In September 2008, Australian professional footballers formally recognised two icons of Australian football by awarding them with the inaugural PFA Alex Tobin OAM Medals. The late Johnny Warren and Joe Marston were honoured at the first ever PFA Alex Tobin OAM Awards night with over 200 current and former PFA members in attendance.
Both men need no introduction to the Australian football community.
Johnny Warren was without question one of Australia’s greatest ever players. But more than that, he was a warrior for football on all fronts. His public fight for football and its people was instrumental in bringing the off field revolution of 2003, the springboard to today’s professionalism.
Joe Marston of course pioneered the international career path for Australians, becoming one of the English First Division’s best players in the 1950s with Preston North End, then a goliath of the game. Hundreds of Australians have since followed his footsteps, but very few with the same success.
Johnny Warren was represented at the ceremony by his daughter Shannon, son in law Sean, brother Geoff and nephew Jamie, who also sits as a Director of the Johnny Warren Football Foundation.
Joe Marston attended the ceremony with his wife Edith, who joined Joe on his English adventure over 50 years ago. “It is a great honour to be recognised by today’s players,” Joe said. “The development of the game is something we all spoke about when I played, and it is so important that Australians can become the best players they can be both at home and abroad. The work of many including Alex and the PFA has helped make all this possible,” he added.
The Alex Tobin OAM Medal
Alex Tobin OAM is the PFA’s longest serving President (1998 to 2004). He became the first PFA officer to be officially recognised when he received the Order of Australia Medal on Australia Day 2007 for services to Australian football, especially as an international player and through the PFA. He has played more national league games than any Australian footballer, and is the most capped Socceroo. He captained Australia in its 1998 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign and to second place at the 1997 FIFA Confederations Cup. His NSL career also featured 3 NSL championships (1986, 1992 and 1994) and 2 Joe Marston Medals (1992 and 1994).
The PFA Alex Tobin OAM Medal is awarded annually by the PFA Executive to a current or former player who demonstrates four outstanding attributes: (1) leadership; (2) achievement as a player; (3) commitment to one’s fellow professionals; and (4) service and dedication to the game.
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