Picture research- what is involved

By Roy Hay

Last week Les Shorrock, the doyen of Victorian football (soccer) photographers, who worked for Soccer Action and the Age among others, sent me a copy of a picture from his files that he was unable to identify. It showed five players in action, three from one club and two from another. It is a magnificent piece of sports photography and typical of the maestro’s work.

I thought the player at back left in the dark shirt might be the former captain of the Socceroos, Paul Wade, and I sent it to him. Paul replied that it was not him and that he would have jumped much higher! I also thought that the shirt worn by the player on the right might be that of Footscray JUST, which had the logo of the airline JAT on the front at one time. I sent the picture to my journalist colleague, Milan Ninovic, of Serbvoice, who replied that he thought the player on the right was Vojislav Vukcovic, who came to the club with legendary coach Drago Sekularac in 1986.

Having got a pointer to the year, I then skimmed through my copies of the newspaper Soccer Action for the year 1986 and found a team shot of Caulfield City wearing shirts with New Name Clothing and the hooped pattern.

Caulfield City had just been promoted to the Victorian State League that season, while JUST was playing the National Soccer League, so the teams would only have met had they been drawn together in the Dockerty Cup.

I then sent copies to Ted Smith, former Olympic games representative for Australia in 1956 and a key figure in the creation of the Australian Football Hall of Fame, to John Punshon, photographer and statistician of the game, and to Costa Koutropoulos, editor of Goal Weekly, with the request that he print the photograph in the paper in the hope that one of his readers might be able to help with identification.

Costa replied:

‘The pic is definitely from the Dockerty Cup match between Caulfield City and JUST at Olympic Park. I remember because I was there that day and was in the Caulfield reserves at the time.

The Caulfield players (white tops) are from left, Angie Koutos, Paniko Ttofari (centre) and Paul Harris.

I’m afraid I don’t know the JUST players.

I’ve grabbed the details from Oz Football.net and hopefully that might help with a process of elimination.’

Sunday, October 12, 1986. Olympic Park, Melbourne. Att: 1,200 (dh). Referee: Ziggy Mnich.

Caulfield City [State League]

Con Alexandropoulos, David Brooks, Paul Harris, Angie Koutos, Peter Tsitiridis, John Bitsonis, Ken Taylor, Pan Ttofari (Kassidas 98), Andrew Theoharous, Peter Abraam (Angie Filippou 80), Danny Zemunik. Coach: Takis Svigos.

Goals: Bitsonis 100, Zemunik 101

After Extra Time 2 – 0

Footscray JUST [NSL]

Zoran Nikitovic, Rade Barjaktarevic, Vojislav Vukcevic, Tom Karic, Vlado Stosic (Mick Burlak 81), Vlatko Belic, Suleiman Curovic, Warren Spink, Ljube Petrovski (Kieran White 92), Ossie Latif, Zdravko Lujic. Coaches: Zdravko Lujic (c/t) & Joe Sterpin (c/t).

Milan Ninovic telephoned to say that he thought the player at the back left might be Vlado Stosic who also arrived at JUST from Yugoslavia in the 1986. He also sent me the match report from the Serbian paper in 1986—in Serbian:

‘Anti-fudbal na Olympic Parku: Caulfield City – JUST 2:0

Razo~arani i demoralisani neuspehom  u velikom finalu fudbalskog doigravanja za {amiona Australije, JUST-ovi igra~i su se oprostili neslavno i od Dochery cup-a. Nije da nisu hteli, ve} su izgubili glavu i dozvolili da ih neiskusni protivnik takti~ki nadmudri i savlada pred svega 1,500 gledalaca na Olympic Parku iako su se igrale va`ne utakmice.

Po{to je [ekularac bio odsutan, neki igra~i su shvatili da nemaju obavezu prema klubu pa su susret posmatrali sa strane, dok su se njihivi drugovi preznojavali i muvali kao izgubljene ovce na vru}em terenu.

JUST je prvih 90 minuta proveo na protivni~Koj polovini igraju}i jalov fudbal. Zdravko Luji} je namestio desetak lopti da ih ne bi proma{io {vr}a iz osnovne {kole.

