2021 marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Football Hall of Fame Western Australia. In celebration of this milestone, we dig back into the archives to recognise the people and events that have shaped and influenced the Hall of Fame. Today we shine a light on our first few months…
Western Australia has the distinction of being the first State in Australia to officially recognise and honour its football heroes of the past through a Hall of Fame. The seeds for what would evolve into the Football Hall of Fame Western Australia were sown in 1995 as the State prepared to celebrate a century of the sport the following year.
Former State captain John O’Connell put forward a proposal to establish a ‘Hall of Fame’ to the Soccer Administration of WA. The then governing body, under the presidency of Mr Lou Ricci, liked what they heard and entrusted O’Connell to head a sub-committee tasked with developing an autonomous body which would protect WA’s football history.
Identities from the football community who had the background, reputation and experience to inspire confidence in a fair and balanced approach were recruited for the Hall of Fame Centenary Committee. Joining O’Connell on this historic venture were Alan Beale, Julius Re, Bob Brown, David Andrews and Frank Miller.
The Committee brought together considerable knowledge and expertise. O’Connell was the joint record holder of State team appearances, a coach and broadcaster. Beale was a terrific goal-scorer in his playing days at club and State levels and later a much-respected administrator who lobbied for football regionalisation.
Visionary Re introduced semi-professional football to WA and was the founding president of the Soccer Federation of WA. Brown had been a player and State team manager in addition to being a generous sponsor of the game. Andrews was a popular journalist with ‘the West Australian’ newspaper. Miller was also a journalist, broadcaster and State team selector.
This six-man Committee created Australian sporting history as the nation’s first football Hall of Fame. In fact, they preceded Soccer Australia’s Hall of Fame which wasn’t set up until 1999. And in the years that followed other sports would follow suit, including both State and national ‘Aussie Rules’ codes.