Sunday, 13 September 2020

Working On Records

So with the the A3 scanner having packed it in, and the A4 scanner not being much use scanning A3 newspapers and being temperamental itself as well, my focus has turned to tidying up a very messy hard drive.

Over the years I've started records for both Moorabbin City and Richmond Alemannia, but it was very piecemeal. Seasons here and there, some detailed, some with next to nothing.The formats of the records varied from season to season, and between the clubs. Most team line-up files included just a surname, some had a first initial. So getting these records in order is long overdue.

When it comes to match records, the starting point is obviously the date of the game, score and goalscorers, with a venue, referee name and team line-ups all preferable.

Sadly, over the years, goalscorer information for anything below the top tier in Victorian football has been abysmal. Official top goalscorer awards for leagues only regularly commenced in the early 1980's. Even the Soccer News, the "Official Organ of the V.A.S.AF.A." did not publish goalscorers alongside it's results from the 1940's through the 1970's. 

Venues can be sourced from VASFA/VSF Yearbooks, in most cases. There will be the odd club that was still searching for a home at the time of publication. Sometimes these can be picked up in a news item in Soccer News, sometimes they can't.

Referee's names were often published in the mainstream media alongside fixtures for that week's games at times from the 1920's to the 1930's. Soccer News only did this with much frequency in the late 1960's.

Team-line ups were a feature of early newspaper match reports, at least for the top levels, that began to wane after World War II. With the advent of Soccer News, you could get predicted line-ups for that weeks games, but match reports of the previous weeks games would not have any. Sadly most clubs did not take up the offer to have their teams listed in Soccer News by sending them through, despite constant appeals and threats of fines and leading to this part of the magazine eventually being dropped.

Moorabbin City

Richmond Alemannia

The files above are what I've gathered for both clubs up to the end of 1964 so far. It gives an indication of how much of this information is missing. Later seasons will be easier and be more comprehensive when I work up to them, my greatest task there being adding first names to the existing line-ups I have.

In the era covered above, we find that grounds were still being referred to as the street or road they were on before a park had been given a formal name (see Patterson Road, Bentleigh being the latter Victory Park and Olive Street, Hampton being Sillitoe Reserve). Richmond have gone from the Migrant Hostel in Maribyrnong to Survey Park and Burnley Oval to Olympic Village and Schintler Reserve for their Victorian State League home games (with Olympic Park appearances as well).

We can also see how much use the parks of Middle, Yarra, Princes and Royal got. 

When they are both finished, maybe the State Library will be open and accessible once again to see if any more information can be added.



Monday, 6 July 2020

What Remains of Soccer News July 1924

Unlike our counterparts in New South Wales, very little remains of any local football publications prior to World War II. Though titles changed frequently, there seems to have constantly been a magazine or programme in Sydney since the early 1920's. Thanks to the work of Greg Stock, a fair bit of it is now available to be read in the archives on this blog.

It is a different story in Victoria. The State Library holds just the single issue of a pre-WWII soccer publication, the Soccer News from July 5, 1924.

It is not in great condition, and comes along with a photocopied version when requested from off-site storage. I didn't even open all the pages on the original, as the tape trying to hold parts together seems to have stuck some pages to each other and I didn't want to chance it.

It's is numbered 8, with no volume number. So that would be the eighth issue that season, in probably it's first, and more than likely, only year. It's the official organ of the V.A.B.F.A. (Victorian Amateur British Football Association) and the Metropolitan A.S.F.L. (Metropolitan Amateur Soccer Football League).

The Editorial Talks page is taken up with the editor wanting to teach and explain rules, which is a bit boring. Then there is a letter from Geelong, relating to the difficulties in getting teams to travel down there in those days.

The next page is a bit more interesting, with info on three "Soccer Men As I Know Them" and the Canadian tour. Page 3 has more detail on the Canadians. We then get some tables, and the expected line-ups for Australia v Canada, some Club Gossip, the Dockerty Cup draw.

The highlight is a barney between the Press Representative of the Newport club and the Soccer News editor. You see why the paper may not have lasted that long.

It is rounded out by a page of Items of Interest, which reveal a few player's names (rather than just a surname), tribunal verdicts. It's not very expansive, sadly.

Anyway I've made a PDF from the photos I took of it on my phone, and it's available here.

It's in such a state it really should have been scanned and retired, only to be shared via USB.

It's not just the lack of surviving issues that make me question it's longevity. There are no references to official publications anywhere, in fact you often see it mentioned to check newspapers for fixture details. I'm not sure the local game was big enough to sustain it's own paper/magazine at the time.

So this may have to do for now.

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Victorian Soccer Season Files - 1926

The 1926 season saw Footscray Thistle once again claim the Victorian Metropolitan League Championship. They were, however, knocked out in the first round of the Dockerty Cup by Melbourne Thistle. The Cup would end up being won by Naval Depot, the boys from Crib Point edging out St Kilda (featuring Sandy Lowe and Maurice Vandendriescche) 4-3 in the Final.

