63 days to go: Johnny Warren's FIFA World Cup story

As part of our countdown to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, we profile every Australian player who's been to a World Cup.

Today we continue the countdown with the legendary Johnny Warren, one of the most respected figures in Australian footballing history.

Full List: Countdown for the Caltex Socceroos

Cap number: 183

World Cups played at: 1974

Position: Midfielder

Age at World Cup: 31

Clubs played for: Canterbury-Marrickville, St. George-Budapest

Best World Cup moment

A fiercely passionate and dedicated player, Warren’s commitment to the game culminated with an appearance in Australia’s first-ever FIFA World Cup in 1974.

Warren played in the opening group match against East Germany, a clash in which the Socceroos earned huge respect globally for their impressive showing.

The Sydney-born midfielder suffered a foot injury in the game and was unable to recover for Australia’s matches against West Germany and Chile.

But his appearance in Australia’s first-ever World Cup match will be forever etched in history.

Career highlight

Warren enjoyed a hugely successful career on the field at both club and international level, leaving an indelible mark on football in Australia.

He won three State League titles with St George over 12 seasons in NSW and ended his career with a match-clinching goal in their 1974 Grand Final win over Sydney City Hakoah.

Fittingly, Warren, who was player-coach at the time, immediately substituted himself in what was to be his last ever appearance.

On the international stage, Warren played 42 ‘A’ matches for the Socceroos between 1965-1974 and scored six goals.

He captained the Socceroos on 24 occasions and led Australia in their gruelling and ultimately unsuccessful campaign to qualify for the 1970 World Cup.

Post-playing career

Following his retirement, Warren embarked on a long-career promoting and advocating for the game of football in Australia.

He was heavily involved in coaching, helping establish Canberra City in the national league in 1977. He coached the side but was also prevalent in promoting the ‘beautiful game’ on TV, newspaper, radio – however he could.

He also ran his own soccer training camps in both Sydney and Canberra over more than a decade.

Warren worked in television for many years, commentating, analysing and discussing football for the ABC and SBS.

His unique passion for the game was infectious and he became the unofficial spokesperson for football and its battle for mainstream acceptance.  

Warren’s commitment to the game as a writer, broadcaster, player, coach and advocate has left a long-lasting legacy in Australian football.

Did you know?

The Johnny Warren Medal, awarded to the A-League’s player of the season, was originally introduced way back in 1990 during the National Soccer League era.

*Photographs from the Les Shorrock, Laurie Schwab and Anton Cermak collections are used with permission from Deakin University Library, Eileen Shorrock and Mrs Jana Cermak.