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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Johnny Warren OAM MBE, 2008

Natasha Gadd and Rhys Graham

digital video, colour, sound, duration 2 minutes, 50 seconds

Johnny Warren OAM MBE (1943-2004), footballer, football administrator and commentator, grew up in southern Sydney where he played his first games of soccer, as his game was then known, for the Botany Methodists. In 1959, when he was fifteen, he made his debut with the Canterbury-Marrickville club, quickly progressing to first grade. In 1963 he began his twelve-year stint with St George Budapest, during which the team won three NSW State League grand finals, one premiership and two state cups. Meanwhile, he played 42 international matches, including the Australian World Cup appearance in 1974; he captained Australia in 24 international games. His final action as a player was to score a match-winning goal for St. George in the 1974 NSW State League Grand Final. After retiring from play, Warren helped establish the Canberra City team and coached them in 1977-1978, bringing many overseas players to train at his Gold Creek property in the 1980s and 1990s. From the 1980s onward he commented on the game on ABC and SBS television, wrote for the Sydney Morning Herald, and lobbied for Australia's separation from the Oceania Football Confederation, which he claimed retarded the development of the Socceroos. His autobiography, Sheilas, Wogs and Poofters (its title referring to Australian popular attitudes to soccer players in the postwar years) was published in 2002. A committee member of the 'Crawford Report' of 2003, investigating the governance of football in Australia, he never lost faith that Australia could field a world-class football side. Thus, his catchcry, 'I told you so', is invoked whenever Australia does well in a football game. Following his death from lung cancer, he was accorded a State funeral, from St Andrews Cathedral, Sydney.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2011

Video transcript
Speaker 1: Keep him not too far in front, no too far in front. Come on, keep him coming, keep him coming. Little ones.
 
Speaker 2: Kick it. Get him.
 
Speaker 3: I started as a five year old at Botany in the protestant churches competition.
 
Speaker 1: Take him. Take him, it's still yours. [crosstalk 00:00:23]
 
Speaker 3: Two brothers started, and being like all young brothers I tagged along and ended up playing soccer.
 
Speaker 4: St. George, after winning the Empire Cup pre-season competition looked the team to beat earlier this year.
 
Speaker 3: I played first grade career with Canterbury when I was 15, and I changed to St. George Budapest when I was 19.
 
Speaker 4: St. George begins an amazing comeback, answering every demand by skipper Johnny Warren with positive action. With St. George Budapest back in the game, it's 2 - 1 at halftime.
 
The Australian team out there in the middle in their Gold and Green strip. Vojtek, Walsh, Abonyi, Marnoch, Ackerley, and Johnny Warren, the Australian captain.
 
Speaker 3: If we are to compete and compete successfully, we have to put a lot more time, a lot more effort, and a lot more preparation into such competitions.
 
Speaker 5: Australia are under attack now through Johnny Warren, number 10. 65 minutes coming up, and the crowd still hopeful of an Australian victory. Again Warren on the left with a tremendous shot, and [Visiga 00:01:36] brought into action yet again. A very disappointed Australia.
 
Speaker 6: Skirmish there between players on both sides.
 
Speaker 3: I think we've got to learn by the mistakes that we've made.
 
Speaker 6: [Duran 00:01:47] having a kick at Warren on the ground.
 
Speaker 7: When this great sporting nation who has yet to embrace fully the world's greatest game.
 
Speaker 8: Warren will take it himself.
 
Speaker 7: For so long of trying to have the game accepted.
 
Speaker 3: When I'm up in the big football field in the sky, I just want people to remember, I told you so.
 
Speaker 5: Seven minutes into extra time. Warren [inaudible 00:02:12]. He's beating him with speed, and it's a goal for Johnny Warren, a great goal, and Warren collapses on the ground inside the penalty box. I don't think he's probably scored a finer goal than that in the whole of his career. A great goal for John Warren, beating [Anon Norick 00:02:30] in a race for the ball.
 

Accession number: 2011.20

Currently not on display

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Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

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On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

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My Favourite Australian

Magazine article by Christine Clark, 2009

The Australian public was invited in 2008 to vote for their favourite Australian.  After the votes were tallied an exhibition of the top-ten Popular Australians and the top-twenty unsung heroes was displayed at the National Portrait Gallery.

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Electric!

Portraits that pop!

Previous exhibition, 2018

Celebrate the Gallery’s 20th birthday summer with Electric! Portraits that pop! The collection exhibition features a mix of bright, bold and colourful paintings, prints and photographs, and buoyant video portraits.

My Favourite Australian
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My Favourite Australian

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My Favourite Australian is a project developed in collaboration with ABC TV and the people of Australia.

We would like to thank our partners.
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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.