Wednesday, March 18, 2020

1970, the year of Brazil and Pele, and the year when an Italian Serie A star guested for Hobart Juventus

The highlight of 1970 in the football world was the World Cup in Mexico, won by the greatest Brazil team ever.

Pele, Tostao and their mates beat Italy 4-1 in the final at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City.

Meanwhile, back in Hobart, the Cambridge League season was due to start on 11 April with 8 teams playing each other three times for a total of 21 rounds.

The teams were:  Hobart Juventus (1969 champions), Croatia-Glenorchy, White Eagles, Olympia, Northern Suburbs Caledonians, Metro, Rapid and South Hobart.

In the north of Tasmania, the 10-team combined North and North-West League was about to start its second season on 7 March after a successful 1969 campaign.

Launceston Juventus won the 18-game league in 1969, followed in this order by Launceston United, Burnie Spartans, Ulverstone, Burnie Rovers, Ravenswood Olympic, George Town United, Launceston Rovers, South Launceston and Devonport City.

The 1969 Annual Report of the Tasmanian Soccer Association had recorded no marked improvement in the standard of play in Tasmanian football and encouraged clubs to give greater support to Under-19 competitions.

The Report stated that dressing room facilities were inadequate (what has changed?).

The standard of refereeing has improved, the Report stated, but it warned referees to stop booking players for frivolous reasons.

Parochialism reared its head, too, and the northern administrative body, the Northern Tasmanian Soccer Association, refused to allow Spartans and Ulverstone from the North-West Coast to play in the State-wide Ampol Cup.

The prize money for the Ampol Cup totalled $800.  The winners won $350, while the losing finalist earned $200.  The prize money included $150 for third and $100 for fourth.

Before the 1970 season started, Tasmania received a visit from FIFA coach Dettmar Cramer, who led discussions and held practical coaching demonstrations in Launceston and Hobart in January.

Cramer, a German, believed that players should be coached to be all-rounders rather than specialists in a particular position, and he believed that clubs should concentrate on developing a good first-team as there was no substitute for success.

I attended one of his sessions as an observer and he was brilliant.  He was technically perfect and was able to demonstrate every skill he talked about.  Tasmania’s best players and coaches who attended were often unable to imitate him.

Cramer, later regarded as ‘The Father of Japanese Football’ for his contribution to the sport in that country, was not just an idealist and theoretician.  He was a practical coach, too, and he was coach of Bayern Munich when they won the 1975 and 1976 European Cups.

The southern season kicked off on Wednesday, 25 February 1970, at 6.30pm at Grove Road, Glenorchy, with a Combined Falkinder and Association Cup game between Rapid and Olympia.

The game ended in a thrilling 1-1 draw and, after extra-time, Rapid won by three corners to nil.

The Cambridge League season started on 11 April 1970, and would involve eight teams playing each other three times.

The State-wide Ampol Cup Final was played on 4 April at South Hobart and was between Glenorchy Croatia and Metro.

Glenorchy Croatia won 2-1, with Tony Skaro and Milan Lakoseljac scoring for Croatia, and Joe Allen netted a penalty for Metro.

Lakoseljac, after whom the current Lakoselajc Cup is named, scored six goals in a semi-final as Croatia demolished Rapid 8-1.

There were a few new coaches operating in Hobart.  Ismet Gjurbozovic, a brilliant centre-half with Glenorchy Croatia, was appointed coach of Rapid but lasted only a few weeks before being replaced by 23-year-old Franz Fischer.

Incidentally, Wally Foster, a prominent forward for Rapid, escaped suspension during the early part of the season when his send-off was revoked.  He went on to become a leading heart surgeon in Brisbane years later.

Graeme Smith became coach of Northern Suburbs Caledonians, while centre-forward Ted Huddlestone left Olympia to become coach of Metro.

Caledonians shocked Croatia early in the season with a 3-0 win in which Bernard Siggins ran riot and Bobby Biggar dominated the midfield.  Paul Jones, who later became a leading referee, was superb in goal for Calies.

Caledonians’ under-19s coach was Alan Cox, who was an English FA referee before coming to Tasmania.  He had transferred from the Royal Navy to the Royal Australian Navy and had organised several international military tournaments in Singapore and South-East Asia while a member of the Royal Navy.

Incidentally, Calies played several friendlies against crews from visiting ships in 1970.  They lost 6-0 to HMS Whitby, many of whose players were good enough to play league football back home in the UK.  Calies also played a team from the Russian ship ORSHA, which was alongside at Hobart’s oil wharf.

There were quite a few send-offs and suspensions during the 1970 southern season, while when Olympia beat Juventus 2-1 at South Hobart, furious fans ran riot, letting off firecrackers and throwing cans at one of the linesmen.

