New Zealand Football has joined the Mainland region in mourning the loss of Tony Laffey, who starred for his country in the 1950s and was captain on several occasions.
Born in Christchurch in 1925, Anthony Joseph Patrick Laffey had a distinguished career in first-class football and represented New Zealand against teams from Hong Kong, Austria, New Caledonia and Costa Rica.
In all, he made 10 appearances for New Zealand between 1955 and 1959 and skippered the side in four of those. He would have added to that tally had a 1956 tour of South-East Asia that he was selected for not been cancelled.
Regarded as a gentleman on and off the field, his leadership qualities also came to the fore when captaining several other teams, namely Western AFC, Canterbury and the South Island.
He made 28 appearances for Canterbury, five for the South Island and was a Chatham Cup winner with Western in 1955.
Laffey also won the English Football Association Trophy with Canterbury in 1957 and received individual recognition in being named Canterbury FA Sportsman of the Year on two occasions.
Equally adept at centre half or left back, he was not tall for a centre half but compensated for this with a great sense of anticipation and was also a very good distributor of the ball.
He made his debut against South China in 1955 and played in all three matches of that series. He held his position until the 1958 season when towering Dutchman Theo van den Broek became the first choice for New Zealand but was back in the team in 1959 to take on Costa Rican side Deportivo Saprissa.
Tony Laffey Representative Record
1953 Canterbury v Otago
1954 Canterbury v Otago (2), Wellington
1955 v Otago, Wellington, South China AA, Wellington
1956 v Wellington, NZ Universities
1957 v Wellington (2), Otago (3), Eastern AA, Auckland, Waikato
1958 v South Canterbury, Otago (2), Auckland, Australia
1959 v Wellington (2), Otago (2)
1955 v South China AA
1956 v North Island
1957 v FK Austria
1958 v North Island, Australia
1955 v South China AA (3)
1957 v Eastern AA (Hong Kong0 (2), v FK Austria (2)
1958 v New Caledonia, v Auckland
1959 v Deportivo Saprissa (Costa Rica)