                                             Click on images to enlarge

Johnny Orr, Lyons, Calderwood and Templeton were again prominent for Thistle. They would lose J.Jeffries late in the season, after he was banned for life for striking a referee.

As in the previous season, there were now four divisions of the Metropolitan League. Albert Park, Prahran City, Box Hill and Heidelberg were all on the rise. Issues of promotion and relegation were not to be that straightforward though, as reports throughout the season contained talk of a proposed "District" scheme, which was eventually adopted.

Footscray Thistle became the team of the Footscray district, and in 1927 the Thistle name was not always used in reports. Cup winners Naval Depot, along with Melbourne Thistle and Melbourne Welsh, were among first division clubs that were not accepted into the District League for 1927. Neither was Northumberland and Durham United, which virtually killed them off (a Footscray United would emerge in the Melbourne and District League).

The discarded clubs hastily established the Melbourne and District League, which would end up comprising of two divisions of eight teams in 1927. The split was quite acrimonious, and after two seasons the District Scheme was abandoned, probably having done more harm than good.

The season's representative fixtures included the Local International (a huge win for Scotland), a North v South clash and a First Division v The Rest match. There does not appear to have been any state team games.

It took a bit of work to reconcile published results with the final published tables, as a few lower division results were missing. In this season 1-0 was the standard method of dealing with forfeits/walkovers though there was once case of a team being awarded a win and two points without the goal difference being altered.

Pleasingly enough goalscorers were named in the First Division results to establish that Preston's Doncaster was the top goalscorer with 11 goals for the season. Unfortunately I have yet to see his first name, or even an initial, appear in any newspaper reports. Especially sad given that he was a Victorian representative player, having scored twice in his only (known, as yet) game for the state against South Australia at the end of 1925. It is a shame a complete Victorian state team record has never been established, no "caps" have been awarded and we don't even have the first names of many of those players from that era.

Anyway, here it is, the...

Victorian Season File 1926

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Victorian Soccer Season Files - 1932

1932 saw Footscray Thistle claim the Victorian championship for a fifth (and final) time. They did it in emphatic style as well, remaining unbeaten in claiming the league and Dockerty Cup double. They scored an impressive 80 goals in their 14 league games, Jock Lyons leading the league goalscoring charts with 34, 20 more than it took him to claim that honour the previous season when he was with Brunswick.

                                                 Click on images to enlarge

It would prove to be the high point of the club's history, a fifth state title going alongside a fifth Dockerty Cup win and a third time the club had completed the double. They would prove to be the club's last major triumphs, a gradual decline and the shrinking of the game during the Second World War seeing them play their last ever game in 1940.

The V.A.S.F.A. Metropolitan League comprised of 4 senior and 2 reserves divisions in 1932. The Fourth Division contained a few reserves sides of some Third Division clubs, and was reduced to just 6 teams when one of those, Glenroy A, and the Preston third team (playing as Preston B) withdrew in the early stages of the season.

Royal Caledonians A won the First Division Reserves League and Preston A won the Second Division Reserves League. The emerging Hakoah side won their way into the top flight.

The Carrick Cup, also known as the Inter-Association Cup, saw Wonthaggi defeat the Metropolis 2-0 in the replayed Final after an initial 3-3 draw.

Establishing all the league results was not without it's challenges. Some were missing, but able to be calculated by comparing league tables, which thankfully were published regularly in the papers. There were spanners in the works such as the major papers publishing a score of Nobels 4 Caulfield 3 when only the match report in the Sunshine Advocate revealed the scoreline was the wrong way around. There was also a Third Division game which must have been the subject of dispute and protest, as it was clearly replayed again later in the season. Finally, the tables published at the end of season contained errors when compared to the known results and earlier published tables. For instance the penultimate table in Division One showed Footscray Thistle on 71 goals for. The next week, in the same column as the scoreline of their 9-1 win over Brighton (and with goalscorers named to account for 9 goals) the table lists them as having scored 79 for the season.

So here it is:

1932 Victorian Season File  

Sunday, 17 May 2020

Victorian Soccer Season Files - 1913

1913 saw Yarraville win the Victorian Championship for the third year in a row, though for the first time under that name (1911 they were Williamstown, in 1912 it was Williamstown-Yarraville). The clubs were divided into an eight team First Division and a Second Division of six teams. This year there were no reserves/A teams in the Second Division as in 1912, as they had their own competition, won by Burns A. The Dockerty Cup was held once again, and there was a secondary Cup, the Junior Cup, for the Second Division and Reserves/A teams to fight for. It was won by Second Division champions Preston after a second replay.

Yarraville completed a league and Cup double, pipping the unbeaten Burns by a point to take out the Championship and beating St Kilda 3-2 in the Dockerty Cup Final. Their prominent players included Joe Grieves, Percy Dowker, E.Jones D.Dick and Hatch. They won the league without playing Albert Park in it, who forfeited on both occasions. They did meet and beat them in the Dockerty Cup semi-finals, twice after the first attempt was abandoned due to rain.

