By Nick Guoth and Trevor Thompson

Burning Ambition - The Centenary of Australia-New Zealand Football Ashes

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For the men involved, the Dunedin first ‘Test’ of international football between Australia and New Zealand on June 17, 1922, was the first day of the future. The coming-of-age of the game would see not only international football but also domestic discussions about professionalism, relationships with Asia, FIFA membership, reorganising Empire contact and Olympic Games ambitions.

The 1922 series, followed a year later by return matches in Australia, were met with big crowds, kicking off a decade of cosmopolitan action for both teams.

The burning ambition of Australia and New Zealand was to establish a strong domestic base, and through regular contact with each other, to stretch out as serious international competitors in the British Empire, and the wider world.

Burning Ambition traces the genesis of the first Australia and New Zealand national teams, recounts the inaugural three ‘Tests’ in New Zealand in June 1922, examines the obstacles to making the series happen, and the efforts of dreamers and toilers in both countries to make international football a reality.

The book includes line-ups of every match played between Australian state sides and New Zealand, and Australia and New Zealand from 1904 to 1923, as well as photos and news clippings from the tours.

The burning ambition of these people never died.

Burning Ambition recognises, commemorates, respects and celebrates the pioneering efforts of those from both nations which inspire us still.

More Information

  • Format: Softcover
  • Published:  June 2022
  • ISBN: 978-1-925914-12-2, 978-1-925914-13-9 (ePub)
  • Weight: 0.3kg
  • Size:  216mm x 216mm
  • Pages:  148 with images throughout
  • Imprint: Fair Play Publishing

About the Author

Nick Guoth has had a lengthy passion for football that has seen him take on almost every single role bar television.

Born in Wellington, New Zealand to Hungarian refugees, his family migrated to Sydney when he was young.

His heritage led Nick down the path of football at an early age. Yet it was his mother, taking up the position of coach of his earliest team at Seaforth in the Manly Warringah competitions, that made sure he was to continue. As a player, Nick never reached any heights, more just enjoying the lowest leagues or the slow pace of Masters football until he retired. In between, Nick refereed, coached and managed various teams including the 2006 Australian Schoolboy tour of New Zealand.

Nick moved to Canberra following the completion of his studies to take up a position in IT at the Australian National University. It would be much later that he returned to studying, completing a Masters in History on the topic of the 1923 Chinese football tour of Australia and then a PhD in History on Australian-Chinese trade in the mid-19th century, both at ANU. 

When the Canberra Cosmos began, Nick commenced compiling statistics of the team as well as match reports. That led him to writing for various Australian football journals including Australian & British Soccer Weekly, Inside Soccer among others together with numerous fanzines that sprung up in the late 1990s. From there, Nick became Media Officer of the Belconnen Blue Devils at the commencement of their time in the New South Wales Premier League. During this period, Nick was also involved with various radio programmes in Canberra.

At the same time, Nick commenced bringing together a historical account of football within the ACT. Since that time, Nick has written extensively on early Australian and New Zealand football and has co-edited a number of books.

Putting the journalist pen away, Nick took up photography in 2010 and covered numerous sports for various organisations. His football exploits saw him photograph from the local leagues of Canberra to the Asian Cup.

Nick now lives in London with his partner Jenny and enjoys following his team, Queens Park Rangers, both at their century old home and at numerous away venues. He also enjoys heading out to various non-league games as a ground-hopper.

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Regular price $34.95
Regular price $39.95 Sale price $34.95