The Greatest Ever Australian Footballer
Last Thursday night, the Johnny Warren Football Foundation and the Australian Football public came together to celebrate the achievements of our best ever players and coaches. As with any event of this type, there is always an element of controversy and the Greatest Ever Australian Footballer event was no different. But all in all, it was a great climax to one of the most thorough and exhaustive processes undertaken in Australian football history.
In attendance were some of football's greats including Ray Baartz, Heather Garriock, John Aloisi, Charlie Yankos, Alan Davidson, Milan Ivanovic, Tony Vidmar, Lisa De Vanna, Julie Murray and Carig Moore. Also present on the evening was the Hon. Kate Lundy MP, Minister for Sport. MCs for the night were Fox Sports duo Michael Zappone and Melanie McLaughlin with entertainment provided by former The Voice contestant, Danni Da Ross.
For those who missed it, Harry Kewell was named our greatest ever player, Cheryl Salisbury our greatest ever female player and Guus Hiddink our greatest ever coach. The members of the Greatest Ever Team are listed below and a profile on each player is included. The formation chosen was a 1-4-3-3. Note: Caps were correct at time of voting.
JWFF would like to thank all that were there on the night, our sponsors Coverforce, SBS, DKP, those who participated in voting and all those out there who continue to support the Foundation.
Mark Schwarzer (GK)
Born in Sydney, NSW, Schwarzer was given his debut in the NSL aged 19 by Marconi, earning a call up to the Socceroos while still at the Australian club. Soon after starring for the national side Schwarzer moved to Germany where he would spend 3 years playing for both Dynamo Dresden and FC Kaiserslautern. Schwarzer found greener pastures in England, initially with Bradford City, before spending 11 seasons with Middlesbrough in the Premier League. He appeared 367 times for the club, building a reputation as one of the world’s top goalkeepers. In 2008 Schwarzer turned down offers from Bayern Munich and Juventus to sign for Fulham, where he has made over 120 appearances. Schwarzer is currently the most capped Socceroo of all time and has publicly stated his ambition to continue playing for the Socceroos up to and including the 2014 World Cup.
Date of Birth: 6 October 1972
Clubs: 1990-1994 Marconi 58 Appearances
1994-1995 Dynamo Dresden 2 Appearances
1995-1996 FC Kaiserslautern 4 Appearances
1996-1997 Bradford City 13 Appearances
1997-2008 Middlesbrough 367 Appearances
2008- Fulham 121 Appearances
Socceroos Stats: 98 Appearances
Debut: 1993 vs. Canada (Edmonton)
Alan Davidson (LB)
Born in Melbourne, Victoria, Davidson started his career with local club Altona City before becoming a regular in the NSL with South Melbourne. This lead to his Socceroos debut, and a stint with Melbourne Croatia. Davidson also spent a season in England with Nottingham Forest and in Malaysia with Pahang FA, where he was voted the league’s best player.
Date of Birth: 1 June 1960
Clubs: 1976-1977 Altona City 36 Appearances
1978-1984 South Melbourne 142 Appearances
1984-1985 Nottingham Forest
1986 South Melbourne 13 Appearances
1987-1992 Melbourne Croatia 133 Appearances
1992-1996 South Melbourne 15 Appearances
1995 Pahang FA
1996-1997 Collingwood Warriors 10 Appearance
1997-1998 Melbourne Knights 13 Appearances
Socceroos Stats: 54 Appearances
Debut: 1980 vs. Czechoslovakia (Melbourne)
JOE MARSTON (CB)
Born in Leichhardt, NSW, Marston became the first Australian to play professionally overseas when he signed for Preston North End in 1950; his five year stint at the club included an FA Cup Final appearance at Wembley and being selected in the English Football League’s best XI.
Date of Birth: 7 January 1926
Clubs: 1943-1949 Leichhardt-Annandale
1950-1955 Preston North End - 185 Appearances
1954 FA Cup Finalist
1959-1964 APIA Leichhardt
1969 Western Suburbs SC
Socceroos Stats: 37 Appearances
Debut: 1947 vs. South Africa (Sydney)
CRAIG MOORE (CB)
Born in Sydney, NSW, Moore won many achievements throughout his successful career especially at Glasgow rangers where at the heart of their defence he won 5 Scottish championships, 4 Scottish cups and 3 Scottish league cups. He played a critical part of the Ranger’s side who won the treble in the 2002/03 season. He played throughout Europe in Scotland, England, Germany and even a short stint in Greece.
His years as the marquee player for Queensland earned him personal accolades including Players player of the year. One of Moore’s greatest moments for Australia was playing a huge part in taking Australia to the 2006 world cup and scoring a penalty against Croatia in a 2-2 draw to take Australia into the final 16 of the world cup finals. In 2011, Moore was inducted into the FFA Hall of Champions.
