While four Brisbane Roar players are in the midst of preparations for Saturday’s Foxtel A-League All Stars blockbuster against Manchester United, there’s one other individual at the club that knows how Thomas Broich, Besart Berisha, Liam Miller and Michael Theo are feeling.
While four Brisbane Roar players are in the midst of preparations for Saturday-s Foxtel A-League All Stars blockbuster against Manchester United, there-s one other individual at the club that knows how Thomas Broich, Besart Berisha, Liam Miller and Michael Theo are feeling.
Queensland football icon Gary Wilkins, the namesake of the Roar-s annual Player of the Year award, made his debut for the state 46 years ago at the Brisbane Exhibition Ground against United, who were fresh from their victorious 1966/67 season.
The fresh-faced 21-year-old started at right-back and despite going on to lose 7-0 to the English champions, Wilkins can still recall details of the match on June 4, 1967 clearly.
“I-ll never forget it,” he said.
“Especially running out in front of 32,000 people - it was something I-d never done before, play in front of that many people.
“Playing against Manchester United was such a thrill because a lot of the stars of the England side were also in that team.”
Denis Law, Bobby Charlton and George Best were just some of the iconic names in Manchester United-s 1966/67 squad and the Brisbane contingent in the All Stars team will have different superstars - the likes of Robin van Persie, Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand - to contend with on Saturday night.
Two of the Roar four have been recipients of Wilkins- prestigious club medal in the past (Broich in both 2011 and 2013 and Berisha in 2012) and the former Socceroo was confident all four were up for the challenge.
“It-s great that four of our boys have made it, they-ll get a big kick out of playing one of the best teams in the world,” said Wilkins, who went on to play 36 times for Queensland - 35 times as captain.
“No advice for them, I-ll say just enjoy it!
“I was nervous but once the whistle went, you forget about all of that.”
The Foxtel A-League All Stars will debut against Manchester United at ANZ Stadium, Sydney on 20 July with the match to be broadcast live and exclusive on the Seven Network nationally.