Johnny Warren Football Foundation Gala Dinner -The Place to Be


It was reminiscent of Johnny Warren?s early years with the Canterbury ?Babes? in the early 1960?s when the full house sign would often be displayed outside the entrance to Arlington Oval when supporters craved to watch Warren and his young team-mates produce their football magic.
For the four hundred people who attended the function there was something to please everybody.
If you were a football afficianado there were  a number of former, prominent players who were willing to reflect on their careers, the current state of world football and most importantly ,to suggest which country would claim the crown for Euro 2008.
Col Curran represented the 1974 Socceroos as a guest of Northern NSW Football and for those fortunate to share his journey the memories will remain eternal.
Jimmy Fraser, the Sydney FC goalkeeper coach, who played such a critical role in the 1974 Socceroos World Cup qualification, but unfortunately due to business reasons was unable to go to Germany, was also a major centre of attention on the night.
 Fraser has performed a vital role in overseeing the goalkeeping program for the Foundation.
If you were selecting a squad of current and past players, the night?s guest list included a playing roster strong in all departments.
The back four would consist of versatile defenders Brendan Renaud, Simon Colosimo, Jean Paul de Marigny and Ante Juric.
The midfield of Gary Phillips, Paul Wade and Brad Maloney would supply the ammunition to feed a formidable striking trio of Ante Milicic, Kimon Taliadoros and Francis Awaritife.
The coaching fraternity was also well represented by Gary van Egmond, Nick Theodorakopolous and John Kosmina who would all be more than adequate bench players.
One of the highlights of the evening was an interview by Les Murray with Pim Verbeek, who was accompanied by his assistant, Henk Duut and FFA Technical Director, Rob Baan.
Verbeek related he was particularly fortunate to be involved with the current boom in Australian football and the presentation to the audience of many of the players who had participated in the Foundation program in the last few years, including Australian Schoolboy representatives, confirmed his views.
Furthermore, two players Marc Warren and Brendan Hamill are in the current Joeys squad and Kiah Symon has played for the Matildas.
The auction conducted by Daniel Hastings raised over $40,000 with a trip to Everton to spend a weekend with Tim Cahill when the Toffees play Manchester United next season, auctioning for $15,000.
Qantas sponsored the return airfare, Majestic Travel two nights accommodation and Tim Cahill is also sponsoring funds for the trip.
The entertainment on the night was led by the breathtaking and flamboyant Latin Dance Company who had the audience spellbound for half an hour with their presentation of Brazilian dancing and artistry.
However, when the young singer presented his rendition of ?Walk Alone? to the backdrop of visuals on the large screen of the football life of Johnny Warren, the people all knew the reason they were attending on the night; to never forget his sacrifices for the game and to continue to support his ideals through the Foundation.
Chairman Brian Hastings, his deputy Jamie Warren and the Board should be congratulated for the success of the occasion and there seems no doubt that for many years to come this gala event will be one of the main features on the football social calendar.
Hopefully, the rhetoric of Graeme West, the State Minister for Gaming and Racing, Sport and Recreation, will be supported by his government in assisting the Foundation and the commitment of Football NSW, Northern NSW Football and the FFA  will also remain steadfast.
-By Roger Sleeman