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.