Johnny Warren dies at 61 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Johnny Warren dies at 61

By Steve Jancetic 06/11/2004 09:05:52 PM Comments (0)

Australian soccer has lost one of its greats following the death of Johnny Warren after a long battle with cancer.

He died at Sydney's Royal Prince Alfred Hospital shortly after 5.30pm (AEDT) on Saturday, aged 61.

Known as "Captain Socceroo" for his unique passion for the game, Warren played in Australia's only appearance in the World Cup finals in 1974.

He played 42 internationals from 1965 to 1974, but his commitment to the game didn't end there, with Warren becoming the unofficial spokesman for the game in Australia through his role as a coach, television commentator and author.

In 1973 he became the first Australian soccer identity to be presented with an MBE, in 1988 he was inducted into the Australian Sports Hall of Fame, and in July this year he was honoured for his services to soccer by FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

He famously cried on national television when Australia cruelly drew 2-2 with Iran in 1997, a result which cost the Socceroos the chance to play in the World Cup.

"That was just Johnny Warren. He wore his heart on his sleeve," former Socceroo skipper Paul Wade said.

"That's how much Australian soccer meant to him. He unashamedly cried on national television."

Wade, the most capped Socceroo of all time, said Warren was the inspiration for him and many other soccer players.

"He got to World Cup and he led his country, and that's something ... that everyone involved in Australian soccer aspired to," Wade said.

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