After 40 years, they’re still a team — exchanging ideas, speaking their minds and enjoying the laughter that comes from dressing room banter.
Yes, the 1982 All Whites have been back in town.
Members of the first New Zealand squad to reach a World Cup Finals gathered for a few days of R & R in June 2022 on the 40th anniversary of their group games in Spain, where they faced the best players from Scotland, the Soviet Union and Brazil.
For some of the squad — Kevin Fallon, Brian Turner, Keith Mackay, Sam Malcolmson, Frank van Hattum and Ricki Herbert — the reunion began with the Friends of Football World Cup Supporters’ Lunch at Mt Smart Stadium.
It was a chance to share some of the memories of the 1981 qualifying campaign, much of it spent at Mt Smart Stadium in an era when most of the 20,000+ crowds had to sit on grass banks, long before today’s grandstands were built.
Later in the week, other members of the squad joined their former teammates in Auckland.
Bobby Almond flew in from Christchurch; Barry Pickering from Wellington; Adrian Elrick from Tauranga; Kenny Cresswell from Taupo.
Coach, manager and mentor John Adshead arrived from Tauranga.
The weekend was spent reminiscing over meals and drinks, and during a visit to Kiwitea Street to watch Auckland City’s Chatham Cup tie against Manukau United.
Their 1982 kit man, Arthur Egan, is an ambassador for Auckland City and made sure the players were looked after, as he always did.
The weekend over, the squad of ’82 headed home. They’ll stay in touch, as they have for 40 years.
And in 10 years’ time, there’ll be another milestone anniversary to celebrate …
Main photo: From left, Keith Mackay, Ken Cresswell, Barry Pickering, John Adshead, Bobby Almond, Sam Malcolmson, Brian Turner, Kevin Fallon.