FNR DAILY NEWS
"It was always the first flight out, because then they didn't have to pay for breakfast": Joe MUllen
Joe Mullen (second from left) on how Sydney FC rank amongst the greats
Former Adelaide City star forward Joe Mullen recalls his time playing before the era of full-time club football in Australia, remembering head coach Zoran Matic only giving his players Thursday nights off training “because that was late-night trading, when we could do our shopping.”
The three-time NSL Championship winner told David Davutovic on FNR’s Football Q&A of the side’s cruel away schedule, sometimes requiring players to “go straight from the airport and into work at 8:30” after an away game.
“It was always the first flight out, it wasn’t later in the morning, because then [the club] didn’t have to pay for breakfast,” Mullen said.
Mullen agreed that this era’s Sydney FC side “stands amongst the best” but emphasised the importance of marquee players and players being “full-time professionals” to their success.
“The players today get the chance to play on grounds that are more conducive to playing football,” he said, recalling pitches in the NSL marked out with little more than cones laid by the coach. “They get good grounds, they get good facilities, they get the best of everything and so they should.”
Mullen gave Adelaide City “with bias of course” the title of the best NSL side of all time, highlighting the importance local talent played for clubs in those days in comparison to the marquee system of the A-League.
“Apart from [Serbia born] Milan Ivanovic, everyone else was local,” he said. “Everyone else came up through the ranks, everyone else learned their trade playing youth football in South Australia.”
Football Q&A airs every Wednesday from 5pm (AEST) hosted by David Davutovic on FNR_Football Nation Radio.