Monday, 28 April 2014

Random Research Musings

After two days in which I arrived at the SLV newspaper reading room at 10.a.m and didn't leave until just before 6.00 p.m. closing (without any food, drink or toilet breaks) in a week and then trying to make sense of my appalling note-taking, I may as well share what little discoveries I made.

Deciding to work back in time for a change I had a look for reserve's league champions, League Best and Fairest and Top Goalscorers from the early and mid 2000's. Gave up on that pretty quickly as it was futile. It's stuff that should already be available on the net but to to incompetence it isn't. For another day.

I then moved on to mid and early 1990's Cup Finals of the State League, Provisional League, Amateur League and Armstrong variety. A bit more success here. Found the line-ups for the 1992 Dockerty Cup Final, as well as the score from the curtain raiser, a 1-1 draw between the Victorian state team and South Melbourne Hellas.

1991 saw a play-off between the NSWPL and VPL champions. It was Sutherland v Brunswick Juventus over two legs. Both won 1-0 at home (home city in the case of Juve who used Northcote's John Cain Reserve) leading to a penalty shoot-out won 4-3 by Brunswick.

Always a bittersweet moment finding a Cup final line-ups but no record of the substitutions made. That was in the case of the 1990 Dockerty Cup Final. Melbourne Croatia only had two on the bench, whilst Brunswick Juventus had the full five, with Charlie Egan at least being brought on being gleaned from one match report.

OzFootball has the South Melbourne line-up for the infamous 1988 Dockerty Cup Final, but not that of Melbourne Croatia. Which is of main interest being the Final is infamous for seeing winners Croatia stripped of their win on protest after bringing on Frank Valentic as sub when he was under suspension from a Youth league game apparently. Did not find their full line-up or substitutions.

Found enough scores from 1954 to finalise the Third Division table. Almost enough to do the same for the Fourth Division, though that picture is muddied by Shell and Slovakia both pulling out, and Victorian Colts being added halfway through the season.

A puzzle stubbornly refusing to be solves is the Third Division of 1951. One score missing, Coburg v Olympic from June 30. I know Coburg won, because going on promotion/relegation the next season they must have secured the two points they needed to jump from fourth to second. The Coburg Courier has the score from the week before and after, but not that week.

Still don't have full line-ups for the 1958, 1959 and 1970's Dockerty Cup Finals. I must say the The Sun's Morrie Buckner was the worst of the old time correspondents I've come across. One match report barely mentioned a single player amid his whinging about the pitch and weather.

Since then I've had a look at some missing goalscorers from the OzFootball records), as I still think that working out a lineage of Top Goalscorers for the VSL/VPL back to 1960 is possible. As of now, there are seven goals unaccounted for in 1964. Will need to go back to see if there are any details around on the replayed game of Alexander 1 Melbourne 3 on Wednesday September 9. As it stands, Mike Mandalis of South Melbourne Hellas heads the list on 16, with all of South's goals accounted for. This puts him two clear of Frank Soffels from Willhelmina, who have one goal missing, so he has him covered. Jimmy Malloy of Melbourne sits on 13, and a hat-trick in that game would have him share honours, and it may be possible because he did most of his scoring in braces or hat-tricks that year.

I've found the missing scorers for 1967, and it was a climactic finish tallying the goals. Tony Hughes of J.U.S.T. scored twice in the final round to draw level on 19 with Jimmy Armstrong (Hakoah) and Attila Abonyi (Melbourne) who went head to head at Middle Park. Abonyi scored the only goal of the game to clinch the Golden Boot.

In 1961 four games from the Public Holiday Monday round on April 3rd remain elusive in terms of goalscorer details. And I mean elusive. Tried the Italian paper Il Globo, as Juventus played Richmond Alemannia that day, but they only covered the subsequent Saturday game in their next issue. Tried the German newspaper Neue Welt and would you believe it there was a "this issue is missing" slide on the microfilm for the relevant week, the only one on a reel covering two years worth of the paper. A tally of the goals sees Alex Beattie of J.U.S.T. on top with 21 goals, again with all their goals accounted for. Joe Haasz is the only one who can catch him, sitting on 19 and with both goals in Slavia's 4-2 loss to Moreland that fateful day still unknown.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Interstate Soccer Carnivals

Firstly, a link to the file of what I have found out about the old Interstate Soccer Carnivals, timely given some were staged over Easter long weekends:

The first Interstate Soccer Carnival was staged by the New South Wales State League in 1932 at various grounds in Sydney and Newcastle. Five states competed, namely New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria. As with the N.S.L. in the future, the tyranny of distance proved too far to see Western Australia included.

New South Wales topped the table and then crushed South Australia in a Grand Final. With the game progressing well in two major centres of Sydney and Newcastle, the depth at their disposal was critical. For example G.Smith, after scoring five goals and then another in his first two appearances was replaced by Alf Quill who came in and knocked in four goals in his first start.

The traveling teams struggled with a tough schedule, with Victorian team manager Harry Bingham making a comeback in goal for their last game after an injury to George Sheppard (more about him in another blog).

The next Carnival was held in Adelaide in 1936, though it is not included in those covered in Jack Pollard's Soccer Records. Perhaps it was considered unofficial, as only three teams, New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria took part?  In any case, New South Wales defended their title by winning both their games.

A clearly more unofficial event took place in Adelaide again in 1948. Featuring the hosts and Tasmania and Western Australia, it was the Sandgropers triumphant 6-2 over Tasmania in the Grand Final.

