The OzSoccer Articles

The following article is taken from the 1955 NSW Soccer Association Yearbook written by an unknown author. It was transcribed by Greg Stock who made this observation.

I thought it interesting as at the end of the 1956 season when the NSWSFA failed to promote Hakoah as winners of the 1956 2nd Division competition to 1st division it was the cue for the establishment of the NSWSF.

Two Rabbis walk into a bar...

Hakoah as a soccer club entity traces back 48 years - when the original club was formed in Vienna, Austria.

In successive seasons, it fought its way from the 4th Division into 3rd Division and then 2nd, when the outbreak of war brought competitive sports to a temporary halt.

When hostilities ended, the re-organised Hakoah club won 2nd Division honours scoring an unequalled record of more than 100 goals in a single season, and then defeated its leading rival, "Germania", 2 to 1 to gain promotion into the 1st Division. Most of the 100 goals were scored by full-back Scheuer, and forwards Hausler and Katz.

As the leading Jewish club in Europe, top Jewish players from other countries flocked to Vienna to join Hakoah, among them the noted Hungarians Schwartz, Eisenhofer, Guttman and Fabian.

A fighting club through and through, Hakoah proved it spirit in a Cup match against Czechoslovakian champion "Slavia". Trailing 1-5 five minutes after the interval, Hakoah battled to a 5-5 score and two minutes before the final whistle, centre-forward Wortman booted an unstoppable kick to win the match.

In 1924, the Viennese team made world soccer headlines by scoring a 5-0 victory over West Ham United, English Cup finalists in London, and the following year went on to win the national championships.

With the encroachment of Hitlerism, Hakoah players scattered to the four corners of the earth - but took with them the tradition and spirit of the old team.

Today there are Hakoah teams competing in the USA - in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Denver - South America, China, India and of course, Australia. The Australian Hakoah clubs suspended activities in 1940 as practically the whole teams joined the armed services.

In Melbourne, Hakoah won 1955 1st Division honours, and in Sydney, Hakoah were Southern league finalists the last two years, and are aiming for 1st Division promotion.

Although its committee, suporters and players are mostly Jewish, the club in conformance with the NSW Soccer Football Association's policy, also includes non-Jewish players.

Among these are two Australian international players - Bill Murphy and Clem Higgins at inside-left and left-wing respectively - and Billy Walsh, a recent arrival from England, where he played several years as centre-half with the 1st Division Sunderland aggregation.

Apart from this trio, migrants from Scotland and Englnad, Hakoah includes players who were born in Austria, Czechoslovakia, France, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Holland, Denmark, Germany, Egypt, Greece, Shanghai, America and of course, Australia. A really international team for an international sport.

Hakoah means "strength" in Hebrew - and it looks as if Hakoah will be strong in talent and ambition this year.