Adrian Alston

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Adrian Alston
Personal information
Full name Adrian Alston[1]
Date of birth (1949-02-06) 6 February 1949 (age 68)
Place of birth Preston, England
Playing position Striker
Youth career
1967–1968 Preston North End
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1968–1969 South Coast United
1970–1972 St George
1974 Safeway United 13 (4)
1974–1975 Luton Town 29 (8)
1975–1976 Cardiff City 48 (16)
1977–1978 Tampa Bay Rowdies 19 (8)
1977 Canberra City 10 (3)
1984 Wollongong City 1 (0)
National team
1969–1977 Australia 37 (6)
Teams managed
1979 St. Petersburg Thunder Bolts
1997–2004 Port Kembla
2004 ACT Rockets
2004–2005 Wollongong City
2006–2007 Bulli
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 12 May 2007.
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 12 May 2007

Adrian Alston (born 6 February 1949) is a former professional footballer. Born in England, he began his career as a youth player with Preston North End before moving to Australia without making a first-team appearance. In Australia, he played for South Coast United, St George and Safeway United and was called up to the Australia national football team after two years in the country.

He made his international debut in 1969 and was instrumental in helping the side qualify for the 1974 FIFA World Cup, the first time the nation had ever reached the finals tournament, where he featured in all three group matches. His performances attracted attention from around Europe and he eventually signed for First Division side Luton Town. After one season, he joined Cardiff City before moving to the North American Soccer League to join the newly formed Tampa Bay Rowdies where he finished his professional career.

His brother Alex was also a professional footballer.


Early career[edit]

Born in Preston, Alston was playing as an apprentice at his hometown club Preston North End when he was offered a deal which quadrupled his wages at Preston by Jimmy Kelly, manager of South Coast United in Australia. He had been playing with Preston for one year and was convinced to move after being told that the "heavy grounds" in England did not suit his playing style.[2] He settled quickly in the country, scoring the goal that won the National Premier Leagues NSW Division One title in 1969 in a 1–1 draw with APIA Leichhardt and was chosen to play for a New South Wales representative side soon after.[3][4] He later moved to St George and was offered a contract in Japan, along with teammate Attila Abonyi, after impressing in an Asian tournament that St George won but turned down the deal.[5]

Return to Europe[edit]

His performances in the 1974 World Cup saw Alston receive offers from a number of clubs in Germany, including Hertha Berlin, Hamburg and Eintracht Frankfurt. Alston agreed a deal with Hertha that would include a $40,000 signing-on fee and a temporary apartment until he was able to secure his own living accommodation and a fee was agreed between Hertha and Safeway United.[2] However, Alston received a late offer from Luton Town in The Football League who had tracked Alston following his performance against the side during a tour of England by the Australian national side in 1970, Alston having scored the winning goal during a 2–1 victory.[6] The club had achieved promotion to the First Division, the highest tier in English football, the previous season and Alston decided to join the Hatters in order to help his wife settle and the lack of a language barrier.[7][8]

In his debut season, Alston finished as the club's joint top goalscorer, along with Ron Futcher, in the league as the club suffered relegation. However, Alston spent just one season at Kenilworth Road as the club began to experience financial difficulties resulting in Alston not being paid at times. Alston later described his decision to reject offers from Germany and return to England with Luton as "the biggest mistake I ever made".[2] Cardiff City manager Jimmy Andrews paid £20,000 to take him to Ninian Park with the club also agreeing to pay Alston the wages owed to him by Luton.[7] He scored twice on his debut in a 4–3 win over Chesterfield and later went on to become the first post-war Cardiff player to score a hat-trick in the FA Cup in a 6–2 win over Exeter City. In his first season, the club won the Welsh Cup, qualifying for the European Cup Winners' Cup the following season. In the first round of the competition, Alston became the first Australian player to score in a European competition when he scored in a 1–0 victory over Georgian side Dinamo Tblisi on 15 September 1976.[7][9]

After helping the club win promotion to Division Two, he struggled to reproduce his form the following year and left Cardiff to play in the NASL for Tampa Bay Rowdies.[10] Alston later stated that he enjoyed playing for Cardiff more than any club in his career and had only chosen to accept Tampa's offer due to the money offered to him.[11]

Later career[edit]

On his debut for the Rowdues in the NASL, Alston was unveiled to the club's fans by arriving in a helicopter.[12] After his first season with Tampa, Alston returned to Australia to play for Canberra City, who were managed by his former international teammate Johnny Warren, as a guest player. He scored on his debut, during a 4–0 victory over Sydney Olympic, and made a total of ten appearances and scored three times before returning to Tampa.[12] During his second season in the US, Alston suffered a knee injury that would eventually force him to retire from professional football.[13]

International career[edit]

Alston made his debut for the Australian national team on 19 July 1969 in a 1–0 friendly victory over Greece, who were undertaking a tour of Australia.[14] Alston later commented that as soon as he began playing for Australia, he was "no longer English".[5] He won two further caps in 1969, playing in two out of three matches of a tour of Rhodesia against the national side in November,[14] before scoring his first international goal the following year in a friendly match against Greece.[15]

