Almanac Soccer: Ulysses Kokkinos – Australian Soccer’s George Best (Patrick Skene in The Guardian)

In the latest edition of his outstanding ‘Forgotten Stories’ series for The Guardian Australia, Patrick Skene profiles the obscenely talented former South Melbourne Hellas striker Ulysses Kokkinos.

Often compared to the legendary George Best for his feats with the ball, the comparisons to the Manchester United legend were equally as apt for his off-field exploits;

“Comedian Chris Rock once observed that a man is as faithful as his options and Ulysses had plenty. His love life was covered by the media and as early as 1968 leading writer Fred Villiers wrote in Soccer World that Kokkinos was “the new George Best” after the legendary Northern Irish football playboy.

Football was on Channel Nine in Melbourne and Kokkinos was a crossover star, embracing the playboy persona, with one media stunt having him lying on a double bed in Middle Park flanked by supermodels. Kokkinos took a revolutionary path and made mainstream headlines for stating that he always has sex before a game and it has a positive effect. Today, Kokkinos shrugs his shoulders and says: “A beautiful dinner, glass of wine and making love. I would be flying the next day. Television paid big money for me to say it!”

Patrick Skene in The Guardian.


But Kokkinos’ story is so much more than a hedonistic lifestyle. His story is the quintessential Greek migrant experience; struggle, isolation, opportunity, tragedy and if you’re still standing after all of that, survival. Kokkinos’ journey has all the ups and downs you would expect of a flawed genius for whom the roar of the crowd could never be replaced after the final whistle blew on his playing career.

Ulysses Kokkinos is one of Australian sport’s greatest stories that you’ve never head before and contains, perhaps, the best head of hair Australian sport may ever see.



Read Patrick’s article in full HERE

About Patrick Skene

An Epicurean Celt interested in Sport, Culture & History.


  1. Vaughan Menlove says

    Great Article Patrick. Is it true a documentry is being made?

  2. Patrick Skene says

    Thanks Vaughan.

    It is true – Ralph Barba from SEN is producing it.

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