A day in the life of a retired old bloke


Roy Hay

I sleep in till 8 am after the alarm fails to go off because we have had a power cut overnight. This must be Melbourne-Brisbane-Melbourne catching up on me. I plan to water the garden and prepare the powerpoint to go with my talk to the Worlds of Football Conference on Thursday. It is about the team that was sent to Vietnam in the middle of the war in 1967 and won our first international trophy for football and why these guys have never had the recognition they deserve.

Mistake number one, is I check my email. This is going to be a ‘best laid schemes of mice and men’ day. Well, Rabbie Burns’ birthday is this week anyway. I should have known, but my wife thinks I am a ‘jammy bastard’—an extremely lucky person for whom things fall into place with no exertion on my part. Little does she know.

So the first email is from a Chinese journalist who wants some video of, or information on, the match between Australia and China at Lang Park in Brisbane in 1985. This comes via the head of media at Football Federation Australia, Kyle Patterson, who is given to flick passing such things to me. Once upon a time, I had all my records and material to hand in Teesdale, but now it lives in the MCC Library thanks to the kindness of David Studham and his colleagues. It means it is available to all for research, but I can’t pull it off my shelves as I used to do. So that’s the watering and the powerpoint up the creek, and it’s off to the MCG.

Mistake number two. Forget that the tennis is on. Somehow I sneak my way through the traffic and thanks to David again I can park under the stadium rather than in Colac and walk from there. Part of the Hay-Peter Desira collection is a complete bound set of Soccer Action which Laurie Schwab and Les Shorrock edited from 1976 to 1987. Not digitised, but hard copy and easy to find the match report complete with pictures. It is not easy to scan A3 size bound newspapers, but luckily I have taken my camera and can take photographs and then convert them to jpegs to send to Vivian Tsi.

By the way, the match report complains about the bumpy pitch at Lang Park, so nothing has changed there. John Kosmina scored the first goal for Australia followed by the sublime Oscar Crino and a second half goal from the late Joe Watson. I think the match report might provide some colour for my tv colleagues Simon Hill and Andy Harper so I whiz that off to them as well.

The match tonight is Japan versus Jordan and it is already sold out and there will be a million Japanese press men and women at the game. I have been allocated a seat in the press tribune, but that must be collected an hour before the game or it will be reallocated. The problem is that the first session of the Worlds of Football conference is taking place from 5.30 to 7 pm at the State Library. So I emailed the Asian Football Confederation media office last night asking if they could get a ticket held for me to collect after seven, but had no reply when I left for Melbourne. So I take a punt and wander over to AAMI Park (sorry rectangular stadium) and down to the media centre. What I, and the young lass on the door, don’t know is that the place is supposed to be closed till 2 pm. But I pull open the door and walk in to interrupt the staff in the office having their lunch. They have been contacted by AFC and my ticket is waiting for me. JB sounds about right at this point.

So I think I will wander into town and have a bite to eat. Across what used to be Swan Street and is now Olympic Boulevard there is a tram stop. Getting to it is the problem. I come up against fences and blocked off sets of steps and the only living soul at the tram stop tells me I have to go back and up another set of steps, over the bridge and then down again. Good job I don’t suffer from mobility problems, but when I get to the tram stop, I find there is a free shuttle service to Federation Square. JB again, though I use my Myki until I realise that it is not required. Though it is if you catch a normal tram, once you get out of the free CBD area. I hope you are all clear on that if you plan to be in Melbourne in the next fortnight!

Lunch is great, calamari, baby octopi and kalamata olives, a glass of red and a cappuccino. Revived I return to the MCG and write this piece. I promise a match report later.


  1. I’ll have what he’s having.
    But somehow I think the Karma Gods only return what you have paid before in kindnesses.

  2. Jammie Bastard indeed! Fill yer boots mun!

    Having seen what passes for the ‘media centre’ at Swan Street, I have absolutely no idea how that’s coping with the ‘throngs’ of international media. Surely there’s a makeshift centre been set up Roy?

  3. Thanks both. The press area is now a huge room under the stand fully equipped with Internet cables and power with coffee and a superb bunch of volunteers and other staff to assist. The media tribune (their term) is up on level three and takes up a big chunk of the central area on either side of the half-way line. So very, very different from the 12 person box for A-League games.

  4. Roy, when all this settles down, we’d love to hear something about the writing of your Australian football history. Perhaps a podcast some time?

Leave a Comment