Who Is Walter Pless?

Walter_Pless

A teacher by profession, but is now in his 38th year as a football writer. Has written for "Soccer Action" (Melbourne), "Australian Soccer Weekly" (Sydney) and "World Soccer" (London), as well as for several Tasmanian newspapers. Currently contributing to "Goal!Weekly" in Melbourne and the Australian magazine "Soccer International". Played for Croatia-Glenorchy, Caledonians, Metro, Rapid and University in Tasmania, as well as in the United States of America. Coached University, Metro and Croatia-Glenorchy.

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A-League

Newcastle Jets 2 (Bridges 8, Haliti 14) b Central Coast Mariners 1 (Kwasnik 19)

Att: 6,188








The decision by Hobart Olympic to revert to their former name of Olympia is a triumph of sanity in Tasmanian football. I hope the other so-called ethnic clubs follow Olympia’s lead.


The Australian Soccer Federation (ASF), which preceded the current Football Federation of Australia (FFA), were out of order in banning ethnic names in the late 1990s. The move would never have stood up in a court of law had it been taken there. The Anti-Discrimination Act clearly disallows such prohibitions, and it probably violated the Trade Practices Act, too. The goons and thought police who instituted the ban had no concept of football history and tradition and the part these play in our beautiful game.


The only reason the ban probably didn't lead to court cases here was because clubs decided not to take the matter to court and meekly acquiesced to the ASF’s directive.


Had clubs taken the ASF to court, FIFA would have suspended Australia, as they do whenever a national association becomes embroiled in court cases with clubs. Australian clubs would not have wanted that to happen, so they meekly complied, despite making some muted protests.


The ban on ethnic names effectively destroyed some of the tradition and history of the world game in this country, and it flew in the face of logic. Other countries - far greater powers than Australia in football terms - have built a great tradition and history on just such ethnic names.


Let's look at Argentina, for example. There we have River Plate, founded by Englishmen early last century. The club wasn't re-named Rio de la Plata, but remains to this day as River Plate, even though there are few, if any, English-speaking members or fans involved with the club. Yet, it has a great tradition and is a world-famous club. If the club had not involved the local community all those years ago, it would probably have ceased to exist.


In Argentina, one also finds clubs called Arsenal and Everton, with not an English speaker in sight. And yet, they have great histories, tradition and support, despite their English names.


Look through the Argentinian leagues and you will find teams with names such Newell’s Old Boys, All Boys and Sportivo Italiano.


Italy provides another good example. There we have AC Milan, founded as a cricket club by Englishmen in the late 19th Century. The club did not change its name to Milano, which is the Italian name for the city, but stayed as AC Milan, and what a glorious history, tradition and support it has to this day.


Spain also provides examples. Athletic Bilbao is the name of one top-flight club, and not Atletico Bilbao, as per Atletico Madrid. The name retains its Anglicised prefix, and does so for two reasons. One is to recognise its English founders, and the other is as a deliberate snub to the authority of Spain. The club is, of course, Basque, and proudly so.


Similar examples can be found around the world.


The ASF’s policy was xenophobic, inconsistent and completely out of tune with Australia’s multi-cultural ethos which, ironically, was a mainstay of government policy at the time.


The argument for retaining ethnic names was simple and based on survival of the fittest. If an ethnic group formed a club, well and good. Eventually, they would only survive if they embraced outside groups and interacted with the local community.


If they did not do this, they would eventually disappear as their own ethnic support dwindled as people got older or left the game.


This natural process of the development of clubs should have been allowed to continue. Changing names was merely cosmetic and deprived clubs of establishing their own great traditions, history and, indeed, unique identity.


Eventually, if such clubs were successful, they would be ethnic in name only and their members, players and supporters would be Australian. On top of this, after a hundred years or so they would have established a proud tradition, as have AC Milan, River Plate and Athletic Bilbao.


Local clubs such as Tilford Zebras, New Town Eagles, Glenorchy Knights and Hobart Olympic all have strong community ties and they have diversified their memberships to outside their own particular ethnic groups. They had to do this in order to survive.


