Kewell, Viduka, Bosnich, Schwarzer, Aloisi, Grella, Bresciano, Johnston. . . For nigh on 30 years, players in our academies and leagues were routinely plundered by massive, cashed-up overseas clubs that offered fame, glory, worldclass competition and astronomical pay packets. Until 2005, when Frank Lowy and John O'Neill staged an extraordinary rejuvenation of the local competition and our Socceroos went on to qualify for the 2006 World Cup, what our best players left behind was a sport wracked by internal power struggles and locked in a perpetual battle to attract fans, sponsorships and television coverage. Matthew Hall has been travelling and reporting on the 'world game' for over 10 years, meeting everyone from struggling nobodies in backwater competitions to multimillion-dollar superstars such as Liverpool's Harry Kewell, Middlesbrough's Mark Viduka, Everton's Tim Cahill and onetime Melbourne lads Vince Grella, Simon Colosimo and Marco Bresciano. In Australia, he had tea with Joe Marston, the pioneer of Aussie expat footballers who played in the UK's 1954 FA Cup Final; and bought coffee for reclusive legend Craig Johnston, who had also played at Wembley and who would candidly admit, 'I've lived to regret not playing for Australia every single day'. The result of these exclusive and disparate encounters is The Away Game, a collection of probing, revealing and often controversial stories that lifts the lid on football's mysterious world of players, administrators, agents, coaches and promoters, and Australia's place in it. First published in 2000, it received rave reviews and is regarded as a benchmark in sports writing. Fully updated and revised, the new edition is the definitive guide to our football talent in what is bound to be the biggest year in Australian soccer since 1974. From the English Premier League to the Bundesliga, from Serie A to a grassy hill in Wollongong, The Away Game is an incredible journalistic odyssey and the essential companion to the World Cup 2006.
Matthew Hall has been a football writer and reporter for over 10 years for publications such as Rolling Stone, FHM, and Manchester United Magazine