So me and Ian Syson went out to Hugh Murney's place today, to talk about Max Sterne, the noted Australian stamp dealer and oldest registered soccer player in the state still going at 80 something (and not the Italian vet who developed an anthrax vaccine), but as sometimes happens we ended up going off on a few tangents, and we got to learn a fair a bit about Hugh's football story. And soccer-forum got a mention as well, for the North Caulfield on Sundays saga, whereby every team that plays against North Caulfield Maccabi must play even their home games on Sundays.
For those like myself, unfamiliar with Hugh Murney, he was a Scottish footballer who came out here to play for Hakoah in the mid 1960s after having played all over the place in Scotland, and then also played or coached at many places, and so I enjoyed having my knowledge of obscure and now defunct Melbourne soccer teams validated, as we talked about Albion Rovers (before the Turks took over), Kew Park Rangers, Sunshine City etc. One of those rare occasions where all that time spent working on OzFootball didn't go waste.
And we also talked about the great characters he's met along the way, Eddie McGuire tucking into a Scottish breakfast at Hugh's pub before the Scotland/Australia game in the 1980s, Manchester United, England and Scotland touring teams, with plenty of stories about drinking and tongue in cheek jokes about the meanness of the Scots and the Jews. And an unprompted bit about Kostas Nestoridis, and him scoring two goals from corners in one game, after having been drinking and playing cards the previous night until well into the next morning. Oh, and Footy Show (co)creator Harvey Silver's involvement in local Jewish football.
There's a hell of a story in there, or at least, hundreds of anecdotes worth collecting and preserving. But he gave us the name of one bloke writing a book, called Michael O'Hara, who's written this bizarre book about his time in MI6, of which the segment I've chosen talks about the great Hakoah side of the mid 1960s, and some other stuff. Fascinating game, Australian soccer.