FORMER East German international Harald Irmscher is the latest celebrity to confirm he will be attending the Football Hall of Fame WA 20th Anniversary Gala Dinner/Induction Night at Crown Perth on November 26.
The highly-respected Irmscher will be there to support his fellow countryman, Bernd Stange, who will be one of the Guest Speakers at the event. The other Guest Speaker is football-broadcasting icon Les Murray.
Former Perth Glory coach Stange and Irmscher have worked closely together in the past decade or so, coaching the likes of the Belarus and Singapore national teams and top Cypriot club side Apollon Limassol.
Irmscher is also expected to assist Stange at a special Coaching Clinic to be held in Perth – and which will also involve several locally-based coaches – in the week leading up to the Hall of Fame function.
It will be a big week of football festivities, as a new tell-all biography on Stange – written by Perth-based author Thomas Mackay – will be launched at the Perth Soccer Club on November 22.
Irmscher was one of East Germany’s best known international players in the days before the two Germanys became unified again.
A midfielder, he played 41 times for East Germany, scoring four goals between 1966 and 1974. One of those international appearances was against Australia in the 1974 World Cup finals, which were held in West Germany.
It was the Socceroos first appearance in the final stages of the World Cup. They lost their opening game 2-0 to East Germany, after holding their highly-rated opponents scoreless for an hour, and went down 3-0 to eventual World Cup winners West Germany before drawing 0-0 with Chile in their final group stage match.
“Both Harald and I are very much looking forward to our trip to Perth,” said Stange, who returned to live in the German city of Jena after fulfilling his contract with Singapore in April.
Apart from the inductees, other high-profile celebrities who will attend what promises to be one of WA football’s events of the year will include former England international John Sydenham.
John, who made over 400 appearances for Southampton and was formerly player-coach to Floreat Athena, will travel from his home in Melbourne for the anniversary celebration, while former Socceroo international Doug Stewart will fly in from Queensland to be part of the gathering.
Current Socceroos goalkeeping coach Tony Franken, also a former Australian international, will be at Crown Perth as will another ex-Socceroos keeper, Robbie Zabica.
Two former Australian captains, Gary Marocchi and Ron Adair, will also be part of what will be a 400-plus crowd. Both are members of the exclusive Hall of Legends, along with Zabica. Another Legend, crack goalscorer John McInroy, will also be there as will the only female Legend, Sandra Brentnall.
Another one of WA’s goalscoring greats Len Dundo, who was the State’s top marksman seven times in the 1970s, plans to be in attendance after recovering from a serious illness.
Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe hopes to be able to make the event, along with former Glory goalkeeper Tommy Maras.
The Glory will be well represented at the function, as seven of their former players are being inducted into the Hall of Champions, which will give the club further cause for celebration in their 20th anniversary year.
They include Jamie Harnwell, who holds the record for Glory appearances, Tony Carbone, Chris Coyne, Paul Strudwick, Paul McVittie, Jason Petkovic and Andy Petterson.
In all, there will be 32 inductions on the night, the other categories welcoming newcomers into the Hall of Merit for Players, the Hall of Recognition and the Hall of Legends. Four women will be inducted, while there will be four inductees from country areas.
Apart from it being the Hall of Fame’s birthday, the event will also pay a special tribute to the 120th anniversary of the foundation of football in Western Australia – and Liam Twigger, the chairman of ruling body Football West, will be in attendance to acknowledge an important milestone in the history of the game.
Tickets have nearly sold out, but latecomers might be lucky if they make a quick request by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
PIC ONE: Irmscher (left) and Stange in 1984. PIC TWO: John Sydenham (right) in his Floreat Athena coaching days with new signings Ted McDougall (left) and Alan Ball. PIC THREE: Len Dundo (left) with another great goalscorer, England star Mike Channon.