As Western Sydney Wanderers prepare for their Hyundai A-League debut, over the coming days we will look at some of the finest footballing talent to come out of Sydney’s western suburbs.
Think we’ve got the list wrong? Is there a player you think shouldn’t be mentioned or is there someone we’ve missed? Have you say below...
Let’s be straight about it – Robbie Slater didn’t have the fine technique of Harry Kewell or the vision of Paul Okon but what he did have was ability, determination and an extensive top-flight European career that many Australian footballers can only dream of.
Although born in the north-west of England, Slater and his family migrated to Australia when he was still a child, and settled in Sydney’s west.
Carrying his father’s love of football, Slater played his junior football with Revesby, before graduating to St George in the National Soccer League, and later going on to play for Blacktown and Sydney Croatia.
Slater’s big break came with an offer to play for Belgian side Anderlecht. Although he didn’t see much game time, the move took Slater into the European game, and in 1990 he signed with French side Lens.
After four seasons in Ligue 2, Slater finally earned a transfer back to the country of his birth, signing for Kenny Daglish at the rapidly rising Blackburn Rovers. Slater only played one season at Ewood Park but it was worth it, as he became the first Australian to win the Premier League.
Slater went on to play for West Ham, Southampton and Wolves, before returning to Australia where he played the final three season of his career with the Northern Spirit.
Slater also made 44 appearances for Australia, including one notable game against Argentina where his spirited performance drew praise from the legendary Maradona.
Now an outspoken football commentator, Slater continues to prove his doubters wrong; you might question the technique but you can’t argue with the man’s achievements.