Date of Birth: 12 December 1975
Clubs: 1994-1998 Rangers 73 Appearances
1998-1999 Crystal Palace 23 Appearances
1999-2005 Rangers 102 Appearances
2005 Borussia Monchengladbach 13 Appearances
2005-2007 Newcastle United 31 Appearances
2007-2009 Brisbane Roar 62 Appearances
2010 Kavala 10 Appearances
Socceroos Stats: 52 Appearances
Debut: 1995 vs. Ghana (Adelaide)
LUCAS NEILL (RB)
Born in Sydney, NSW, Neill played youth football on the northern beaches with Manly United before moving to Canberra to join the AIS. Following his stint with the AIS, Neill moved to England to sign for First Division side Millwall, amassing 152 appearances during his six year stay.
Neill then moved into the Premier League after being transferred to Blackburn Rovers, quickly establishing himself as the first choice right back for the club and making 188 appearances in six seasons. During his time at Blackburn, Neill was handed the Socceroos captaincy following Mark Viduka’s retirement. After Blackburn, Neill moved to West Ham United and then Everton before leaving England after 15 years to play for Galatasaray in Turkey and then for Al Jazira in the United Arab Emirates. Neill is currently the fifth most capped Socceroo.
Date of Birth: 9 March 1978
Clubs: 1995-2001 Millwall 152 Appearances
2001-2007 Blackburn Rovers 188 Appearances
2007-2009 West Ham United 79 Appearances
2009-2010 Everton 12 Appearances
2010-2011 Galatasaray 37 Appearances
2011- Al Jazira 4 Appearances
Socceroos Stats: 80 Appearances
Debut: 1996 vs. Saudi Arabia (Riyadh)
TIM CAHILL (LM)
Born in Sydney, NSW, Cahill is one of the most famous Australian footballers of all time. He is plying his trade at Everton FC in the English Premier League. He has accomplished a lot in his career already. He scored the first ever goal for Australia in a World cup scoring twice against Japan in a 3-1 win in Germany at the 2006 world cup. He also scored the first goal by an Australian at an Asian Cup.
He is known as a talented and energetic player who is particularly gifted in aerial contests, despite being quite small in comparison to most footballers. He is the most prolific scorer with his head, in the illustrious English Premier League, scoring 31 goals of his 54 with his head. He is an integral part of the Everton football club, captaining the side in Phil Neville’s absence. He was nominated for the prestigious Ballon d’Or in 2006 and in 2004 was named both Everton’s player of the season and player’s player of the season.
He has scored the most goals by an Australian at world cup finals and has scored more goals than any other player (post-war) against the most decorated club in England, Liverpool FC. Cahill is heavily involved with the Unique Children’s charity and is widely considered a national hero.
Date of Birth: 6 December 1979
Clubs: 1998-2004 Millwall 217 Appearances
2004- Everton 211 Appearances
Socceroos Stats: 55 Appearances
Debut: 2004 vs. South Africa (London)
NED ZELIC (CM)
Born in Sydney, NSW, Zelic spent three seasons in the NSL with Sydney clubs Olympic and Croatia before being signed by German side Borussia Dortmund. His overseas career began brightly, with Zelic picking up a UEFA Cup runners up medal in 1992/3 and Bundesliga champions in 1994/5.
After three successful seasons at Dortmund, Zelic moved to Queens Park Rangers, Eintract Frankfurt and Auxerre then moved back to Germany with TSV 1860 Munchen, who he would represent over 100 times. After leaving 1860 Munchen Zelic moved to Japan initially with Kyoto Purple Sanga then Urawa Red Diamonds where he won the 2003 J League Cup.
Zelic returned to Europe with Austrian side Wacker Tirol before returning to Australia for the Newcastle Jets in the newly formed A-League. In a bid to make the 2006 World Cup squad Zelic moved back to Europe to join Dutch club Helmond Sport, after missing out on the World Cup squad Zelic moved on to Dinamo Tbilisi where he took home a champions medal in the 2007/8 Georgian League.
Date of Birth: 4 July 1971
Clubs: 1989-1991 Sydney Croatia 36 Appearances
1991-1992 Sydney Olympic 16 Appearances
1992-1995 Borussia Dortmund 72 Appearances
1995 Queens Park Rangers 11 Appearances
1996 Eintract Frankfurt 20 Appearances
1996-1997 AJ Auxerre 18 Appearances
1997-2001 TSV 1860 Munchen 102 Appearances
2002 Kyoto Purple Sanga 1 Appearance
2002-2003 Urawa Red Diamonds 23 Appearances
2004-2005 Wacker Tirol 22 Appearances
2005-2006 Newcastle Jets 21 Appearances
2006 Helmond Sport 7 Appearances
2006-2008 Dinamo Tbilisi 34 Appearances
Socceroos Stats: 33 Appearances
Debut: 1991 vs. Czechoslovakia (Sydney)
JOHNNY WARREN (RM)
John Warren was born in Sydney in 1943 and began his career at the age of five in Botany, making his senior debut at 16 with Canterbury-Marrickville. In 1963 he joined St George and spent most of his career with the club until his retirement in 1974.
