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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Simon Walton Disappointed...Ex-QPR (sort of) Mark Bosnich Back in Australia and Hoping to Play

Selby Times/Charles Gardner - Soccer star's 'kick in the teeth'
Sherburn football star Simon Walton was left disappointed at not being included for the play-off final which saw Hull City win promotion to the Premiership by beating Bristol City 1-0 at Wembley.
The 20-year-old midfielder has been on loan to the Tigers from Queen's Park Rangers for much of the season and, although he has only played ten games, has been on the bench every week barring the play-off final which dad Steve reckons is "a bit of a kick in the teeth". Selby Times

Australian Telegraph/Tom Smithies - Mark Bosnich back in Australia to pay soccer Debts

YESTERDAY morning, Mark Bosnich saw his first Australian sunrise in eight years - finally, after fame, fortune and ultimately infamy, back in his home city.

It's only a fleeting visit, and London now is the place he lives and a place he loves - but back with his parents, walking under the Harbour Bridge, Bosnich is home.

The fact that the sun does rise every morning seems one of the few things he does take for granted, after a fall from grace spectacular even in this celebrity-obsessed age.

From goalkeeper in the most famous club in the world to a well-publicised drug addiction, lurid tabloid headlines over his relationship with a supermodel and even a sex tape, the descent to rock bottom was played out in an unforgiving public eye.

That a goalkeeper of such talent should have been washed up on the rocks of the game's periphery was arguably the biggest shame of all, but months of training with a club in London have reawakened the passion for soccer that first carried him to the upper reaches of the Premier League.

Flown back by Football Federation Australia to be a guest at this week's FIFA Congress, among several other former internationals, Bosnich is ready to lift his head again and look to the future - even if that is still little more than day by day.

"It's the most beautiful city in the world, isn't it," he says, looking out from a hotel room with 30 floors worth of view. "I love where I live, I love London, but when you haven't been back for so long, even to see the family, it's very exciting.

Walking along the promenade this morning, looking at the Bridge and the Opera House . . . that's something London hasn't got.

"But you know, I'm very appreciative of what England, and football in England, has done for me. I don't want to seem bitter or twisted, because I'm not.

"I wouldn't be sat here talking to you if it wasn't for England and the Premier League.

"I had some bad times but I don't want to turn around and complain and moan. That's not a correct way to behave as a man.

"I've got my hunger back. Everything happens for a reason and I'm not complaining because football's been fantastic to me. There's always people worse off than you. There are quite a few options, and I'll explore every one of them."

He is reluctant to be drawn on those options, for fear of appearing presumptuous if they don't happen. But they may include playing - he says he hasn't been contacted directly by any A-League club, though there are rumours that a couple are circling - and you get the sense he wants to retrieve what he can of that once steepling career.

"One thing I did realise in the time I spent at QPR was that I can still do it," he said of the time he has spent on a training ground in west London, shedding kilos and sharpening reflexes.

"And one thing I have to make sure of, for my own self-respect, is that I can do it at a comparable level to before.

"But equally, it's also very much down to whether there are people out there who want me, because I do have a lot of baggage. So I don't want to be presumptuous and say there will be an opportunity.

"If it doesn't happen then I'll understand, my past is nobody else's and I have to accept that."

There is talk that Bosnich may have some role to play with the FFA, one of several former internationals who played at the highest level and who have ideas, contacts and experience to offer.

If the request came, it's clear the answer would be yes.

"I'll help in any way I can. I've taken a lot out of the game, and I'd like to put something back in both countries - but to put something back in your home country would be a privilege and an honour."

He made his commentary debut on the FA Cup final, and media work is one of those options.

"That was fun, I really enjoyed it. Nothing beats playing but it was nice to do. I'm flattered, there were times when I didn't think I would be saying anything to anyone.

"You know, I'm very lucky. There's a lot more to the story than meets the eye but I went down avenues that . . . well, that's the past. The thing to address is that I'm alive, I'm healthy and happy."

And then just as the interview has wrapped up, he bounces back over. "Hey, when's the next Origin game? I can't wait, is it this week?"

In every sense, Mark Bosnich is back." Australian Telegraph

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