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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North Hobart, the venue for today’s double-header featuring Tasmania against Melbourne Victory Youth at 12.15pm, followed by the A-League pre-season clash between heavyweights Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC at 3pm, is no stranger to soccer.

Back in 1923, it was the scene of China’s 2-1 win over Tasmania.

Two years later, Tasmania lost to South Australia there 4-3.

South Hobart Oval then became the preferred venue for quite a few years.

It was back to North Hobart in 1951, when England beat Tasmania 11-0 before a crowd of 5,742.

England also played at York Park in Launceston on that tour, where they won 17-0.

Hong Kong were the next visiting side to play at North Hobart and they beat Tasmania 6-4.

Hong Kong played there again in 1955, winning 11-2 against Tasmania.

In 1957, the Hungarian side, Ferencvaros, played an Australian XI, containing five Tasmanians, at North Hobart.

It was 2-2 at half-time, but Ferencvaros scraped home 3-2.  There were just over 3,000 in attendance.

The referee was Norm Evans, who was killed when hit by a cricket ball in a game at South Hobart Oval some years later.

Scottish club Heart of Midlothian, generally known as Hearts, beat Tasmania 10-0 at North Hobart in 1959.

Chelsea toured Australia in 1965 and they thrashed Tasmania 12-0 at North Hobart that year.

An English FA XI were the next visitors to play at North Hobart and they beat Tasmania 8-0, with the pitch marked out from the Ryde Street end towards Ridges Hotel, which in those days, was the Blind and Deaf Institute. Generally, the pitch ran from the Argyle Street end to the Letitia Street end, as it will be today.

Apart from North Hobart, visiting sides have also played at South Hobart Oval, Queenborough, the TCA Ground, Grove Road (now KGV Park), the Showgrounds, York Park and the Elphin Showgrounds.

The last big game at North Hobart was in 1993, when Gary Lineker’s Nagoya Grampus Eight beat Tasmania 3-0.

In more recent times, the Tasmanian under-21s have played A-League youth sides at North Hobart.

In 2008, Tasmania Under-21s beat Melbourne Victory Youth 1-0 before 1,500, the goal coming from Mark Ambrose.

Milos Lujic, who played for South Melbourne Hellas against South Hobart last weekend, was in that Melbourne Victory Youth side. Hugh Ludford was in the Tasmanian side and last weekend was the second time they had confronted each other.

Also in 2008 at North Hobart, Tasmania’s Under-21s beat Brisbane Roar Youth 1-0 through a goal by Danny White before a crowd of 900.

Today’s double-header offers a top-notch programme and anything less than 10,000 would be disappointing at this notable venue.


0 #8 Brian 2014-09-30 06:17
I was not there in 1923 but watched the 1951 game .

The most notable aspect was the removal of broken glass from the playing surface the morning of the game believed to have been in retaliarion for the hotel walk out.

The Mercury of 13th June 1951 reported

Soccer Stars Walk Out Of Hotel
THE English soccer team walked out of one of Hobart's leading hotels shortly after arriving at 5 p.m. yesterdáy.
The accommodation there "wasn't good enough;" according to joint manager David Wiseman.
A local soccer official helped the visitors transfer to Wrest Point Hotel.

The management hastily reorganised Hobart's luxury hotel, and soon 21 soccer stars were settled in, snug and smiling.
The Trove facility contains more on the subject.
+9 #7 anon 2014-09-28 11:32
To be fair, I was there today and was disappointed with the lack of cutting edge shown by both Sydney and Melbourne in the main game.

I think 6.9k is a decent showing given the importance of the game. The only way we will see more turning up is if it is a game that means something to both the fans and the players - i.e. points on the line in a regular season game.

Until then I'm guessing we'll continue to see crowds floating around this mark, anywhere from 4-8k people.

I was left feeling a bit empty by the main game - was a bit dull. The curtain raiser was much more entertaining and the Tassie boys showed a bit against a seemingly ordinary Victory youth team.

Well done all involved.
-2 #6 anon 2014-09-28 09:44
Quoting grand final weekend:
maybe the right venue - but the right weekend??

Fine weekend for real fans plenty of time to prepare.
+7 #5 grand final weekend 2014-09-28 08:21
maybe the right venue - but the right weekend??
+4 #4 Hmmm 2014-09-28 00:52
10,000 for a pre-season match? Many A-League matches at their home venues don't get that many. Let alone the day after Grand Final day in an AFL state.

5k would be a good result in my opinion, and even that is not guaranteed!
+5 #3 Walt 2014-09-27 22:44
#2 Stim, I am very sure of those figures, mate. They were the official attendance figures given to the media so I don't know how you think there were more. Cheers!
-5 #2 Stim 2014-09-27 21:58
Are you sure those numbers for 2008 are right Walter? I was there, and there were a lot more people than that!
+1 #1 anon 2014-09-27 21:08
Great weather, great pitch, ok facilities and cheap tickets so NO BLOODY EXCUSES get there and enjoy because there's plenty of other places they could go if our support is poor.

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