MANY of the greats of WA football got together to pay tribute to legendary coach Alan Vest on the occasion of his 80th birthday on September 5.
Alan was inducted into the Hall of Fame WA’s Hall of Legends in 2016 – and fellow Hall of Legends member Gary Marocchi was amongst the guests at the birthday bash.
Also present was former Perth Glory superstar Bobby Despotovski, who was inducted into the Hall of Champions in 2012.
Other Hall of Famers who toasted the newly-minted octogenerian were Mickey Brennan, Nick McCallum, Aldo Trinca, John O’Connell and Bob Brown.
Dave Evans, John Hunter and Taki Nicolaidis were amongst the several players from one of Alan’s old clubs, Floreat Athena, who joined in the milestone celebrations.
Bob Brown said that the surprise of the night for him was Alan’s talent to carry a decent tune.
“I didn’ty know that Alan was a singer. He has a very good voice and certainly did justice to some of the songs that we are more familiar to hearing from Frank Sinatra and Tom Jones,” said Bob.
Alan’s family had put together a video of his considerable coaching achievements and this was shown on the night.
He is WA’s most successful coach, leading the State team to ground-breaking victories, being influential in Perth Glory’s two NSL titles and tasting much success in the State League with various club.
Alan was born in Barnsley, Yorkshire, and played with Boston United and Rugby Town before heading for New Zealand. He joined North Island side Gisborne City as player-coach and went on represent New Zealand 17 times as a player.
He came to Perth in 1974 to fill the dual role of WA Director of Coaching and State Coach. His influence was felt almost immediately with the State side winning their first silverware overseas, the 1975 Marah Halim Cup in Indonesia (they were the first Australian team to win an event in Asia). This was followed by a sensational 2-1 triumph over Scottish giants Rangers in June the same year. The team had also lost narrowly to Manchester United.
Alan led the State team to another Marah Halim crown in 1976. He then went on to coach NSL clubs Newcastle KB United and West Adelaide. The much-travelled Alan returned to WA to again coach the State team, and he also led club sides Perth Italia and Floreat Athena to titles.
He had spells in Malaysia and was tempted back to WA for an assistant coaching role with Perth Glory (2001-05). He contributed to Glory winning NSL titles in 2002/03 and 2003/04 and was appointed interim boss in 2005/06.