Writers & Guests

Confirmed writers, guests and moderators.

Program updated and finalised 19 November 2020 to take account of guests unable to travel due to COVID-19 border restrictions and related issues (from Victoria, Queensland and South Australia).  

Adrian Arciuli


Adrian has been a reporter, presenter and producer with SBS-TV since 2016, prior to which he spent four years with the Seven Network and six months with SKY News. He is MC of the Festival, and also the moderator for FWF Supper Club.

Craig Foster

Human Rights Activist, Author, Lawyer

'Fozz' is a former professional football player in Australia, Malaysia, Hong Kong and England, Socceroo, and, until recently, was also Australia’s leading football advocate, personality and analyst with SBS-TV - as well as human rights campaigner. He is also a Pro-License coach, and lawyer. He is a member of the Australian Multicultural Council, a Human Rights Ambassador with Amnesty International and an Adjunct Professor of Sport and Social Responsibility with Torrens University. He is author of the books 'Fozz on Football' (2010) and 'Saving Hakeem' (2019).

Francis Awaritefe

PFA Chairman, FIFPro Board member, Lawyer, Human Rights Activist

Francis was born in London, grew up in Nigeria and London, and played for Chelsea boys' club and non-league sides before emigrating to Australia in 1989 where he enjoyed a career in the national soccer league predominantly with Melbourne Croatia and South Melbourne. He was capped three times as a Socceroo. He was appointed to the Board of FIFPro, the world players' organisation in 2017, and was named Chairman of Australia's PFA in September 2020.

James Johnson

CEO, Football Federation Australia

James is CEO of FFA, a role that he commenced in January 2020. He has played professionally in Australia, Vietnam and the USA college system, and is a former Australian U-17 international. He has previously worked with the PFA, the AFC, FIFA and the City Football Group.

Michael Cain


Michael was a senior journalist for Network TEN in Sydney until September 2020. Earlier this year, produced and wrote ‘Mark Viduka Uncovered’ broadcast on ESPN. He is now a freelance journalist who is also a passionate Liverpool, Newcastle Jets and Adamstown Rosebud supporter.

Peter Kunz

Author & Archivist

Peter is a retired archivist and author of 'Chronicles of Soccer in Australia - the Foundation Years 1859 to 1949' (2019).

Rose Valente

Reporter, The Ladies League

Rose is the founder and Managing Director of The Ladies League, an all-female online fan media publication which she created in 2018 due to frustration with the lack of female representation in the men's football landscape. From its beginnings as a hobby and social project, The Ladies League is now a trusted source of entertaining information for football fans across Australia, with a website, podcast and YouTube videos.

Stephanie Brantz

Commentator, Journalist

Stephanie is the leading commentator on the W-League and women's football internationals in Australia and is a host and writer for ESPN Australia.

Trevor Thompson

Author and Journalist

Trevor spent 10 years as Chief of Staff in the ABC's Sydney newsroom and reported on football in Australia for 35 years from his arrival in the 1980s until his recent retirement. He has written two books: 'One Fantastic Goal' (2006) and 'Playing for Australia - the First Socceroos, Asia and World Football' (2018).

Alen Stajcic

Head Coach, Central Coast Mariners

A teacher by profession, Alen moved into coaching after an eight-year playing career in the NSW state league and was appointed head of women's football program at NSWIS. He won silverware as coach of the NSW Sapphires in the Women's NSL in 2003 and with Sydney FC (2008-2014) in the W-League on four occasions including the double in 2009. He was in charge of the Matildas for two Asian Cup tournaments, the 2015 World Cup - where Australia won their first knockout game at a World Cup ever - and the 2016 Rio Olympics, where the Matildas were knocked out on penalties in the quarter-final to hosts Brazil. The Matildas peaked at number four in FIFA rankings in 2017. After the abrupt end of his tenure with the Matildas in January 2019, he was appointed Head Coach of the Central Coast Mariners A-League team for three years in May 2019. He has twice won W-League Coach of the Year and the Australian Institute of Sport Coach of the Year.

Danny Townsend

CEO, Sydney FC

Danny was appointed CEO of Sydney FC in August 2017, after working as co-Global Managing Director of Nielsen Sports in New York, working across the NBA, NFL, English Premier League, Bundesliga and La Liga, to name but a few. He was previously the co-founder of Repucom, working with leading football clubs in Europe, Asia and the United States, and is a former NSL player with Parramatta Power and Sydney United,
where he was a member of the premiership winning team in 1999.

Greg Werner

Author & Radio Producer

Greg is co-author of the 'Encyclopedia of Matildas' (2019) and is currently working on his second book, to be published in 2022.

