I wrote my first book many years ago, How to Find a Job in 6 Weeks, and it was about job hunting. It was published in 2003 by Tandem Press in Australia and New Zealand and is currently in 2nd edition. After the success of my first book I thought about writing something different. It had to be a novel and a genre I was passionate about. Writing is very hard work and time consuming if your going to do it the right. So it was a big decision to commit myself to writing my latest book. After twelve months I have completed my first novel to be released in July 2019.
World Football Domination is about the world of soccer in 30 years from now. It has a science fiction twist with new technologies at the core of the story, and how they are used to improve player identification and scouting talent. It has underlying themes around inclusiveness, fairness and providing opportunity for to aspiring young talent, particularly those that don’t have resources or a disadvantaged in some way. There is also conspiracy as some nations attempt to steal the technology for their own ambitions to become a football world power. There is a lot going on in the book to keep you on your toes!
I consider myself a football aficionado, and I have opinions about the future of the sport. There are weaknesses in the current system for identifying talent, and particularly for those kids that don’t get a chance to participate for a variety of reasons. They may live in remote communities and don’t have the resources to support them. There is also an unconscious bias when identifying talent and selecting the best players. This drives a lack of inclusion in our sport.
“When I’m up in the big football field in the sky, I just want people to remember, I told you so.”
Johnny Warren, Australian football legend
This is the underlying theme of the book expressed in the narrative of the storyline. There is a great subversive plot and subplots with many twist and turns. I explore characters such as Harry Duwala, an indigenous boy from Alice Springs and his career making discovery. This is attributed to the revolutionary virtual player identification technology. It’s a brave new world and the renaissance of football thinking. Step into the future with a glimpse of what it can bring…world football domination takes you there.
The sequel of World Football Domination – The Player Intelligence Mission (Book 2), will be published next month – December 2019.
I have been fortunate enough to read a remarkable foreword by Jamie Warren. An inside scoop on Australian soccer history that could only be told by an insider and someone who was there – at the forefront of player development. Its a fascinating read and I am sure you will enjoy it….
Foreword by Jamie Warren Executive Chairman Johnny Warren Football Foundation
It gives me great pleasure to be writing the forward for World Football Domination – The Virtual Talent Scout, book two, and I sincerely thank author Anthony Ranieri for this wonderful opportunity.
I continue to be intrigued by the story of young indigenous player Harry Duwula and his journey to football stardom. My uncle and godfather, the late Johnny Warren was a big believer in introducing indigenous Australian children to football and nurturing and developing their talent.
Harry Williams, the first indigenous Australian to play in the FIFA World Cup (West Germany 1974) made the following observation about Johnny Warren and indigenous kids in 2007 – prior to the inaugural Harry Williams Cup where eighty indigenous boys and girls participated in a four day talent identification tournament at Soccer NSW headquarters:
seen so many aboriginal kids with such tremendous talent, more talent than I
ever had. Johnny Warren always used to say to me that aboriginal talent remains
an untapped resource and we should do something with it”.
In 2002 the FIFA World Cup was co-hosted by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) power-houses Korea and Japan – nations the Australian national team has a long history with. Most notably, Australia was captained by a 24 year old Johnny Warren that defeated South Korea 3-2 at the Cong Hoa Stadium in Saigon to win the Friendly Nations’ Cup at the height of the Vietnam War. The Australian Government was asked to send the Australian soccer team by the United States Government to play in this tournament as a way to help with the war effort – by winning over the hearts and minds of the South Vietnamese people through football – the most popular sport in Vietnam. The winning goal against South Korea was scored by none other than Atti Abonyi and this was Australia’s first ever international tournament victory. The trophy is now housed at the National Museum of Australia and was recently on display in the museum’s ‘Journeys’ exhibition, where the story of Australia’s participation in the Friendly Nations’ Cup in 1967, 1970 and 1972 was told.
The other notable and history making victory against South Korea was in 1973 in Hong Kong where the late Jimmy Mackay scored the winning goal to send Australia to its first World Cup appearance in West Germany – when only sixteen teams participated in the tournament. Johnny Warren referred to this Australian team as “butchers, bakers and candlestick makers” – because the entire Australian team had jobs in addition to playing for their country. In West Germany they played against a very strong and physical East German side – losing 2-0. They then played eventual 1974 World Cup champions and host nation West Germany, led by their world class captain Franz Beckenbauer, losing 3-0. The final group match was against Chile, in atrocious condition, drawing 0-0. An interesting point to make is that eight of the victorious 1967 Friendly Nations’ Cup squad played in the 1974 World Cup.
Australian football had suffered greatly since 1974 not qualifying for the ‘Big Dance’ since – and Korea/Japan 2002 was no different. Australia were members of the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) and sadly missed out on qualifying once again.
