The third annual Football Writers’ Festival to be held in Jamberoo in March 2022 (it was initially October 2021) will include the introduction of a new related event to be known as the Michael Cockerill Oration.
Named in honour of longstanding Sydney Morning Herald journalist and author, and Fox Sports commentator, who passed away in 2017 at age 56, Michael Cockerill was a tireless champion of the game who remained first and foremost a consummate professional journalist with an unnerving sense for a news story.
Unafraid to voice an opinion or tread on toes, Michael is an example of how football journalists can both love the game and call authority into account at the same time.
He also understood implicitly the power of football to bring people together, writing on the night Australia qualified for the 2006 World Cup in November 2005:
"In a multicultural nation in a fractured world, the Socceroos can bring together the sum of their parts: Muslim, Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican. German, Lebanese, Polynesian, Croatian, Italian, Melanesian, Greek. It is a rich tapestry but last night they - and we - were one thing only. Australian."
The inaugural Michael Cockerill Oration will be given by Andy Harper, football commentator, author, NSL player and PhD.
The Michael Cockerill Oration will be complemented by the Portraits in Football exhibition, which tells the story of Australian football from the mid 20th century to the 1990s through photographs that were once part of the Fairfax Media Archive, but now known as the Fair Play Football Collection.
Ticket prices to the Michael Cockerill Oration and Portraits in Football exhibition are $35 including a complimentary welcome drink on arrival. All past and present Socceroos, Matildas, NSL, A-League, Women's NSL or W-League players receive complimentary entry.
The Football Writers’ Festival is an annual writers’ festival for readers, writers, thinkers and dreamers that encourages and inspires meaningful debate and discussion. Entry tickets to the Festival are just $15 for two days.
Other speakers and writers in 2021 include former Socceroo Andy Bernal who recently released an autobiography entitled Riding Shotgun; Executive Director of World Players, Brendan Schwab; Jason Goldsmith and Lucas Gillard on their soon-to-be-released Be My Guest; and journalists Vicky Krayem, who is also writing a book on the 100-year history of Wynnum Wolves FC in Brisbane, Emma Kemp and Samantha Lewis.
Former players including Bernal, Trixie Tagg, Gary Cole, John Kosmina, Ray Richards, Jim Fraser and Frank Farina will also be part of a ‘Legends Happy Hour’ to be held on the Saturday evening at the Jamberoo Pub Beer Garden.
The Football Writers’ Festival will be held in Jamberoo, NSW, from 1-3 October with the Michael Cockerill Oration and Portraits in Football exhibition to be held on Friday October 1 at the Jamberoo School of Arts.
The Michael Cockerill Oration is named with the support of Michael's wife Jo, children Toby and Daisy and brother Ian.