The 2020 Football Writers' Festival has taken a different shape from that which we first envisaged when scheduled to be held in Jamberoo in May 2020.
As we get used to our new ‘normal’, people are looking for hope. Storytelling, ideas and connection matter more than ever - and even more so after the rocky few years football has endured recently.
The awarding of the 2023 World Cup to Australia and New Zealand gives great cause for optimism and joy, but it is also not the be-all and end-all of addressing the game's myriad issues. Hence our theme of 'Crisis. Opportunity. Change.'
We thought it was important to proceed with the 2020 Festival to connect writers, readers and thinkers.
The Football Writers' Festival is passionate about continuing to showcase and support the writing, publishing and book-selling fraternity. At the same time the pandemic is still among us and uncertainty remains, so the program is different in that we have no international speakers; but we do have a great line-up of Australia-based journalists, commentators and authors as well as some football administrators.
The Festival will be held in the Edinburgh Room at the Harlequin Inn, corner of Union and Harris Streets, Pyrmont, which is a historic site for football.
According to Trevor Thompson, author of Playing for Australia: the First Socceroos, Asia and World Football, 1903 was the year football in Sydney converted from the original clubs into teams representing districts. The Pyrmont Rangers club - full of players and organisers involved in the first intercolonial matches - collapsed into the new entity, Pyrmont.
On March 2 1903, a meeting was held at the Duke of Edinburgh Hotel to establish the new team. The Duke of Edinburgh Hotel is now known as Harlequin Inn.
Pyrmont went on to win the 1903 competition as well as the Gardiner Cup. A couple of players from the championship-winning Pyrmont team went on tour to New Zealand the following year.
"Pyrmont and Association football are almost synonymous terms, for from the earliest days that district has been virtually the home of the game."
Sydney Sportsman 30 September 1903