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Salisbury United’s proud legend
6 Apr 10 @ 02:00pm by Katelin Nelligan – News Review Messenger
UNITED HERO: Bob Bush, who helped found the Salisbury United Soccer Club and started women’s soccer in Adelaide.
BOB Bush’s world changed when an airforce mate brought out a soccer ball during some down time at the Mallala RAAF base in 1953.
Suddenly the Englishman felt at home. “We started kicking it around and we found we had a reasonable team,” recalls Mr Bush, of Salisbury North. “So I went to the commanding officer to see if we could have some ground to practise on and the rest is history.”
A year later, Mr Bush was moved to Edinburgh where he helped set up another soccer team, a mixture of civilians and RAAF members. “I made us some goal posts and then I made the nets by hand and, by the time I’d finished, my fingers were bleeding.”
Mr Bush decided to call the team Salisbury United, and the soccer club was born. This weekend, Mr Bush will celebrate his 90th birthday at the club and he couldn’t be prouder. “I’m still amazed every time I go to the club and I think, I started all this, and I’ve got my head held high and everybody knows me.”
Born in Liverpool, England, in 1920, Mr Bush grew up hoping to play for his favourite team, Everton.
In 1953 he quit England’s RAF and moved to Australia. Two years later, he organised for his soccer team, Salisbury United, to play against other clubs across Adelaide. “We asked them to come up here and they said no, we’re not coming all that way.
“But then I told them the club was open on a Sunday, which hardly ever happened in those times, and they came straight away.”
Mr Bush played for the team for four years and then worked on the club’s committee for 35 years. In 1978, he decided to set up a women’s soccer league.
“We put a notice up in the (Salisbury United) clubrooms and within a week that list was full.
“So then I hopped in my car and went around to local clubs and asked them if they were interested in starting a women’s league and most of them said yes. Now there are 150 teams in the league.”
Mr Bush was honoured for his work improving soccer in the state when he was inducted into Football Federation SA’s inaugural Hall of Fame in 2003.