THE FOOTBALL Hall of Fame WA will celebrate its 21st birthday at a special anniversary function to be held at Dorrien Gardens on Tuesday, December 12.
Apart from marking the foundation of what was Australia’s first history-making football Hall of Fame, the festivities will also include the 21st birthday of another special event – the WA State team’s famous victory over the Indonesian national team in 1996.
Two other milestones will also be celebrated – the 50th anniversary of WA’s challenge match with Manchester United in front of a then record crowd of 20,600 at the WACA Ground, and the 50th anniversary of the State team’s history-making Asian venture to take part in the Merdeka Cup in Kuala Lumpur.
These events will be preceeded by a live social match between a Football Hall of Fame/local media selection and an English Media team, drawn from members of the press who are touring Oz to report on England’s Ashes cricket Tests against Australia.
“With so much going on it should be a day to remember – and a fitting occasion to celebrate our 21st birthday,” said Football Hall of Fame WA Committee chairman Louis Prospero JP.
“The various committees over the years have achieved much in just over two decades. We have much to be proud of and we are committed to making sure the history of the game, and the many fine players and others who have contributed so much, is preserved.”
The Football Hall of Fame WA – the first of its type in the code in Australia – was established in 1996 to coincide with the celebration of 100 years of football achievement in Western Australia.
It was set up to honour the greats of the game in WA – on and off the field of play – through a series of induction ceremonies.
Since the inaugural induction ceremony – a black-tie affair in November 1996 which initially saluted the State’s best in the Hall of Champions and the Hall of Recognition – 187 individuals have entered what has now grown to be four ‘Halls’.
The games’ true legends are honoured through the Hall of Legends – which was established in 2005 to further salute those who have distinguished themselves at the highest level and been an inspiration – while the Hall of Champions is for those players who have achieved excellence at a very high level. The Hall of Merit For Players (which was set up in 2008) pays tribute to those other great players who have shone down the years. The Hall of Recognition honours those who’ve made a significant contribution on and off the field of play, such as influential coaches, top referees, dedicated administrators, generous sponsors and journalists who did much to advance and publicise the game in WA. Many from rural areas have been honoured.
In 2012 there was a world scoop when WA’s Sandra Brentnall – Australia’s first official goalscorer at international level in the women’s game – became the first female footballer to be inducted into a Hall of Legends.
The other WA greats who are in the Hall of Legends are former Australian international captains Gary Marocchi and Ron Adair; WA’s most capped goalkeeper Robbie Zabica; champion defender Robbie Dunn – who played 44 times for Australia – goalscoring supremo John McInroy, who topped the State league scoring lists in eight successive seasons; and super coach Alan Vest, who led the State team to many significant triumphs in Asia and at home.
Others who have been inducted into the Football Hall of Fame WA include Stan Lazaridis (WA’s most capped international player), Australian international defender Shaun Murphy and Perth Glory greats Bobby Despotovski, Gareth Naven, Scott Miller and Jamie Harnwell.
There have been six induction ceremonies, but the Committee of the Hall of Fame has staged other functions to celebrate WA’s 100 Best Players; to mark the anniversaries of the WA men’s and women’s teams success in Asia; a week-long exhibition of the 2010 World Cup at Perth Town Hall; and made presentations to West Australian men and women who have competed for Australia in the World Cup.
A website (footballhalloffamewa.com.au) was established in 2014 and contains details of all the inductees, the history of the game in WA and a lively News section. A Facebook page was set up in 2017.
The on-going commitment of the Hall of Fame Committee is to preserve and acknowledge the rich history of the game in Western Australia and further functions are planned for next year.
However, the Committee’s long-term aim is the establishment of a Football Museum in Perth to showcase some of the wonderful memorabilia pertaining to the game in WA.
“A Museum is our ultimate goal and we are hopeful of achieving it,” said Louis Prospero.
The Football Hall of Fame WA is a not-for-profit organisation which is endorsed by Football West, who have generously provided funding for the 21st birthday event. Other sponsors are the Wright Burt Foundation, Fini Developments, Prosperity Strata Management and automotive group AHG. We thank them all.