Hobart Juventus beat Croatia Glenorchy 7-2 in the Association Cup Final at South Hobart on a long weekend Monday and The Mercury wrote that if Juventus were racehorses they would have been swabbed because the previous week Juventus had been convincingly beaten 2-1 by Olympia at the same venue.

The key, however, was Antonello Murri, who had a brilliant game for Juventus.  He scored twice, including a penalty, and John Genovesi netted a hat-trick.  Peter Wood and Phil Owen scored the other two goals, while Kevin Leung and Ivo Kerschbaum replied for Croatia.

Croatia led 2-0 but Juventus fought back to run out comfortable winners.  Murri’s second goal had the crowd and supporters of both teams gasping in awe as he hooked the ball home without even looking at the net.

Murri is arguably the finest player ever to have played in Tasmania.

He was a member of the Cagliari side that won the Italian Serie A title the year before (the 1969-70 season) and his girlfriend was from Sandy Bay.  He was in Hobart for their wedding and he played half a dozen games for Hobart Juventus while here before returning to Sardinia, probably unbeknown to his club.  It could never happen in these days of the Internet and social media.  His cover would have been blown immediately.

Murri was brilliant and I have spoken about him to the Juventus coach of the time, Karl Schwesinger, who still attends local games regularly.  He told me the basic tactic was to give the ball to Murri as soon as possible and let him do the rest.  His powerful shooting from range was awesome and his ability to bring team-mates into the game was exceptional.  He probably scored a goal a game in his half a dozen or so appearances.

I saw Murri play for Cagliari against Stoke City in 1967 and you can imagine my surprise when he popped up in Hobart three years later and turned out for Juventus.

On that long weekend, he played on Saturday, got married on Saturday night, and then starred for Juventus in the cup final on the holiday Monday.  That sort of thing doesn’t happen these days.

There was more crowd trouble late in June when Caledonians beat Croatia 3-2 at Grove Road in Glenorchy.

Croatia finished the last 18 minutes with 9 men after two send-offs and the lone policeman at the ground had to radio for assistance.  Police had to escort the referee from the field as spectators punched him and spat at him.  The referee’s car was stoned as he drove from the ground.  One spectator was arrested and a warrant issued for the arrest of another.

How quiet things are these days.

With three rounds to go in Northern Tasmania in early August, the league standings were:  George Town, Launceston United, Ulverstone, Launceston Juventus, Burnie Spartans, Olympic, Devonport, Rovers, APPM and South Launceston.

Croatia-Glenorchy won the Southern title for the first time in their history and in their 11th year in the top flight when they drew 0-0 with Rapid on 22 August.

Caledonians’ Bernard Siggins was the league’s leading scorer with 24 goals in 21 games.

George Krambousanos headed the winner for Olympia’s third-tier team (Metropolitan Division 2) in a 2-1 win over University Gold to snatch that league’s title.

White Eagles, who finished with the wooden spoon in the top flight had to play Metropolitan Division 1 winners University in a two-legged relegation and promotion play-off.

University had two formidable forwards in Mick Scavone (23 goals for the season) and Spaniard John Los Santos (22 goals).

White Eagles won the first leg 1-0 and University the second leg 2-1, to make it 2-2 on aggregate and White Eagles therefore retained their top-flight berth.

Croatia won the State Premiership by beating George Town United 7-2 on aggregate after home (4-1) and away (3-1) matches.

There were also cups on offer in the lower tiers in 1970.  There was the Vic Tuting Cup and the Les Smith Cup, for example.

The final standings in the Combined North and North-West League were:

George Town, Launceston United, Launceston Juventus, Ulverstone, Olympic, Burnie Spartans, Devonport, Rovers, APPM and South Launceston.

In other happenings in 1970, a 10-year-lease, with a further 5-year option, was signed for Wentworth Park, which consisted of just one ground.

And, the Tasmanian Soccer Association was investigating the cost of floodlighting at Grove Road (now KGV Park).

Talks were scheduled to be held with the Glenorchy City Council on 16 March.

To quote from The Mercury of 9 March 1970:  “It is estimated that such a scheme would cost between $20,000 and $25,000.  Consideration also is being given to the need for the provision of more stand accommodation at Glenorchy.  Another stand could be built on the creek side of the ground and banking and terracing of an area at one end could also be done.”

Here we are, half a century later and such talk is still going on.

As the French say, “Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose” [The more things change, the more they stay the same.]

My next piece will deal with the year 1980.


The Phoenix said...

Loving these articles Walter. Your knowledge and love of the game shine through.

Brian Young said...

Great article, Walter.
Burnie used to have Spartans, Rovers, and Celtic clubs. I don't remember APPM...Celtic?