Junior Team Regular
Jun 25, 2008, 2:33 PM
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Team(s): Stevenage, Alloa, Burnside (NZ)
Post #1 of 2
Seeing as he was born in Scotland, this may be of interest to some. His influence in the NZ game cannot be overestimated. Obituary taken from the NZ Newspapers website (www.stuff.co.nz).
Wednesday, 25 June 2008 NZ football mourns passing of Charlie Dempsey
Long-serving administrator Charlie Dempsey has been lauded as a key figure behind New Zealand football's greatest campaign following his death today aged 86 after a short illness.
Dempsey was the chairman of Soccer New Zealand when the All Whites reached the World Cup finals for the only time at Spain in 1982.
He was also the patriarch of Oceania football, serving as the confederation's president for 36 years before being appointed to world governing body FIFA.
It was his time with FIFA that drew most worldwide attention to Dempsey - his abstention from voting for the venue of the 2006 World Cup.
Although Oceania had indicated support for South Africa to host the tournament, Dempsey's decision not to cast a vote resulted in Germany winning the rights.
His inaction earned the ire of sections of the world soccer community but he always stood behind the decision while never disclosing his reasons.
Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) general secretary Tai Nicholas told NZPA that Dempsey's contribution had been enormous.
"Not only in New Zealand and the Oceania region but around the world. We consider him the father of Oceania and he's well respected at FIFA," said Nicholas, who worked with Dempsey for 12 years.
"He leaves a great legacy."
Former All White Brian Turner said his teammates from the 1982 era all held Dempsey in the highest regard.
"I honestly think that if Charlie wasn't around, we wouldn't have gone to the World Cup," Turner told Radio Sport.
"Charlie was the man at the forefront of all the fundraising and was the figurehead of the whole '82 campaign.
"He's one of the truly great contributors to football in New Zealand."
Turner said there was little money in the game in the early 1980s but Dempsey managed to raise $150,000 which allowed the team to travel to Singapore for their final qualifying game against China.
Turner also remembered Dempsey for his thick Scottish accent and as a character who had his share of eccentricities.
"He would always travel with a couple of cartons of Guinness," Turner said.
"And the baggage man would always told to make sure of the Guinness because that was Charlie's."
Dempsey was born in Maryhill, Scotland in 1922 and emigrated to New Zealand in 1952.
He linked with Eastern Suburbs football club and set up a successful concrete company.
"He was virtually a pauper when he landed here and we think he died a wealthy man. But he is Scottish," Nicholas said. Dempsey had a successful building company.
During his years with Oceania, Dempsey oversaw the body's rise to full confederation status and was responsible for raising national association membership from four to 11.
He was a New Zealand Football Association national councillor for 23 years and chairman from 1982 to 1987.
Oceania vice president Reynald Temarii praised Dempsey for his tireless work throughout the region.
"The Oceania Football Confederation and FIFA owe Charles a debt of gratitude for his complete devotion, extraordinary loyalty and unwavering service to the sport of football," Temarii said.
"His perseverance, charm and drive will be missed by all the lives he touched."
Dempsey is survived by wife Anne and daughters Josephine and Alice.
His funeral will be held early next week.