Last weekend, Fair Play Publishing organised, convened and curated the first ever Football Writers' Festival. It's fair to say it was a cracking weekend.
The weather wasn't too bad (a bit hot maybe), the ambience at Jamberoo Pub and the Johnny Warren Museum was terrific, the staff at the Jamberoo Pub were top rate, and the line-up of speakers and participants was fantastic.
Thank you to the Johnny Warren Football Foundation, Hyundai Australia and Football Victoria for their support.
One of the highlights was the Hyundai Legends Happy Hour on the Saturday night where we heard some terrific tales from Ron Lord, Jimmy Fraser, Adrian 'Noddy' Alston, Heather Garriock and Kimon Taliadoros (featured in our pic).
To all the 'early adapters' who headed to Jamberoo for the Festival, thank you for being part of the inaugural Festival on an off-football weekend. We really appreciated the effort of so many to travel to Jamberoo and stay overnight.
To all the speakers, some of whom we've met for the first time, such as the brave novelists, Texi Smith and Adrian Deans, through to the men and women whose names and faces we see on articles or on TV screens every day, and everyone in between - thank you. It was particularly good of those who spend every weekend working on the game who gave up a rare free weekend to be in Jamberoo, with a special thanks to Simon Hill and Murray Shaw, who also spend their weekends away from home and chose to do so again for the Festival.
To our overseas guests, Jens Weinreich and Gwendolyn Oxenham who travelled from Germany and the USA respectively. We loved hearing from you and welcoming you to our country.
Finally to the FFA Chairman, Chris Nikou. He didn't hesitate in saying yes to being part of the Festival when he was invited. Even if all of us do not agree with the decisions Chris and the FFA Board make, we nonetheless noted, respected and appreciated the fact that he gave up his entire Sunday to be there. At the end of the day, like most of us, Chris Nikou is a volunteer. He just happens to be one in a powerful position that has a huge impact on the lives of so many people who care so passionately about the game.
To all of the authors of really good football books from Fair Play Publishing in particular - Jorge Knijnik, Andrew Howe, Matthew Hall, Texi whom we mentioned earlier, Trevor Thompson - and those to come, such as Greg Werner, Andrew again, Jason Goldsmith, Peter Kunz and others - the whole idea of the Festival came about for you! We hope you enjoyed it.
Thanks everyone again for making it such a terrific weekend. We hope to see you next year!
By the way, if you didn't make it, don't worry! We've got most of the sessions available via Podcast on our new Fair Play Pod page, thanks to the support of Football Victoria.
Check out more of the fabulous images from a great weekend at #FWF19 here.