Sunday Story: Andrew Redmayne

After saving that penalty against Peru to earn the Socceroos a spot at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Sky Blues shot-stopper Andrew Redmayne became a national icon.

The goalkeeper’s shootout heroics, which featured a dazzling Wiggles routine and a crucial sudden death save, saw Redmayne’s name forever etched into Australian football history.

And it didn’t take long for the media to come knocking (and rightly so) on the keeper’s doorstep – with “Redders” subsequently featuring on Nine’s Today Show, Network Ten’s The Project and the ABC.

I’m an advocate for the game

Andrew Redmayne

“It’s all part and parcel I think,” said a humble Redmayne.

“I’ve always said I’m an advocate for the game and anything I can do to help grow the game in Australia, I’m more than happy to do.”

And after countless interviews on the subject, the 34-year-old still delighted in recalling the moment he sent the Socceroos to Qatar.

“Surreal,” said Redmayne. “Time kind of slowed down, I’ve said if you could bottle what I felt and what I went through in that moment between the ball being struck and then the save, time just completely slows down and you don’t hear any noise. The ball feels like it’s going in slow motion.

“I just wish you could bottle it up and sell it because I’d be a very rich man!”

The famous dancing routine, earning Redmayne the nickname “Grey Wiggle”, was planned to be deployed months in advance of the Peru qualifier by Socceroos goalkeeping coach John Crawley – formerly of Sydney FC.

However, the keeper could not let the secret slip.

Even Mat Ryan, the captain and starting keeper who Redmayne replaced in extra time, was not aware of the strategy – Sydney FC’s Joel King was the only Socceroo to know.

“The plan was probably ten weeks before the actual game,” Redmayne explained.

“[John Crawley] planted the seed in my head. I didn’t think too much of it at the time but I remember telling Caitlin, my wife, that ‘John Crawley said this on the phone to me today which was a bit strange!’

“But when we got into camp he said, ‘this is the real deal, if it comes to it then you’ll be the guy’ … and yeah it was a big secret to hold.”

Later selected for the Socceroos squad for the World Cup finals in Qatar as a backup option to Mat Ryan, Redmayne soaked in Australia’s glorious run to the Round of 16.

Redmayne embraces Ryan after Argentina loss

Of course, that’s where Lionel Messi’s Argentina put a halt to the Aussie dream, but the Sky Blues keeper knew this was a moment to savour.

“Yeah that was phenomenal,” Redmayne said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to watch a game in the Bombonera in Argentina and experience that atmosphere but I think I might have been a bit young and a bit unassuming in that kind of setting.

“But to see the Argentinian faithful put on an atmosphere like they did [in Qatar] was something really special and I think for us to play the way we did made the game and the event even more special.”

And the keeper was also impressed with the fan sites back home.

Socceroos fans watch Argentina vs Australia at Darling Harbour

“Phenomenal!” said Redmayne. “I think that just shows that there’s a support for football in Australia that’s at times kind of pushed down from the surface a bit.

“But I think if we can tap into that then football in Australia should be in a really strong place.”

An advocate for the game off the field, Gosford-born Redmayne knows what it is required on the pitch too – starring for Sydney FC in back-to-back Isuzu UTE A-League Championship winning seasons in 2018/19 and 2019/20.

But it wasn’t all plain sailing. At fifteen, the keeper was originally offered a deal with Arsenal, however the club retracted its proposal and brought-in Polish international Wojciech Szczęsny.

A young Redmayne then returned to Australia, later signing for hometown club Central Coast Mariners – making his debut as a substitute for an injured Mark Bosnich in 2008 against Perth Glory before a move to Brisbane Roar in 2010 – with the youngster playing backup to first-team regular Michael Theo – a three-time A-League Goalkeeper of the Year.

Redmayne representing the Mariners in the National Youth League

Redders would then receive more game time at Melbourne City and then Western Sydney, but the shot-stopper eventually fell out of favour at the Wanderers – wishing to hang up his gloves at the age of 27 to work as a barista before moving into primary school teaching.

“I had a career plan to fall back on,” Redmayne said.

“That was all in place until this move came to Sydney FC and I’ve said before, John Crawley and Graham Arnold believed more in myself than I did.

“I’m really blessed that they instilled their trust in me and that made me grow a foot taller as well.”

The move to Sydney FC in 2017 certainly paid-off, with Redmayne going on to make the PFA Team of the Year in 2017/18 and win the A-League Goalkeeper of the Year under Steve Corica in 2019/20 and 2020/21 – averaging a league-high 80.45 save percentage across both seasons.

And before Redders’ heroics against Peru to take Australia to the World Cup, the “Wiggle” had already emerged – making two crucial penalty shootout saves for the Sky Blues against Perth Glory in the 2019 A-League Grand Final.

“That was the first penalty shootout for quite a while,” said Redmayne. “To win it was an amazing achievement, Perth were a phenomenal team throughout that whole season.

“To pip them at the post there was quite amazing in a hostile environment away from home, it was an amazing experience.”

A serial winner on the field, Redders is also a champion father off the field too – recently nominated for the 2022 Sports Dad of the Year award.

The goalkeeper cherishes time away from football with his young daughter Poppy – who was thrilled to see her Dad’s appearance on the Wiggles.

“Love spending time with Poppy,” Redmayne said.

“I love going for walks [and] Poppy loves taking our dog Gilly for a walk as well so you’ll often catch us down at the park going for a walk, enjoying our time in that fashion.

“Outside of football it’s probably cooking, coffee and spending time with my girls.”

Catch Redmayne in action this Saturday at CommBank Stadium as the Socceroos hero, champion father and football advocate goes again in the Sydney Derby.