At The End Of The Day
Perth Glory legend Bobby Despotovski almost said cobblers to footie but booted goals instead
Bobby Despotovski talks cobblers
I knew I’d made it as a player when I was called up to play for the national team and represent Australia. I hadn’t had my best year – not as good as the previous year – so I was a little surprised. But I took it in my stride and was very honoured to be playing for Australia. My hero growing up was former Real Madrid and Mexico striker Hugo Sanchez. The guy had it all – he really stood out. Sanchez could create goals by himself, he was flamboyant, he was unorthodox, and I modelled my game around him. I don’t know if I succeeded! I was happiest when my children were born. Playing junior football with Red Star Belgrade was extremely satisfying. Just being on the same training grounds as some of the best Yugoslav footballers at that time – Dejan Savićević, Vladimir Jugović, Robert Prosinečki, to name a few. The day football broke my heart was the National Soccer League Grand Final against Wollongong Wolves in 2000. We [Perth Glory] were 3-0 up at half time and lost on penalties. That day stayed with me for a long time, until Liverpool beat AC Milan the same way in the 2005 UEFA Champions League Final. I must admit I have felt much better after that happened to AC Milan, particularly because I am also Liverpool supporter! My proudest moment was being selected for my country and being given the number 10 shirt. I decided when I returned here that Australia was the only country I would represent. I call myself an Australian – I was born here, and although I lived overseas for a long time, my family is here, my house is here – everything I wish for is in this country. So it felt natural to represent Australia. If I could change one thing about the game, it would be that video technology at some stage has to come in. Winning the Johnny Warren Medal in 2005/6 was one of the proudest moments in my career – capping a very good season and being voted the best player by your fellow professionals. If it wasn’t for football I would be a cobbler, as I was doing that when I returned to Australia back in late 1992. I was born in Australia after my family had emigrated here, but my Mum didn’t like it that much – she didn’t speak any English and my father was working a lot. So after a year and a half, we returned to Yugoslavia. I completed school there and towards the end of my national service, the war broke out. Luckily I wasn’t involved in that, but I decided to return to Australia to work and see where I was born. A few friends took me to a local soccer game, and it went from there! Lots of people said to me that they were sad retiring from the sport they love to play, but I was not sad at all. I was convinced that I could not go on playing week in and week out. I would have also done my career more harm than good by playing too long and not being at the top of my game or playing the way I wanted to play. Injuries plus age equals not recovering in time to be at full fitness, which eventually leads to retirement. Four words that sum me up would be “down to earth”, and “normal”. The one thing I couldn’t live without is my family, because they are everything to me. I would be nothing if it was not for my family. If I had one wish it would be to find a cure for cancer.
Hugo your way, I’ll go mine...
Goal machine coming through