“A lot of sporting careers have started in this town” was a comment made to me in passing a couple of weeks ago. It was a comment not referring to talented young sports stars who have come through the ranks of their sport in Western Australia to go on and mix with the best in the world such as Brad Jones (Liverpool and Australia) Lauren Mitchell, Marcus North, Simon Katich and Kieran Gorman to name just some.
Instead this comment was aimed at various ‘sports people’ who have cropped up in recent years claiming to have played for certain clubs overseas. Some are completely false claims, and others are cases of stretching the truth, and some are true but not in the way they are presented.
We have people who have had trials with a professional outfit, yet never won a contract claiming otherwise. We also have people who may have been part of a youth set up but never made it claiming that they played for say Manchester United. Which of course they did, but not the Manchester United we all think of. Then there are those who were good enough to win a contract or be registered with a club, but were not good enough to make it to the first team, but imply otherwise.
So what can we do to weed out who is telling the truth and who is stretching it? When are you entitled to say that you played for Real Madrid, Saracens or Lancashire County Cricket Club? Does a game in the under 15’s count?
It is creeping into the local game with some people claiming associations with the top sporting clubs in Western Australia, associations the clubs themselves no little about. Parents beware, check out the credentials of these people, which can easily be done by calling the club concerned or in some cases referring to historical websites.
As this gentleman implied Perth is becoming a hotbed of former top class sporting talent.