Formeroo Bunny Nunn dies aged 81
Wednesday, 10 December 2008 20:32
By Alan Fouche, Courier Mail
HAD "Bunny" Nunn played football in the modern era, some of the world's biggest clubs would have been queuing for his signature.
A deadly marksman who scored more than 700 career goals, Mr Nunn was once described by former Australian Soccer Federation chairman Ian Brusasco as "one of the all-time great attacking players".
"If it was on for a goal then Bunny Nunn wanted it. He fought tooth and nail to get a crack at the goal," Mr Brusasco recalled in an interview after Mr Nunn's retirement from the game in his mid-30s.
His precocious talents came to the fore early and by the age of 11 he represented Queensland Schoolboys, cracking in five goals against NSW in his first representative match.
When he made his senior debut as a 17-year-old striker with the St Helens club in Ipswich in 1945, the talented youngster found himself playing alongside international teammates such as Lex Gibb, Dan Roderick and Cliff Sander.
Far from being overawed, he soon showed he was not out of place in such elite company. In the Queensland side at 19, he soon caught the eye of the Australian selectors and toured New Zealand in 1948 and South Africa two years later.
In South Africa he even upstaged the renowned NSW centre-forward Frank Parsons, netting 18 goals on tour, including the two by which Australia won the final Test 2-0 to square the four-match series.
Mr Nunn's versatility made him a selector's dream, combining the pace and skill to operate effectively on either wing with a striker's instinct for goal which made him one of the most dangerous centre-forwards in the game. During the 1950s, a period in which Ipswich clubs dominated the Queensland football scene, Mr Nunn's goalscoring exploits with St Helens made him an automatic selection in state teams as well as earning 33 appearances for his country.
But one decision he lived to regret was spending a season with Brisbane club Caledonian in 1953, even though his 27 goals in 18 games propelled the unfashionable club to third place in the premiership.
Despite his subsequent return to St Helens, that move was to cost him a chance of representing Australia in the 1956 Olympics.
He was ruled ineligible because he had turned professional when he joined Caledonian.
"I signed on for pound stg. 1 and threepence a game," he later recalled, "which to me was a lot of money in those days."
In fact, Mr Nunn had already turned down an opportunity to become one of the few Australians to play professional football in England at that time, having declined an offer from London club Fulham because of his wish to support his young family in Australia.
Nevertheless, on the domestic front the 1956 season turned out to be the most triumphant of his career.
Under canny Scottish coach John Pattison, father of another Australian international striker, Eric, Mr Nunn spearheaded Queensland to four consecutive victories over NSW, a feat unique in a century of rivalry between the two states.
After struggling to a 2-1 win in the opening match of the series in Brisbane, Queensland stunned the Blues with two resounding 6-2 triumphs before winning the final game in Sydney by 5-3.
Of the 19 goals netted by Queensland in the 1956 series, Mr Nunn scored eight against a defence bristling with Australian internationals.
His final seasons were spent in the colours of Azzurri (now Brisbane City), and at the age of 35 he was still capable of cracking in four goals in a 7-3 defeat of 1962 premiers Hellenic.
He also took the reins for a brief spell as state coach but was unable to replicate his playing success, with Queensland losing all three of its games against NSW that season.
The ultimate accolade to his footballing prowess came more than 30 years later when he was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame.
Gordon David Nunn was educated at the Bundamba State School, followed by enrolment at the Ipswich Technical College, where he learnt the art of signwriting which was to become his trade.
As a youth, he showed keen enthusiasm for aviation and joined the Air Force Cadets while still at school, later enlisting in the Royal Australian Air Force and serving in the Air Sea Rescue until the end of World War II.
In 1969 he abandoned signwriting to manage his own transport business and later gained the hotelier's licence at the Caledonian Hotel in Ipswich.
After almost 10 years as a hotelier, Mr Nunn retired to the Gold Coast where he remained until his death.
Bowls provided a sporting interest in middle and later life, and at different times Mr Nunn was Booval Bowls Club champion in singles, pairs, triples and fours, as well as being club president from 1969-1970 .
In 1950 he married Elizabeth Smith and they had four children -- Gregory, Ross, Gail and Paul.
A blow from which he never recovered was the loss of his wife in 1972 to an inoperable brain tumour.
Popular on and off the field, Mr Nunn is regarded as a Queensland sporting icon.
Vidmar enters Hall of Champions
Friday, 14 November 2008 20:33
Current Adelaide United coach Aurelio Vidmar was inducted into the FFA Hall of Fame today at a luncheon in Melbourne.
Vidmar, now a member of the Hall of Champions played 53 Socceroo games, 239 games with Adelaide City and 27 with Adelaide United before stepping into coaching. He scored 18 goals for Australia and was named Oceania Player of Year in 1995.
The 1st Australian woman to play in the US professional league, Julie Murray received a Medal of Excellence. Murray played 67 matches for the Matildas, scoring 19 goals in a career that spanned 13 years.
Another highlight of the luncheon was the Award of Distinction acceptance speech made by "Wee Johnny" Thomson (pictured right), who came to Australia from Scotland in 1947 and played football for Gladesville Ryde and Canterbury Bankstown in the NSW State League.
Two days after his arrival in Australia, "Wee Johnny" took the field for the Gladesville reserve side and his footballing career in Australia began.
As an administrator, he acted as Chairman of the NSL Co-ordination committee, treasurer and an executive member of the NSW Federation as well as Australia's national team manager on our 1st Oceania tournament in New Caledonia.
He was involved with the negotiations for Australia's readmission to FIFA and represented Australia at Oceania Football Confederation meetings.
Thomson is also a life member of the both the NSW and Australian Football Federations and has given 60 years to the game. Thank You 'Wee Johnny'
Formeroos Cliff Almond and George Keith along with Tracey Wheeler, John De Witt, and Peter Desira were also presented with the Award of Distinction.
Mike Wells, George Dick OAM and Don Di Fabrizio OAM, were inducted into the Roll of Honour for their lifeling service to the game.
Over 40 ex-Socceroos were in attendance, spanning from the 1940s to recently retired player Tony Popovic.
The FFA also launched a virtual Football Hall of Fame - www.footballhalloffame.com.au - covers all of the 208 inductees since the inception of the Hall of Fame in 1999.
In other news : A book is being written about Reg Date and leading Australian football historian, Ted Simmons, is working on a history of football in Australia.
Formeroo Socceroos Gain A Voice
Tuesday, 12 August 2008 23:27
FOOTBALL WELCOMES ITS HISTORY
Formeroo Socceroos Gain A Voice
A group of former Socceroo players, with a combined playing tally of nearly 400 caps spread over half a century, today gathered for an historic meeting with Football Federation Australia (FFA).
The group met with FFA CEO, Ben Buckley, and Board member, Phil Wolanski, to discuss a variety of issues concerned with the history of Australian football and the contribution made by national team players.
"As football continues to experience huge growth and popularity, it is vitally important that we recognise the great history of the code and also the players who have made significant contributions representing Australia," Buckley said.
Amongst the group were long-serving Australian captains in Alex Tobin and Charlie Yankos , as well as legendary striker Ray Baartz, joined by former team-mate John Watkiss, 1956 Olympian Ted Smith, Doug Wendt (debuted 1955), Denis Yaager (1970) and Kimon Taliadoros (1990). (Another former captain, Paul Okon, is also a member of the group but was unable to attend.)
The issues discussed were the establishment of a Socceroo Club (a player alumni), a mentoring program comprised of former Socceroos, the establishment of an 'FA Cup' style competition, how to recognise the game's history and capture memorabilia, and the establishment of an annual football oration.
