Columnist

Les Murray

Fondly known as 'Mr Football', Les has been directly involved in all the major events covered by SBS Sport, including five World Cup football tournaments. Follow @lesmurraysbs on Twitter.

572blog entries

A-League grows up

The A-League is coming of age on and off the field and I can't wait for the start of the season on 10 October.
It has been a good couple of months for the A-League. Three things come to mind.At the World Cup in Brazil Australia performed more than creditably with a good smattering of players from the A-League on the field and, with better luck, may have...

The lessons of Brazil 2014

In the aftermath of the World Cup in Brazil, lingering in that country on a holiday, I took a visit to the city of Santos, the home of Pelé and marvelled at its prolonged love affair with football.
Santos, where Pelé still lives, is a seaside satellite of the gargantuan city of Sao Paulo, Brazil's centre of industry and commerce, population 12 million, an ant-hill of people chasing their tails in quest of a living, a metropolis of thousands...

What a swell party

It felt like it from the start but even with the benefit of a few days' hindsight, and time to clear the head after a gripping final, it has surely been the best of all World Cups, or at least the best in my long experience as a broadcaster of the...
Of course not all will necessarily agree. Some will find the quality of the football to have been wanting, though it is difficult to see how. Some, who are less than totally conversant with football, will claim that a good final should be one that...

A true legend of the game

I will never forget Alfredo Di Stefano's valuable contribution to my becoming a lover of the game.
Adios, Señor FutbolIn 1975, as an impressionable young man eager to learn, I went out of my way to make the acquaintance of a football writer I had long admired from afar, Eric Batty. As I did, in a London bar, we were interrupted by a young man...

The assassination of Neymar

As parties go - and the World Cup is essentially one big party - Brazil 2014 is as good as it gets but there is often something that poops the party and Juan Zuniga's knee into Neymar's back was certainly that.
The way this nation of 200 million revelled on the evening Brazil played its quarter-final against Colombia had to be experienced to be believed.The string of kiosks and cafes along the Avenida Atlantica, Copacabana's promenade, was a pulsating...

Oh, the pain of it

I don’t know what it is but here, at my eighth World Cup as a broadcaster, and my 12th as a viewer, I find myself more empathetic with the vanquished than the victor.
Maybe it comes with age, a kind of sentimentality that creeps into one's joints, like some latent hormone, whereby those who lose are not dismissed as mere losers to be farewelled but as heroes in pain, cursed by the hand of injustice.I felt that...

The job is partly done

Australia's 2014 FIFA World Cup marked the end of the beginning of a journey that began when Ange Postecoglou took over from Holger Osieck as Socceroos coach.
The World Cup for Australia is over. The job is partly done.Let's be brutally honest: this World Cup appearance, by Australia, was never meant to be judged on results. We knew that well before the finals draw was made in Bahia. We knew it when...

Why we love Timmy

Mile Jedinak may be Australia's captain, but Tim Cahill is the Socceroos' undisputed leader and a source of inspiration to his team-mates and aspiring young footballers across the country.
We Australians just love Tim Cahill. There are reasons for this.The foremost of them is that he is an organic attacker, a striker, a go-getter, the type of competitor we love to love. He is also a specimen of another ilk that is intrinsic to our...

Thank you for the game

As the announcement of his semi-retirement from SBS settles in, Les Murray reflects on his 30-plus years with the network, and thanks football, the world game, for all it has given to him.
It was a chance meeting in the corridors of SBS in 1980 that started all this. It was Peter Skelton who spotted me and as he did, he said: “Les, am I glad to see you? What are you doing here?”“I’m a part time Hungarian subtitler,” I replied. “And...

Farewell to the golden captain

Lucas Neill was a brave captain who always gave his all for the Socceroos. His leadership will be missed, but the time is right for change.
It would not have been a pleasant phone call for Lucas Neill: Ange Postecoglou, the sixth Socceroos coach he has played under, on the other end of the line telling him that, effectively, his days as an Australian international, not to say captain,...