Vale Ian Gray

Football Federation Australia (FFA) was saddened to hear that former Qantas Socceroo Ian Gray passed away last night at his home in Sydney.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) was saddened to hear that former Qantas Socceroo Ian Gray passed away last night at his home in Sydney.

FFA chairman Mr Frank Lowy, AC, said the football community was shocked and saddened by Ian's passing.

"Ian gave great service to the Socceroos playing 35 matches over 9 years and he was a very respected teammate and a friend to many," Lowy said.

"He was also an active former Socceroo and a great ambassador for football."

"On behalf of the Australian football community I would like to send my condolences to Ian's family, " concluded Lowy.

Ian was born on 22nd July 1963 and came up through the Manly Vale and Western Suburbs ranks. An experienced defender or midfielder, he commenced a 12 year national representative career in 1981 when selected in an Australian under 20 team to play in a tournament in China.

He was first chosen for the senior Australian side in the 1984 World Series tournament, and later that year joined the Qantas Socceroos on an extensive world tour encompassing matches in China, England, Scotland and Italy. He played in first stage qualifying matches for the 1986 and 1994 world cups, and took part in the Presidents Cup in 1991 (in South Korea) and 1992 (Indonesia).

He scored six goals in the 1984 National Soccer League (NSL) season, his last season at APIA Leichhardt, as the inner-Sydney club went as far as the northern division preliminary final. After then transferring to Marconi he played in finals series in 1985 (reaching the northern division grand final) and 1986 (northern division minor semi), and from 1988 to 1990 he took part in three consecutive grand finals; he was on the winning grand final team in 1988 (on penalties over Sydney United) and 1989 (1-0 over Sydney Olympic).

After suffering an injury early in a round 25 match against West Adelaide in 1992/93 he was out of action for six weeks, returning to play in Marconi's 1-0 grand final victory over Adelaide City - his third NSL championship medal. Upon playing in the 1993/94 finals series, he became the first player to play in nine NSL finals series. He stands as the player with the second-most number of NSL appearances for Marconi, just two matches behind Tom McCulloch.

Although playing predominantly in defence throughout his career, he scored some vital goals for Marconi, including an 80th minute strike in a 2-1 win over South Melbourne in the 1988 minor semi final, and a headed goal in the 1991 elimination semi, which Marconi won over Parramatta Eagles on penalties following a 3-3 draw.

Since leaving the professional football ranks, Ian continued to play at an amateur level for his beloved Maccabi Masters and Team Bondi but mainly turned his attention to coaching and in particular mentoring junior football players.

In 2004 Ian was inducted into the FFA Hall of Fame - Award of Distinction. Ian was also a member of the FFA Appeals committee.

Details regarding Ian-s funeral arrangements will be announced at a later date.