"Football has a history in Australia which stretches back 128 years, and it is one in which all football fans, as well as all Australians, should be proud. "I am delighted that those who have worn the green and gold have a voice to provide advice and input to what we're doing."
Buckley said that FFA will work with the members represented on the group to address a range of issues of mutual interest on behalf of all Socceroos.
Born: 6 March 1947, Newcastle, NSW
Socceroo honours: 59 appearances (21 goals) [1967-1974]
48 A internationals (18 goals) / 11 non-A internationals (3 goals)
Club career: Adamstown Rosebud (NNSW), Manchester United (ENG), Hakoah (NSW)
Despite injury curtailing his career at the age of 27, Baartz is recognised as one of the greatest players to ever pull on the Socceroo shirt.
Baartz was a regular throughout the 1970 and 1974 World Cup qualifying campaigns, and was the only player to start every qualifying match during this period, scoring numerous crucial goals along the way. However in Australia's final practice match before heading off to the 1974 World Cup, against Uruguay at the Sydney Sports Ground, his career suddenly and tragically ended. A blow behind play by Uruguay's Luis Garisto ruptured an artery in Baartz's neck - the artery haemorrhaged, causing interference with his brain and leaving him partly and temporarily paralysed.
Baartz would have potentially gone on to hold appearance and goalscoring records for the Socceroos had he maintained his record which stood at 48 A international caps and 18 goals at the time his career ended.
Born and raised in Newcastle, Baartz's club career was equally impressive. He joined his local club Adamstown where he impressed from a young age, and he soon attained a scholarship with Manchester United in 1963, becoming one of the pioneering 'Aussies Abroad'. He returned to Adamstown in 1966 and was soon snapped up by Hakoah winning numerous domestic honours in his eight seasons with the Sydney club.
After his forced early retirement Baartz moved back to Newcastle, he played a major role in the formation of the Newcastle KB United NSL club, and until recently managed his own successful sports store.
Born: 24 September 1935, Melbourne
Position: Left Wing
Australian national team: 2 A appearances, 1956 (Olympic Games)
Club career: Preston (Victoria), Moreland, (Victoria), South Melbourne (Victoria), Hakoah (Victoria)
Ted Smith had the honour of being amongst a select band of footballers to represent Australia at our first appearance on the stage - the 1956 Olympic Games.
A speedy left winger, Smith represented Victoria on many occasions in a glittering career which largely took place during Australia's absence from international football in the late 50's and early 60's.
He won silverware with Moreland and South Melbourne, and was runner-up in the Australia Cup with Hakoah in 1967. Ted then went on to coach firstly Moreland in the State League and be assistant coach at South Melbourne in the National Soccer League.
He has been a member of the Australian football Hall of Fame Honours Committee since it's inception in 1996, and is actively involved in the Socceroo Club.
Born: 5 April 1972, Sydney, NSW
Socceroo honours: 37 appearances (1 goal) [1990-2003]
28 A internationals (24 as captain) / 9 non–A internationals (1 goal)
Club career: Marconi (NSW), Club Brugge (BEL), Lazio (ITA), Fiorentina (ITA), Middlesbrough (ENG), Watford (ENG), Leeds United (ENG), Vicenza (ITA), Oostende (BEL), Apoel Lefkosia (CYP), Newcastle Jets (NSW)
A skilful player with a sharp footballing brain, Paul became one of Australia's most capped Socceroo captains and he was also the first Australian to enjoy lengthy playing success in the Italian Serie A.
He made his NSL debut for Marconi in 1989 aged just 17, and captained the Australian Under 20 side at the 1991 FIFA U20 World Cup in Portugal, leading the Young Socceroos to a semi-final appearance. An inspirational player amongst a 'golden generation', he also took part in the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona where Australia also reached the semi-final stage.
