Andrew Redmayne is not accustomed to a life of notoriety.
He must now come to grips with the fact that life as he knew it has been forever altered by his Socceroos heroics.
“It’s surreal,” he told Sydney FC, reflecting on a defining 48 hours in his 14-year career. “It’s a whirlwind. I’m still kind of pinching myself I think.”
The Sydney FC goalkeeper wrote his name in Socceroos folklore with his performance in the penalty shoot-out victory over Peru in Qatar on Tuesday morning (AEST) which sent Australia to the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Redmayne’s performance was box office from start to finish: from the shock moment he appeared off the bench to replace Socceroos No.1 and captain Mathew Ryan, to his dancing save routine, to discarding the Peruvian goalkeeper’s penalty notes, to the crucial stop to decide the shoot-out, to the iconic stance and bewildered glare which followed.
In the briefest of cameos, Redmayne provided a series of moments that captivated a global audience.
He’s since returned to Sydney, where a stroll through his local streets foreshadowed what impact his Socceroos stardom may have on his day-to-day life.
“I had an interview just down the road I walked to this morning, and two tradies pulled over their utes and screamed out to me,” Redmayne said. “It hasn’t really hit me, the magnitude of this. I spent most of the morning after in a pool with the boys after the game, and then I hopped on a 15-hour flight with no wi-fi.
“I’ve kind of been a bit shielded (from) all this, it hasn’t really hit home yet. I am looking forward to turning the phone off and spending some quality time with the family.
“Again, I’m not really one for attention and plaudits. There was 23 boys in the team that day, and I think we used 48 players throughout the qualifying campaign. Everyone has played their role… the amount of attention I’m getting is a bit crazy because I’m all (about) the team, I’m more happy for the team, the nation and football in Australia that they do get to experience another World Cup more so than myself.
One downside to Redmayne’s experience in Qatar was the inability to share the moment with Sky Blues team-mate Rhyan Grant, the Socceroos full-back who spent the majority of Australia’s mammoth qualifying campaign as a key member of the squad before falling out of favour at the pointy end of the run to the World Cup.
“(Grant) was unfortunate enough to miss out on the last camp; he played almost every minute leading into this camp so it was really unfortunate for him to miss out on this camp,” said Redmayne.
“I’ll admit personally, it was weird being in a national camp without him there. You kind of look at those moments and realise it’s not to be taken for granted, it just adds to the dream moment that has played out, I guess.”
Together, Redmayne and Grant are just two of a bumper list of players, coaches and analysts who have come through the doors at Sydney throughout the club’s history to reconvene in the current Socceroos setup.
In the coaching department there’s head coach Graham Arnold, goalkeeping coach John Crawley, technical analysts Doug Kors and Adam Barbera and head of sports science Andrew Clark. Former Sydney players in the most recent squad included Danny Vukovic, Joel King and Marco Tilio.
“I think it speaks volumes of Sydney FC, of the talent we produce not only on the pitch but in a coaching sense, a playing sense, an analytical sense, sports science,” Redmayne said.
“It’s crazy the amount of links back to Sydney FC we’ve had over the last few years.
“It’s full credit to Sydney, the platform the club lays and the trust and development they put into their people and resources is second to none. I think on an international level Sydney FC can really stand tall.”
As the dust settles on Australia’s emotional World Cup qualification, Redmayne hopes to see recluse from the spotlight and turn his attention to the 2022-23 A-League Men’s campaign, with the Sky Blues facing the tantalising prospect of returning home to the new Allianz Stadium.
Like Sydney and Socceroos team-mate Grant, Redmayne is in the unique position of understanding exactly what booking a spot in the 2022 World Cup means to Australian’s and the national game, with the Sky Blues pair having spent their entire professional careers plying their trade in the A-Leagues.
“I’m really looking forward to the new A-League season, not just for the new stadium but in a World Cup year, there’s a certain buzz about the game and a certain excitement for football within Australia,” Redmayne said.
“It’s again surreal. As someone that’s played in the A-League their whole career, and probably will for the rest of my life, I know how much the World Cup means to the game in Australia and I know how much it means to the fans, the kids, the grassroots football.
“From the very top of Australian football right down to the grassroots, it’s such a big thing to be a part of the World Cup.”