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Former Man Utd players to tell story of the Socceroos’ unlikely Vietnam War triumph


How a young, part-time Australian football side beat bullets, land mines and rioting to clinch the nation’s first international trophy in the middle of the Vietnam War is the subject of the latest documentary from radio indie Made in Manchester.

The Socceroos in Vietnam is part of the Sporting Witness strand on the BBC World Service.

Ashley Byrne Producer Ashley Byrne

Presenter and producer Ashley Byrne said: “It was November 1967 in the middle of the monsoon season and the side had been invited to take part in a friendly tournament in Saigon. They knew the country was at war but they didn’t expect the day to day hurdles they’d face.

“It’s a fascinating story which finally put the Australian team on the map. Up to that point Australia had been struggling as a side. In fact they’d been banned by FIFA up to 1963 for not paying transfer fees on foreign players.

“But against all the odds they beat some of the biggest sides in Asia in the middle of a war zone and walked away with their first bit of international silverware.”

Former Manchester United players Stan Ackerley and Ray Baartz will tell the story of Australia’s triumph over adversity in 1967. Both are now members of the Australian Football Hall of Fame.

The Socceroos in Vietnam is presented by Ashley Byrne and edited by Iain Mackness. It will air on the BBC World Service at 9.50am tomorrow.

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