He made his senior national team debut in 1990 aged just 18, ultimately playing with the Socceroos for 13 years; his senior national team career included a captain's stint during the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup (where Australia lost narrowly to the world's number one and two teams at the time, France and Brazil) and in the 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
His individual player honours include twice Australian U-21 player of the year (1990, 1991), Belgian Player of the year (1995/96) and Oceania Footballer of the Year (1996).
His move from Club Brugge to Lazio in 1996 was reported to be on a $1.2 million transfer, the record highest-valued transfer for any Australian player at the time. He also played for Fiorentina and also Middlesbrough and Leeds United in the English Premier League.
With his career at a high in 1996 he was struck down with a serious leg injury, drastically restricting his first team appearances from 1996 to 2000.
Born: 28.3.68, Durban, South Africa
Socceroo honours: 9 appearances (2 goals) [1990-1993]
4 A internationals / 5 non-A internationals (2 goals)
Club career: South Melbourne (Vic), Marconi (NSW), Sydney Olympic (NSW), Collingwood (Vic), Parramatta Power (NSW)
A prolific goalscorer in the National Soccer League, Kimon also represented Australia on nine occasions, having moved from South Africa at a young age.
He was top scorer in the National Soccer League in 1992, with that honour sandwiched between championship wins with firstly South Melbourne and then Marconi.
In October 1993, Kimon became the PFA's inaugural Chief Executive, a position he served until June 1995. He then served as President for three years, where during his tenure the PFA secured its first major National Soccer League Collective Bargaining Agreement and struck two major CBA's for the Socceroos.
Born: 3 November 1965, Melbourne, Vic
Socceroo honours: 113 appearances (3 goals) [1988-1999]
87 A internationals (2 goals) / 26 non-A internationals (1 goal)
(highest "A" capped player in Australian history)
Club career: Adelaide City (SA), Parramatta Power (NSW), Northern Spirit (NSW)
Alex made his senior debut for Adelaide City in the 1984 National Soccer League and amassed 522 appearances, most with Adelaide City before joining Parramatta Power and ending his playing career with Northern Spirit. He helped Adelaide City to three NSL titles and two Australian Cups and made the most appearances for any player in Australian national domestic competition.
A central defender, he also became Australia's most capped Socceroo appearing in 87 full internationals and a total of 113 times for Australia in all matches. He made his debut for Australia in 1988 and played his last international against Manchester United in 1999.
He featured in two World Cup campaigns and with 30 appearances as Socceroo captain, lies behind only Peter Wilson and Paul Wade as Australia's most capped skipper.
Since retiring, Alex has been Development Manager with the Central Coast Mariners since the inception of the club, and was assistant coach for the Socceroos in their international match against Nigeria last November.
Alex joined an elite group last year with induction into the Hall of Champions in the Australian football Hall of Fame.
Born: 28 March 1941, Willenshall, England
Socceroo honours: 31 appearances (4 goals) [1965-1974]
23 A internationals (2 goals) / 8 non-A internationals (2 goals)
Club career: Canterbury (NSW), APIA Leichhardt (NSW), Hakoah (NSW), Sutherland (NSW)
John Watkiss was a regular in the Socceroo shirt during the 1960s with his international career culminating with inclusion in the Australian World Cup squad in 1974.
He played virtually every game of the 1970 campaign scoring a crucial goal in the play-off against Israel where the Socceroos fell agonisingly short of a first World Cup qualification.
Having moved to Sydney from England at a young age, Watkiss played for the top Sydney clubs in his domestic career, appearing in an astonishing 11 Grand Finals in 19 seasons. He started with the 'Canterbury Babes' in 1957 alongside a new generation of young stars including Johnny Warren. Indeed the careers of the two Johnny's mirrored each other, even growing up together in the Sydney suburb of Botany. There was further success for Watkiss with APIA and Hakoah, where he was the league's top scorer in 1964 and the player of the year in 1971.
He commenced his career as a striker but by the end of the career was captain-coach of the Sutherland Sharks often playing in defence. He had great success with the Sharks remarkably winning the league's player of the year in 1977 at the ripe old age of 37, and then leading the club to
their first championship in 1978.
