We often like to see the narrative of Australian football told as before or after, as opposed to an ongoing, living history.

Superficially, it is an easy – almost lazy – way to tell our story. But, in the biggest week on the football calendar, we should tie together the best of what we are doing now with the platform created by the game’s history.

Sydney FC will look to entrench the history they have created this season. Two players at the centre of this history-making can trace their foundations back to the National Soccer League, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in April.

Alex Wilkinson and Danny Vukovic, the ever-present defensive pillars for Sydney FC both built their careers on exposure in the NSL, Alex at Northern Spirit and Danny at Parramatta Power. Whilst their experiences may have been challenging – particularly in the case of Alex, who went months without salary – they were clearly also rich.

Alex was the successor in style and position to his namesake and his Spirit team-mate, Alex Tobin. If any man was steeped in the richness that the NSL had to offer, both culturally and technically, it was Tobin. Accruing wisdom from the most imperious of players, Milan Ivanovic, and the most accomplished of coaches, Zoran Matic, Tobin would pass on the lessons he learnt to a young Wilkinson.

Across the divide, two degrees of separation separate Kevin Muscat from Ference Puskas, linked by Ange Postecoglou. Our finest, learning from the globe’s finest. Australia’s football story- told through the migrant experiences of our post World War II population- learning from one of football’s greatest ever stories.

Whilst governance structures and operating models provide fault-lines across the sport, there should be no divide in the history of football. The NSL, for its flaws and inevitable demise, made history for being ambitious and taking sport in this country, for the first time, national.

As we celebrate a sold-out stadium on Sunday afternoon with the club’s that brought the A-League to life in Round 1 of Season 1, let’s similarly embrace the platform the NSL provided, the history it told and the boldness of its vision.