Warren played for Australia from 1965 to 1974, serving as captain from 1967-71, representing 62 times, 44 of them at full international level. He captained Australia in the 1970 World Cup campaign and was a member of the 1974 World Cup Finals squad before switching to coaching. His business career involved media, marketing and clinics relating to the code. He was awarded the MBE in 1973 for services to sport and in 1990, the National Soccer League announced the Warren Medal as its Player of the Year Award.
Date of Birth: 17 May 1943
Clubs: 1959-1962 Canterbury-Marrickville
1964 Stockport County
1965-1974 St George-Budapest
Socceroos Stats: 42 Appearances
Debut: 1965 vs. Cambodia (Phnom Penh)
HARRY KEWELL (LS)
Born in Smithfield, Harry Kewell is arguably Australia’s finest ever player. With skills and pace that terrified defenders in the English Premier League for a decade, Harry set the football world alight from a young age.
A product of the Leeds United youth Academy, Harry made his debut for Leeds as an 18 year old in 1996. It was the start of what was to be one of the most decorated careers of any Australian to play the game. His time at Leeds included semi final appearances in both the UEFA Cup (99/00) and UEFA Champion’s League (00/01), along with winning the PFA Young Player of the Year award (99/00).
A move to boyhood club Liverpool came in 2003 and despite an injury plagued spell there, he still managed to pick up an FA Cup (05/06), and a Champion’s League (04/05) winners medal, becoming the first Australian born player to win a Champion’s League (Craig Johnston was born in South Africa). Kewell finished up his European career with Turkish powerhouses Galatasary before - what is arguably the biggest signing for Australian football (even Australian sport) – his move to Melbourne Victory.
On the international scene, Harry has had his moments of glory too. He was Oceania player of the year in 1999, 2001 and 2003, an Asian Cup (2011) and Confederations Cup (1997) runners up, Oceania champion (2004). However, Harry is remembered most for his goals for Australia against England (2003) and Croatia (2006) which sent the Socceroos through to the second round of the World Cup.
Date of Birth: 22 February 1978
Clubs: 1995–2003 Leeds United FC 181 Appearances
2003–2009 Liverpool 93 Appearances
2008–2011 Galatasaray S.K. 61 Appearances
2011– Melbourne Victory FC 18 Appearances
Socceroo Stats: 56 Appearances
Debut: 1996 vs Chile (Atofagasta, Chile)
MARK VIDUKA (CF)
Born in Melbourne, VIC, Mark Viduka is seen by many as Australia’s best ever striker. Another product of the AIS program, Mark started his career in the NSL with the Melbourne Knights where he won the NSL in the 94/95 season and the Johnny Warren Medal twice (93/94 and 94/95). While still with the Knights, he made his Socceroos debut in 1994.
His performances in the NSL lead him to Croatia Zagreb (Dynamo Zagreb) a club at which he won three league/cup doubles. After 40 goals in just over 80 appearances for Zagreb, Mark moved to Celtic where he won the Scottish League Cup. In 2000 he moved to the English Premier League club Leeds United. This is perhaps his best period. That same year he played for the Olyroos at the Sydney Olympics.
His time at Leeds included a Champion’s League semi-final appearance and over 70 goals in 166 appearances in all competitions (130 league appearances). During this time he was regarded as one of the best strikers in the world.
Following Leeds’ relegation Viduka moved to Middleborough. This proved a successful period too and during this time he captained the Socceroos to the World Cup becoming only the second player to do so.
Viduka finished his career at Premier League club Newcastle United, a time which he experienced numerous injuries. Viduka last played for the Socceroos in 2007.
Date of Birth: 9 October 1975
Clubs: 1993-1995 Melbourne Knights 48 Appearances
1995-1998 Croatia Zagreb 84 Appearances
1998-2000 Celtic 37 Appearances
2000-2004 Leeds United 130 Appearances
2004-2007 Middlesbrough 72 Appearances
2007-2009 Newcastle United 38 Appearances
Socceroos Stats: 43 Appearances
Debut: 1994 vs South Africa (Adelaide)
RAY BAARTZ (RS)
Born in Newcastle, NSW, Baartz began his career with local club Adamstown Rosebuds before being signed by Manchester United for two years. Upon returning to Australia with Sydney Hakoah, Baartz was brought into the Socceroos squad where he established himself as a key player before his career was cut short after an incident in Australia’s warm up friendlies with Uruguay. Although unable to play, Baartz still travelled with the Socceroos squad for the World Cup. Currently the Socceroos tied-ninth top goal scorer with Brett Emerton.
Date of Birth: 6 March 1947
Clubs: 1963 Adamstown Rosebuds
1963-1965 Manchester United
1966-1974 Sydney Hakoah
Socceroos Stats: 48 Appearances
Debut: 1967 vs. Scotland (Sydney)