Socceroos set date to play the Kiwis for ‘Soccer Ashes’ trophy that vanished for 69 years before being rediscovered – but the match won’t be held in Australia or New Zealand
- Socceroos to play New Zealand on October 17 in England
- Will follow clash with England at Wembley on October 13
- ‘Soccer Ashes’ trophy missing since 1954 has been located
Graham Arnold’s Socceroos will play New Zealand in England during the international window, just four days after taking on Gareth Southgate’s team at Wembley on October 13.
The Trans-Tasman clash on neutral territory – at a yet-to-be-determined venue in London – will have extra meaning after the coveted ‘Soccer Ashes’ trophy that had been missing since 1954 was located in a suburban garage.
Football historians in Australia were elated following the find, with the wooden trophy previously missing for 69 years.
Relatives of the former Australian Soccer Football Association chair Sydney Storey found the item packed away – in mint condition – in a garage while clearing out his estate.
The trophy contains the ashes of cigars smoked by Alex Gibb and George Campbell, the first captains of Australia and New Zealand, respectively.
Socceroos striker Jason Cummings is pictured playing the All Whites at Eden Park in Auckland last September
The ‘Soccer Ashes’ trophy was first crafted in 1923, after New Zealand beat Australia 3-2
For 30 years the Ashes trophy served as the prize for matches between the two nations after being crafted in 1923, following the first official meeting in June that year between the two nations.
Arnold said it was great to have a football ‘symbol of the competitive nature’ shared between Australia and New Zealand.
‘Reinstating the Soccer Ashes trophy is a fantastic addition to this fixture moving forward, allowing us to embrace the history of the Socceroos and celebrate some of the early pioneers of our national team,’ he said.
The match will aid Australia’s preparations for World Cup qualifiers in November as well as the Asian Cup, which starts in Qatar in January.
Football Australia chief executive officer James Johnson was also thrilled at the garage find.
Relatives of former Australian Soccer Football Association chair Sydney Storey found the item packed away in a garage while clearing out his estate – it had been missing for 69 years
The Socceroos and New Zealand will square off for bragging rights on October 17 in England (pictured, winger Mat Leckie)
‘The Soccer Ashes trophy is a wonderful piece of sporting history and it’s been a pleasure to learn of the many storylines attached to it, which ultimately brought it to being rediscovered earlier this year,’ he said.
‘The trophy illustrates Australia and New Zealand’s ongoing connection and celebrates our shared love of football, as well as the rich history of both nations.
‘In many ways, the creation of this trophy set the foundations for how our organisations work together today.
‘Returning it to its rightful place as the prize the Socceroos and All Whites play for was an easy decision.’