They would have survived even if they had retained their former names of Juventus, White Eagles, Croatia and Olympia because they were already in the process of identifying with their local communities.


Reverting now to their previous names would do no harm to the clubs or the game here.


I earlier mentioned inconsistency. Why, for example, did Olympia have to change its name to Hobart Olympic when Howrah, named after a city in West Bengal, India, was allowed to retain its name when it was clearly of ethnic origin?


This smacked of a poorly considered policy and one which is, I hope, about to end in Tasmania at least.






Photos (Top to Bottom): Chris Hey (fifth from left) in the 1971 Chigwell primary School soccer team; Chris Hey (third from right, front row) as an Olympia player in about 1980; Chris Hey (No. 5, on left) as captain of Tasmania Youth against the Australian Institute of Sport team at KGV Park [Jack Johnston, Tasmania's only FIFA referee, is the official introducing Hey to the AIS captain, while John Howlin is holding the ball and flag and Basil Masters is partly obscured behind Hey. Johnston and Hey both became police officers, Johnston, of course, rising to the top position of Police Commissioner.]; Chris Hey (back row, fourth from left) starting out with the 1971 Chigwell Primary School soccer team

Chris Hey is the new coach of Premier League club, Olympia.

The club have changed back to their previous and original name after being forced to adopt the name Hobart Olympic about 12 years ago when a ban on ethnic names was brought into force.

Hey played for Olympia for more than a decade and won a couple of league titles with the club.

He was Tasmanian under-15 coach at the national titles this season.

Hey has also coached Glenorchy Knights at senior level.

Olympia president George Mamacas said he was delighted to announce the appointment of Hey, a former player, especially given that Olympia would be celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2010.

Hey, who also played for Caledonians, has a 3-year contract with Olympia.

He replaces Farrell Shaw, who stood down at the end of the season.

Meanwhile, Tilford Zebras have appointed former player Romeo Frediani as their new coach for 2010.

Frediani replaces Nick Lapolla.

Frediani was one of Tasmania's most exciting young players but his playing career ended tragically in the early 1990s when he suffered a serious leg injury when he crashed into a goalpost in a State League match in Launceston.

After many operations, he was able to resume playing, but he never reached the same heights as prior to the accident.

Frediani has been involved in junior coaching and last season was in charge of the Zebras' reserve side.







Northern Suburbs DOSA held their presentation dinner on Saturday and the award winners were as follows:

DIVISION 1

Best & Fairest - Jayden Hey & Scott MacCrum

Coaches Award - Richard Korn

Most Improved - Michael Langshaw

Players Player - Mark Wakefield

DIVISION 1 RESERVES

Best & Fairest - Jeremy Parry

Coaches Award - Jack Mason

Most Improved - Michael Langshaw

Players Player - Jeremy Parry

U19 DIVISION 1

Best & Fairest - Michael Langshaw

Coaches Award - Nick Butt

Most Improved - Jack Mason

Team Player - Jessica Harris

DIVISION 4

Best & Fairest - Eugene Rosenzweig

Coaches Award - Michael Schmalfuss

Most Improved - Chris Ashcroft

Players Player - John Wallace

PERPETUAL TROPHIES

Henk Ygosse 'Best Club Person' - Simon Natoli

Del Story 'Most Committed Member' - Joseph O'Hea

LIFE MEMBERSHIPS

Sita Ygosse and Nick Stowe

* * * * * *

Tilford Zebras also presented their awards on Saturday night and defender Henry Fagg took out the senior best-and-fairest award, as well as the players’ player-of-the-year’ award..

Matt Hall was the most promising youth player, the best-and-fairest, and the players’ player-of-the-year in the reserves.

Declan Smith was the best-and-fairest in the under-19s and Sam Hall the players’ player-of-the-year.

Erin Williams took out the best-and-fairest award and the players’ player-of-the-year in the Premier Women’s team.

The Division One women’s best-and-fairest was Jo Slijkerman.

Emidio Giusti was Zebras’ ‘member of the year’, while Ricky Self was the ‘club person of the year’.