At The End Of The Day

Perth Glory leg­end Bobby Despo­tovski al­most said cob­blers to footie but booted goals in­stead

Australian Four Four Two - - JUNE 2015 - BOBBY DESPO­TOVSKI

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.