George Goutzioulis got around a bit. As an Aussie with a Greek surname, he naturally sprang out of the Hellenic hotbed of football that is South Melbourne F.C. Representing South, he won the NSL in 1998 and 1999 under the management of future Socceroo’s coach Ange Postecoglou.
He featured in the inaugural Club World Championship, known by EPL followers as the tournament that Manchester United ditched the F.A Cup for, only to fail to qualify from their group. The same group, as it happens, that South Melbourne were in. They lost their three games against a still not ancient Romario led Vasco de Gama, a peak Ferguson era United and Mexico’s Club Necaxa.
Shifting across to another team with Greek roots, Sydney Olympic, for the 2000/01 season, he was part of a team that was defeated in the finals by his old Melbourne club.
In 2001 he joined the Kingz. Two games before the end of the season though, he was gone.
During his time at the Auckland side he made his 100th NSL appearance in midfield. His record stands at two red cards, one in pre season against Northern Spirit and one after just thirteen minutes on the field during a 7 – 2 mauling by Perth Glory. He was also suspended for missing a curfew and being described as ‘transient’ and a ‘firebrand’ by the Herald.
But there were three goals. The same number of managers he played under, after Petersen resigned, Shane Rufer took temporary control and Kevin Fallon was appointed. And, as the team began its slide towards rebranding and eventual dissolution, against the Northern Spirit, he did this;
Perhaps it was a way of making up for the pre-season red card. It’s brilliant. Tekkers. Take a bow son. A pure screaming golazo of undeniable quality. It’s heightened by the scratchy footage, the beautiful replays and the glorious crowd noise. There wasn’t a lot to cheer that season, but when you’re presented with a world class strike like that – well, it’s hard not to let it all out. Kingz lost the game, 2 – 3.
After leaving the Kingz, presumably to avoid the rush, he went on to play for Tampines Rovers in Singapore in 2003, finishing with 17 goals – presumably none as scorching as his strike against the Spirit.
After that a return to to Sydney Olympic and, eventually, after bouncing around the Victorian Premier League, he reached Bentleigh Greens. In his final game, he faced his first club, South Melbourne, in the Hellenic Cup final. He won, and retired. But he didn’t retire without a fight, as the match report implies;
John Palethorpe lives in South Auckland which is very far away from Fratton Park and Champion Hill. Having been told there was no football in New Zealand, he was delighted to find that there is.