FOOTBALL Hall of Fame WA Legend Gary Marocchi can now lay claim to another legendary feat.
It’s believed he has become the first in WA to win a major league title as a player, a coach and a president of what is basically the same club.
Marocchi won several State league crowns in the 1970s when he was playing with Perth Azzurri, and followed that up a few years later when he coached Perth Italia to the top honours in 1991, 1992 and 1993.
Now, as president of Perth Soccer Club, he brought off a triple treat when the team won the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues WA championship by one point after a dramatic final round of fixtures at the end of August.
Azzurri merged with two other clubs after the 1987 season to form Perth Italia, which later changed its name to Perth SC. All three clubs have always had Dorrien Gardens as their home ground.
“A friend of mine sent me a text message and said that he had done a bit of research and that I had now brought off a unique hat-trick of league titles,” said Marocchi.
“I wasn’t aware of it, but I’m delighted for the club that we have achieved a championship in 2016.”
Marocchi is in his third year as president of Perth SC and has been the driving force of big changes within the club.
“What is satisfying is that our youth policy is paying off,” he said.
“We are basically a very young team with about three experienced players forming the spine of the team. That will stand to us in the years to come.
“We are also striving to make Dorrien Gardens a facility that will give us longevity as a club. We are creating a boutique stadium that will cater for sports other than football and fully embrace the community.
“You need a business model to survive these days. You can’t do it on football alone.”
WA-born Marocchi has had a stellar career as a player and a coach.
He had 12 seasons in the WA First Division (1971-1988), all but one of them with Azzurri, and then moved to South Australia to play with Adelaide City in the national league for six years.
Marocchi was selected 22 times for the WA State team and played three times for South Australia. He played 14 times for Australia (1975-1978) and reached the pinnacle of his career when named captain for a friendly series against Greece.
Apart from coaching Perth Italia to three League championships, he led the Perth Kangaroos to the Singapore League championship (1994) and the State side to victory against Werder Bremen (Germany) and Iraklis (Greece). He was the inaugural coach of Perth Glory (1996-1998) and led Swan I.C. to a maiden Boral Cup victory in 2003.
He was inducted into the Hall of Champions in 1996 and elevated to the Hall of Legends in 2005.
He was also the first football player to be inducted into the West Australian Institute of Sport’s ‘Hall of Champions’ in 1996.