John was an inaugural inductee into the Australian football Hall of Fame in 1999.
Born: 1928, Newcastle.
Socceroo honours: 5 appearances [1953-1955]
1 A international / 4 non-A internationals
Club career: Adamstown Rosebud (NNSW), Auburn (NSW), Gladesville (NSW), Sydney Austral (NSW)
Doug Wendt played one full international and four non-A internationals for Australia at left back & left half against the likes South China, New Zealand and South Africa in mid 1950s and also represented NSW for eight years where he captained the State on many occasions.
Also a gifted cricketer, Doug decided to concentrate on football and quickly made an impact with his local club Adamstown Rosebud. He moved to Sydney in 1951 for work reasons and joined the Auburn club where he played for eight seasons with Auburn, Gladesville and Sydney Australs before retiring in 1959 through injury.
He was inducted into the Hunter Region Sporting Hall of Fame in 2006.
Born: Sydney, NSW
Socceroo honours: 11 appearances 
2 A internationals / 9 non-A internationals
Club career: Canterbury (NSW), Hakoah (NSW), Sydney Croatia (NSW)
Sydney-born striker who played 11 times in the green and gold all during 1970. He was one of the first Australians to try his luck overseas, having a brief stint with English giants Everton in 1964.
Doug played with top Sydney outfits of the day including Canterbury, Hakoah and Sydney Croatia winning the NSW Championship in 1968.
Born: 29 May 1961, Melbourne, Vic
Socceroo honours: 86 appearances (11 goals) [1983-1990]
49 A internationals (7 goals) / 37 non-A internationals (4 goals)
Australian captain: 1986-1990 (including 30 A internationals)
Club career: Heidelberg (Vic), West Adelaide (SA), APIA Leichhardt (NSW), Blacktown City (NSW), Wollongong Wolves (NSW)
Alongside Alex Tobin, Charlie Yankos captained Australia more times than anyone else except for Peter Wilson and Paul Wade. Yankos was an inspirational leader during a period of significant growth and success on the international stage for the Socceroos. Under his leadership the Socceroos scored a famous win over Yugoslavia at the 88 Olympics, and most memorably against reigning world champions Argentina the same year. His thunderous free-kicks are legendary and he scored a number of crucial long-range goals while wearing the green and gold.
He had sixteen seasons in the National Soccer League with five clubs, winning the national championship with APIA Leichhardt in 1987.
Charlie was an inaugural inductee into the Australian football Hall of Fame in 1999.
Museum Receives Johnny Warren Collection
Tuesday, 29 July 2008 20:50
MUSEUM RECEIVES JOHNNY WARREN COLLECTION
The National Museum of Australia has received a major donation of the Johnny Warren collection, almost 500 objects related to the life of the footballer, administrator, journalist and television personality.
The objects range from a 1953 under 12’s trophy, through to the FIFA Centennial Order of Merit medal which was presented by FIFA President Sepp Blatter in 2004. It was the only medal awarded to an Australian, one of only 100 worldwide.
Other highlights include Johnny Warren’s Soccerroo shirt worn in the match against East Germany in the 1974 World Cup and his Medal of the Order of Australia awarded in 2002.
Johnny Warren played 42 times for the Socceroos including the 1974 World Cup. For more than 30 years he became the face of football in Australia through his tireless commitment to the development of the game.
The Johnny Warren collection was donated to the National Museum by his brothers Geoff and Ross Warren, his nephew Jamie Warren, and his partner Sibere Rodrigues.
“Without the support of donors, the National Museum could not hope to fulfil its role at the pre-eminent institution devoted to Australia’s history,” said the Director of the National Museum of Australia, Craddock Morton.
“We intend to exhibit elements of the Johnny Warren collection in our permanent galleries in the neat future and we are looking at opportunities to tour the collection around the country in coming years,” said Mr Morton.