Happy Birthday Johnny

by Staff Writer on May 17, 2011

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Today, the 17th of May, marks the birthday of the late Johnny Warren. One can only wonder what he would make of football in Australian in 2011.

No doubt he’d beam at the advances we’ve made, and brandish the challenge in how much further we have to go.

As we wish Johnny a happy birthday, some of his words from his top-selling book, Sheilas, Wogs & Poofters, are as poignant now as when they were penned.

“Throughout my life, football has come to mean so much to me. It has made me more aware, it has awakened the world citizen inside me and it has alerted me to what the sport is capable of achieving for my own wonderful country, Australia.

Football has been the vehicle as well as the window for that awakening. I want the same experience of awakening and awareness for Australia. No other sport reflects life more than football. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why it is so popular around the world. People relate intimately to the ninety minutes of drama that unfolds before them in a football match, because it is so often a metaphor of their own existence.

Of course, the game is aesthetically beautiful too, but this is a more subjective thing. In half the games we see, the best team doesn’t win, just as the best person doesn’t always get the top job or the most deserving person isn’t always rewarded. Soccer reflects all those injustices and it is the way people relate to football that brings the emotion into the game. It is the sport of the people of the world. It is physically, socially and financially democratic.”

Johnny Warren MBE, OAM
From Sheilas, Wogs & Poofters courtesy of Random House Publishing

Happy birthday Johnny, football misses you very, very much.

Johnny's famous catch-phrase I Told You So, has been adopted by new tri-weekly football magazine ITYS. Produced in association with partner, the Johnny Warren Football Foundation, our launch issue includes a special tribute to Captain Socceroo.