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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Photo:  The match program cost six pence

Ferencvaros are one of the most famous clubs in the world.

On Wednesday, 10 July, 1957, the Hungarian club, listed in the program as Hungary, played an Australian XI, containing five Tasmanians, at North Hobart Oval.


Photo:  A team photo of Ferencvaros in the match program

Ferencvaros won the match 3-2, but were given a run for their money.

Puskas, that giant of Hungarian and world football, whose name is also synonymous with Real Madrid, had left Hungary by then, but this Hungarian side was still a formidable opponent.

Many years later, of course, Puskas came to Australia and coached South Melbourne Hellas.

He also came to Launceston and conducted a coaching clinic.  To this day, I regret not having attended.

The Tasmanians in the Australian XI were D Kenna, F Gmelch, A Paterson, T Clark and goalkeeper A McGinley.


Photo:  An advertisement for Tasmanian-made biscuits in the match program

Tasmania’s right-winger Frank Gmelch, who played for Caledonians and later Rapid, had an outstanding match for Australia.

He was known in Tasmanian football circles for his powerful shooting, which some would argue was on a par with that of Puskas.

During the game, Gmelch produced a thunderbolt of a shot aimed for the top corner, but the Ferencvaros goalkeeper  -  who was the reserve goalkeeper, incidentally  -  made a marvellous save.

The ball rebounded to Gmelch, who hammered it at the opposite corner, but remarkably, the goalkeeper recovered and got to that shot as well and parried it to safety.

I wonder what the first-choice keeper was like?


Photo:  Some companies are still in existence

Sadly, Gmelch returned to his native Austria in the early 1960s and was killed in a mountaineering accident.

As an aside, Puskas became coach of the Vancouver Whitecaps in Canada after his playing career in Europe ended.

It was one of several clubs that he went on to coach.  But, he was sacked by the Whitecaps because it was felt that he intimidated and destroyed the morale of the club’s goalkeepers with his shooting at training sessions.

I am indebted to Rex Calvert for the match program accompanying this article.


Photo:  Pen pictures of the Ferencvaros players, and the line-ups for the high school curtain-raiser.  Many years later, I taught with Robert Surendra (incorrectly spelled as Suvendra) at Cosgrove High School.  Hugh Robertson went on to become a star with Caledonians and Olympia, while Barry Shacklady started with Metro and became an Olympia star. Karlos Parums was mentioned on the site recently as having played senior football with Metro and Rapid and also Aussie Rules with Claremont.


Photo:  The Ferencvaros and Australian XI line-ups


Photo:  Soccer equipment advertised.  I wonder how the prices compare with those of today, taking inflation into account?


Photo:  Cadbury was a long-time sponsor of football in Tasmania


Photo:  Some airlines have moved on


0 #12 Steve Darby 2012-10-30 07:58
Please also say hello to your Dad. Great player (nearly as good as he told me)..but also top man who helped me out in many ways when I was first coaching. I also helped him out chopping treees down in your garden and we nearly killed ourselves!!
0 #11 Steve Darby 2012-10-28 10:13
Please say hello to Patto for me. he served me with many a flat coke....32 years ago!!! He'll remember!
0 #10 Steve Darby 2012-10-28 10:05
Harold is a true legend of football...grea t bloke.I just wasn't sure of his age! I am delighted he is still involved I can imagine he is loving it. Glad he got the B&F honour.
0 #9 Brian Young 2012-10-27 11:01
Thanks Chris, that confirms what I thought about Steve's player-in-quest ion being Harold. Say "Hello" to Harold from me, I haven't seen him for many years.
+2 #8 Chris McKenna 2012-10-24 20:46
Harold Pattison would've been too young for this game I would think.

He is still heavily involved at Devonport, mainly with bingo which is on every Monday night for 50-51 weeks per year.

Just last year we named our club senior Best & Fairest award in his honour. It is now the Harold Pattison Medal.

Great article again, Walter.
+1 #7 Walter Pless 2012-10-24 06:53
Hi Steve

Thanks for that. I think Brian is right about Harold Pattison being the person you're thinking of. I wasn't at the game. I was 8 at the time and would have been at school, but my father took a day off work and went. Tassie always seemed to get the midweek games when touring sides were in Australia.
+1 #6 Brian Young 2012-10-24 06:38
Quoting Steve Darby:
Great article Walt....was Paterson the Devonport player?Keep them coming

I suspect that you mean Harold Pattison of Devonport (then United). He would have been a bit young then, I think. He coached me and played in the early mid 1960s.
+2 #5 Steve Darby 2012-10-24 03:16
Great article Walt....was Paterson the Devonport player?Keep them coming
+3 #4 Ian Syson 2012-10-23 05:11
Great stuff Walter
+2 #3 Anonymous 2012-10-23 03:55
I wonder if Les Murray will stumble across this article at some point, he seems to have quite a significant love affair with Puskas!

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