Ex-Socceroo Atti Abonyi holds the shirt he wore during Johnny Warren?s final game in 1974
Ex-Socceroo Atti Abonyi holds the shirt he wore during Johnny Warren?s final game in 1974

Remembering Johnny

By DAVID MOASE

FORMER Socceroos star Atti Abonyi keeps only four shirts from his distinguished career, which included 89 matches for Australia.

One, naturally, is from his first appearance in the Australian team in 1967.

Another is from the World Cup finals in West Germany in 1974, the first, and so far only, time Australia has made it to soccer's biggest stage.

The third is the green West Germany shirt Abonyi swapped with his marker, Wolfgang Overath, after Australia's 3-0 loss to the Germans in that World Cup.

The fourth shirt has none of the others' international pedigree.

It is red with a white collar and cuffs, carries the number eight and is starting to show its age.

It is the shirt Abonyi wore in the 1974 State League grand final, won by his club, St George.

The Saints made many grand finals during Abonyi's time at the club but what makes the shirt special to him is that it was worn in the last match played by another legend of the game, Johnny Warren.

Abonyi, who now lives at Boambee East, is still trying to come to terms with Warren's death from cancer on Saturday at age 61.

They were close friends for 37 years and Abonyi has kept the shirt as a reminder of his former team-mate.

"The only reason I kept it was because it was from Johnny's last game," he said. "I always thought it would mean something special one day.



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