Each episode we interview a person who has had involvement and or knowledge of soccer (or football) in the Illawarra.
Each episode we interview a person who has had involvement and or knowledge of soccer (or football) in the Illawarra.
Welcome everybody to episode 46 of the Football United vs Soccer City podcast. I would like to sincerely thank all the interviewees, listeners and the soccer public of the Illawarra, Australia and the World who download this podcast. Additionally I would like to say thank you to the people who contribute, comment and reminisce on the social media pages. It is one of these social media posts that allowed me to complete this interview, so please keep interacting online.
Stuart McLaren is our interviewee in episode 46. In this expansive interview Stuart talks about a wide range of subjects, which relate to his footballing journey across the world. Stuart has been involved in the game for over four decades and has tasted all aspects to the game as a player and as a coach at grassroots, representative and professional levels.
The interview is compelling as Stuart is honest and thinks about the game deeply. Australian and Scottish football are fortunate to have benefited from his immense contributions. Although not a complete story as he has so much more to give, I learnt a great deal from listening to the man and it is an absolute pleasure to have recorded this interview.
My sincere thanks go out to Stuart and his Family for giving up his time for this interview. And thank you to Daniel Hastings who originally linked Stuart to a Facebook post. This post allowed me to reach out to Stuart and for that I am grateful. Please note as this was recorded via a phone call the sound quality is not where I would like it to be, so for this infraction I apologise. Please enjoy this episode!
Welcome everybody to episode 45 of the Football United vs Soccer City podcast. I would like to sincerely thank all the interviewees, listeners and the soccer public of the Illawarra, Australia and the World who download this podcast. Additionally I would like to say thank you to the people who contribute, comment and reminisce on the social media pages. If you have any photos, programmes or newspaper articles then please message me directly on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter so we can display them to the public.
Matthew Bailey started playing junior soccer with Russell Vale Junior Soccer Club in the mid to late 1980s from U7s through to U10s. Matt's proficiency on the field saw him selected in the under 11s Illawarra representative team. After a couple of seasons here, Matt moved onto the junior Wollongong Wolves representative teams from U13s through to U16s, where the support of his family was immense, his footballing talent evolved and lifelong friendships were formed.
He then joined the NSL youth team with the Wollongong Wolves for 3 years in the latter part of his teenage years. The team was always strong and Matt thoroughly enjoyed his time with the Wolves, in particular the football opportunities it afforded him. After the Wolves, Matt then entered the Illawarra Premier League with the Phil Carr coached Northern United in 1999, it was a great year as they won the league and Matt was playing at a club where his Dad was involved and where he played amongst mates.
In the next few seasons Matt played with Kemblawarra, Western Suburbs, Port Kembla and Cringila Lions. At these clubs Matt played under great coaches in Fleming, Gaffney, Alston and Glover and he significantly contributed on the field with quality team mates. Additionally Matt was awarded Illawarra Premier League player of the year in 2002, won the League and Grand Final double with Port Kembla and played regular finals football.
In 2005 he joined Bulli Football Club under Alan Mangles. It was here where he spent 3 very good years and in the latter 2 seasons he was coached again by Adrian Alston. In 2007 Matt's stellar season was rewarded with a second player of the year award (now named the George Naylor medal). In 2008 Matt pushed himself personally by joining the Wollongong Wolves in the NPL under John Turner. This year was important for many reasons and it was fascinating to hear Matt describe this season.
After off-field decisions in 2009 re-shaped the Wolves, Matt re-joined Bulli FC for a season. He performed well that year and enjoyed the club, but the desire to perform at the NPL level meant that Matt joined Robbie Stanton's Sutherland in 2010. At Sutherland Matt immensely enjoyed his football, Robbie, the playing group and the Club/facilities. Team accolades followed but this stint for Matt meant more than just the trophies, it was pushing himself, the delight of thorough preparation during the week and enjoying time with the family on game days.
Next Matt went back to Bulli FC and enjoyed a great couple of years at the Club under Ben Smith in 2012 and 2013. The next year Matt again re-joined the Wolves to give back to the club that had given him so much. A huge highlight in this year was the FFA Cup tie versus Central Coast, to hear the personal pride Matt exudes in captaining the club and sharing this moment with so many in the Illawarra was a high point for me.
After retiring from playing, Matt had 5 fantastic years at Bulli FC, firstly as a youth grade coach and then as a first grade coach. What he has achieved is amazing and speaks volumes of his abilities as a coach and aligning himself around great people. The conversation around breaking Bulli's first grade grand final hoodoo was beautiful to hear.
From my perspective the interview spoke to me about Matt's perpetual determination to push his playing and coaching talents as far as he cou
Welcome everybody to episode 44 of the Football United vs Soccer City podcast. I would like to sincerely thank all the interviewees, listeners and the soccer public of the Illawarra, Australia and the World who download this podcast. Additionally I would like to say thank you to the people who contribute, comment and reminisce on the social media pages. Please note if you have a person you think I should interview please message me directly on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter.
