Noddy: The Untold Story of Adrian Alston – a review of Philip Micallef’s book

When former Socceroo great, Adrian Alston, took a leap of faith and departed Preston in the north of England and ventured to Wollongong in January 1968, he could never have imagined how his life would change forever.

However, Jim Kelly, the former Blackpool and England B international, who had played with the late and great Sir Stanley Matthews, knew his man and was instrumental in the new life Alston forged for him and his family.

Kelly had become part of football folklore on the South Coast after South Coast United defeated favourites Apia Leichhardt 4-0 in the 1963 NSW Federation Grand Final in front of an Australian record club crowd of 30,500.

Consequently, when Kelly brought his prodigy to the South Coast of NSW, he unknowingly created a football pathway for Alston which he still reflects on with immense pride and gratitude.

There is a constant message in the book, written by Philip Micallef, that Alston never forgot the people who assisted him in rising to the highest level of football, fulfilled by playing all over the globe and representing his chosen country in 37 full internationals, including the World Cup Finals of 1974 in Germany.

When Alston was selected in his first international against Greece in 1969, he stated he was no longer a Pommie – but green and gold through and through.

Critically, he knew that Australia was now the place he would always call home and after travelling the world with the Socceroos, playing in the 1974 World Cup Finals  in Germany and  in the English 1st Division with Luton Town, rubbing shoulders with the greats of world football including Pele, Beckenbauer, Chinaglia, Rodney Marsh, George Best and Johan Cruyff in the North American Soccer League before a serious injury forced him to retire from playing at the tender age of thirty, this fact became more evident.

Ironically, when he returned to England after his playing career finished, Alston really couldn’t settle down  and when his young son, Adrian junior, asked when the family was returning to Australia, it was enough to influence Alston and his family to jet back to Wollongong.

Life after football can be very challenging for some but Alston took to coaching like a duck to water and the book documents in detail his coaching stints in the Illawarra during the 1980’s and 1990’s where he achieved considerable success.

However, his greatest loyalty was to the 1974 Socceroo squad and the last chapter of the book is devoted to his coach, the late Rale Rasic.

This book is just not about the footballer, Noddy Alston, but the man who took a chance in life to explore new surroundings when he came to Australia to begin the voyage of a lifetime.

There are a number of subplots in the book which make fascinating reading like Noddy’s procurement of Franz Beckenbauer’s shirt before the Socceroo’s World Cup match against West Germany in 1974.

The book will not only appeal  to people who followed Noddy’s career closely but to supporters of the game who admire determination and God given ability in professional footballers.

For those who don’t know Noddy’s story, particularly the younger generation and those who are the standard bearers of our game, it’s a must read.

Football Australia and Nike invest for new decade

Football Australia and Nike partnership extension 2023

Football Australia and Nike have confirmed a 10-year contract extension that will carry their partnership forward into a third decade.

This deal is already the longest of Nike’s federation club partnerships in Australia, with the well-known brand a staple of Football Australia’s desire for male and female football support at all levels of the game.

Football Australia’s elite national teams, grassroots participation, inclusivity programs, and its Legacy ’23 strategy will also continue to be strengthened.

Nike’s investment will contribute towards Football Australia’s Legacy ’23 initiative – harnessing the growth of women’s football to deliver enduring benefits for Australia’s largest community sport beyond 2023, including becoming the first community sport to reach gender parity in participation.

“This is a pivotal moment for Australian football. This extended partnership with Nike not only solidifies their commitment to our national teams, but it also provides significant resources for the growth of grassroots football, our ambitious Legacy ’23 plan and the strategic building of our national iconic brands,” Football Australia CEO James Johnson stated via media release.

“Our partnership with Nike has been transformative, and this extension represents a strong endorsement for Football Australia and the growth of football at all levels across the nation.

“We are proud to be part of Nike’s Global Football strategy, and this partnership extension signifies the strength and continued elevation of Australian football on the international stage.”

Nike also remains as the official apparel partner for all Australian national teams, including the Subway Socceroos, CommBank Matildas, Junior, and Youth men’s and women’s squads, as well as the CommBank Pararoos, and CommBank ParaMatildas.

“In the past two decades we’ve seen football in Australia grow to incredible heights and this year achieve sold out stadiums and record-breaking jersey sales,” Nike Pacific Vice President and General Manager, Ashley Reade, added in a statement:

“Nike is incredibly proud of the partnership with Football Australia to drive these outcomes.

“This year’s major tournament was a generational tipping point and, on every level, Nike continues to find ways to innovate, inspire and enable the future of athletes through football.

