Warren fights for soccer to the end - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Warren fights for soccer to the end

By Glenn Cullen 07/11/2004 08:19:15 PM Comments (0)

Johnny Warren battled cancer for two years yet it was the fight to make soccer a force in Australia that weighed heavily on his mind before his death.

"He was encouraging people to push on, to never accept the status quo because it's the status quo," said biographer and friend Andy Harper of Warren's feelings before he died on Saturday.

"If anything summed him up, it was that attitude."

Harper was joined by three of Warren's teammates from the 1974 Australian World Cup team, Jim Fraser, John Watkiss and Ray Richards, as they paid tribute to the former Socceroo captain at Sydney's St George Stadium.

In a sport that often struggled for a profile in Australia, Warren was one of the most familiar faces, first as a player then through his work in the media and administration of the game.

His forthright views often set him at odds with the sport's authority figures, but according to Fraser his ability to garner widespread respect throughout set him apart.

"Over a period of 45 years he gave so much to the game in so many different areas," Fraser said.

"He was a player, coach, administrator, marketer, author, soccer commentator and he did all those very well and gave so much to the sport.

"And the big thing was he retained his credibility throughout all of that."

A minute's silence was observed at the stadium before the Bankstown v Bonnyrigg semi-final of the Johnny Warren Cup, the NSW Premier League pre-season competition named after the Socceroo great.

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