By day, Andrew Howe works as a demographer for the Australian Bureau of Statistics. By night time, he’s the beloved statistical guru of soccer in Australia – and he estimates his database features a whopping 20,000 video games.
That features a century of Socceroos video games, in addition to Matildas matches, males’s and girls’s nationwide league fixtures (from the A-leagues and the NSL it changed) and even youth fixtures. It’s been a labour of affection for over thirty years – however remarkably, soccer wasn’t even his first sport.
Listen to Andrew Howe on the Fox Football Podcast beneath!
“I’m a Shire boy. I grew up within the Sutherland Shire in southern Sydney,” Howe instructed the Fox Football Podcast. “I adopted the (Cronulla) Sharks – I nonetheless observe the Sharks. I didn’t miss a recreation for a few years as a child. And I knew nothing about soccer, actually!
“For one thing to do on a Sunday, considered one of my mates stated: ‘Let’s go to considered one of these NSL video games.’ I nonetheless don’t know why we did that, however 4 or 5 of us trotted alongside to Lambert Park in interior Sydney for an NSL (National Soccer League) derby.
“It was an Italian derby, two Italian-backed golf equipment – APIA (Leichhardt) in opposition to Marconi. We’re speaking 1988. And I used to be hooked!
“We had just a few beers at a pub and walked to the bottom. As I used to be wandering to the bottom, I may simply hear this vibe from a small however packed venue, Lambert Park. It simply sounded and felt totally different to rugby league crowds.
“I used to be simply intrigued, like who’re these individuals? I grew up within the Shire, I’d barely been out of the Shire. I kind of opened myself as much as the world.”
Howe began researching these iconic ethnic golf equipment – “Croatians, Macedonians, the Greeks, and many others,” however there was an actual lack of statistics concerning the recreation.
“I’ve been a numbers man for so long as I keep in mind. I used to be simply searching for stats concerning the recreation, the golf equipment and all that. There wasn’t a lot on the market, so I set about beginning my very own assortment. That was thirty years in the past now and I’m nonetheless doing it.”
What began out with scraping native newspapers for scores and match experiences has led to an enormous digital database charting the historical past of Australian soccer.
Andrew Howe along with his Encyclopedia of Socceroos.Source: News Corp Australia
“It was troublesome, but it surely was kind of enjoyable,” he laughs. “We relied on newspapers again then, soccer newspapers – and even they weren’t full.
“What you discovered within the ‘70s and ‘80s was the Australian ethnic press – the Italian and Greek and varied Yugoslavian communities had their very own newspapers and so they have been actually good sources for the weekend’s NSL video games and that kind of factor. I’ve mainly received a crapload of newspapers at dwelling!”
These days, it’s all digital – which is fortunate, given his official guides to tournaments just like the A-League males’s and girls’s seasons run into lots of of pages!
“I don’t know another method,” he jokes. “I wish to pack within the data.”
And whereas these public guides are essential to media overlaying soccer in Australia and at worldwide tournaments, he’s equally fashionable among the many followers for sharing probably the most great tidbits on his Twitter account.
“Lots of people know me for my trivial stuff,” he jokes – not that he minds.
THE HIDDEN SOCCEROOS
His newest huge undertaking, revealed simply earlier than the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, was a second version of his Encyclopedia of the Socceroos – the definitive e book detailing each Australian males’s worldwide participant.
The first version got here out 4 years in the past, simply previous to Russia 2018. For the brand new version, nonetheless, he took on a a lot greater problem – including in not simply the gamers which have earned a Socceroos cap since 2018, however going again over the century of Australian internationals so as to add in an entire new class of gamers.
Those gamers are ones who pulled on the inexperienced and gold to signify Australia, however in ‘B-Internationals’. A-Internationals are official matches in opposition to different official worldwide groups. Howe’s Encyclopedia now contains official matches in opposition to opponents that weren’t official worldwide groups – taking the checklist of Australian gamers up by 325 gamers to a whopping 954 in all.
“Australia’s first official video games have been within the tour of New Zealand in 1922,” Howe says. “The first A-International recreation was in opposition to New Zealand (a match celebrated in September with a double-header in opposition to the identical opponents).”
“But really,” Howe provides, “the crew had performed in heat up video games in opposition to NZ provincial sides earlier than that! It’s these types of video games the place gamers are carrying the inexperienced and gold – although again then it wasn’t inexperienced and gold.
The Australian nationwide crew performed their first ever ‘A’ worldwide in opposition to New Zealand on June 17, 1922 in Dunedin. The hosts gained 3-1. Back (from left): John Cumberfield, William Maunder, William McBirde, Clarence Shenton, Peter Doyle. Middle: George Brown, William Dane, Wilf Bratton, George Cartwright, Sydney Storey, Thomas Thompson, Wolfy Bryant. Front: David Ward, Alan Fisher (captain), Alfred Morgan (supervisor), Alec Gibbs, David Cumberford. Picture: Balgownie MuseumSource: News Corp Australia
The checklist of opponents ranges from weird to unbelievable – and a few matches that Aussies won’t ever need included within the official A-International report books.
“In the Twenties and 30s, you had groups like Chinese Universities; a crew touted as Palestine however they have been actually a Maccabi Tel Aviv (membership) facet; a crew touted as Yugoslavia however they have been a Hadjuk Split (Croatian) membership facet; we’re speaking the Forties and 50s.