Caulfield je u produ`ecima do{ao do pobede u produ`ecima i plasirao se u naredno kolo ovog takmi~enjima.

JUST je igrao u sastavu: Nikitovi}, Barjaktarevi}, Petrovski (White), Kari}, Vuk~evi}, Beli}, Curovi}, Sto{i} (Burlak od 82. min.), Latif, Spink, Luji}.

Izbegli su da igraju Vlado Bo`inovski i Ernie Tapai.’

So I went back to Soccer Action and found the report on the game by Craig MacKenzie.

Soccer Action, 15 October 1986, p. 11.

Les Shorrock was the photographer for Soccer Action, but there was still no sign of the graphic picture in that issue of the paper. Soccer Action was printed and published by Fairfax who also published the Age and, though Laurie Schwab had ceased to be the editor of Soccer Action by the relevant date, he still wrote the football column in the Age.

I then went to Deakin University Library at the Waurn Ponds campus in Geelong where microfilm copies of the Age from the 1960s onwards are currently kept and found Laurie Schwab’s report on the Monday following the game, complete with the graphic picture. From the caption I was able to confirm that the identification of the players was almost as had been established.

The Age caption

Heads you win, but whose head? Footscray defenders Vlado Stosic (dark shirt, left) and Vojislav Vukcevic duel with Caulfield players (from left) Pepe Abraam, Jim Ttofari and Paul Harris. Picture: Les Shorrock. Caption as in the Age, 13 October 1986, p. 31.

There remained a puzzle about the player on the left. Was he Pepe Abraam or Angelo Koutos? At this point I rang Costa Koutropoulos again to see if he could decide. While I was waiting for him to call back, I remembered that Paul Harris was coach of Green Gully in 2010 and my next thought was to get contact details for him from Charles Farrugia, President of Green Gully, to see if Paul could help with identification.

Then Costa rang back to insist the player on the left was Angelo Koutos, as Pepe Abraam was a slimmer figure who regularly played in attack. He also recalled the Abraam did not usually wear shinguards, while the player on the left did. Finally Koutos and Paul Harris were the regular centre backs and hence most likely to be involved in a heading duel in the Caulfield penalty area.

Later that day I was in Geelong and went to the Waterfront Campus of Deakin University where the Les Shorrock collection of photographs is held. I took pictures with my iPhone of some of Les’s shots of Koutos and Abraam and concluded that Costa was right.

Pepe Abraam headshot. Photo: Les Shorrock.

Pepe Abraam action shot. Photo: Les Shorrock

Angelo Koutos knocks over Tommy Cumming of Green Gully in the Dockerty Cup semi-final at Olympic Park on 19 October 1986. Photo: Les Shorrock

Information about the above game is from the Ozfootball website, http://www.ozfootball.net/ark/States/VIC/1986DockertyCup.html

Dockerty Cup Semi-Final

Sunday, October 19, 1986. Olympic Park, Melbourne. Att: 1,500 (double-header). Refere: Bernie Upjohn.

Caulfield City [State League]

Con Alexandropoulos, David Brooks, John Bitsonis, Paul Harris, Pan Ttofari (Kassidas 66), Peter Tsitiridis, Angie Filippou (Angie Koutos 27), Ken Taylor, Andrew Theoharous, Peter Abraam, Danny Zemunik. Coach: Takis Svigos.

Goal: Abraam 32       1          –           2          Green Gully [NSL]

Green Gully: Lou Denys, Steve McLelland, Stuart Cannell, John Grimaud, Scott Fraser (David Hogben 87), Colin Quigley, Costa Theodosopoulos, Les Carter, Steve Douglas, Danny Ward, Tommy Cumming. Coach: Gus MacLeod.

Goals: Cumming 35, 66

Just to be sure I contacted Paul Harris and sent the picture to him for his assistance. He confirmed that it was Koutos. So the last piece of the puzzle had fallen into place. The correct caption should be:

Heads you win, but whose head? Footscray defenders Vlado Stosic (dark shirt, left) and Vojislav Vukcevic duel with Caulfield players (from left) Angelo Koutos, Paniko Ttofari and Paul Harris. Picture: Les Shorrock.

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