Over the years we've been fortunate enough to cross paths with various like-minded souls who have found what we do here at OzFootball of value and make reference to us or credit us with helping some of their own work. We're always happy to further the cause and while not wanting to appear completely lacking in humility felt it would be worthwhile to show some of references to us we've earned over the years. Please note that this is not the place you would find links to other sites we feel would be of value to you. That tradition of the Worldwide Web is accessible by selecting the "links" option in the "Home" menu at the top of your web browser (which will of course be Firefox or Safari ;-) ).
Back when we first started out, when it was just Greg Baxter and Thomas Esamie, there was no Google. Also there was no Yahoo or MSN search, basically you found stuff on the web by just ambling about and following links from one site to the next seeing what you could find. This was the era when the rec.sport.soccer newsgroup was being read over a modem at 2400baud via a newsreader called trn. Trn was a threaded version of rn. It was good. Anyway Greg had seen the Web and liked it. Netscape 1.0 baby, it was big. I loved the animated logo... that came later. Anyway another way of finding places to visit on the Web was by buying magazines where someone had already done all the hard work for you.
The earliest instance of the site we can find mentioned in these magazines is the November 1995 issue of Internet Australasia. Admittedly you had to flick to page 89 to find it, but the e-zine article it was a part of was mentioned on the front cover. So fair go. Also the screenshot of the main page, if you can bear to look at it, gives you a clue to the actual birthdate of the site. The 22nd of March, 1995 is when the counter started to tick over. They were amusing days when you look back on it.
These days we don't do counters anymore but the access stats have the traffic rolling in between 8000 and 15000 visits a day (yeah if I were you I would not believe me either) depending on what's going on. Madness around the World Cup, not much going on during the (northern) summer break.
It was in early 1996 when Thomas discovered by word of mouth from his European based football friends that his humble little site got a mention in an article on Internet Football by World Soccer magazine. No doubt many of you are familiar with this long standing publication. Anyway at the time this was thrilling news but we had to wait until the magazine was released in Australia.
Eager to find out what coverage we got it turns out they had mangled the address of the site so that anyone wanting to reach it would fail. So we created a page at the address they had given, which still exists at the same address today. Sadly today's web browsers are far less forgiving about the shenanigans we tried to pull and the page now renders only the source text. You'll see too that the URL World Soccer gives is different to the "OzSoccer" site of the time. The reason was that for a long time the results archive was seperate from the journalistic/newsy side of things. There was a link from one to the other but it was almost 2 seperate sites co-existing. You'll note even today much of OzFootball lives in a sub-folder names "ark" which is a direct reference to the archive that used to be stored seperately.
While it was an enormous thrill to get mentioned by World Soccer the site wasn't universally loved by any means. People complained, and still do, that there isn't enough of this and too much of that. That it looks horrible (OK, that one's probably fair) or whatever the other reason of the day might be. In March 1996 we found ourselves mentioned again in one of those Internet Magazines, this time it was Internet.AU and they didn't like what they saw at all. While bad publicity is said to be better than no publicity it can be a tough thing to hear what they said. I think it was even more hurtful because much of it was true. Incase you're wondering, that merchandising was something Greg tried to get off the ground but it never really got there.
Later that year in September Internet Australasia, possibly running out of sites to review, covered OzSoccer again. This time we made it all the way to page 13 and if we had our egoes dented in March they were again fully inflated when this thing hit the streets. Actually this particular article was a little over the top in the praise department. In retrospect perhaps they were hoping we'd advertise with them, or maybe they genuinely believed the site was that good.
I guess by now the novelty of seeing our names in print was wearing a bit thin, but really it never really dies completely. It wasn't all nerdy magazines (World Soccer is still a *bit* nerdy) and this was proven with the October 1996 Maiden Issue of Total Sport. OK calling it a maiden issue is a cheap pun, but young Fiona on the cover wasn't exactly blazing a new trail by appearing on the cover of a sports magazine aimed at men.
Oddly that article was probably the most indepth one about the site we'd ever had, Greg was always the one being interviewed. Not that Thomas minded, if you ever read Greg's gonzo pieces you'd know he had the gift of the gab. When he found more important uses for his time (like kids and a paying job) the site lost a lot of its impact.
1997 was when Soccer Australia, as they were at the time, had intended to make thier own appearance on the Web. This aim is mentioned in the article on fan websites as it appeared in Internet Au magazine in June 1997. As it turns out they only arrived at the party in April 2000. Anyway the screenshot of the Australian Soccer page still gives us nightmares. Best advice is not to look straight at it, but maybe view it with a mirror, or through sunnies.
The site had, by 2001, been located at www.ozfootball.net for a while and Greg had moved onto other things and Andrew, John and Greg were making the site grow like it was a pig on steroids. Well presumably that's quite fast, which is what is trying to be conveyed here. Anyway on the 19th of July (seven years to the day that this sentence is being typed) in 2001 we received a request from the National Library of Australia to include OzFootball in the PANDORA project which is essentially an archiving of Australian websites. In their words...