“(There have been) varied English consultant sides that weren’t the official English ‘A’ crew. An English FA choice, a few different English-based groups. Fortunately, Australia’s largest defeat was in opposition to considered one of these ‘different’ England groups: 17-0! We received smashed, however fortuitously it’s not an A-International.
“So we are able to kind of conceal that 17-goal drubbing from the official information of A-Internationals! And England as properly – while you have a look at England’s largest victories you don’t see Australia’s identify.”
INCREDIBLE STORIES OF 100 YEARS OF HISTORY
If a few of these outcomes are unimaginable, a number of the tales of the gamers are equally outstanding.
“There’s plenty of tales the followers don’t know concerning the males’s nationwide crew,” he says with a smile.
“One participant, I noticed he performed for Australia in 1939. The subsequent step is searching for what golf equipment they performed for in Australia. There was a ten-year hole between 1940 and 1951. I wasn’t certain what occurred. Then I discovered he was a Jewish Australian-born participant.
“He went and established the primary Israeli Air Force after a worldwide recruitment marketing campaign, alongside along with his spouse … she was fairly excessive up within the navy. They have been abroad establishing the Israeli Air Force!”
“The participant who died on the youngest age (was in) World War II, Wally McGee. 23 years previous, he died in Papua New Guinea in a war-related helicopter crash. I don’t assume anybody knew!
“He had already lived a fairly outstanding life, being (a world consultant) in swimming, water polo, and clearly soccer. Went to warfare and by the age of 23 his life was ended. There’s some actually fascinating tales.
“Or Jack Mitchell – an Adelaide participant who kind of swapped between Sydney and Adelaide golf equipment within the Twenties and ‘30s. We’re speaking Depression years, plenty of these gamers adopted the work. He labored on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. One switch was as a result of he was getting married in Adelaide. To get again to Sydney, he travelled by bicycle by way of Melbourne – as you do!
“I’ve learn this stuff prior to now and thought: ‘That seems like a made-up story’! But wanting on the newspapers from round 1930, you might really observe the journey. It was a star occasion. This participant received on a motorbike and rode from Adelaide to Sydney as a result of he couldn’t afford the practice journey.
“These little nuggets, that’s what retains me going!”
And whereas he can’t share his favorite tales from all 954 gamers, he says: “Hopefully it’s inspiration for others to write down extra, to be inquisitive about these little tidbits.”
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HOW THE SOCCEROOS HAVE CHANGED OVER TIME
The 2022 Socceroos squad is probably the most numerous nationwide crew in our six appearances on the World Cup.
“This is our sixth qualification. The 1974 pioneers, they have been really a majority overseas-born. But in time period of the supply international locations, they have been much more restricted although – largely United Kingdom, Scots and English, across the identical variety of every. A sprinkling from a few different European international locations – a few Balkan gamers …
“Compared to the 2006 to the 2018 squads, abruptly we’ve received much more range when it comes to these direct delivery international locations. The 2006 squad, we’re speaking second-generation Australians with plenty of these, particularly Croatians.
“But (in 2022), this squad has an even bigger combination of these supply international locations.”
It all provides as much as a outstanding geographic combine.
“In the squad there’s a Scottish born, South African born, Egypt born, English born, and two Australian born (gamers). One of these Australian born – Harrison Delbridge, born in Sydney – mainly grew up within the US, the primary US school product to play for the Socceroos!
“Martin Boyle and Harry Souttar are probably the most northerly-born Socceroos within the 100 years, born in Aberdeen. Nathaniel Atkinson is likely one of the most Southern-born, born in Launceston – however Hobart is just a bit additional South.
“And Thomas Deng was nearly born on the equator in Kenya!”
Garang Kuol (L) and Thomas Deng (C) after the 1-2 loss to Argentina within the World Cup.Source: Getty Images
While the trendy numerous squad is little shock, followers may be somewhat shocked on the range of backgrounds of the very first Socceroos gamers.
“Some of the gamers from the ‘20s and ‘30s – they weren’t simply Australian, English, and Scottish. There was an Egyptian-born participant. Kuol (2022 World Cup star Garang Kuol) wasn’t the primary Egyptian-born participant!
“(There was additionally a) Swiss-born, a Guyana-born participant within the Nineteen Thirties – Guyana is in South America. But it’s not simply the place these gamers have been born, their backgrounds and historical past (are fascinating).”
For Howe, whose day job is to “analyse knowledge on migration and births and deaths to get that finest image on the Australian inhabitants,” there’s a pure intersection between that work and his interest.
“What I love to do with the Encyclopedia and the historical past of the Socceroos is relate the historical past over time of the nationwide crew with the historical past of Australia as a nation, when it comes to its migration and settlement.”
Part of that’s how migration has modified over time – and he thinks the Socceroos can faucet into an under-represented demographic of migrants.
“Migration in Australia has diversified in the previous couple of many years … What we’re seeing now’s partly a mirrored image of the post-WWII migration applications, and in addition refugee applications.
“What’s been actually fascinating within the final 10 or 15 years, in keeping with the Australian inhabitants turning into a better proportion of overseas-born, we’re seeing a better proportion of direct overseas-born (gamers) in our nationwide groups. It’s actually fascinating.
“The fascinating factor with what I discussed earlier than about historical past of the Socceroos reflecting the historical past of migration, there are some contrasts. South and East Asian migration is massive to Australia, however we don’t actually see that within the Socceroos. I see that as a progress potential!”
The Encyclopedia of Socceroos Centenary Edition by Andrew Howe is offered now from fairplaypublishing.com.au and all good bookstores.
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