A Passion for the Real Football
ROY Hay and Bill Murray, two Victoria-based academics and university lecturers, have a burning passion for the round ball game in a State dominated by a ball of a vastly different shape.
And their enthusiasm for the real football shines through in spades in their jointly-authored welcome new book - "A History of Football in Australia - A Game of Two Halves" - which charts the progress of the code in all parts of this vast Land Down Under from the pre-Federation period of the late 1880s up to the current A League.
WA's own leading football historian Richard Kreider - the author himself of three books on the history of the game in the West - is gushing in his praise of the lavishly-illustrated epic work.
Says Kreider: "I know that it has been on the drawing boards, or more to the point, in the ‘to do’ basket for a number of years, yet the final product from these champion historians has beyond question been well worth the wait.
"One of the (many) enlightening aspects with the 400-page work is that it hasn’t dedicated itself to the major States of NSW or Victoria; it covers all States equitably and thoroughly.
"As you would expect from two highly respected academics, the book is primarily a detailed documentary of the game since its inception in this country.
"Or, as the book itself declares, 'It is as accurate as to factual matters as we can make it.'
"Progressing on from when Hay and Murray rather impudently challenge whether a football travelled with the first Europeans in 1788, it reports how the game grew and matured - after stumbling through the turbulent times when post WWII migrants had more of a say – through to the NSL years and A-League of today.
"There is also a section on the women’s game which is also well detailed.
"In terms of Western Australia, there is plenty to read and will certainly not disappoint. Not to mention the numerous photographs to enjoy too."
Frank Lowy, the Chairman of Football Federation Australia, says: "This book will enlighten those oblivious to the long and rich history football has in Australia."
The book reviewer on The Guardian website calls it: "The most ambitious and thought-provoking attempt yet to tell the game’s story in full.
"The best part of the book deals with the earliest and least-known period of the code."
It is available in WA through Dymocks and K Mart.
*About the Authors:
Roy Hay is an Honorary Fellow at Deakin University, where he taught for 25 years, and a partner in
Sports and Editorial Services Australia. He edited The World Game Downunder with Murray and
wrote The Story of Football in Victoria with Ian Syson. He also wrote a biography of his grandfather,
James ‘Dun’ Hay, 1881– 1940: The Story of a Footballer. He has been a journalist, player, coach,
manager, club official and referee. Born in Scotland, Roy lives and works near Geelong.
Bill Murray has written many books on football, beginning with The Old Firm, an account of the
religious warfare of industrial Scotland as fought through its two leading football teams, Celtic and
Rangers, before embarking on an investigation into how and why association football became The
This resulted in two books, Football: A History of the World Game, and The World’s Game: A History
of Soccer, one translated into several languages, all of which turned out to be preparation for
this latest history of the game in Australia. Bill played football in South Australia and at Latrobe
University, where he taught.