Australia easily won the Oceania qualifiers which meant they had to play the fifth best South American nation to qualify for Korea/Japan 2002. The fifth best South American side was Uruguay with world class players such as Alvaro Recoba (Inter Milan, Italy), Paulo Montero (Juventus, Italy), Dario Silva (Malaga, Spain) and Richard Morales (Club Nacional de Football, Uruguay then Osasuna of Spain). The Socceroos had their own international superstars including Captain Paul Okon (Middlesbrough, England), Harry Kewell (Leeds United, England), Mark Schwarzer (Middlesbrough, England) and Mark Viduka (Leeds United, England). Australia won 1-0 at home after Kevin Muscat scored a penalty at the MCG, while Uruguay were too good at home and defeated the Sooceroos 3-0 – at the packed and intimidating Estadio Centenario in Montevideo.
though Australia did not qualify for Korea/Japan 2002, the television ratings
soared in Australia. Channel Nine, was owned by the late Kerry Packer and held
the World Cup rights in Australia and Andy Harper headed up their coverage. At
the time SBS, Australia’s ‘Home of Football’ produced a daily highlights show.
The ratings successes were not lost on Kerry Packer and his management team. It appeared Australia was ‘soccer mad’ and we were not even playing in the tournament. There was a funny cartoon of Kerry Packer in ‘The Australian’ newspaper at the time – Kerry Packer and one of his ‘bean counters’ at Channel Nine. Kerry Packer says to the bean counter, “I thought soccer was a game for sheilas, wogs and poofters”, to which the ‘bean counter’ replies, “it is Mr Packer, but they make up 98% of the population!”
The world cup ratings success also peeked the interest of the politicians and it was during this time the New South Wales Premier Bob Carr publicly announced that NSW will be bidding for the 2014 World Cup. It was also at this time that he telephoned Johnny Warren wanting to know why Australia were not at the World Cup and what needed to be done to ensure we were there in the future.
To be continued….
World Football Domination -Volume 1 Available in eBook or paperback format
Anthony Ranieri is a lovely author, incredibly eloquent, eager and inoffensive. Furthermore, it is so refreshing to read a book set in the future, which focuses more on the sci-fi than on burdening its reader with doom and Dystopia, its characters happy and ambitious. The final product is a short novella about the use of technology in the business of football, set in the year 2050.
Ranieri is undoubtedly a passionate and well-experienced football fan and professional, and this shows in the childlike glee and excitement throughout his book, about scouts’ discovery and development of new youth playing talent, and the fantastic technology which will one day be in place to facilitate this. I am in absolutely no doubt that Ranieri’s vision of the drone and data technology to which he refers will come into commonplace use in the game – my only disagreement with this book is that I believe it will be in use long, long before Ranieri’s projection, perhaps even as soon as the next 5-10 years; furthermore, I would be very surprised if the development of this specific technology has not already begun. I do agree with the author’s prediction, however, that the technology will probably be coveted and adapted for its military potential – perhaps by dusting the enemy positions with some sort of nano-powder, which transmits data back to the drone. After all, as humans, isn’t that what we do with all of our best technological innovations: find new ways to kill each other, in greater numbers?
The thing is, although this is an inoffensive book and a nice, engaging, easy read, I would have liked to have seen more meat to the story. There are only 30,000 words or so, and probably some legroom in the book for a lot more. Ranieri develops the characters well, making them likeable, and the somewhat slight story is amply detailed – I just think that he could have perhaps built more of it around Harry’s character, and the attempts at inducement of the young player’s future, by those with a military agenda; a touch more Crichton suspense, perhaps. But I can see why Ranieri felt compelled to simply fuel his passion, while playing nice and steering this book away from the darkness. And, whilst you shouldn’t expect the same high drama or suspense as Dick Francis’s books about the horseracing business, World Football Domination is certainly a nice, relaxing way to spend a couple of hours.
I was very fortunate to have my book foreword by a very special person. He is Jamie Warren, and the nephew of the great Johnny Warren (Australia’s greatest ambassador for Australian soccer).
The foreword by Jamie tells his story as a talented young footballer. I was surprised how much I did not know about him until I read his narrative. He received an offer to join Flamengo in Brazil and trialled at Manchester United with the likes of English international Bryan Robson. This is the stuff of dreams when your growing up.
I like Jamie for what he stands for and that is why I asked him to foreword my book. It was important for me to have someone who shared the same values in sport and the community. He is the Executive Chairman of the Johnny Warren Football Foundation, a peak philanthropic organisation body of football. You can learn more about this important organisation by visiting the home page below;
I recently published an in-depth Q&A interview at Smashwords, and invite all my blog readers to comment on my blog. You can also suggest additional questions you would like to see answered in the interview.
The interview is available by selecting the link below…