Who Is 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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Metro are a club that have done more than their fair share of work in promoting juniors over the years.

For some reason, this has rarely been reflected in the club’s senior performances at the top level since the 1970s.

In the 1940s and 1950s, Metro were a force in southern soccer.

The club even had an Australian international goalkeeper in the late Harry Wise.

Metro have a huge catchment area for juniors, stretching north to Bridgewater and beyond, and to New Norfolk in the west.

The club have had some very good sides since their founding in 1942, but once the migrant clubs came to the fore in the 1960s, Metro moved into the shadows.

The club have always been a good second-tier outfit, but whenever they have been in the top flight, success has eluded them.

There have been the occasional upset wins over bigger rivals in the top flight, and there have been some trophy wins at second-tier level, but overall, Metro have usually just fallen short of the mark.

Former president and club stalwart Jim Mackinnon has tried to bring greatness to the club over the years with junior initiatives and by bringing imports from Scotland.

Some of the junior initiatives have been very successful, with interstate junior teams visiting North Chigwell for matches and Metro sending teams to Victoria.

Metro youngsters have also participated in Victorian tours overseas to places such as Singapore.

Coaching clinics have been conducted at North Chigwell by such luminaries as Dominic Longo, David Clarkson and Kiwi international Vaughan Coveny.

Metro even brought over South Melbourne Hellas one year for a match against a southern Tasmanian side at KGV Park.

The club has had many excellent players who went on to better things with more fashionable big-name clubs.

Metro remain a sleeping giant and their many supporters hope that success in the top flight will come one day.

What the neutrals must remember is that the club is doing its bit for the game in Tasmania, without necessarily receiving the same fanfare as some of the bigger names.

Short memories and a lack of appreciation of history can be a curse.


While on the topic of the development of the game in southern Tasmania, I would like to quote some statistics.

From 2006-2009, the number of male and female players between the ages of 20 and 24 has decreased by 2.7 per cent.

For the age group 35 to 45 years in this same period, there has been an increase in numbers of 10.6 per cent.

For players in the 26 to 30 years age group, the decline in numbers has been 12 per cent (321 down to 288).

For the age group 26 to 35, there has been a 12 per cent decrease (560 to 494).

The player registration fees in this period have increased by 35.6 per cent.

In addition, there are team nomination fees, payments to referees and ground fees that clubs have to meet, so life must be tough for club administrators.

Let’s look at what an average club may be up for in the Premier League if they are to field senior, reserve and under-19 sides, and employ a coach for each.

If the three coaches were to be paid $6,000 altogether, which is a reasonable amount, the total cost for the club when one factors in player registration fees and team nomination fees comes to $16,065.

That is $357 per player based on a squad of 45 players.

This does not include referees’ fees, ground hire and equipment costs.

Between 2006 and 2010, the cost of team nominations (Premier League, Premier League Reserves and Under-19s) has increased by 31.4 per cent (from $3626 to $4765).

Make what you will of the above statistics and decide for yourself about the health of the game.