Forever We Will Run

Inspiration for the song

When I first met Phil Johns the President of the Vietnam Swans Aussie Rules Football team in December 2013 writing this song was not even on the radar. I listened intently as he passionately explained to me how he and his fellow Vietnam Swans committee members had crossed diplomatic social and cultural boundaries in their quest to not only promote Aussie Rules Football but also to unite three nations that just over forty years ago were at war.

He told me how the Vietnam Swans consisted mainly of Aussie ex Pats who lived and worked in Vietnam and that they regularly played games against other Asian Aussie ex Pat teams, and that the most significant game the Vietnam Swans played every year was in Vung Tau, Southern Vietnam on ANZAC day. I knew Vung Tau well a small coastal town where I once lived and worked for three years and probably of greater significance it was once the base for the Australian Logistics during the Vietnam War and where Aussie Rules was first played in Vietnam.

It was in 1967 when Pte John Heaney, a Nasho with the first Transport Platoon RAASC was given two choices by his CO, as punishment for a misdemeanour. One was to organise a game of Aussie Rules, the other was detention, and naturally he chose the Aussie Rules game. After that first game, a full scale competition was soon ongoing between the various Australian units stationed in Vietnam and continued until 1971.The games were played at the aptly nicknamed ‘Lord Mayors Oval’ which is now called the Vung Tau Greyhound Track.

The ANZAC ‘friendship game’ as it has now become known has been growing in popularity over recent years and many of the aging Vietnam Vets are aware of the event with some actually making the trip from Australia and New Zealand to attend the game and ceremonies which includes a visit to Long Tan. Of great significance is that each player in the ‘friendship game’ wears two black armbands to honour the fallen from both sides.

Every year the ‘friendship game’ unites the worlds of Vietnam, Australia & New Zealand and is now the flagship for a program that benefits the health and well being of Vietnamese children by proactively supporting the Vung Tau Orphanage, Swim Vietnam and Water Safety Vietnam.

I believe there was some degree of fate in the meeting I had with Phil Johns because after our meeting I was well and truly inspired to write and record the song ‘Forever We Will Run’ which tells the story of Aussie Rules in Vietnam and captures the spirit of the past and the hope for the future. It was certainly very rewarding to receive positive comments when I first played the final recording to Phil and Vietnam Swans president, Josh Lee and the Swans committee when I visited Vietnam in February.

The song was recorded in Rocket Studios, Sydney and produced by David Holmes and the lead vocals sung by myellow Mesa Band member Steve Spouse.

So in the words of the song - ‘Forever We Will Run’.

David Morgan
April 2014


Forever We Will Run Photo Library


Forever We Will Run CD


“Nasho Heaney made the call put down your guns let’s play football” (First Verse)

Stan Middleton(left) and John Heaney (right) at Noble Park RSL – John Heaney was immortalised in the words of the ‘Forever We Will Run’ song being the main instigator of the first Aussie Rules game played in Vung Tau back in 1967.


Sample Mesa Band music above.

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