“This announcement represents our local commitment to the world game, to foster even stronger opportunities for gender equity from grassroots to the elite game. We believe in the vision of Football Australia and look forward to playing our part in the sport’s continued growth.”

Steph Catley is hugely involved with both organisations, not only as Nike athlete but as vice-captain of the Matildas.

Not only does Nike’s innovative high-performance gear allow us to perform our best on the field, but their unwavering commitment to build the game, invest in us as athletes and broaden access for the next generation of players and fans plays a pivotal role in driving the sport forward,” she added via media release.

“We are thrilled to continue working with them and look forward to the exciting journey ahead.”

Football Australia and Nike will unite everyone at grassroots, before the heights of a global stage.

Football Australia and Professional Footballers Australia confirm CBA for 2023-2027

Football Australia and Professional Footballers Australia CBA agreement

Football Australia and Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) have announced a four-year National Teams Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for the Subway Socceroos and CommBank Matildas.

The new CBA arrives after the international triumphs of the Socceroos and then the Matildas, where we will see changes to the revenue-share model, Youth National Team investment, player welfare – and in addition, the introduction of past player programs.

The CBA will last during the AFC AFC Asian Cups 2023 and 2027, Paris 2024 Olympics, AFC Women’s Asian Women’s Cup 2026, FIFA World Cup 2026 and FIFA Women’s World Cup 2027.

Major highlights of the agreement include: 

  • Enhanced revenue sharing between Football Australia and the players through a world leading economic model;
  • Strengthened commercial partnership between the players and Football Australia to drive further investment into the continued growth of Australian football;  
  • CommBank Matildas’ player payments to transition immediately from centralised contracts to match and commercial payments; 
  • Preservation of the gender equality model to ensure players continue to receive equal pay, employment and high-performance standards; 
  • Enhanced parental policy provisions; 
  • A commitment to develop a Football Australia human rights policy and development of joint player and Football Australia community impact investments via the PFA’s Footballers’ Trust; and 
  • Establishment of a PFA – Football Australia CBA Committee to further strengthen the partnership, focused on expanding commercial opportunities, boosting the national team brands, and elevating high performance standards. 

Football Australia’s CEO, James Johnson, voiced his excitement about the new agreement, stating:

“The new CBA represents a sophisticated economic model that rewards our players in tandem with the growth and commercial success of our national teams. It’s a model that ensures as we scale new heights commercially, and our players will share in the fruits of these triumphs — a true testament to our shared goals and values. 

“Football Australia has enjoyed remarkable growth in the last few years and this agreement is positioned to drive our progress even further forward. By incentivising our players to promote further growth we will be able to create new opportunities for generating revenue and unlocking value which was not previously available to us under the old structure. Through this new structure, we have been able to build in the possibility for innovative opportunities to respond to a dynamic and ever-changing landscape.

“This agreement is more than a contract; it’s a commitment to progress and a promise that as our revenue base flourishes, so will the opportunities and rewards for our players, making them key contributors in our game’s prosperity. Our aim is clear: to continue growing the game of Australian football hand in hand with those who bring it to life on the pitch.” 

“I am proud to say that this CBA is a landmark not just for Football Australia, but for sports organisations worldwide. It sets a new standard for how players and national associations can work together to achieve common objectives.  

“The spirit of cooperation with the PFA and our players has been exceptional, and our shared ambition for our national teams to excel at the highest international levels is stronger than ever. We look forward to the continued growth of Australian football through collective achievements and successes.” 

PFA co-Chief Executive and former Matildas’ captain Kathryn Gill reflected on the inaugural CBA till now:

“Since the first Socceroos’ CBA in 1997 and Matildas in 2010, our national team agreements have laid the foundations for the international success Australia has enjoyed across the past 25 years. 

“In partnership with Football Australia, we have a framework to ensure we capitalise on the growth and popularity of our players and national teams across the next four years and further incentivise performance on the global stage.

“We thank Football Australia for the spirit of collaboration that has defined these negotiations and the contribution of over 40 national team players who were so actively involved.”

PFA President and current Subway Socceroo Jackson Irvine spoke on behalf of the players with the impact of this deal:

“From the outset of these negotiations, our ambition was to set up the game for more success, but we also wanted to ensure that we leave the game in a better place for those who follow us. 

“This agreement will ensure that our National Team players have everything they need to excel on the pitch, a more robust partnership that can strengthen the game and, importantly, allow us to have more impact off the pitch than ever before.

“The current generation of players are deeply grateful for those players who came before us and who fought to guarantee the conditions we enjoy today.”

For a full Facts Sheet on the 2023-2027 Collective Bargaining Agreement, you can view it here.

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