Alston was instrumental in Australia's progress during the qualifying rounds for the 1974 World Cup, scoring three goals in the group stage and once during the final play-off match against Iran as Australia qualified for the World Cup for the first time in their history.[16] He was named in the squad for the tournament in West Germany by manager Rale Rasic.[17] In the opening match against East Germany, Alston performed a move to beat defender Konrad Weise that was used later in the tournament by Dutch international Johan Cruyff and became known as the "Cruyff turn".[2][18] Prior to the Australia side meeting West Germany in the group stage, German manager Helmut Schoen stated:[18]

Alston started all three of Australia's matches at the tournament as they suffered defeats to East Germany and West Germany and drew 0–0 with Chile.[19] He lost his place in the side soon after to John Kosmina but did return to play in the qualifying stages of the 1978 World Cup as Australia failed to qualify after a series of disappointing results and he was never called up for the side again.[12] In total he represented Australia between 1969 and 1977 in 37 official matches, scoring 6 goals.[20] Alston represented New South Wales in 1974 as a player and led the selection of the Illawarra region as coach in 2004.

International goals[edit]

Australia score listed first, score column indicates score after each Alston goal.

Goal Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 17 November 1970[15] Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium, Athens, Greece  Greece 1–0 3–1 Friendly
2 11 November 1971[21] Lang Park, Brisbane, Australia  Israel 2–2 2–2 Friendly
3 11 March 1973[22] Sydney Sports Ground, Sydney, Australia  Iraq 2–0 3–1 1974 FIFA World Cup qualifying
4 3–0
5 13 March 1973[22] Sydney Sports Ground, Sydney, Australia  Indonesia 2–1 2–1
6 18 August 1973[22] Sydney Sports Ground, Sydney, Australia  Iran 1–0 3–0


South Coast United
Cardiff City

See also[edit]

Foreign-born footballers who played for Australia


  1. ^ "Adrian Alston". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 6 October 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d Philip Micallef (3 August 2016). "Socceroos Greats - Where are they now: Adrian Alston". SBS. Retrieved 7 October 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "United glory days to be relived". Illawarra Mercury. 22 June 2009. Retrieved 8 October 2017. 
  4. ^ James Vyver (16 June 2014). "World Cup 2014: Adrian Alston remembers playing in the Socceroos 'class of 74'". ABC Radio Canberra. Retrieved 6 October 2017. 
  5. ^ a b Chris Paraskevas (13 March 2009). "Exclusive Interview: '74 Soceroo Adrian Alston (Part 1)". Retrieved 6 October 2017. 
  6. ^ "Socceroo B Matches for 1970". Oz Football. Retrieved 7 October 2017. 
  7. ^ a b c Philip Micallef (3 July 2016). "Socceroos Greats - Where are they now: Adrian Alston". SBS. Retrieved 4 March 2017. 
  8. ^ David V. (24 July 2010). "Why Adrian Alston was a Socceroo trailblazer". The Roar. Retrieved 10 February 2017. 
  9. ^ Shepherd, Richard (2002). The Definitive: Cardiff City F.C. Nottingham: SoccerData Publications. p. 76. ISBN 1-899-46817-X. 
  10. ^ a b Hayes, Dean (2006). The Who's Who of Cardiff City. Derby: Breedon Books. p. 14. ISBN 1-85983-462-0. 
  11. ^ Paul Zalunardo (15 May 2008). "Cardiff dream comes true for Bluebirds". Illawarra Mercury. Retrieved 8 October 2017. 
  12. ^ a b c Joe Gorman (2017). Death and Life of Australian Soccer. Queensland: University of Queensland Press. ISBN 9780702259685. 
  13. ^ "Adrian Alston". Tampa Bay Rowdies. Retrieved 7 October 2017. 
  14. ^ a b "Socceroo Internationals for 1969". Oz Football. Retrieved 6 October 2017. 
  15. ^ a b "Socceroo Internationals for 1970". Oz Football. Retrieved 7 October 2017. 
  16. ^ Andre Kruger. "The Socceroos World Cup qualification". The Southern Cross. Retrieved 8 October 2017. 
  17. ^ Chris Paraskevas (15 March 2009). "Exclusive Interview: '74 Socceroo Adrian Alston (Part 2)". Retrieved 6 October 2017. 
  18. ^ a b "Alston:The man Schoen feared". Archived from the original on 9 September 2009. Retrieved 11 April 2009. 
  19. ^ "Socceroo Internationals for 1974". Oz Football. Retrieved 8 October 2017. 
  20. ^ "Adrian Alston". National Football Teams. Benjamin Strack-Zimmerman. Retrieved 7 October 2017. 
  21. ^ "Socceroo Internationals for 1971". Oz Football. Retrieved 7 October 2017. 
  22. ^ a b c "Socceroo Internationals for 1973". Oz Football. Retrieved 7 October 2017. 

External links[edit]