14 July 2014

Northern Ireland Players in the A-League

Soccer in Australia and New Zealand has long been held as a happy hunting ground for British and Irish players, offering the opportunity for some off-season earnings or a happy retirement base in a warmer climate. From Terry McCavana and Tommy Forde as antipodean football pioneers of the 1960s to Bobby Campbell's career re-building stint in the 1970s and George Best's brief stay in the twilight of his career, Northern Ireland internationals have not been afraid to take their boots to the far side of the globe.

Australia's first national league, the NSL, was founded in 1977 and was augmented with a first New Zealand side, Auckland Kingz, in 1999. Before it was wound up as financially un-viable in 2004, the following Northern Ireland full, B, Under-23 or Under-21 players featured in the NSL:
(exact details to be verified)
George Best (Brisbane Lions 1983)
Bobby Campbell (Brisbane City 1979)
Lee Feeney (Northern Spirit 2001)
Norman Kelly (Canberra Cosmos 1995-1999)
Bertie Lutton (Eastern Suburbs 1977, South Melbourne 1978)
Roddy McKenzie (Brisbane Lions 1977)
Tommy Morrow (Western Suburbs 1977)

When the NSL was wound up in 2004 a new top-level league for Australia and New Zealand was organised, and the A-League began it's inaugural season in August 2005. The A-League runs through the southern hemisphere summer, with a "regular season" where each team plays each other three times in a round-robin format to find the Premier winners, followed by a "finals series" where the top teams play-off to find the winners of the A-League Trophy. Successful clubs qualify for the Asian Champions League, having competed in the Oceania Champions League prior to 2007.

To date the following Northern Irish players have featured in the A-League:
Terry McFlynn
Season
Club
Regular
Finals

05/06
06/07
07/08
08/09
09/10
10/11
11/12
12/13
13/14
Sydney FC
Sydney FC
Sydney FC
Sydney FC
Sydney FC
Sydney FC
Sydney FC
Sydney FC
Sydney FC
15 (3)/1
15 (0)/0
13 (2)/2
14 (2)/2
(W) 23 (0)/1
27 (0)/1
25 (0)/0
15 (4)/0
3 (6)/0
150(17)/7
(W) 1(2)/0
1(0)/0
2(0)/0

(W) 4(0)/0

1(0)/0


9(2)/0
Jonny Steele
Season
Club
Regular
Finals

14/15
Newcastle Jets
-
-
-
-

See also:
NI Players in the NASL & MLS (1968-1984 & 1996-date)

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