IT IS 15 years since Bernd Stange left Western Australia, but the former Perth Glory coach is still much in demand.
Within a few hours of arriving at Perth International Airport after making a long trip from his base in Germany, Stange shook off jet lag to face television cameras at the Perth Soccer Club’s ground at Dorrien Gardens.
He kicked off what will be a busy week when he was interviewed by Channel 7 reporter Mark Readings for the Today Tonight programme.
Stange’s main purpose for returning to WA is to fulfil a commitment to be a Special Guest Speaker at the 20th anniversary Football Hall of Fame WA Gala Dinner/Induction Night at Crown Perth on Saturday, November 26.
The iconic coach, who led the Glory to their first NSL grand final in the 1999-2000 season and parted company with the club in 2001, was also in the spotlight at the launch of a new tell-all biography written by Perth-based author Thomas Mackay, the former president of former State ruling body Soccer Administration of WA.
It was like the old Glory days, with former chief executive Roger Lefort, former co-owner Paul Afkos and the club’s first coach, Gary Marocchi, all at the book launch to applaud Stange. Current Glory owner Tony Sage was also there, as was the club’s current CEO Peter Filopoulos. Sage presented Stange with a Glory Heritage jersey which was used to celebrate the club’s 20th anniversary a few weeks ago.
The German also faced another audience when he featured in a Question and Answer function at Royal Perth golf club. He was joined by his former assistant coach and ex-East German international Harald Irmscher. The gathering also included former Glasgow Rangers player James Simpson.
“I am so happy to be back in Perth – and to be here as a special guest for the Football Hall of Fame is very pleasing,” he said.
“I was approached by some members of the committee of the Hall of Fame earlier in the year when I was coaching the national team in Singapore and asked if I would come to the anniversary function.
“I made the commitment that I would turn up no matter where I was in the world. I said I would have it written into my contract if I had a new coaching agreement that I must be free in that date in November.
“I was in Moscow last week and have been asked to be involved in a coaching academy there with the top club in Russia, but I said it must wait for I have an important appointment in Perth.
“The future of the game in Australia is in youth development, but we must never forget what has gone before and the committee of the Hall of Fame is doing a wonderful job in keeping the past alive and honouring many great football people in Western Australia. I fully support what they are doing.”
Stange was warmly welcomed at Perth International Airport by Football Hall of Fame WA chairman Louis Prospero, who said: “It’s wonderful to know that someone who is living in another part of the world can still be a member of the WA football family.
“We are delighted to have Bernd here as a special guest and it says much for football in Western Australia that he still holds us dear in his heart and that he readily agreed to be available for this very important function.”
Apart from Stange, former SBS football broadcaster Les Murray will be a special guest speaker at the anniversary function when there will be 32 new inductions into the Football Hall of Fame WA.
PIC ONE: Bernd Stange (left) is welcomed by Football Hall of Fame chairman Louis Prospero. PIC TWO: Roger Lefort (left), Stange and Gary Marocchi at the book launch. PIC THREE: Harald Irmscher with his wife Martina and Bernd Stange with his wife Dorothea at Royal Perth golf club.