PERTH Soccer Club marked its 70th anniversary with an impressive celebration involving great players of the past and present and a stunning display of memorabilia at Dorrien Gardens on March 16.
Club president Gary Marocchi, who is a member of the Football Hall of Fame WA’s Hall of Legends, hailed the night a great success – and also an important milestone in the bid to preserve the history of Perth SC in particular, and of WA football in general.
The club has been the most successful in WA competition since its foundation in 1948, winning countless championships and cups – and many are now on permanent display in the Perth SC clubrooms.
“There is much history associated with this club,” said Marocchi, whose family has been closely associated with the club for all of the 70 years.
“The 70th anniversary celebration is the first step in our attempts to revitalise the club, and in doing so re-living the great memories of the past.
“We are attempting to re-connect with all our past players, committee members, sponsors and supporters.
“To do this, throughout 2018 we will be holding dinners on a Thursday night at the club, highlighting a decade.
“We will be having a power point presentation of all information we can generate about that decade, and a possible discussion panel as well.”
The first of these special get-togethers will be held on April 12 at Dorrien Gardens with an emphasis on the Players and Committees from the 40s and 50s.
The club was founded in August, 1948, and the original name was “Western Australian Italian Club Azzurri Soccer Club” – or Azzurri for short.
The first team in 1948 included Gary Marocchi’s father, Saverio – and also goalkeeper Elio Nizzola, who is the only survivor of that original line-up.
Elio, now in his 90s, was a special guest at the 70th anniversary celebrations.
Another VIP at the anniversary was Gary Marocchi’s father-in-law Guido D’Abbondio, who will be 96 in June.
“Guido is our oldest supporter and has been a regular supporter of the club for a long, long time. He still attends the Perth SC home games,” said Marocchi.
Azzurri’s first big success came in 1953 when the team scooped all three trophies on offer – the league championship (in an unbeaten run), the Challenge Cup and the Charity Cup.
In 1987 an amalgamation of WA’s most prestigious Italian clubs – Azzurri, East Fremantle Tricolore and Balcatta Etna – took place with the ultimate aim of achieving membership of the National Soccer League.
The application was unsuccessful, but the amalgamation brought about the foundation of Perth Italia, which in turn became Perth Soccer Club in 1995.
As Perth SC, the new-look club won its first league championship in 2002, which was the first of three in a row. Perth SC has continued to be a major force in local competitions.
The club, in all three of its identities, has produced some great players in 70 years – non better than Marocchi, who went on to taste National Soccer League success with Adelaide City, captain the Socceroos, coach Perth Glory in its first two seasons and win multiple trophies as a coach with Perth SC.
Apart from the Legendary Marocchi, the club has been responsible for developing other champion players like Peter Holt, John Van Oosten, Nino Segon, Tommy Maras, Bruno Marocchi, Allan Pottier, David O’Callaghan, Aldo Trinca, Willie Kelly, Ronnie Campbell, Paul Tombides, Steve Tombides, Shaun Murphy, Scott Miller, Peter Murphy, Glen Guidici, Brian Newell, Tommy Carruthers, Saverio Madaschi, Tony Carbone, Gareth Naven, Craig Naven and Frank Faraone, who have all been inducted into the Football Hall of Fame WA.
Hall of Legends member Ron Adair had a stint with Azzurri, while another Legend, super coach Alan Vest, was the coach of Perth Italia for a spell.
Football Hall of Fame WA committee chairman Louis Prospero said: “Perth SC deserves terrific praise for their achievements over 70 years – and for their commitment to making sure that the rich history of the game in WA in general is not forgotten. We just hope that other WA clubs follow their example of preserving the history of the game.”
PIC ONE: A line-up of Perth SC greats, including Hall of Famers Peter Holt, Bruno Marocchi, Sav Madaschi and Tommy Carruthers. PIC TWO: Long-time supporter Guido D’Abbondio (left) with 1948 team member Elio Nizzola. PIC THREE: Admiring a great display of memorabilia.