"Since 1996, we have been assessing online publications and identifying those that we consider have national significance."
Well obviously we all agreed it was a great thing and felt humbled and elated at being part of such a collection of Australia's heritage. Once we had a look at some of the other things being collected the feeling subsided a little, but Yay Us! all the same.
While the whole notion of getting recognition for the information we made available was rewarding it was certainly unexpected that we could provide the basis for academic research. Yet we did. In 1999 the 5th IOC World Congress on Sport Sciences was the venue for a paper presented by 4 researchers who had used the data on the site to analyse the times when goals were scored during the course of a match. It's fairly dry stuff, sure, but at the same time I bet every one of you has, at some stage, wondered about when a team is more likely to score during the course of a match. The abstract itself doesn't mention us (nobody puts acknowledgements in the abstract) the title page of the presentation paper does.
There was another academic paper, "A RATINGS BASED ANALYSIS OF OCEANIA'S ROAD TO THE WORLD CUP", by Anthony Bedford and Cliff Da Costa of RMIT circa 2004 which used some parts of the site in the presentation itself but OzFootball did not form a source of the paper proper.
As you can guess the magazine stuff for the internet had pretty much stopped because why would you buy a mag for a couple of bucks when you could do an online search for *anything* and for free. Take a bow, Google and Yahoo.
We kind of figured that was more or less it for the glamour of the printed word for our humble website but as it turns out that whole thing about one door closing and another opening... well it does sometimes work like that. One of the first books which mentioned our site was Matthew Halls "The Away Game". Actually I am underselling the credit he gave us. Matthew has been a great supporter of the site and not only listed the site but also the names of the main conspirators in the credits. First.
The book was published in 2000 and it was received well enough to also spawn a TV program of the same name. Certainly worth a look if you're not familiar and we at OzFootball certainly appreciate Matthew's efforts.
Now, we are dedicating this section to publications who have referred to us in one way or another so this following entry really doesn't belong here because it does not mention us at all. So why is it here? It's mainly so this story can be told. As you will see our involvement was marginal, but real nonetheless.
In early 2002 Random House made some enquiries as part of the publication of this book regarding Brian Green. As thanks for our efforts we were promised a copy of the book when it was published. We never really spoke about listing us in the acknowledgments, we tend to make sure we ask for it now if authors get in touch but at the time having John Warren come to us for help was thrill enough. That is the reason we're not listed in the book, no slight on Johnny, Random House or its agents.
Anyway the book was released and the copy never came. It was somewhat annoying that the promise had been made but never acted on... or so it seemed. Many years later, when tidying up, the e-mail exchange resurfaced and only then did it become apparent that they had been provided with the wrong address. It was all our own fault and who knows where that copy is now. Of course we ended up buying our own anyway, so it worked out for the best as far as the publisher was concerned. At any rate the book is certainly worth a read.
The 2006 World Cup and the preceding campaign saw a flood of books on Australian Football enter the market. So much so that that going to the bookshop to find books on football, let alone Australian Football, was no longer a sport in itself requiring a Sherlock Holmesian outfit.
Jesse Fink's "15 days in June" was semi typical of the kind of book you would see and though the list of references is long you will see this site among them. Infact the list of references is so long I wonder if this is one of those examples (which I swear I *never* indulged in) where at Uni you would pad your references by cruising the library and writing down the name of every relevant text you could find.
"One Fantastic Goal" doesn't mention the site but gives credit to Greg Stock and Andrew Howe who are both involved in vast amounts of the available data that you see here. Some people wonder what drives people to spend countless hours and not an inconsiderable amount of money to do all this work. Well if you're looking for an answer to that question your quest doesn't finish here because we cannot furnish you with an answer.
These next 2 books which saw fit to credit our work are "Our Socceroos" and "World Cup Destiny". The former book is a bit different in that it takes a number of notable Socceroos through time and gives you an insight into them as opposed to telling a tale on one specific player or a specific period. The book is wonderfully illustrated and the wide pages make it seem like a photo album more than a book. Sad then that they got the address of the website wrong by putting a ".au" on the end of our URL. There's no World Soccer style rigged page we can make to cover for that so hopefully the readership can figure it out. Thankfully the domain isn't one of those horrible ad-riddled parked domains.
The Mark Schwarzer focused Destiny of course also a good read and Ross Musso correctly pegs us as loonies and gives us a seat up the front of the bus along with the ISBN code, which was warmly appreciated. Especially since so much of it revolves around recent events it is hard to imagine the historical data was called upon much for reference.
It is always amusing when the first you know of such an involvement in a book is when you pick it off a shelf. It's quite possible there are other books which have given us some sort of credit and we are completely unaware of its existence. If you happen to see such a book, article, magazine or other publication then please don't hesitate to let us know.