English (United Kingdom)
1937 England Tour of Australia Print E-mail
Tuesday, 29 July 2008 22:11


In 1931 the English FA made a monetary loan to the Australian FA to assist in the development of the game in Queensland and NSW. Part of the money was spent 6 years later in bringing an English Amatuer team to Australia for a 10 game tour. During the tour, the Australian side gained 2 notable victories - the first in Sydney on July 10th, when a crowd of 37,295 saw them win 5-4 and later at Newcastle, with 4-3 victory. The tour proved a financial windfall for the Australian FA with $32,000 being taken in gate receipts.

However, more than the results themselves, was the lasting legacy left by the exposure to the modern English coaching and tactical methodsv employed on the tour. Since 1887, the system or formation used in Australian soccer was a goalkeeper, 2 full backs, 3 half backs and 5 forwards.

In England, during the 1920s and 30s, a coach by the name of Herbert Chapman introduced what was known as the 'third back' system as well as advanced coaching and tactical methods, still employed today. This was the new era of the qualified coach. And 2 years later in 1939, Sydney club Gladesville-Ryde signed the 1st full time professional football coach in Australia.

The English FA recognises these games a 'B' Internationals.

The 1937 touring team comprised :

L T Huddle The Casuals
A H Woolcock Cambridge University
G G Holmes Ilford
G A Strasser Corinthians
W Pickering Sheffield Wednesday
Half Backs
B Joy Casuals and Arsenal
J W Lewis Walthamstow Avenue
T H Leek Moore Green
J Sutcliffe Corinthians
H S Robbins Dulwich Halmet
E Tunnington The Banks
R J Matthews Walthamstow Avenue
E C Collins Walthamstow Avenue
F S Davis Walthamstow Avenue
L C Thornton Derbyshire Amatuers
F Riley The Casuals
L Cpl S Eastham The Army
W W Parr Blackpool
L C Finch Barnet

July 3 - England 3 - NSW 1

England opened it's tour with a game against NSW at the Sydney Showgrounds. The English had been unbeaten on their tour of New Zealand, but hopes where high, as it was widely recognised that the standard of football in Australia, was considerably higher than neighbours across the Tasman. NSW started well employing a short passing game, and with McNabb, Whitelaw and Harris holding their own in defence, the Englishman were unable to break down NSW by the half.

Eventually though the combination and positional play of the English wore down the NSW side, and in the 61st minute they got their reward. Two more goals were added before NSW's Hughes excited the 33,000 crowd when tricked his way through the English defence and scored with a low shot.

July 6 - England 5 - Northern District 4

A Northern District soccer side, in which men omitted from the Australian first Test eleven displayed superlative form, was beaten by only the odd goal in nine by the English amateur side at Cessnock this afternoon. The match will rank as one of the most dramatic and keenly contested played between any team of Australians and an International side. Two goals behind at one stage Northern Districts brought the scores level at three each early in the second half, and finally went down four goals to five. A magnificent shot by Quill centre forward in the last few minutes should have made the game a draw but the ball with the goal-keeper beaten struck the crossbar. After a few of the lesser lights had shaken off their nervousness which enabled England to press forward to a 3 1 lead not one of the Northern District side failed. In the team spirit and courage which proved an almost successful counter to superior English positional play and ball control.

July 10 - Australia 5 - England 4 (test) @ Sydney

This match was played infront of 45,000 spectators and Australia scored in the 1st minute, and was never trailing. It must be said at once that though tagged, and really were, amatuers, the English players were not inferior to professional ones. "The game", said one reporter, "must have been an eye opener to those that had never seen a first class international before." The match was played a furious pace, and it was as fast in the last five minutes, as it was in the beginning. But those who had been converted to Chapman's newly invented '3rd back' game had to do some rethinking when they saw how the 'old scottish' style had defeated it. Smith, of Australia, constantly beat Joy, England's third back, as he constantly flicked headers sideways to his inside men, Hughes and Price.

At the same time Crowhurst did a lot of damage to the English side from the touchline with passes and accurate crosses. At the back, Evans and Harris headed away, and kicked away every dangerous ball out of their area, and when once this failed, Evans even fisted away a ball for penalty that was then converted by Eastham. But it was Morgan who really saved the result, when the Australia goalkeeper took the ball from Finch's feet as the Englishman was about tp put it in the sack.

It was said that England's technical brilliance was offset by the physical play of the Australians, although the heavt shoulder charges were always within the rules of the game.