John Evans


John has extensive experience in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander physical activity and sport research across both qualitative and quantitative disciplines, and is a leading academic in the areas of Indigenous sport sociology, Indigenous sport and physical activity studies, pedagogy and coaching. His expertise is regularly sought by national sporting organisations such as Netball Australia, the NRL and the ARU.

Michelle O'Shea

Senior Lecturer, Sport Management, WSU

Dr Michelle O’Shea is a Senior Lecturer at Western Sydney University with research interests in sport, culture and society, particularly related to issues of gender and diversity, sport organisation, community and societal impacts, sport marketing and social media communications, fandom and sport financial sustainability.

Ray Gatt

Journalist & Author

Ray was Chief Football Writer with 'The Australian' for more than 30 years, part of a 40-year career in sports journalism. He is the writer of 'The Rale Rasic Story' (2007).

Simon Hill

Journalist, Commentator & Author

Simon was Chief Football Commentator with FOX Sports for 15 years, and has been a journalist, broadcaster and commentator for more than 25 years in the UK and Australia, principally focussed on football. He is author of the autobiography, 'Just A Gob on a Stick' (2017) and is a lifelong Manchester City fan.

Texi Smith

Author & IT Consultant

Texi is the veteran of nine marathons, an enthusiastic amateur player, a volunteer coach, manager and referee, and runs a busy IT consultancy. He is also the rarest of authors - of football novels - with three published so far: 'Introducing Jarrod Black' and 'Jarrod Black Hospital Pass' (both 2019), 'Jarrod Black Guilty Party' (2020) and one on the way, 'Anna Black - this girl can play' (2021).

Vince Rugari

Journalist, Sydney Morning Herald

Vince is an Adelaide-born football journalist with Fairfax Nine Media (specifically the Sydney Morning Herald). He has previously worked with The Area News in Griffith, NSW, the Cairns Post in Queensland, with Sportal on the Gold Coast, and with AAP. He is also a Port Adelaide (AFL) fan.

Andrew Howe

Author and Statistician

Andrew is a statistician by day (with the ABS) and night (football's statto), and author of the 'Encyclopedia of Socceroos' (2018) and co-author of the 'Encyclopedia of Matildas' (2019).

Emma Kemp

Deputy Sports Editor, Guardian Australia

Emma is Deputy Sports Editor with The Guardian Australia. She who has previously worked with the Sydney Morning Herald, Daily Telegraph and AAP in Sydney. She also recently completed a Masters of International Relations.

Jack Snape


Jack works across politics and sport for ABC, and broke stories of the Olyroos Cambodian scandal and bias towards marginal seats in sport grants.

John Maynard

Professor & Author

John is Professor of Indigenous Education & Research at the University of Newcastle. He is also Chairman of the Charles Perkins Soccer Academy. The second edition of his book 'The Aboriginal Soccer Tribe' was published in 2019.

Murray Shaw

Executive Producer & Journalist

Murray Shaw is a journalist, presenter and executive producer who, for 15 years, oversaw the production of football content at FOX Sports. More recently, he has been involved with projects for the Australian Institute of Sport.

Remo Nogarotto

Football fan & FFA Board Member

Remo has had a long involvement in football at the highest management levels, encompassing both the pre- and post-Lowy eras, starting in 1983 with Club Marconi. He is a former Chairman of the NSL and Soccer Australia, and was elected to the Board of FFA in November 2018.

Simon Pearce

Deputy Chairman, Melbourne City FC

Simon has been on the Board of the City Football Group since September 2008, and is Deputy Chairman of Melbourne City Football Club. He is also a Board Member of Abu Dhabi Motorsport Management and the Manchester Life Development Company.

Tom Sermanni

Head Coach, New Zealand

Tom is the head coach of New Zealand's Football Ferns, a position he was appointed to in 2018. He has significant experience in the women's game, having previously coached the Matildas (in two separate stints), the USWNT, a number of teams in the US NWSL including Orlando Pride and New York Power, as well as a technical advisor and assistant to the Canadian women's team at the 2015 World Cup.. He had a 250-game + playing career in his native Scotland and England before joining Canberra City in the NSL in 1984, and has also held coaching positions with, amongst others, the AIS, Westfields Sports High, Sydney Olympic, Canberra Cosmos and as assistant to Eddie Thomson at Sanfrecce Hiroshima. He has been in the coaching box at the past five editions of the Women's World Cup and will take New Zealand to the Tokyo Olympics and the 2023 World Cup as co-host with Australia.

Football, Writing, Ideas      

For football writers and readers

© 2021 by Football Writers' Festival