Tony Dorigo

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Tony Dorigo
Personal information
Full nameAnthony Robert Dorigo [1]
Date of birth (1965-12-31) 31 December 1965 (age 55) [1]
Place of birth Melbourne, [2] [3] Australia
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m) [4]
Position(s) Defender
Youth career
Adelaide City
Senior career*
1983–1987 Aston Villa 111 (2)
1987–1991 Chelsea 146 (11)
1991–1997 Leeds United 171 (5)
1997–1998 Torino 30 (2)
1998–2000 Derby County 41 (1)
2000–2001 Stoke City 36 (0)
National team
1986–1988 England U21 11 (0)
1989–1993 England 15 (0)
1989–1992 England B 7 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Anthony Robert Dorigo (born 31 December 1965) is an Australian former professional footballer who played as a defender from 1983 to 2001.


He played club football for Aston Villa, Chelsea, Leeds United, Torino, Derby County and Stoke City and, although born and raised in Australia, represented the England national team.

Early life

Dorigo was born in Melbourne, Australia to an Italian father and an Australian mother; [2] [3] the family soon moved to Adelaide where Dorigo was raised. He played youth football for teams in the area as well as age-group football for South Australia, and in his mid-teens was training with Adelaide City's first team. Dorigo wrote to 14 top-flight clubs in England and asked for a trial. Aston Villa were the first club to respond and offered him a four-day trial which proved successful. [2]

Club career

He made his league debut for Aston Villa against Ipswich in 1984 as an 18-year-old and would go on to win the club's Player of the Year award during his time at Villa Park.

He signed for Chelsea from Aston Villa for £475,000 and he won the club's Player of the Year award in his first season, though they were also relegated. He helped the club win promotion back to the First Division at the first attempt. He left Chelsea in somewhat acrimonious circumstances in the summer of 1991, having made and then withdrawn a transfer request, and then seemingly fallen out with manager Bobby Campbell after being dropped from the side due to declining a new contract. He was sold to Leeds United for £1.3m. He made 180 appearances for Chelsea, scoring 11 goals.

Dorigo won the First Division with Leeds in his first season at the club as well as winning the Fans' Player of the Year award for the same year. He stayed with the club until 1997, when he joined Italian side Torino. At Torino he helped the side reach the promotion play-offs as well as being awarded the club's Player of the Year, although he missed a penalty in the play-off final.

Due to financial reasons Torino were forced let him go, with Dorigo closing his career with two years at Derby County. He scored three goals during his spell at Derby, with one in the league against Nottingham Forest [5] and two in the FA Cup against Huddersfield Town, one in the original tie [6] and again in the replay. [7] He spent a final season at Stoke City, where he was made club captain, before retiring in 2001 at the age of 35. In his final season he was playing in Division Two (the third tier of the English senior leagues).

International career

Dorigo was initially called up by Australia for the 1986 World Cup qualifying campaign. However Aston Villa manager Tony Barton refused Dorigo permission to travel. [2] Barton felt that playing for Australia would be a waste of time for Dorigo as their opponents were generally weaker opposition from Oceania. [2]

The Football Association approached Dorigo to represent England: "England came along and asked me to play for them if I hung around for another year and got my British citizenship," says Dorigo. "My father was Italian and my mother was Australian, so I have no English parentage at all. What I say to my English friends today is that 'you lot were so bad you needed an Aussie to come and play for you!' It was very different back then to what it is now – the players in the Premier League today fly all over the world to play for their countries. They just did not allow that to happen in my day." [2]

Dorigo later made 7 appearances for the England B team and 11 for the England under-21s before going to earn 15 England caps. He made his debut in 1989 against Yugoslavia. A year earlier he was a surprise inclusion in the squad for the European Championships as cover for Kenny Sansom, after regular deputy Stuart Pearce withdrew through injury. Dorigo was also part of the 1990 World Cup squad. He played in the third place play-off defeat to hosts Italy, providing the cross for David Platt to score the temporary equaliser; England eventually lost the match 2–1, however. [8]

Media career

Since retiring he has been a football pundit with various TV and Radio networks starting with ITV Digital covering the Championship in 2001–02. He has since worked with Radio Aire covering Leeds United's Premier League campaign as well as TV punditry for Eurosport, Bravo, Channel 5, ESPN and Sky amongst others. He appeared on the James Corden Show on 16 June prior to the England and Germany second round match of the World Cup 2010.

His regular TV work includes La Liga, Serie A and Internationals for Al Jazeera as well as commentating for ESPN. He also commentates for Absolute Radio as part of their live Barclays Premier League coverage as well as appearing a number of times on BBC Radio 5 Live show Fighting Talk.

Career statistics


Source: [9]

ClubSeasonLeagueFA CupLeague CupOther [A] Total
Aston Villa 1983–84 First Division 1000000010
1984–85 First Division310102000340
1985–86 First Division381408000501
1986–87 First Division411205020501
Chelsea 1987–88 First Division400202060500
1988–89 Second Division 406101030456
1989–90 First Division353101051424
1990–91 First Division312008020412
Leeds United 1991–92 First Division383105010453
1992–93 Premier League 331401050431
1993–94 Premier League370302000420
1994–95 Premier League280101000300
1995–96 Premier League171304020261
1996–97 Premier League180400000220
Torino 1997–98 Serie B 302000000302
Derby County 1998–99 Premier League181321000223
1999–2000 Premier League230103000270
Stoke City 2000–01 Second Division360103010410
Career Total5352132249027264124
A.  ^ The "Other" column constitutes appearances and goals in the Full Members Cup, Football League play-offs, and Football League Trophy.


Source: [10]

National teamYearAppsGoals
England 198910




Leeds United


See also

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  1. 1 2 "Tony Dorigo". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Made In Australia: Tony Dorigo". Australian FourFourTwo. 16 December 2011. Archived from the original on 13 January 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  3. 1 2 Goldsmith, Jason (19 July 2019). "Tony Dorigo – the beginning of the Aussie connection with Leeds United". Football Today. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  4. Rollin, Glenda, ed. (1999). Playfair Football Annual 1999–2000. London: Headline. p. 45. ISBN   978-0-7472-5975-6.
  5. Shaw, Phil (16 November 1998). "Carbonari cancels out Dutch delight". The Independent . London. Retrieved 17 January 2010.
  6. Turnbull, Simon (13 February 1999). "Derby penalty evens the score for Smith". The Independent . London. Retrieved 17 January 2010.
  7. Shaw, Phil (24 February 1999). "Baiano stokes Smith's dream". The Independent . London. Retrieved 17 January 2010.
  8. "Italia-Inghilterra: 2–1 – L'Italia non s'è persa" (in Italian). Storie di Calcio. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  9. Tony Dorigo at the English National Football Archive (subscription required)
  10. "Tony Dorigo". National Football Teams. Benjamin Strack-Zimmerman. Retrieved 5 April 2020.