Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) was delighted yesterday to host the inaugural PFA Football History Conference at Lakeside Stadium in Melbourne.

Proudly supported by PFA major partner LUCRF Super and hosted in conjunction with Football Federation Victoria, over 100 guests spent the day discussing the game’s evolution through three distinct lenses – professional competitions, the changing world and player development.

“It was a great privilege to bring together so many former Socceroos, Matildas and students of the game in the one room,” said PFA President Alex Wilkinson.

“It’s always a big challenge to cover a lot of subject matter and allow everybody to contribute to the discussion, so it was reaffirming for us to see the amount of chatter that was happening over lunch and long after the Conference had finished!”

The Conference, hosted by SBS Television’s Lucy Zelic, commenced with a video tribute to the late Les Murray while PFA Chairman Brendan Schwab provided a spoken tribute to the late great journalist Mike Cockerill.

Some of Australian football’s most renowned writers and academics – such as Joe Gorman, Andrew Howe, Roy Hay, Ann Ondong and Ron Smith – each spoke to their respective areas of expertise and often their own journeys through football before enabling lively and robust audience participation.

“There’s always so much energy at these events and always new things to learn. I bet nobody knew before yesterday that Ipswich has, per capita, produced more Socceroos than any other place in Australia,” said PFA Chief Executive John Didulica.

“Our hope is the event becomes a fixture on the annual calendar, whether driven by the PFA or others. It has the potential to evolve into a positive platform for deeply connecting the disparate parts of our sport behind our shared stories and our collective challenges.”

All content from the PFA Football History Conference is available via podcast on the Football Nation Radio platform.