Australia : Bill Morgan, Jack Evans,T Harris, Ray Bryant, Bill Coolahan, Jock Parkes, Roy Crowhurst, Jack Hughes, George Smith, Billy Price, Harold Whitelaw

Goals : Smith*2, Hughes*2, Price

England : AC Woolcock, GA Strasser, HS Robbins, JW Lewis, Bernard Joy, TH Leak, FW Collins, F Eastham, RJ Matthews, LC Thornton, LC Finch

Goals : Matthews*2, Eastham*2

July 14 - England 2- Queensland 1

The Queensland soccer team put up a surprising performance against England under floodlight at the Exhibition Grounds tonight, being defeated by  two goals to one. The home side's tactics seemed to upset the visitors, who were also hampered by injuries to players. Pickering, the full back, had to be assisted from the field, 20 minutes after the start and did not return, and Davis and Riley in the forward line were also hurt. Queensland to the delight of 7000 spectators were first to score, Parry, left winger, finding the net after 17 minutes of play. There was no further score before the interval. England settled down better after the resumption and Matthews equallsed after 30 minutes and Lewis scored the winning goal in the closing stages. Weak finishing by the visitors lost them many chances, Matthews being particularlv erratic. The English halves, Lewis, Leek and Sutcliffe played splendidly holding the team together, while Strasser was very sound at full back. Eastham was the beat of the forwards. Queensland were well served by Greens in goal, Murray at centre half and Parrv on the left wing. The receipts were £515.

July 17 - Australia 0 - England 4 (test) @ Brisbane

Australia Outplayed

'In the second Soccer test at the Exhibition Grounds on Saturday, England beat Australia by four goals to nil. It was a veritable triumph for skill over the 'kick and run' methods of the Australian, whose want of cohesion, mainly in attack, largely contributed to their failure to score goals. No serious attempt was made by Australia to circumvent England's 'three back game.' - The Cessnock Eagle and South Maitland Recorder

'England's third back play was vindicated in the second Soccer Test at the Exhibition Grounds yesterday. The Australian team failed to produce an effective counter to it, and was defeated by four goals to nil. Joy showed perfectly the effectiveness of the ' stopper 'game in defence, and although the Australians provided robust mid-field play their attack could not seriously challenge the packed English defence. The match was hard rather than spectacular, with the Australian attack dominated by the keener positional play of the Englishmen, who, however, did not reveal the standard of the English professionals of 1925. The Test honours are now even, and the deciding match will be played at Newcastle on Wednesday.

Playing conditions were ideal yesterday. The light rain during the curtain raiser made the ground slightly greasy in the early stages, but did not affect the play. England attacked from the start and by scoring two goals within the first 10 minutes, did much to undermine the confidence of the Australians. Coolahan, the Australian centre-half, worked hard to gain the advantage for Australia, and although the team co-operated to share the honours with England in the midfield exchanges, Australia's efforts lacked finish. Woolcock, the English goalkeeper, was not really tested by the long range and comparatively weak shooting of the Australian forward line. The Australian centre-forward, George Smith, also could not repeat his success in the aerial duels with Joy for possession in front of England's goal, and the inside forwards, Hughes and Price, did not receive many reasonable chances.' - The Central Queensland Herald

Australia : Bill Morgan, George Smith, Ray Bryant, Jock Parkes, Parry, Jack Hughes, Billy Price, Bill Coolahan, Jack Evans, T Harris, Roy Crowhurst

England : AH Woolcock, GA Strasser, HS Robins, TH Leek, Bernard Joy, J Sutcliffe, WW Parr, JW Lewis, RJ Mathews, S Eastham, LC Finch

July 20 - Australia 4 - England 3 (test) @ Newcastle

Australia beat England by four goals to three in the third and deciding Soccer test match, played at Newcastle yesterday. The Australian team had to work tremendously to keep in check, the attacks of the English side, which, despite the misfortunes which made Joy and Finch unavailable, was transformed by superb team spirit to the moat efficient scoring mechanism placed in the field against Australia during the tour. The takings of the match, £1100, and the attendance, approximately 15,000, were records for the Newcastle Sports Ground.

Australia : Jimmy McNabb, Jack Evans, J McDougall, Bill Coolahan, J Davidson, A Murray, Jim Wilkinson, Jack Hughes, George Smith (c), Billy Price, A Teece

Goals : Smith*3, Hughes

England : AC Woolcock, GA Strasser, HS Robbins, JW Lewis, TH Leek (c), J Sutcliffe, KC Collins, S Eastham, RJ Matthews, F Riley, FR Davies

