Striker becomes Stephen Donald of All Whites’ playoff campaign.

Rory Fallon has achieved the impossible.

The 35-year-old striker admits he could have retired a long time ago, but he was hanging on in the hope he might be part of another New Zealand football miracle.

That seemed unlikely six weeks ago, when he was released from Torquay United, near the end of the transfer window.

Fallon struggled to find a club, eventually opting for a deal at Dorchester Town in the Southern League Premier Division, the seventh tier of the English game. It's not quite pub football, but it's not that far away, with regular attendances of between 500-600 at the semi-professional outfit.


But from those depths, somehow, Fallon will be part of the impending playoffs against Peru, games that will be watched across the world and worth millions to the winner. It's comparable to the Stephen Donald tale at the 2011 Rugby World Cup, but perhaps several times more improbable.

"What happened to me in the last month has been mad," said Fallon. "[At Torquay] we had three managers in the space of a month. It made it difficult and the third manager got rid of a lot of players, including myself, on short term contracts.

"I was left with a couple of weeks to try to find a club. At one stage I thought, 'no, I'm not going to make it'. But I kept training, I kept persevering and believing it might happen and I knew that Anthony [Hudson] wanted people to be playing. So I thought if I take a lower league team at least I will be playing ... and it has paid off."

Fallon admits the last few years have been a battle, where he has often questioned what he was doing. He previously enjoyed a productive career in England, with decent spells at Plymouth, Swansea, Barnsley, Aberdeen and Swindon Town.

But he's become more of a footballing nomad since the World Cup playoffs in Mexico in 2013, with short stints at Crawley Town, Bristol Rovers, Truro City and Torquay, interspersed by periods without a club.

"When you get to my age, it's all about being part of the team. If the 11 do well, we all go to a World Cup."


"I'm used to playing in really good leagues and really good teams," said Fallon. "No disrespect to those levels but you go anywhere in England and you have people from all over the world seeking an opportunity. In the lower leagues, it's a battle."

"Going from club to club it's been very difficult trying to hang in there but it was all to get to this. That's the whole reason why I am here. I could've finished it a long time ago but this game is what kept me going, what kept me training. Because you aren't going to get games like this; you only get one chance, then you have to wait another four more years."

His recall surprised many observers, especially with others missing out who are playing at much higher levels, but it feels like Fallon is in Wellington for his personality as much as his playing ability.

"I bring the fun," he remarked yesterday during an entertaining press conference, which could have been mistaken for a Tony Robbins seminar, such was Fallon's relentless positivity and belief about New Zealand's chances.

But that's Fallon - his joie de vivre and endless supply of self confidence could be a valuable commodity over the next 10 days. He's unlikely to play a big role on the park, barring injuries, but is ready for whatever is needed.

"I have been in the game long enough to know that it is more than just me and my selfish ambition because everyone wants to play," said Fallon. "When you get to my age, it's all about being part of the team. If the 11 do well, we all go to a World Cup. [And] there might be a moment when it is 0-0 and we need to force the issue, hopefully that I can pop up and force something because I have done it before."