Socceroo cap No. 5 William Dane honoured by the Granville District Soccer Football Association

With the Socceroos set to celebrate the Centenary of their first ever international match against New Zealand in Dunedin later this month, the Granville District Soccer Football Association have taken the opportunity to honour Socceroo cap Number 5 William “Billy” Dane.

A Granville local who has the distinction of being a part of that inaugural Socceroos international match, Dane’s wonderful achievement was acknowledged by the GDSFA this past Grand Final weekend by awarding the Player of the Match of every one of their competition Grand Finals the specially crafted Billy Dane Medal.

Granville Association historian Noel Dona said via Football NSW:

“It is very fitting that we immortalise our Socceroo pioneer as it will be a reminder to every player and especially every winner of his medal, that they walk in the footsteps of a local champion.

“Billy was born and raised in Blaxcell Street and lived all his life in Granville. As a teenager he played for the Association club, Holroyd United, and in 1914 won our Challenge Shield, Australia’s oldest soccer silverware.”

The following year the baby-faced, fleet-footed right winger caught the attention of the all-conquering Granville Magpies and was invited to join the team where they enjoyed immediate State League success winning the Championship.

Then as with many of his teammates, he joined the war effort in 1916 and fought in Europe. Upon his return, he continued playing for the Magpies and would soon make a name for himself taking Granville to the 1920 and 1921 Gardiner Cup Grand Final and then winning it in 1922.

When the Socceroo tour of New Zealand was then announced, he was soon selected and played in the first and third Test Matches – only injury prevented him from playing in the second Test Match.

The serious waves Series Futsal have made and what it means for the sport

Football within Victoria in a broad sense is difficult to unpack from multiple angles. What is clear is the passion displayed by fanatics.

Although not a traditional form of football, it’s cousin futsal has slowly emerged as a popular indoor sport that has abundance of opportunity within Australia’s major futsal organisation, Futsal Oz.

Futsal Oz has been the manifestation of the football extraordinaire Peter Parthimos, who founded the entity in 2006. When discussing with Peter in regards to why he created Futsal Oz, he discussed how he wished to unify people, provide competitive competitions to those who played the sport, all the while providing opportunity to those who want to play on a leisurely level all the way to a professional level.

Despite having a turbulent tenure throughout the global pandemic in 2020. Futsal Oz came out of Covid-19 with a newly furbished Futsal court fit for its most talented players. The court resides in their Thomastown location. Series Futsal is currently the highest level of futsal across the country and features abundance of Australia’s most coveted football players.

Melbourne-owned Sport Recreational Wear manufacturer AKU is a proud partner, with many women’s and men’s series sides opting to use AKU as a kit sponsor. The company also designed and created kits which were featured in the monthly major event in Thomastown, combining the best players across the Series Futsal competition to represent their respective ethnicities. The event was broadcasted on FireTv, a subsidiary to American-Bulgarian Company TrillerTv, who specialise in combat and European Sport streaming. Melbourne born Commentator Michael Schiavello spearheaded the broadcast acting as executive producer.

Each Wednesday and Friday the competitions are streamed live via YouTube and its independently ran application “Wefroth”, allowing its humble yet passionate fanatics to watch each round of Series Futsal unfold.

Through the running of competitions and the opportunities it sets through broadcast, futsal is in a healthy position.

David Davutovic on Preston Lions’ rich history and ambitions for the future

At the recent Preston in Business event, media personality David Davutovic spoke about Preston Lions’ storied history, it’s incredible impact on football in Australia and the Club’s future as one of the eight foundation clubs in the emerging National Second Tier (NST).

The Lions are well known for their incredible fanbase, garnered over 77 years of history and have significantly broadened this over many years. This transition means that for the first time since 1993, Preston will be competing on the national stage of Australian football.

Davutovic, a special keynote guest, reflected on the Lions’ foundation and their growth to being one of the most popular NPL-based teams.

“The club has played a huge role in Australian football. The club had 30 pretty successful years prior to the NSL and there is a truly rich history at the club,” said Davutovic, Managing Director of Bruce Media.

“The club has been in the top division, in the NSL for 13 years and before that from 1947 onwards there have been some great players come through and represent the country.” he said at the event.

“More recently, Sasa Ognenovski came through in the post NSL era and was a product of this club. He was voted the best Asian player in 2010 and won an Asian Champions League over in South Korea then went on to play for the Socceroos.

“There’s no doubt this club is right up there in its contribution to Australian football, and we are all very excited to see what the future holds.”

The NST has been an attractive idea for many years but with very little action from Football Australia, it never really came to light until recently.

Preston Lions were one of the biggest drivers and immediately put their hand up to become one of the foundation clubs. The club’s strong performance in critical revenue streams like sponsorship, gameday ticketing and membership have helped the club get into a position to take on this financial hurdle with an opportunity to dream of achieving the impossible.

“It’s really exciting for the sport and it’s interesting as to how it’s all come about,” Davutovic said.

“It’s a bit like the A-League expansion project of five or six years ago. It happened somewhat organically because there was this groundswell of support, and Preston as a club have (arguably) played the biggest role in kickstarting this momentum that triggered the second division.

“When it kicks off next year it’s going to be huge. Preston had the courage to step forward and immediately say yes and obviously it’s a massive financial commitment for the club but they said ‘we’re doing it’ and credit to the club for that.

“The current situation is eight clubs in the second division but my understanding is that they are looking at an expansion to 10 or 12 teams, maybe more from Victoria and they can really grow this second division.”

Australian football cannot afford to waste the momentum gained from fantastic performances on the pitch in international tournaments.

With the fast-growing rates of participation and attendance at the national level, as well as the emergence of a few amazing young talents hitting their stride locally and in Europe, there has never been a better launchpad for growth within the community.

Davutovic spoke on the future of Australian football after fantastic Socceroos and Matildas international campaigns – adding to the emergence of the ever-important NST.

“The future of Australian football is really bright, evidently in the results from the Socceroos at the last World Cup then the quarter final exit at the Asian Cup to a very decent South Korea side,” he said.

“Of course, the Matildas with a brilliant campaign are growing women’s football, even the representation here at Preston is great.

“I can actually see football taking on the other codes, because all of a sudden, teams like Preston and all the other state league and NPL clubs are getting recognised. They have been treated disrespectfully from around 2004 onwards.”

“They are part of the system and have just as much of a right to compete in the top division and in the Asian Champions League as the A-League clubs because at the moment it’s a pretty closed shop.”

The opportunity for Preston to make an even bigger mark on Australian football has presented itself with the NST and the club clearly has every intention to grow because of it.

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