THREE of the history-makers of Western Australian football were honoured at a special Football Hall of Fame WA function at Dorrien Gardens on November 15.
Hall of Fame Legend Ron Adair, Hall of Champions inductee Theo Paap and Hall of Recognition member Eddie Lennie were presented with Special Merit Awards to salute their outstanding achievements – and to honour their major contributions to the history of the game in WA.
The presentations were made by Hall of Fame Patron Julian Burt JP, whose ancestors (the Burt family) were among the founding fathers of the game when it was officially launched in 1896.
“I’m delighted to be here tonight to present these awards to three very worthy recipients and to also help maintain the important link with the pioneering days of football through my ancestors,” said Julian.
The function was held to principally launch a new-look Football Hall of Fame with a new logo and a new association – but the highlight of the evening was undoubtedly the merit awards presentations, which received loud applause from the distinguished guests, whose numbers included Perth Glory superstar Bobby Despotovski, his former Glory team-mates Paul Strudwick and Craig Naven, ex-Glory chief executive Roger Lefort, Hall of Legends member Gary Marocchi, former WA captain Steve Stacey, dual Gold Medal winner Norrie Sutton, State team appearances joint record-holder Peter Holt, refereeing great Barry Harwood, coaching supremos Graham Normanton, Stuart Kamasz, John Ward and Mike Tetlow, Football West life members Julius Re and Bob Brown, and media personalities Russell Goodrick and Ashley Morrison..
The amazing Ron Adair, now in his 88th year, made the lengthy journey from his home in Greenbushes, along with his wife Margaret, to attend the event.
Ron is the FIRST player to have won WA’s Fairest and Best Gold Medal on three successive occasions and with three different clubs – 1953 (North Perth), 1954 (Maccabeans) and 1955 (Azzurri).
Northern Ireland-born Ron, a no-nonsense defender nicknamed “The Iron Man”, played 13 times for Australia, twice as captain. He also skippered the WA State team 11 times, and played 23 times all up for the representative side. He was inducted into the Hall of Champions in 1996 and upgraded to the Hall of Legends in 2005.
Ron later pledged that he would donate his three fairest and best awards, the Ledger Medals, to the Football Hall of Fame WA for display purposes – hopefully at a new WA Football Museum.
Theo Paap is another history-maker. He is the FIRST player to have won WA’s Fairest and Best Gold Medal an impressive five times – 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968 and 1970.
Amsterdam-born Theo joined Windmills as a striker in 1956, but it was as a centre half that he made his greatest impact, captaining the club to seven major titles. He played 18 times for the WA State team and once for Australia. He was inducted into the Hall of Champions in 1996.
Eddie Lennie stands tall amongst WA referees. He is the FIRST whistler from WA to officiate at the FIFA World Cup finals. That was in France in 1998 when he was the man in the middle in the Italy v Cameroon and Romania v Tunisia games. He is also the first WA referee to take charge of contests in the Olympic Games (1996).
Scottish-born Eddie refereed 27 FIFA ‘A’ international games, and 22 other FIFA recognised internationals. He was Australian Referee of the Year three times and WA Referee of the Year on five occasions. He was inducted into the Hall of Recognition in 2005.
Eddie was also inducted into the Football Federation Australia Hall of Fame in 2007, and he was awarded the Order of Australia medal by the Federal Government in 2008 for his services to sport.
PIC ONE: Merit winners Ron Adair, Theo Paap, Eddie Lennie. PIC TWO: Ron Adair’s three Ledger Medals. PIC THREE: Bob Brown, Ron Adair, Ashley Morrison. PIC FOUR: Julian Burt, Russell Goodrick. PIC FIVE: Paul Strudwick, Bobby Despotovski, Roger Lefort and Glory media manager Gareth Morgan. PIC SIX: Craig Naven, Norrie Sutton. PIC SEVEN: John Ward, Stuart Kamasz, Mike Tetlow. PIC EIGHT: David Andrews, Julius Re, Graham Normanton.