Football Australia is deeply saddened to have learned of the passing of Socceroo #165, John Anderson, and Socceroo #359, George Haniotis.
Born in Johnstone, Scotland, Anderson arrived in Melbourne as a mature 27-year-old with much to offer a club keen to establish itself as the preeminent force in Victorian football. Anderson made his debut in July 1964 for his new club at Middle Park in an action-packed goal fest. Hellas ran out thrilling 6-5 winners over a gallant USC Lions, Anderson not only scored but was awarded best afield by Soccer News, Victoria’s chief soccer publication at the time.
Anderson’s mid-season arrival (5 goals in 9 league appearances) helped steer Hellas to their second State League championship and the first in a landmark treble. With back-to-back championships following in 1965 and 1966, Anderson formed an integral part of the Hellas attack, scoring 15 goals in 42 appearances and catching the eye of state and national selectors.
He made his debut for Victoria in May 1965, starting the match against Tommy Docherty’s Chelsea at Olympic Park, where Victoria was impressive in a 1-0 defeat. He played full matches in both legs against the touring AS Roma the following year, which included a record-breaking crowd of 35,856. In all, Anderson made nine appearances for Victoria, his last as a substitute in probably the Vics most incredible performance, a 1-1 draw with Manchester United in 1967.
Anderson’s performance against Chelsea for Victoria led to his national team debut against the same team in Sydney and Melbourne. An experienced head at 28, he was the oldest player in Australia’s first ever World Cup Qualifying campaign, where he earned his first 'A' international caps against North Korea (Socceroo #165) in neutral Cambodia. He rounded out the year with matches against Cambodia, Hong Kong and Malaysia, scoring his only goal in the green-and-gold in a 'B' international against IAK Stockholm.
The Australian team which embarked on that pioneering World Cup campaign will be forever remembered, with Football Australia recognising this achievement by inducting Anderson and his fellow teammates into the Hall of Fame in 2015.
Born in 1966, George Haniotis was a strong defensive-midfielder in the 80's and 90's in the National Soccer League, making his Socceroos debut against Fiji in 1989.
He represented the likes of Sydney Olympic and West Adelaide in the NSL, and also had overseas stints in Greece with Panahaiki and Apollon, as well as Hong Kong with South China and Happy Valley.
Football Australia offers our sincere condolences to the Anderson & Haniotis families.
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