The first official post-WWII Carnival took place in Melbourne in 1952. Staged at Olympic Park and Toorak Park, Victoria were crowned Champions after heading the table from New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia. Legendary New South Wales centre-forward Reg Date was top scorer with seven goals.

1954 saw six states meet in Adelaide again, with New South Wales once again to the fore. Western Australia and Victoria followed on the table ahead of Queensland. The struggling hosts finished ahead of only lowly Tasmania.

The 1956 Melbourne Olympics saw Carnivals put on the backburner for a few years, until a 1960 gathering back in Melbourne again. Once again Victoria flourished as hosts, heading the table ahead of three rivals, New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia.

In 1962 the Carnival approach was abandoned for a National Championships, with four states playing each other once across the country. This saw New South Wales head the table to meet runner's-up Queensland in a two-legged Grand Final. South Australia came third whilst Victoria finished on the bottom, losing all three of their games. New South Wales defeated Queensland 3-1 in Brisbane before winning 4-3 in the second leg at the Sydney Sports Ground to seal a 7-4 aggregate win.

The Carnival concept was further expanded into a National Championship for 1963-64. Northern New South Wales were included with the six states. Staged across the country, everyone played each other once over the course of two years with the champion determined by final ladder position. New South Wales once again took honours, with Victoria runner's-up. It would prove to be the final Interstate Carnival or National Championships to be conducted.

Monday, 14 April 2014

The Victorian State Team

The following is a link to the file of what I have gathered on the history of the Victorian state soccer team:

Beginning in 1883 with a clash against New South Wales, the early games were in fact colonial representative teams. Federation in 1901 saw interstate football replace intercolonial football.

Matches missing full details are italicised. Random notes are in bold.

To start with, I looked at the list of results for interstate matches published in the VSF Yearbooks of the late 1990's. There is also a list of interstate matches contained in the book Jack Pollard's Soccer Records. So I'm pretty sure that in terms of games against other states, there is a solid framework of the history even if there are still plenty of details to be filled in.

For games against touring club and international teams, I've used what can be found on OzFootball and in the pages of the aforementioned Jack Pollard's Soccer Records. These are not complete, and additional information about fixtures has come from a search of the Trove online archives (great prior to the mid-1950's, not so good after that) as well as going through (incomplete) collections of Soccer News, Soccer Action, Soccer World and snippets in some VSF Yearbooks.

Having a look at interstate Federation websites, they have as little to offer as the FFV's. I believe there are books on the history of football in Tasmania and Western Australia, and perhaps these may have some information to add to the details of the fixtures and scores we already have.

If anyone has any information they can share, please get in touch. Share the link to the blog around, I'm sure a lot of the former Victorian players out there would love to have a tangible record of their efforts playing in the famous navy blue shirt it was an honour to wear.

Finally, a couple of videos which feature the 1995 home game against South Australia. Michael Zappone is featured in a rare commentary role, the venue being Box Hill's Wembley Park.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Historical Diversions

Although I try to multitask, there are many diversions as I try to compile that Statistical History of Victorian Football. Some of them are further historical diversions, for as well as trying to find the final league tables for all the senior men's competitions over the course of time, I've started compiling several other records.

One is a list of all the games played by the Victorian state team, as well as line-ups. I reckon "Victoria Before Victory" is a decent book title, but I'm a fair way off ever being able to start a project like that. The Victorian state soccer team's fixtures fell into a few different categories. Originally, there were random matches against other state teams, beginning with New South Wales in 1883.

There were also games against touring club sides, as well as touring national teams. Sometimes that line was blurred, with club teams billed in advertisements and reports as national teams. One such instance was the 1949 tour of Hajduk Split, who were almost exclusively referred to as "Yugoslavia" in the media. It wouldn't have been any more than another decade before an act like that would have led to riots.

A new category of state team games began in 1932, when the first Interstate Carnival took place in Sydney and Newcastle. Over the course of a week New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania met and played each other once. The top two teams then played off in a Grand Final, which saw New South Wales take the championship with a 6-1 win over South Australia.

So on Friday I began compiling a record of the Interstate Carnivals. This was while I had the Adelaide United v Melbourne Heart game on the television, the computer speakers giving me the brilliant NPL Live Cast radio commentary of Bentleigh Greens v Pascoe Vale. The computer screen had tabs open for three football forums, the Trove Australia  and Ozfootball websites and the files for the Statistical History, Victorian State Team History and Interstate Carnivals History.

Oh yeah, and Twitter. It was nice to have my name pronounced correctly on the Live Cast coverage when they read out a tweet. Paul Mavroudis (or is it Mavaroudis?) couldn't say the same after his tweet about the incorrect pronunciation of Greek names was aired. Made for some banter.

The Victorian state team played against some of the greatest names in the history of world football. Bonnetti, Osgood, Tambling, Stepney, Stiles, Best, Charlton, Toshack, Yashin, Hoddle, Perryman, Conti, Carlos Alberto, Beckenabauer, Chinaglia and Neeskens are just some of the galaxy of stars I've uncovered so far.

The Victorian state team didn't taste Carnival success until a 1952 edition on home soil. It was a four team contest staged at Olympic Park on a Sunday and Toorak Park on a Saturday and Monday, The Vics won all three of their games to finish on 6 points. There was no Grand Final in this series, with New South Wales being runner's-up on 4 points, Queensland placing third with 2 points and South Australia failing to pick up a point with three defeats.

Next week in separate posts I will share the files for the Interstate Carnivals and Victorian State Team and take a further look at some interesting discoveries.