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Lucas Gillard ’97 – A tribute to soccer’s giants in Australian History

 

Lucas Gillard ‘97 has always had a passion for reciting sporting statistics but admits his ‘skill’ may have been unwelcome in many situations at school!

It seems fitting that decades later he has co-authored a book ‘Be My Guest – Football Superstars in Australia’, which highlights international superstars of the game who have played for a time in Australia.

The book starts with the incredible tale of Alex ‘Sandy’ Young, one of Everton’s most prolific goalscorers, who settled in Tongala in country Victoria in 1914. More familiar household names are covered in the book and many who might surprise football (soccer) fans. They include Sir Bobby Charlton, George Best, Trevor Francis, Kevin Keegan, Bobby Moore, Iaonnis Samaras, David Provan, Ossie Ardiles, Ray Clemence, Paul Mariner and Nicola Berti. The book recounts what was involved in bringing the players to Australia, and how the players, clubs, fans and competition benefited. Furthermore, it examines the simple but often flawed logic that, bringing football superstars to Australia would provide a turbo boost to Australia’s domestic football competition, whether that be the former National Soccer League or the A-League.

The book was a labour of love for Lucas whose passion for football was really ignited at the tail end of his high school experience. He professes to “being born with two left feet, so my absence from IGS soccer squads was no great loss to the school’s fortunes on the pitch. Some sportsmen were made for sitting behind a desk.”

Lucas wrote ‘Be My Guest’ at his desk during the lockdown of 2020 while juggling his fulltime job in marketing and his four-year old daughter Darby, who never quite believed his claim that ‘dad was writing a story’. Lucas commented “even if she did, football was the least of her interests at the time: a painful fact that continues today.”

Today Lucas balances work, remote learning and the pressing needs of his second daughter Tully, who was born late July 2021. He hopes she may one day be willing to join him for 5am Champions League finals but doesn’t hold much hope!

To purchase Be My Guest  go to https://www.fairplaypublishing.com.au/product-page/be-my-guest-football-superstars-in-australia or good bookstores/Amazon. It can be also purchased as an e-book and will be available in the IGS libraries.