Goals : Riley, Matthews*2

"Australia is now well on the map of Association football, said Mr. C. Wreford Brown, manager of the English amateur soccer team, at a farewell dinner given by the Australian Football Association before the team's departure for Melbourne. "After seeing the play in the first game at the Sydney Cricket Ground," said Mr.Wreford Brown, "I  wrote to the secretary of the English Football Association that we would have strong opposition here, and might expect a hard game. Our losses will do you in Australia more good than harm to us. We have had a wonderful time, and wonderful tributes have been paid to the game during our tour of New South 'Wales and Queensland. We have lost the rubber, but our consolation is that we have scored 11 goals to Australia's nine. You must grasp the opportunity to make the Association code the leading winter game here. There has not been a single incident throughout the tour which created the slightest unpleasantness. We shall go back to our own country and speak of the wonderful treatment we have had, and I have no doubt that our association will do all it can to help you develop the game here. We shall do our best to see that there is another early visit to this country, the alternative being that you send a team to visit us." The farewell was held in the Railway Refreshment Room dining hall at the Central Railway Station. Mr. S. A. Storey, president of the Australian Football Association, who presided, commended the wonderful spade work the English team had done to establish the game in public favour. He said that he knew of no tour of a visiting team since 1922 which had been more pleasant in every way. Irrespective of the results of the matches. The team had upheld the best British traditions in sport. The attendances at the matches had exceeded expectations. The play was so clean that every movement was easy to watch; there was an absence of rancour. Australia had not expected to beat England; and England would beat Australia many times during the next century, but many more visits were wanted."

July 24 - England 4 - Australian XI 3

It is 12 years since Victoria received a soccer team from England The visitors on that occasion won all five Test matches. On this tour Australia has won two Tests and England one. Keen interest will be shown in the play of the visitors Bernard Joy, the captain and centre-half, is a master of the "third back" game, and his height (6ft, 2in) enables him to frustrate the more dangerous attacks. L. T. Huddle is an artist in goal, while H. Leek (half-back), Matthews (centre forward), F. Riley (forward), Eastham, and Cunningham are skilful exponents of the code. - The Argus

Displaying clever ball control and machine-like precision in passing movements, the English amateur Soccer team defeated an Australian team at the Melbourne Cricket Ground to-day by four goals to three. A feature of the game was the spectacular saves by Australia's 'keeper, Sheppard. Australia was by no means disgraced. The defence of McKay, Evans, and Sheppard was excellent and Australia's forward's were always dangerous on the attack. Because of the tricky positional play of the visitors, however, they were not allowed as many opportunities as the English attack. The official attendance was 11,000. England won the toss and Smith immediately put Australia on the attack, but a clever interception by Strasser, the English captain, prevented Anderson getting a shot for goal. Australia's first goal came when Smith beat Woolcock with a head shot from five yards. Australia's second goal came after 33 minutes of play, it being snapped by Hughes, whose pile driver gave Woolcock no chance. At half time Australia had two goals and England had failed to score. The second term was all England's. Six minutes after play began Thornton shot, and the ball glanced off McKay into the net. Ten minutes later Mathews equalised, and then Anderson scored a fine shot from 10 yards to regain the lead for Australia. Eastham beat Sheppard to make the scores level.With 12 minutes to go England took the lead for the first time, Thornton scoring. The final figures were: England, four goals; Australia, three goals. Goal-kickers: England (Thornton 2), Eastham, Mathews - Australia: Anderson, Smith, Hughes.

July 26 - England 6 - Victoria 1

Superior in every department the English amateur soccer team defeated Victoria by 6 goals to 1 in a match played under flood lights at Olympic Park last night The English players showed brilliance in controlling the ball either with head or feet Their positional play too was an eye opener. The players rarely had to look before they passed or headed the ball even behind them and nine times out of ten there was a man waiting to receive it. Because the match was one-sided it lacked spirit and apart from a few flashes of good play by the Victorians the visitors were always on top They showed better judgment than the Victorian players and were always first to the ball. A crowd of 4000 people paid £89 to see the match.

July 29 - England 10 - South Australia 0

The English amateur Soccer team beat South Australia by 10 goals, to nil in Adelaide yesterday before 3000 spectators. England early displayed superiority over the South Australians, whose spasmodic efforts proved fruitless. Thornton, Parr, and Mathews (two) scored for England in the first half. Mathews scored four goals in the second half, the other two being netted by Lewis and Thornton. Mr. C. Wreford Brown, one of the co managers, said that, after seeing play in Australia, he considered the play equal to the best of the amateur clubs in England. If a team was sent to Britain it would be assured of a warm welcome. He advised that matches should be confined to amateur clubs, with one or two on the Continent. Bernard Joy, captain of the team, said that the manager of the famous Arsenal professional Soccer team in England, after seeing Bradman play cricket, said that, because of his footwork, Bradman might have been a brilliant Soccer player, as well as a brilliant batsman. Joy, in company with L. C. Thornton and L. C. Finch, other members of the English team, called on Bradman at his Adelaide office yesterday. Bradman, discussing the opinion of the Arsenal manager, said that his headwork might not be as good as his footwork.

Aug 2 - England 6 - West Australia 1


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