Ex-Gippsland Falcons defender Manny Gelagotis says Football Federation Australia showed little respect to people who built football down under when the A-League was introduced in 2005.
Gelagotis, who is now in the horse racing industry, is adamant he is not comparing the old National Soccer League to the A-League, but said many former players have lost connection with the game.
The former defender – known then as Manny Gotis – earned himself a reputation of being a fierce competitor and said most supporters who followed the NSL don’t support the A-League.
While he acknowledged that the A-League was brought in for a reason, he said many former greats have been forgotten.
And Gelagotis said the FFA did not pay enough respect to migrants who helped develop football in Australia.
“There’s been a massive disconnection since the A-League was introduced,” Gelagotis told FourFourTwo.
“Where are the people who used to support Melbourne Knights, Heidelberg United, South Melbourne, Green Gully and all those big clubs?
“FFA showed minimal respect to the people who built this game and they should be indebted to these people.
“It’s disappointing that most players who played in the NSL has lost contact in the game. We don’t belong to anyone, who do we belong to?
"Unless you’re a Socceroo, you don’t get invited anywhere and you’re not part of a discussion group which I feel is a letdown.
“I went to John Hutchinson’s testimonial and I took Frank Arok, he was out from overseas and Frank came and saw me because I’m always in touch with him. He was one of our longest serving Socceroos coaches.
“We went to Gosford to surprise Hutchy on his testimonial and David Gallop gave him nothing, absolutely nothing.
"Who does Gallop think he is and what would he know about people's passion for the game - people like Frank created these modern opportunites."