Ferenc Puskás was THE player of the 50s, an icon of world football. He was the star of Real Madrid and the Hungarian national team. How did a FIFA team of the century superstar become the coach of a football South Melbourne Hellas in the early 90s? This film will explore his bizarre recruitment to Australia (via the paddocks of Keysborough!), South Melbourne’s 1991 triumph, and his relationship with his captain, Ange Postecoglou, destined to become the first Australian to manage in the Premier League.
But this is more than a football story. It’s a story about immigration, multiculturalism, and the parallel universe that was Australia’s NSL, invisible to sports fans from an Anglo background, but vital to European Australians and their children.
This film will document the life of Greek migrants in Melbourne in the 80s and 90s – the struggles they faced, and how their cultural and sporting institutions helped them to make a contribution to multiculturalism, their communities and Australian society.
With the Ange ascendancy, this is the moment for this story. it can be the best Australian football history film ever made.
Our documentary opens with some of the great names of Australian soccer /football placing Ferenc Puskas in his proper context. ‘One of the ten best players of all time’ says Ange Postecoglou, our most successful manager. ‘Part of the holy trinity of world football’ says Craig Johnston, one of Australia’s greatest to have played in England. We then see Puskas in his glory days, a goalscoring machine with 83 goals in 84 games for Hungary. The film then tells the story of how Puskas got to Australia, we have spectacular footage of the rotund, big-bellied legend playing in what looks like farmland at a Hungarian club in Keysborough. We follow him through his clinic, with bizarre photos of George Best, another of the greatest ever, coaching open mouthed 16 year olds on green expanses in Melbourne’s outer east. When the clinics end, Puskas and his wife are enjoying Australia, and so they look for another coaching opportunity. Through a link in the Greek community, the Greek-speaking Puskas offers himself for the job, and a gobsmacked South Melbourne land the biggest fish to ever coach in Australia, It’s beautiful hearing Puskas players remember their coach. They have many funny stories of a warm and charismatic man, with strange quirks and interesting philosophies. Most of all we get a sense that this was match made in heaven, an attack minded coach who had been forced into exile from Hungary as a result of the 1956 uprising, meeting up with a Greek community who found refuge in a football club after the trauma of civil war and immigration in the 1950s and 60s. The football story is excellent, the 1991Grand Final is as close, and exciting and climactic a sporting event as there has been in Australia’s premier soccer competition, whether it be the NSL or the A-League. Interviewees include Les Murray (archive), Ange Postecoglou, Craig Johnston, Paul Trimboli, Kimon Taliadoris, Alan Davison, Peter Tsolakis, Lazaros Papasavas, Con Boutsianis and Hungarian interviews with Pusaks Foundation head and Puskas biographer Szöllősi György. Music is by David Bridie, who is working up some inspiring Greek bouzouki and Hungarian fiddles (the versions on the attached vimeo are draft only). Edited by Ken Sallows (Chopper, Malcolm). The Sepia Tones filmmaking team of Tony Wilson, Rob Heath, and Cameron Fink previously premiered ‘The Galahs’ documentary, about a pioneering 1967 tour of Ireland, the UK and the USA by Australian rules champions of the sixties. It premiered at MIFF in 2016 .
DURATION: 73 MINUTES
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