Sunday, October 20, 2019

Vale Michael Antony Roussos (17 January 1945 - 17 October 2019)

Photo:  Michael Roussos at an Olympia function on 8 October 2011 [PlessPix]

Michael Roussos, the former Olympia and Tasmania goalkeeper, passed away suddenly in Hobart last Thursday aged 74.

Roussos was one of the finest goalkeepers to have graced the game in Tasmania.

An architect by profession, Roussos also played second grade cricket with South Hobart as a wicket keeper.

He arrived in Tasmania with his parents from Greece in 1958, when he was 13, and attended Taroona High School.

He had been playing soccer in Greece since he was 8 years old, but switched to Aussie Rules at Taroona High, where he played as a rover and forward.

He returned to soccer when attending Hobart High for his matriculation and played for the school team.

He soon joined Olympia, but had to play second fiddle to Olympia’s brilliant goalkeeper Harry Alexiadis.

Alexiadis, who had been selected for the Socceroos, injured a shoulder in 1963 and became an outstanding centre-forward, scoring numerous goals for the club in the top flight.

This provided Roussos with his opportunity and he took over in goal and never looked back, winning several titles and cups with Olympia.

Photo:  How I remember Roussos  -  taking a high ball in a game at Grove Road. 

As a high school kid, Roussos was one of my heroes and I’d go to watch him play as often as I could.  I recall standing behind the goals at Grove Road at the Aussie Rules end of the ground and admiring his goalkeeping.  I’d engage him in conversation when the ball was at the other end and he was always willing to engage in small talk.

I only played against Roussos once.  That was for Metro against Olympia at South Hobart in 1969.  I squandered a great chance to score against him.  I got onto the end of a corner from the right at the canteen end of the ground but mis-kicked the ball, which bobbled into his arms.  I should have netted, but perhaps I was just too in awe of the great man.

Roussos was called up for Tasmania when he was just 20 and played against English club Chelsea at North Hobart on 26 May 1965.  Tasmania lost 12-0, but Roussos was blameless against one of England’s best teams.

Photo:  Roussos as a fresh-faced 20-year-old goalkeeper when he was selected to play for Tasmania against the mighty Chelsea at North Hobart on 26 May 1965.

The Chelsea game was actually his third call-up for Tasmania.  He was in the squad that toured Northern New South Wales in 1964 but didn’t play, but he did play for Tasmania against New Zealand in Auckland in 1965.

In the 1964 season, Olympia conceded a mere 20 goals and much of the credit rested with Roussos.

Roussos also played for Tasmania against China at the Royal Showgrounds in Glenorchy in 1975.  Tasmania lost 2-1.

Photo:  This press clipping which I collected as a kid shows  Roussos (right) tangling with Kevin Leung in an Olympia versus Croatia game at South Hobart.

After retiring in the mid-1970s, Roussos concentrated largely on his family and on his career as an architect.

In recent years he would attend Olympia functions but I can’t recall seeing him at games.

His son, Emanuel, played for the club and was Olympia’s president for a number of years before George Mamacas assumed the role.

Roussos is survived by his wife, Roza, son Emanuel and daughter Irene, daughter-in-law Roberta, and grandchildren Eleni and Michaella.

His funeral will be held  next Tuesday at 11am at the Greek Orthodox Church of St George in Antill Street, South Hobart.

Photo:  Olympia goalkeeper Mick Roussos punches the ball clear against Caledonian winger David Jones in a game at South Hobart.  The Olympia Number 5 is Stewart ('Noddy') Quinn.  Jones was an airline steward with Qantas but was later a physical education teacher at Claremont High, where I was a student.  He was one of the speediest wingers in Tasmania.  Quinn later returned to Scotland and passed away prematurely after being stricken with appendicitis.


Smudger said...

RIP Michael Roussos , many memories of Michael as a goalkeeper and gentlemen, thoughts with Emanuel and family

Unknown said...

A lovely, kind and caring man, always ready for a friendly chat. My family and I will miss him. RIP Michael.

Steve Kalimnios said...

A great tribute for a wonderful man, thanks Walter.
RIP Michael

Unknown said...

A sad loss to the community.
My condolences to the family
Vicky Sanos and family