Paul Giraldi started playing junior soccer in 1969 as a left full-back with Woonona Junior Soccer Club down at Ocean Park. Although humble about his own abilities, Paul was proficient enough to play representative junior soccer for a couple of years along with his club soccer with Woonona (and school soccer with Woonona High School).
His senior career started with Fairy Meadow under 18s in the Illawarra Premier League in 1977 while he was still dual registered with his junior club Woonona. The first couple of years at Fairy Meadow allowed him to play with his brother and good friend Dean Gardiner. Added to this his U18 team had success winning the Kass Cup a couple of times.
Paul was approximately 16 and a half years old when he joined the Bellambi Rosellas after being asked to come across by his former high school teacher John Frew. Here he played first grade under John Frew and other experienced senior players such as Rob Banks, Tony Gill and Geoff Farrar. He learnt a lot at Bellambi and after this he joined Wollongong United with his brother, Dean and the Sattin brothers in 1981.
Here in State League 2nd division he was coached by Mike Johnson, a coach that had an enormous influence on his football career as well as his life. Mike was an intense man and it was fascinating to hear Paul discuss his time with Mike. For several years he played with Wollongong United/Wollongong Macedonia along with many team mates. His time at this club was highlighted by the state league derbies between Fairy Meadow, another intense coach in John Bingham and Paul's ability to play alongside very good friends.
In 1989 Paul went across to Fairy Meadow Italia under Glenn Fontana in the state league for a year. Unfortunately Fairy Meadow folded at the end of that year and this was a sad event for Paul and the Illawarra. Next he went to Bellambi Rosellas for a second stint as a player under Steve Quirk. After a couple of seasons he then moved on to Coniston Makedonija with former team mate, friend and now coach Harry Sattin in 1992. They had a successful year as Coniston won the league championship and were grand finalists.
In 1993 he joined Fernhill SC as their coach Larry Gaffney rang him and at the time it suited Paul's personal life. Paul played at Fernhill for a few seasons and amongst playing with a great club, he discusses former team mate Scott Chipperfield and very good friend and team mate Claudio Cellini. It was very insightful to hear Paul's thoughts on both men who have contributed a lot for our game in the Illawarra.
Paul thought he had retired from first grade football in 1998 after finishing with Fernhill and he started to play with an amateur team. But he was mistaken as Woonona Sharks coach Ian Cirson saw him play for the amateur team in the pre-season Corrimal Leagues Knock out in 1999. Ian liked what he saw and called Paul up and at the age of 37 Paul played 1 year in premier league at the club where he started his football career thirty years prior.
For me the interview with Paul was fantastic as I learnt a lot about him, especially the Macedonia days where he played at a high level with his brother and 5 to 6 very good friends. Paul has longevity and a passion for the game in the Illawarra. He played at a high level across two decades, with strong and successful teams (and coaches). Publicly I would like to pay my respects to him as he allowed me
Episode 43 John Cropper
Welcome everybody to episode 43 of the Football United vs Soccer City podcast. I would like to sincerely thank all the interviewees, listeners and the soccer public of the Illawarra, Australia and the World who download this podcast. Additionally I would like to say thank you to the people who contribute, comment and reminisce on the social media pages. Please note if you have a person you think I should interview please message me directly on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter.
This episode's interviewee John Cropper was born in 1954 and grew up in Tarrawanna. Prior to exploring John's own football journey we conversed about his Family's involvement with Tarrawanna Soccer Club. John's Dad and Uncle were life members of Tarrawanna Soccer Club and his Dad was instrumental with other volunteers in excavating and constructing the current day Tarrawanna Oval, a beautiful suburban soccer ground.
After exploring the Cropper connection to football in the Illawarra, John then details his junior career with Tarrawanna, the Illawarra representative team and his high school team. His description of the annual junior gala day is memorable to say the least. Additionally in this section of the interview we discuss John's vivid recollections of watching Balgownie and South Coast United play at their respective grounds when he was growing up.
His senior football career in the 1970s with Tarrawanna, South Coast United, Balgownie and Tarrawanna again was a fantastic listen, in particular his 1974 season with the Balgownie club under George Ramage. After the 1976 season with Tarrawanna John had several years away from the game to focus on another passion of his, elite level long distance running. In the early 1980s when John was living in the Blue Mountains due to his vocation as a teacher he played with Springwood in the Nepean League and with Penrith in the state league. This was not John's last game as a player, he played in his early forties when he was coaching Woonona Soccer Club in the early 1990s.
The rest of the interview delves into John's coaching career, which has so many parts to it. I apologise to you the listener that I couldn't discuss all of John's coaching appointments. However we do discuss his first coaching appointment as an 18 year old when he coached an U16 Tarrawanna team, parts of his school coaching career (in Sydney and down here in the Illawarra) and his coaching appointments at Woonona JSC, Thirroul JSC, Woonona SC, Wollongong Olympic SC, Bulli FC and Thirroul Thunder. Please note this is not an exhaustive list of all of John's coaching appointments.
It is clear after listening to John, that he has a deep passion for passing on his love of the game through his coaching. He has coached over a long period and he continues to enjoy helping people learn, improve and enjoy their football. I am in awe of a person like John who has contributed so much to our game in the Illawarra and to record his football journey was an absolute pleasure. My respect goes out to him for allowing me the time to speak with him for over two hours. I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I enjoyed recording it.
Welcome everybody to episode 42 of the Football United vs Soccer City podcast. I would like to sincerely thank all the interviewees, listeners and the soccer public of the Illawarra/Australia who download this podcast. I must note that we do have some international listeners, so thank you for the people who download around the world. Additionally I would like to say thank you to the people who contribute, comment and reminisce on the social media pages. Please note if you have any Illawarra soccer team pictures, newspaper articles, programmes or artefacts that you would like to share please get in contact with me.
This episode's interviewee was born in 1955 in Oyster Bay in the Sutherland Shire, where he played for the Georges River Tigers in 1963. In 1966 Phil Luskan then moved to the North Sutherland Rockets. In 1967 Phil moved to the Illawarra as his Dad had a job down here in the area. Due to this move he joined the Dapto Olympic Football Club in the junior ranks. In 1970 as a 15 year old Phil was picked to play first grade at Dapto Olympic. Playing out of Lakelands Oval, Phil learnt the goalkeeping trade amongst men.
During this period Phil was additionally playing soccer at school and made the Southern Illawarra High Schools representative team. The Dapto High student then was selected along with other Illawarra players Mile Terziovski and Brian Dodd in the 1973 NSW Combined High Schools team. This team travelled to Adelaide to play in the Australian Championship, playing three games. The NSW team drew their 3 games and held onto the Australian Championship as they held it from the previous carnival. The highlight of this carnival was playing alongside future Socceroos in Mark Jankovics and John Kosmina.
Late in 1973 Phil started training with St George Budapest along players such as Jim Fraser, Manfred Schafer and Johnny Warren. Although a great experience, Phil decided to trial locally with Balgownie who were in the 2nd division of the state league. In 1974 after being selected by Balgownie he played under coach George Ramage at Balgownie Sportsground. In this stint he played with some great players that year and it culminated in Phil being award Balgownie Soccer Club's player of the year and additionally in April 1974 Phil played with Balgownie against an Australian Second XI in a warm up game for the Australian team as part of their preparations for the World Cup in Germany that year. After the first few weeks of 1975 he stopped playing with Balgownie due to work and life commitments. He then returned to Dapto for a couple of seasons.
In 1977 he joined Figtree and it is here where he spent the rest of his soccer career. At Figtree, Phil spent time in both first grade and reserve grade and additionally was on the committee up until his retirement at the end of 1985 season. Here Phil spent just under ten years and amassed some fantastic friendships which endure through to today. And Phil is clear about the joy and ongoing friendships he has from his West Figtree playing days, which says a lot about him and the people at the club.
It was fantastic and a pleasure to interview Phil. My respect goes out to him and his wife Kate for allowing me into their home and giving up their time. Phil's journey was a pleasure to record and I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I enjoyed recording it.
Welcome everybody to episode 41 of the Football United vs Soccer City podcast. As always I would like to sincerely thank all the interviewees, listeners and the soccer public of the Illawarra/Australia who download this podcast. Additionally I would like to say thank you to the people who contribute, comment and reminisce on the social media pages.
This episode's interviewee started playing with Figtree Junior Soccer Club in 1990 when she was 10 years old. After three years of junior soccer Cath Lear had to stop playing due to girls not being allowed to play the sport past the age of 12.
Prior to talking to Cath about her move into senior soccer we talked about Cath's other involvement in our sport with her Grandfather Peter Bannister. "Banno" as he was known, is a legend in Illawarra Soccer with Coniston as a player and for his lengthy time at University of Wollongong SC (where he wore many hats). In her teenage years Cath had a lot of involvement with her Grandfather helping him out at the University of Wollongong SC.
In the mid 1990s Cath joined the senior ranks when she signed with South Coast United where she developed her football, friendships and a rivalry with Oak Flats.After 4 seasons with South Coast United Cath moved to the Wollongong Wolves in 1999 to play state league football and challenge herself as a footballer.
Concurrently around this time Cath was at the University of Wollongong where she was studying for a teaching degree. Cath successfully represented the UOW at the University games playing football. During her time at UOW she represented the Eastern University Games team which toured New Zealand and she made a "Green and Gold" select team which toured China.
In 2003 she joined Woonona SC and played eight successful seasons. After her eight seasons at Woonona Cath then spent a few seasons at Balgownie Rangers FC where she played and in addition to this went into the player-coach ranks. Near the end of her time at Balgownie, Cath then moved onto the Football South Coast Womens Board, where she continues today striving hard for womens football in the region along with the other board members. Cath additionally had a year in 2017 as a referee in the womens competition, which shows you the passion and discipline she has for the womens game.
It was an absolute pleasure to interview Cath. My respect goes out to her for allowing me into her home and giving up her time. Her journey was amazing to record and I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I enjoyed recording it.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Great podcast (look out Joe Rogan)
Love hearing all the football stories of great local players. Keep them coming.
A must listen for any football fan
Love hearing all the old footballing stories from days gone by. Travis does a wonderful job interviewing and extracting all the great stories.