Almanac Soccer: Vale Jimmy Williams

Club Spotlight

 

Jimmy Williams

 

James Allan Williams, also known as Jimmy, passed away at 3am on March 4, 2021. He was the head coach of the Eastern Lions Soccer Club for over a decade, and during his tenure they won three championships.

 

Tom Downey from the Herald Sun recognised the Lions’ progress back in November 2014, after they won the State League 1 South-East Championship. They were then granted a license to enter the National Premier League competition for the next three years.

 

The Burwood-based club from the Eastern Suburbs maintained their spot in the NPL. It was while in the NPL that Mark Gojszyk from The Corner Flag had the opportunity to gain an insight into Jimmy’s attitude and ambitions for the club in 2016. Jimmy described the philosophy of coach and club, stating the aim was to be where ‘we want to give our own a chance to develop within the team structure and come through’. Credit was given to the backroom staff, from president to junior coaches, in ‘overseeing day-today operations for a number of years’. Their work in nurturing and developing young talent is reflected by their recent product, former Melbourne Victory forward George Howard.

 

Within this period, Gojszyk and Williams agreed that the Eastern Lions did not have the same abundance of resources as other clubs might have and faced some of the toughest hurdles by getting councils on board who may have been lagging behind in recognising how far the world game has progressed in Australia. Fortunately by 2019, the Monash Council have unveiled facility upgrades to three synthetic pitches at Gardiners Reserve.

 

Jimmy’s men would eventually accomplish something what dreams are made for. On the first week of September 2019, the Lions travelled away to Langwarrin to secure at least one solitary point to win the NPL Second Division championship and earn promotion to Victoria’s top-tier football division.

 

As Millway & Turner reports, Eastern Lions were trailing 1-0 until a cross into the Langwarrin box fortunately glanced off a defender’s head 12 minutes from full time. The draw all but surely secured promotion for the club to enter the first division of Victorian Football for the first time in their 58-year history.

 

 

Matchday Report

Their debut in the first division was cut prematurely last year due to lockdown restrictions and the abandonment of the competition, but awaited nearly 300+ days for the season to start over. Following a 3-1 loss to Bentleigh Greens, they faced South Melbourne just after the passing of Jimmy Williams. A minute’s silence was held before proceedings got underway.

 

 

25 minutes into the first half, Eastern Lions went in from a long-range effort by Georgopolous. Former South player Kostas Stratomitros proved to show experience and leadership in the backline. Perhaps familiar with South’s play style under Esteban, he managed to make crucial tackles and interceptions to keep South at bay for over an hour.

 

Stratomitros executing a clean tackle

 

South pulled one back from a long ball within their defensive half. A looping header over the Lion’s defence saw Harrison Sawyer running through into a one-on-one duel with goalkeeper Keegan Coulter. He instinctively lobbed the ball over Coulter on the bounce as he tried to get to the ball before Sawyer.

 

However, South controlled most of the game but failed to find the back of the net due to the stubborn defence of Eastern Lions and some remarkable saves in the process. At full time Eastern Lions earned a valuable point against one of Victoria’s footballing giants and while operating under a shoe-string budget. Their attributes of courage and determination to grind out results reflects the culture and principles Jimmy has laid out for the senior team to follow and live up to. It would have made him proud as he looked down from the heavens on that Friday night.

 

Coulter saves a one-on-one duel against Brad Norton in the dying minutes

 

 

For match day photography of Round 2 of the VNPL, click HERE

For video highlights of the night, click HERE

 

 

References

The Corner Flag

Reserved, CTCF© 2020 AR ‘Williams’ Lions ready to roar in 2016 – Corner Flag’,  https://www.cornerflag.com.au/williams-lions-ready-roar-2016.

 

Herald Sun

https://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/sport/eastern-lions-claim-the-national-premier-league-victoria-2-east-championship-crown/news-story/a0bdc1f613576040f4a8a55bfa05f700

 

https://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/east/sport/national-premier-league-spot-for-eastern-lions-after-state-league-1se-championship-win/news-story/e2499981f7e6cdfa599594ab8feee640

 

 

To read more from Luke, click HERE

 

 

 

To return to our Footy Almanac home page click HERE.

 

Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.

 

Do you enjoy the Almanac concept?

And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help things keep ticking over please consider making your own contribution.

 

Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE.

One-off financial contribution – CLICK HERE.

Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE.

 

 

Comments

  1. Thanks for this, Luke.
    I am enjoying your soccer reports.

  2. Cheers Smokie, I’m glad that it does

Leave a Comment

*