Click on images to enlarge

The season had the now traditional Local International, won 3-1 by England, as well as New South Wales visiting Victoria for two games.

Not all the goalscorers names were published, but it is most likely J.Guthrie of Thistle would claim the honour of top goalscorer.

There were numerous walkover and forfeits. In the season file I've included two of those involving Albert Park for the same day after the season was over. The original fixture published in the newspapers went out of the window following a washed out weekend on May 31 when most games were abandoned after a storm hit early in the second half. Complicating the fixture revisions were the numerous Dockerty Cup replays as well as the weekends of the Victorian state team games and the Local International being reserved solely for those fixtures.

Anyway, here it is:

1913 Victorian Season File

Friday, 28 February 2020

The Last Big Scanning Piles

With the receipt of an A3 scanner from George Cotsanis, work on my last big scanning project is underway. In the photo above, the middle pile is my collection of Australian & British Soccer Weekly (augmented by Damien Smith giving me Kevin Christopher's collection) that has yet to be scanned. On the right is a folder of papers lent to me by Sam Barres, which contains mainly Soccer Week from 1974 (all now scanned and available here) plus the missing first issue of Soccer Action (only 5 missing to complete the set now). On the left is the Soccer World stack Greg Stock has provided me with.

I forgot about another 30 or so issues of late 90's, early 2000's newspaper Super Soccer when taking the photo, so they are in the queue as well.

Once these are done, my large scale scanning will some to an end, barring coming across a set of 1989-1990 Soccer Star newspapers. I will still be looking to fill in gaps in the existing collections of papers, programmes and yearbooks but I don't think I'll be faced with such large piles again.

Of course I'd only be too happy to work on a pile of (Victorian) Soccer News of the 1940's-1970's  twice as big as these, but I doubt I'll come across them. Their availability is sporadic and patchy. More can be found to enlarge the Soccer Week collection, and at some point the final five issues of Soccer Action will be found. The Victorian soccer paper timeline would be rounded out by Soccer Star, but it only lasted a couple of years and the piles would not be anything daunting.

After that it might be time to work on a few other things I have in mind.

Saturday, 14 December 2019

Australia v Israel 1969 50th Anniversary - World Cup Heartbreak

Fifty years ago today Australia hosted Israel in a World Cup Qualifier, needing to overturn a 0-1 deficit after the away game in a two-legged tie to determine who would go to Mexico '70.

The Socceroos had topped their three team group (of South Korea and Japan) unbeaten in the First Round of Asia & Oceania Qualifying. The Second Round saw them pitted against Rhodesia, and after a 1-1 draw and a 0-0 draw a play-off was required, which Australia won 3-1. All three games were played in Mozambique, and within the space of six days.

Israel, having had a bye in the First Round, only had two games to play in the Second Round, after North Korea withdrew for political reasons. The Israelis defeated New Zealand 4-0 and 2-0 (both games in Tel Aviv) to progress to the Final Round against Australia.

The first leg of the final round saw Israel take a 1-0 win at the Ramat Gan Stadium in Tel Aviv. The game was played just five days after Australia's play-off win in Mozambique, with Israel having had the luxury of a month's break since their games against New Zealand.

The return leg was played on December 14, 1969 at the Sydney Sports Ground.

Australia v Israel Match Programme

Thanks once again to the magnificent work of George Cotsanis (of My World Is Round) in converting and restoring some old film, we can now watch almost half an hour of highlights from Australia's first near miss World Cup Qualification heartbreak.

Australia dominated the early stages, but were unable to make a breakthrough. Attila Abonyi went close early on, with Johnny Warren having a good effort from distance saved before failing to convert a great heading opportunity. Israel worked their way into the game, which remained on a knife's edge until George Keith was beaten a bouncing ball when an intercept or clearance seemed easy enough, which saw Mordechai Spiegler slip through on goal and convert to put Israel ahead with eleven minutes remaining. John Watkiss was able to equalise nine minutes later, but it proved too little too late as Australia were unable to get the win required to book a place in their first World Cup Finals.

Spiegler benefits from a defensive slip to get a run at goal for the opener.

Watkiss on the turn about to net Australia's equaliser.

Heartbreak for the big crowd at the final whistle.

Match Details:

Sydney Sports Ground, December 14, 1969.
Referee: Ferdinand Marschall

Australia 1 (Watkiss 88') Israel 1 (Spiegler 78')

Australia: Ron Corry, George Keith, Manfred Schaefer, Alan Marnoch, Stan Ackerley, Danny Walsh, John Warren, Attila Abonyi, John Watkiss, Ray Baartz, Billy Vojtek (Willie Rutherford 60').

Israel: Itzhak Visoker, Shraga Bar, David Primo, Zvi Rosen, Menachem Bello, Shmuel Rosenthal, Giora Spiegel, Meir Barad (Rahamim Talbi 60), Yehoshua Feigenboim, Mordechai Spiegler, Itzhak Shum (Mordechai Lubetski 88').