Thursday, February 11, 2010


The Ginger Pele and other St George legends

Back in my old Austraia days I used to follow a team called St George in the old NSL. There were a number of reasons for this, not least that their St George Stadium seemed the easiest to get to. No one I asked seemed to know where Lambert Park or Edensor Park were but Rockdale was just a short train ride from the Eastern Suburbs I made home for a few years.

In my first game they (we) played Marconi Fairfield who had a guy called Frank Farina playing for them and I remember thinking he weren't a bad player. St George had players like Mike Gibson, Craig Moffit and Andy Koscka. That was another reason to support them. Their names were easier to remember.

That first year St George went on to win the NSL beating mighty APIA Leichhardt in the Grand Final at Parramatta Stadium in front of 6,000 ++ fans.

We had some great players at St George when I was supporting them and I'm pleasantly surprised to learn that some of them are still involved in the game in one capacity or another.

Scott Ollerenshaw was probably never known as the Ginger Pele among those of us who drank ourselves daft following the Saints but he done a job for us.

Andy Harper scored a few goals in our last ever NSL season. Indeed he hit a brace as we beat Sydney Croatia 3-0 in our last ever game and he gave me his shirt after the game which sad to say went missing on one of my frequent moves. He certainly scored more goals than Wikipedia gives him credit!

John Filan had a pretty good career after leaving the Saints, playing in England for many years. He went down in St George immortality with his own song We've got that Johnny Filan which used to echo round the empty stadium sang by all eight of us. He was gobsmacked one chilly March morning to see me at Burnely wearing Andy's shirt!

Zoran Ilic was a cult hero. When Pele came to our stadium for a game against marconi we all went behind the goal and chanted our hero's name in betwen hurling abuse at the aging Brazilian. We all agree, Ilic is better than Pele. You had to be there.

Osvaldo El Ali was our Argentinian hero. He was no Maradona. In fact he was probably more Peron than Veron but never mind eh? And what kind of name was that anyway?

One final blast from the past. Tony Krslovic. He was making an impact in the NSW State League including a hat trick in one game against Canterbury Marrickville Olympic but I left and never find out what happened to him.

Happy days...

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