellout with an estimated further three hundred million watching live throughout the world, courtesy of Zoom (these figures never need to be substantiated).
The room bristled with excitement when Cats on the Scene took the stage bang on time at 7.36 p.m. From the moment that Pete (“Sticks”) White pounded the drum skins introducing the Rolling Stones Get off My Cloud the audience realised that they were now in the presence of something special. The beehive coiffured Shantelle McCall, looking every inch the sixties British diva, provocatively eyed Ash Band in the “green room” telling them not to “hang around ’cause two’s a crowd”. The battle was truly on – Sherbet v Jeff St. John & the Copperwine 1972 revisited.
Shantelle then shared vocals with guitarist David Jack on a rollicking version of The Beatles 1965 number one hit Can’t Buy Me Love. There were no Kinks in All Day & All of the Night with McCall’s smooth vocal delivery and a note perfect guitar solo by Bill Kable LLB. It had to be note perfect as Bill had composed it himself. It was then time for player coach Gene Maynard to whip out his Hohner blues harp from his back pocket (uncomfortable if it’s still in there when you sit down) for I’m the Face and let the audience know that he was “the face” (as well as coach, bassist, drummer, guitarist, guitar pedal technician……..etc.) of the band.
A well informed (and obviously quite old) passer by happened to hear Maynard’s harp playing, the like of which he said he had not heard since Larry Adler played a World War 2 gig for US Marines at the Cat & Fiddle Hotel Balmain in 1944. Some compliment!
Crazy ‘Bout You followed, a song written and recorded by Christine Perfect (later McVie) allegedly expressing Ms. Perfect’s infatuation with Spencer (The Spencer Davis Group) Davis. This was carried off perfectly by Shantelle Perfect on vocals with Michelle Perfect, her melodic keyboard accompanist.
The Yardbirds For Your Love showed that Pete White didn’t spend forty years in the legal profession solely to emerge as a mere drummer. The many hours spent walking to the Land Titles Office in Sydney’s Macquarie St. provided a unique opportunity to also hone his vocal skills that would allow him to sing the words “for your love” on the Yardbirds classic numerous times, with impeccable feel and empathy.
Keep On Running, was how the aforementioned Spencer Davis reacted to Christine Perfect’s persistent amorous advances and it kept the crowd on it’s toes with David Jack and Shantelle McCall then duetting on Cream’s White Room. This 1968 classic from the album “Wheels on Fire” featured a searing guitar solo from Bill Kable LLB which extracted rapturous spontaneous applause from Bill’s friends and family strategically placed in the front row.
Those Cats on the Scene were purring like a kitten served premium Atlantic salmon in a warm room in the middle of winter. Rival band coach Ash Rothschild’s tight pants were growing ever tighter in the wake of his opponents scorching set.
Son of a Preacher Man followed by Spooky gave Shantelle the opportunity to show why she came second in the 2012 Lower North Shore “Who Can Sing Like Dusty Springfield?” competition. The room exploded after Shantelle’s outro to “preacher man” as Shantelle showed that, like USA Presidential elections, Dusty Springfield sing alike competitions can also be rigged.
By now Ash Band were in the green room trying to calm their nerves and lower their collective blood pressure. Were they the 2020 Jeff St. John & the Copperwine to Gene Maynard’s Sherbet? Band members were considering options to settle for an honourable draw including pulling a fuse and plunging the room into darkness. Coach Rothschild rallied his team though reminding them that in the spirit of the Mick Jagger/ Keith Richards composition, they were “Street Fighting Men” which immediately drew quizzical looks from Jo Mooney and Cristobel Peters.
Meanwhile back on stage, Cats on the Scene were drawing to the end of their set. Tin Soldier, their penultimate offering allowed Michelle Helms to showcase the keyboard skills that won her a one year scholarship in 2009 to the North Turramurra Elton Jack School of Piano and Occasional Drum Tuition. Shantelle McCall produced a vocal performance of which the late Steve Marriott of the Small Faces would have been proud and then closed the set with her very best Paul McCartney impression on The Beatles 1963 favourite, I Saw Him ( Her) Standing There.
As Cats on the Scene took their bows to the inevitable thunderous applause (well as thunderous as thirty five people can generate), the frenetic audience speculated that if this was the support act, what might be expected from the headline band?
Ash Band launched into their set with the Searchers 1964 number one hit, Needles & Pins. Lead vocalist Jo Mooney certainly was not searching for anything as she was immediately into her vocal stride. This was followed by Mooney’s raucous rendition of the Swinging Blue Jeans’ Hippy Hippy Shake, a condition that one experiences upon entering the outskirts of Nimbin on the NSW Far North Coast. There is currently no vaccine for this condition but Donald Trump has assured Nimbin visitors that one day it will just go away. Craig Cartner delivered a rasping instrumental break, simultaneously “shaking to the left and then shaking to the right” which is no mean feat playing lead guitar. In the background Cristobel Peters punched rhythmic chords punctuated by a startling keyboard glissando.
