Firstly I would like to thank Les Murray for everything he has done for the game of Football in Australia and wish his family my most sincere condolences.
Secondly, I would like to thank him for the role he played in me falling head over heels in love with the game of Football, or Soccer as it was called back then.
In 1993 my father and I went next door to watch Australia play New Zealand in a World Cup qualifier with half of the street as they had the SBS aerial extension.
The Socceroos won 3-0 and my dad said to me “I am getting that f*cking aerial!”
A week later the world game came into my lounge room and I couldn’t stop watching it, La Liga, Serie A, Futbol Mundial, Champions League highlights and of course the NSL.
Soccer Before Sex (SBS as it was affectionately known) changed my world view.
I watched Johnny Warren and Les Murray argue for Football at every opportunity.
They spoke of what the game could be and not merely what it was, I loved their idealism.
When the detractors saw an opening to attack Football they defended it, when Football missed an opportunity they highlighted it.
The progress of Modern Football post-2005 has been built on the back of the achievements of men like Les Murray and Johnny Warren and clubs like SMH, Olympic and Wollongong Wolves.
As Old Football comes back into focus with a mooted second division, it is reminiscent of when Johnny passed before seeing Australia play once more in the World Cup.
Again, it is a feeling of it is not fair, both deserved to see what they had created come to fruition.
Football has lost a Titan, a man whose mark will be felt for generations, his words offered hope to a generation which was ostracized by the main stream public.
His loss will be keenly felt.
Today part of my childhood died, but the dreams he imparted in me and countless others will persevere through the ages.
Rest In Peace Les Murray, give Johnny a hug in that big stadium in the sky. 🙁