Australian football’s most influential former players, coaches, administrators, and authors will come together to discuss, debate, and dissect the state of the beautiful game in Australia, in the only event of its kind – the third annual Football Writers’ Festival - from 25-27 March.
Preceding the full two-day program, being held in the heart of Jamberoo, NSW - home of the Johnny Warren Football Museum – the festivities will get underway on the evening of Friday 25th March with the‘Portraits in Football’ exhibition’: a selection of photographs telling the story of Australian football from the mid-20th century to the 1990s. For the first time, a selection of photographs that were once part of the Fairfax Media Archive, and now feature in the Fair Play Collection, will be available for a special public viewing (tickets sold separately here).
From Saturday morning, session highlights will include ‘Writing with Purpose’, with a look at issues including gender, racism, and human rights, through the prism of journalism and literature, featuring football analyst and activist, Craig Foster; writer and broadcaster, Michael Cain; and debut author of the soon to be released, ‘The End of the Game’, Michael Fiddian.
Then, ‘You Can’t Write That’ will feature former News Corp and SBS journalist, and author of the recently released ‘Quote, Unquote’, Philip Micallef; Chairman of the North Coast (NSW) Academy of Sport, and author of'Dedicated Lives: Untold Stories of the Pioneers of Women's Football in Australia', Greg Downes; and author of 'The Itinerant Coach - the Life and Footballing Times of Steve Darby', Antony Sutton, as they get to grips with the different forms of sports storytelling, and the process journalists, authors, editors and producers go through to engage with their audiences.
Later in the day, former players Frank Farina, George Harris and John Kosmina will be joined in conversation with co-authors of ‘Be My Guest – Football Superstars in Australia’, Lucas Gillard and Jason Goldsmith, in‘Over-rated and overpaid? Or Great for the Game?’, with a look at the pros and cons of Australian football’s fixation with fleeting foreign guest stars.
Sunday’s program will see former Socceroo, coach, administrator and thought leader, Gary Cole; former Sports Editor, and author of ‘100 Years of Football at Wynnum’, Vicky Krayem; and Emeritus Professor of Indigenous History, John Maynard, delve into what football history can tell us about change in football.
Sunday also includes ‘A Photo Op with a Sherrin’: Is being a sleeping giant a curse or a promise’, in which Hunter Fujak, author of ‘Code Wars’; Archie Fraser, former A-League Head and St. Kilda CEO; Brendan Schwab, former PFA Head and serving Executive Director of the World Players’ Association; and John Maynard, will examine the opportunities and obstacles for the world game presented by our uniquely Australian sporting landscape.
Sandwiched in between two full days of unparalleled football focus, on Saturday evening from 6:00pm ‘Fixing Football’, will be a frank and no-holds-barred after-hours session with legends of the game including: Adrian Alston, Andy Bernal, Elissia Carnavas, Gary Cole, Frank Farina, Craig Foster, Jim Fraser, Heather Garriock, George Harris, John Kosmina and Kimon Taliadoros. Followed by quirky homage, ‘Hard Quiz’, headed up by the inimitable founders of The Ladies League.
Craig Foster, speaking at this year’s Football Writers’ Festival for the third consecutive occasion, says: “The Football Writers’ Festival is the only event I have ever had the privilege of being a part of that gives the perception-changing power of literature and journalism in sport the attention it deserves as part of our football culture.
“As football’s influencers and intelligentsia gather together as we continue to put COVID behind us, the Football Writers’ Festival will once again be a special opportunity for fans and scholars to share what makes us all so passionate about the beautiful game.”