Friday, 11 September 2015

Soccer Week 1974-1975

Last Sunday I visited the State Library of Victoria to examine their collection of Soccer Week newspapers from the 1970's. The collection, all bound into the one book, is available to SLV members (it's free) but you need to call and arrange for it to be brought from offsite storage to the Heritage Reading Room. The collection starts with the June 19, 1974 issue and ends at August 6, 1975.

Unlike Soccer News, Soccer Week was an independent production. Les Shrrock, who would go on to write for Soccer Action and publish Soccer Star, covered the Metropolitan League. The colourful State League keeper Mike O'Hara had a weekly column.

Covers usually featured a single photo, with some gems shown below:

(Click on images to enlarge)

Throughout the paper, there are plenty of great pictures. A photographer was sent to a Metropolitan League game each week, so it wasn't just the State League being covered. A few pages each week would feature these snaps.

Sadly, the facts and figures sections were a disappointment. I would consider listing the line-ups and scorers of all the State League games a bare minimum, and it's a minimum standard Soccer Week failed to meet. The Metropolitan and Industrial Amateur Leagues had all their results and tables published, though lacking goalscorers names. Some could be found in the few pages of match reports each week, which relied on the clubs to supply info which again often falls short of expectations. Some clubs had people on the ball, and for those clubs the coverage is excellent.

The paper did give a great insight into the Cumberland Cup, which began in 1975 and ceased in 1978. At the start it was referred to as the Twilight Cup. It was competed for by the Metropolitan League (Divisions One to Four) clubs in the pre-season. Games were played midweek, in an era where lights were not commonplace or at training only standard, so 6.00pm kick-offs during daylight savings were required. The Cumberland name came from the local newspaper group which sponsored it, and the inaugural winners were Preston Makedonia who defeated Mooroolbark United 1-0 in the Final with a goal from Vlade Kotevski.

June 1975 saw controversy flare up following a column by Prahran Slavia defender Frank Campbell. It had a subheading of "WILL THE WOGS COME BACK?" in relation to fans returning now Juventus had found form. This, of course sparked some outrage, with Vito Cilauro leading the charge. Cilauro was on the Juventus committee and would go on to hold several roles within the VSF. Here editor Jack Pacholli argues his case:

A few weeks later Pacholli followed that up with an editorial headed FOREIGN NAMES MUST BE DROPPED. The support he had can be gauged by the death of the paper within a couple of months, and the way in which the more inclusive Soccer Action would flourish in the following years.


  1. Thanks for the effort of putting this up...I'm going to make an appt at the State Library to look at these and Soccer Action myself!

  2. I came across an article in Soccer Action where the founder of the Industrial League argues the case against foreign club names. Funny how the tables have turned on this vis a vis the VSF/FFV and Industrial League/Ammos.

  3. Yeah, that league was the last bastion of the ethnic names. It was a fair sized league with numerous divisions.

  4. I liked the arrows for their help in organizing your notes.