CONGRATULATIONS to Olympic Kingsway on winning the State League first division championship – and congratulations also to the great Willie McNally, the club’s goalkeeper coach.
Willie, who won league titles himself when an influential figure between the posts with Olympic in 1978 and 1980, was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame WA’s Hall of Champions in 2012, along with another former Kingsway player Stan Lazaridis.
Born in Northern Ireland, Willie came to WA via New Zealand, where he played three seasons in the NZ National League.
Following his success with Olympic, he joined Perth Azzurri and starred for them in 1981 in an amazing unbeaten league championship-winning run – before being snapped up by NSL club Adelaide City.
He stayed six seasons in Adelaide, helping City win the NSL crown in 1986 and playing nine times for the South Australian State side, including success in the DCM tournament in India in 1985.
He came close to becoming a Socceroo in 1986 when then Australian coach Frank Arok invited him to join a national training squad. But he broke a thumb in a club game and had to forfeit the chance of appearing in the Green and Gold.
Willie returned to WA in 1988 and rejoined Olympic in the new Super League. He then had spells with Stirling Macedonia, Floreat Athena, Sorrento, Wanneroo, Swan IC and Bassendean Caledonians. He won first division titles with Swan and Caleys.
He played 19 times at WA State team level, being involved in the squad for the first time in the game against Yugoslav side Skopje Vardar in 1979. He became first choice keeper in 1980 in the game against Italian giants AC Milan, who won 3-2.
After his exploits in Adelaide, Willie returned to WA State team duty in the game against Millwall in 1989 – and he went on to captain the representative side in Indonesia’s Marah Halim Cup tournament in 1991, in which WA finished a highly creditable third.
In 1992, at the age of 37, he showed he was as sharp as ever when he was a key figure in WA’s famous 3-2 victory over top German side Werder Bremen (who were also European Cup Winners Cup holders at the time) at the WACA Ground.
Willie turned to goalkeeper coaching and held that important position with Perth Glory in the club’s early years. Since then he has also coached keepers with ECU Joondalup and Sorrento, and he was back at the Glory in an assistant coaching role to Head Coach David Mitchell in 2014. He then returned to ECU in 2019 as Under-18s coach before re-joining Olympic.
PICTURED: Willie McNally (second left) with Olympic’s squad; Willie and Stan Lazaridis at the 2012 induction ceremony; Willie and his Adelaide team-mates in 1986.