Football NSW and Northern NSW Football launch 'The Great Save'

Football representatives from across the state came together to celebrate 140 years of organised football in NSW on Wednesday evening at Parliament House.

Hosted by Football NSW and Northern NSW Football, the milestone event saw the launch of ‘The Great Save’ initiative, aimed at preserving and celebrating the game’s proud history.

The evening witnessed some of the greats of the world game including Ron Lord, and Kevin O’Neill along with Trixie Tagg, Leigh Wardell, Julie Dolan, Heather Garriock and Mara Watts from the women’s game.

Members of Parliament including The Hon. Stuart Ayres MP, The Hon. Mark Coure MP, Guy Zanguri MP, Sonia Hornery MP, Julia Finn MP and Lynda Voltz MP were also present amongst a throng of football administrators and media personalities, joined together by their shared recognition of football’s historical significance across NSW.

Football NSW Chairman Gilbert Lorquet paid a glowing tribute to legends that helped shape what we see today in our game.

“Over the past 140 years, the game has seen so many highs and lows, witnessed an inordinately high number of games, and we can all be pleased and proud of where football currently stands in the state’s sporting landscape,” he said.

“It was amazing to have seen so many players, coaches and administrators, who have in their own way played a part in making football in NSW the highest participant sport.”

Football NSW CEO Stuart Hodge recognised the hard work and efforts that were put together to form ‘The Great Save’ project.

“We were delighted to launch a new initiative to formalise our efforts and ensure that we hold on to the past, and recognise the many wonderful people, clubs and organisations that have all contributed to make the sport what it is today,” said Hodge.

“The Great Save is an initiative that first began in England, and we are delighted to be working with a group of enthusiastic, volunteer ‘football aficionados’ and historians who have been able to breathe life into the concept here in Australia.

“A big thank you to Greg Werner and Greg Stock, in addition to the likes of Noel Donna, Ian Holmes, Travis Reid and Phil Mosely, who have all supported and contributed to this wonderful cause.”

Northern NSW Football CEO David Eland supported the collaborative efforts in preserving our rich history.

“Football NSW, and Northern NSW Football are pleased to support The Great Save as the respective governing bodies and provide a structure and formal framework for this initiative.

“Our commitment to this area can be best summarized in its objective; Archiving, preserving, recognising, and celebrating our great game’s history for now and the future.”

Football NSW and Northern NSW will now continue the work being undertaken with historians, Associations, Clubs, and the wider community, to collect, archive and preserve artefacts, documents, trophies, photos and other memorabilia from the game’s 140 years of history.

Significance of 140 Years of Football in NSW

140 years ago, a group of gentlemen, gathered and set about establishing a formal organisation to manage, govern and control the game of football in NSW.

It was particularly fitting that Wednesday’s event was hosted at NSW Parliament House given that the first President, of what was then the NSW English Football Association, was one Edmund Barton.

Barton was at varying stages the speaker of the House, State Treasurer, the NSW Attorney-General and an MLA for East Sydney. Sir Edmund, as he would later become known, would eventually progress to become Australia’s first Prime Minister in 1901.