Thursday, 6 June 2013

In Search Of....

This is not a post on the American tv show that ran from 1978 to 1982, but I will digress in that direction for a paragraph. If seen at the wrong age, many episodes would have well and truly freaked some kids out, like The Abominable Snowman, Bigfoot, The Bermuda Triangle and the big one, The End of the World. It was what I knew Leonard Nimoy from, not Star Trek.

Last month I mentioned the passing of Alex Barr was noted in the minutes of the VSF Board of Management from April 24, 1990. Since then, I've been in search of more information on Alex Barr and here's some of what I've come up with. He was a Glaswegian, who came to Australia after WWII. In the course of his Victorian career, he would play in every outfield position for Brighton, featuring as an outside left at his peak, which came with a single appearance for Australia in 1949. It was against what was billed as "Yugoslavia", but was in fact touring club side Hajduk Split.

He played for Brighton between 1948 and 1954, apart from a small stint with Prahran at the start of 1953. In that time Brighton were Champions of Victoria in 1949, also winning the Dockerty Cup in 1952. Whilst still playing he was contributing items for Soccer News from 1951, and when he retired his media work grew as he became the soccer reporter for The Age in the 1960's. He also had spots on various radio programs as well as sports panel shows on GTV-9.

The history of the game in Victoria has, sadly, long been neglected. Even now there is no outright History section all on the FFV website. I have been to Gold Medal Nights run by the FFV which have featured people being inducted into the FFV Hall of Fame, yet the link to anything about a Hall of Fame on their website is well hidden. It deserves a more prominent link rather than being hidden in an About Us section. I wouldn't expect it to compare with:

The FFV should do more than their once a year token effort and truly honour some great people with something more substantial.

So that is what I'm in search of, more of the hidden history of Victorian soccer. I have a book, Spurs: A Complete Record by Bob Goodwin. And a complete record it is, even having the line-ups of friendly matches played in the 1890's. Currently we do not even have the final ladder for every season of the Victorian First Division/State League/Premier League since it began in 1909, let alone the results of all the top flight games. The gaps are vast.

I'm in search of information on Lincoln Mills. The huge textile factory located on Gaffney Street, Coburg fielded a side in the Second Division in 1924 and 1925 before disbanding in 1926. They were probably around in 1923, but The Age only published Division One results that year. The Argus tells me there was a massive fire at the Mill in 1923, there were frequent break-ins and robbery attempts, and at least one unfortunate female worker got her hair caught in a knitting machine and met an untimely demise. Their ground was listed as being "Batman", the name of the nearest train station just off Sydney Road. The former factory site is now a retail block containing Bunnings and Harvey Norman stores, with one great big brick chimney still preserved for posterity.

In the next In Search Of... post, I will go back to 1909 and list what is needed to complete the final table for the inaugural season. Until then, if you want to search anything for yourself, try starting at these links:


  1. FFV Hall of Fame on their site

    It's not much, but it is there. It does lag behind Western Australia's efforts

  2. Thanks for the link, post corrected. History deserves it's own section, not just being a part of the About Us tag.