Photo: Simon Miotto when he was last in Hobart in September 2005 [PlessPix]
Two Tasmanian players finally came face to face in an English professional match this morning [Tasmanian time].
And, they are both goalkeepers.
When Tranmere Rovers of Division One and Accrington Stanley of Division Two met this morning in a Johnstone’s Paint Trophy cup tie at Rovers’ Prenton Park before 2,020 fans, Accrington’s Alex Cisak got to meet Rovers’ Simon Miotto.
Miotto, who is now 41, is the reserve keeper for Tranmere, but he is also the club’s goalkeeping coach. He was on the bench for this match.
Miotto phoned me this morning just after the game quite excited to say he had talked to Cisak and was delighted to catch up with a fellow Tasmanian. They are the only two Tasmanians currently active in the English League.
The teams drew 1-1, but Accrington won the penalty shoot-out 5-3.
Miotto said Cisak had played extremely well and made some important saves during the course of the 90 minutes.
He said they would maintain contact and he wished Cisak well.
I have mentioned Simon Miotto before on this blog (http://walterplessonsoccer.blogspot.com/search?q=Simon+Miotto). He played with Launceston City before heading overseas and playing professionally in England, Scotland and, before his current position with Tranmere, he played in Denmark and also with York City.
He has played in England for Blackpool, under manager Sam Allardyce, and Hartlepool, and in Scotland for St Johnstone and Raith Rovers. He was with two different clubs in Denmark prior to moving back to England to join York City. For an in-depth interview while he was with York City, look at:
In fact, if you Google Simon Miotto's name, you can find out a lot about his career.
He is the only Tasmanian to have been in an English Premier League squad. He was the third-choice keeper with West Bromwich Albion when they were previously in the EPL.
Although now 41, Miotto, who was a national champion triple-jumper when at school in Tasmania, has always been the model professional. He has kept himself in excellent shape and that is why he can still command a place as a player.
We try and catch up whenever he is back in Tasmania, but I can honestly say that the Australian media has not given him the exposure he deserves. For example, he has never been included in the ‘Australians abroad’ segments that are featured on a well-known TV network and yet he has been involved in five tiers of football, from the EPL level down to the Conference Leagues. He is good mates with Mark Schwarzer and they are in regular contact.
Tasmanians playing County cricket in England probably get better coverage locally, but Miotto has been a wonderful, if unheralded, ambassador for Tasmania for many years.
There you have it. We now have goalkeepers in Division One and Division Two in England.
If you are interested in the match report from today’s game, you can find it at: