July 13, 2012

While my professional involvement with football has been relatively recent, I have always been a passionate football fan. My first exposure to English football was in the 60s through the LWT program “The Big Match” with Brian Moore which used to be screened every week in Australia. As they showed mainly London teams, it was not a difficult decision to follow Tottenham Hotspurs – always entertaining if not as successful as some others. I would also go to every Socceroo’s game in Melbourne – sometimes I felt like the only English speaking person there as soccer in Australia in those days was very ethnically based.

Then when I managed to spend some time in England firstly as a medical student in 1975, and then working as a hospital doctor in London from 1979 to 1982, I was able to indulge my love for soccer and Spurs ensured it was a great ride. Successive winning FA Cup finals (after replays) and numerous afternoons and evenings standing on the terraces at White Hart Lane then following the team around the country was never dull. Hoddle, Ardiles, Villa, Perryman, Hughton, Crooks, Archibald made sure of that. Fortunately my best mate from home, Scott Nicolson, was also living in London and also a Spurs fan, so I was never short of company for the trip to the Lane. We were right behind Ricky Villa when he scored “that goal” in the Cup Final replay at Wembley in 1981.

So it didn’t take too much deliberation when I was offered the Socceroo’s team doctor’s job after the 2006 World Cup and then the Liverpool job a few years later.