Up next was Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress sang by a long cool woman, Jo Mooney almost in a black dress with a long cool guitar intro played by a long cool man in black but not a dress, Craig Cartner. Cartner and fellow guitarist Glen Parker traded rhythmic shuffle chord progressions with Ash Rothschild on bass the Clag glue bonding the work of the two tall axemen. The early songs in the set featured Greg Dayhew on drums whose steady beat and timing would bring a smile to the face of any cardiologist.
It was then time for the not quite so long but equally cool woman in the red dress, Cristobel Peters to showcase her keyboard prowess in one of this writer’s favourites, The Zombies She’s Not There. Cristobel perfectly replicated the original song’s intro, played a delightful instrumental break and decorated the whole two minutes and forty two seconds of this classic piece with cleverly placed trills.
Ash Rothschild reminded the crowd that Covid 19 restrictions (at that time) allowed for fifty on the dance floor as Ash Band tore into the 1968 Peter Green composition, Albatross. At the conclusion of this epic instrumental, there was still room for fifty on the dance floor and Cristobel Peters had to be awoken from a micro snooze. Nigel Smyth was mesmeric on drums and for this performance of the classic Fleetwood Mac track, guitarists Cartner and Parker have both been nominated for the Paul (Pete’s brother) Townshend Lower North Shore Over 35 Guitarist of the Year award.
Van Morrison’s Gloria was the next Uber off the musical rank featuring a superb piece of vocal call (Cartner) and response (Mooney). This is always a favourite for those who have family members of this name and have trouble spelling “GLORIA” on birthday cards. It also serves as a reminder to any budding guitarist that you only need to know the A, D & E major chords to play rock and roll. Jo Mooney continued up front on the Jagger/ Richards composition As Tears Go By, delivering a hard rock version as it would have sounded if the Ramones had been around in 1965.
Assuming the character of a vamp, Jo then delivered a most creditable rendition of Tramp. This R & B classic highlighted Cristobel Peters’ keyboard skills which were even more prominant when the Roland Juno “On”switch is engaged. Thank you Ben.
The Animals Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood was very well received then Gene Maynard joined Ash Band on stage for the Kinks You Really Got Me , adding backing vocals to his impressive resume that includes every instrument excluding the Hornucopian Dronepipe. Gene has vowed however to take lessons if a tutor for this instrument (or the instrument itself) can actually be located.
The most contentious song in the set would have to have been Substitute by The Who. Early on in rehearsals, Jo Mooney felt that a lyricist of Pete Townshend’s ability could have done a little better and consequently a couple of lines had the new Mooney lyrics “substituted.” Mooney is now seeking royalties from The Who’s management for any future publishing or performance rights for the song. The Who are seeking damages of up to $1b from Mooney who has engaged Bill Kable LLB to defend the law suit.
With controversy now set aside, Ash Bandclosed the show with the Rolling Stones’ Jumping Jack Flash and the overworked and underpaid Jo Mooney again delivering a powerful lead vocal, fortunately without the strutting and pouting of Michael Jagger. As the sound of the final B major guitar chord wafted off into the Alexander St. night, members of both groups stayed around for the inevitable autograph signing and selfies. The Battle of the Bands was over, tension between Cats on the Scene & Ash Band had evaporated and both groups agreed that the Big Music “British Invasion” show had been an extremely enjoyable and worthwhile exercise. Enormous credit is due to coaches Gene Maynard and Ash Rothschild for the success of the show and to sound engineer Ben (“George Martin”) Siva for his contribution over many weeks.
Jo Mooney was seen in deep conversation with Bill Kable LLB as the curtain closed and the concert hall emptied.
A hundred years ago or so, were planted on this land Majestic pines that reached the sky, so tall, so proud, so grand Surviving storms and raging fires, as many wars went by But greedy men with banker friends decreed that they must die
A noble splendid stately home adorned the spacious lot Keeping watch upon the trees, from centre of the plot And now and then the snow would fall and dress the branches white A Christmas scene in mid-July, to all the kids’ delight
The owner wasn’t happy though, with one house on the block The council rubber stamped the plans, the neighbours were in shock Twelve more dwellings would be built, two hundred pine trees axed No consolation profit gained, would be just slightly taxed
The clanging chain saws went to work, the pine trees all cut down A thousand displaced homeless birds, fled to another town And where it all was once so green, just rubble now remains No grateful radiata pines to drink the falling rains
Some will call this progress, though I call it obscene To raze the land, destroy the trees, deprive the world of green But I feel blessed that I once was, the king of this great home And walked amongst the pine trees before they turned to stone