Todays Birthday 17/5

Callum Godde
Today's Birthday, May 17: Australian football legend Johnny Warren (1943-2004)

Today's Birthday, May 17: Australian football legend Johnny Warren (1943-2004).

Johnny Warren's broadcasting partner and great mate Les Murray may have died last year, but the Australian football community took comfort in the dynamic duo possibly reuniting in an afterlife commentary booth.

Murray's death in July aged 71, following a long battle with illness, came some 13 years after he lost his SBS colleague to lung career.

Once dubbed 'Mr and Mrs Football', the pair were synonymous with one another, the beautiful game's patron saints as it searched for a foothold Down Under.

Their promotion of football every Saturday on various analysis shows, with Murray as host and Warren panellist, spawned a generation of football fans and yanked the sport out of obscurity.

Born in Sydney in 1943, Warren grew up in Botany and was a little bit different but unafraid to show it.

A promising cricketer, he instead pursued his passion for the round ball game.

Living in rugby league heartland, the youngster was denigrated as a "sheila, wog or poofter" - later to become the title of his biography - for playing a sport that felt ethnic to many Australians during the 1960s.

Yet he wore the slurs as a badge of honour and went on to win three NSW league grand finals with St George, the national captaincy and 42 international caps for the Socceroos, including Australia's first World Cup appearance in 1974.

Warren's retirement later that year did not diminish his affection for the sport, rechannelling his energies into coaching, training, marketing, developing and commentating the game.

"Captain Socceroo" was inducted into the Australian Soccer Hall of Fame in 1999 and awarded the Centennial Order of Merit by FIFA president Sepp Blatter in 2003 - a year before his death aged 61.

Warren, who famously wept on air after Australia missed out on World Cup qualification with a 2-2 draw to Iran at the MCG in 1997, didn't live to see the Socceroos' triumphant return to the World Cup in 2006.

But his well-known "I told you so" line - predicting football's eventual rise over other Australian sports - isn't so far-fetched now, with the Socceroos reaching four consecutive World Cups and the A-League firmly ensconced as a major national competition.

The A-League's best player is awarded the Johnny Warren Medal each season.