Soccer: Not Violent Enough?

In this article from Neos Osmos Ian Syson looks at disturbing violence in football and, significantly, at the reporting of the respective codes and, hence, how they are imagined and understood.

North Melbourne and the “Grand old English game of football” in Hobart

Just over 130 years ago, North Melbourne (Hotham FC) became the first Victorian footy club to visit Tasmania. They played the locals under the code of Victorian Rules – once the crossbars had been taken down. 1. North Melbourne in Hobart: What have they ever done for Us? Around Hobart the question is probably being [Read more]

The Australasian Sketcher with Pen and Pencil June 12, 1875

I thought there’d be some interest in this piece I just unearthed in the archive. It tells of football’s popularity at the time but it also speaks of the difference between then and now. The writer seems only to have a passing connection with the game (so at least nothing’s changed in that regard — [Read more]

OK, Who forgot to Compile the VFA Stats between 1877 and 1896?

Given that the 18 (or is it 19) years represent a significant chain in the history of footy, I’m surprised that there is (or seems to be) no easy-access stats for the VFA results in the period. I can find the premiers but that’s about it. Is there a place to find this stuff or [Read more]

Actually Mate, It’s Soccer

With the onset of the real football . . . err . . . soccer season (as opposed to that franchise-based circus called the A league), it’s time to revisit the nomenclature debate.

How Lost Was My Archive?

NEW NARRATIVE POSSIBILITIES IN AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL HISTORIES The recent developments in the digitization of library archives have profoundly affected the researching of sport history in Australia and beyond. Some images, facts and data once buried are now easily accessible via simple on-line searches. We no longer need to trust the factual accuracy of the Turners, [Read more]


I’m surprised there hasn’t been some discussion of Woggabaliri. It’s threatening to go viral on bigfooty/fourfourtwo/the world game and so on. Woggabaliri is supposedly an Aboriginal game that resembles keepie uppie and has been claimed by the FFA as an indigenous form of soccer. The FFA are using it as a plank in their World [Read more]

Almanac Rugby League – Book Review: Voices from Brisbane Rugby League

This review was previously published in Queensland Labour History Review of Greg Mallory, Voices from Brisbane Rugby League: Oral Histories from the 50s to the 70s, Boolarong Press 2009 Greg Mallory, and his editor, Gail Cartwright, are to be congratulated for adding to our archive of oral history collections. Like all such works, this [Read more]

The Other Side of Soccer

I thought I’d post this piece (that I wrote in May) to give something of an antidote to the 634 problems that I’ve identified with the World Cup. The Game They Play in Tassie Chris Hudson’s A Century of Soccer, 1898-1998 is a comprehensive history of the game in Tasmania. There aren’t too many like [Read more]

Footy in NSW 1883

The following article was published in the Maitland Mercury, and Hunter River General Advertiser Thursday 19 July 1883. It is astonishingly long and speaks to the idea that footy was getting a strong foothold in NSW. There seemed to develop an intense and passionate culture that only a few short years later was no more [Read more]

When the world went slightly wacko for a little minute

Reported in the Argus, Saturday 13 May 1933 FOOTBALL COALITION. ASSOCIATION’S POSITION. ‘Might Adopt Soccer or Rugby.” A possibility that the Victorian Football Association might abandon the Australian game and take up soccer or Rugby unless it can make satisfactory arrangements with the Victorian Football League for some form of amalgamation was discussed yesterday by [Read more]

Footy in South Africa

by Ian Syson I just found this piece in the Sydney Morning Herald from 1933. It’s both interesting and poignant I think. It tends to back up those who are skeptical about the possibility of footy taking root in South Africa — though I guess we live in very different times. The final point about [Read more]

AFL stat site anomalies

This (AFL owned) site has me perplexed. It seems to suggest, for example, that in the 1910 home and away season Collingwood’s average crowd was only 488. This is obviously incorrect. So why is the site still up (I first noticed it this time last year)? Have a look at the attendances of all clubs in [Read more]

ANZAC Soccer

Here’s a piece I published in Neos Kosmos last year that some of you might be interested in reading. Since 1995, Collingwood and Essendon have battled for Anzac supremacy at the MCG. Following the AFL’s lead St George and Eastern Suburbs commemorate the day in the National Rugby League. It’s a tradition to which supporters [Read more]

General Footy Writing: The game that never happened

by Ian Syson It’s a long-standing problem for soccer in Australia that many of its elite juniors end up playing other codes of football at the senior level. AFL players like Adam Goodes and Brad Green were standout junior soccer players. Rugby League’s Andrew Johns starred with the round ball as a junior in Newcastle. [Read more]