THERE surely never was a more pleasant walk down memory lane than at the East Fremantle Tricolore Past Players Reunion at the South Beach Hotel in Fremantle on July 5.
An array of stars, coaches, administrators, supporters – plus friends, spouses and a few veteran scribes – gathered at the jam-packed venue to remember the good old days of a club that ceased to exist as a senior professional outfit in 1987.
Tricolore. founded in 1953, was one of WA’s most successful State League clubs until merging with Perth Azzurri and Balcatta Etna 28 years ago to form Perth Italia with the idea of applying for admission to the National Soccer League.
That did not eventuate and Perth Italia has in turn evolved into the current club Perth Soccer Club.
Tricolore, which these days keeps functioning with women’s senior teams and junior teams, was most successful as a senior side in the 1960s and 1970s.
The club won three successive State League titles from 1963 to 1965. It was also champions in 1970 and 1972.The D’Orsogna Cup was another event that Tricolore excelled in, winning in 1961, 1962, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1978 and 1979.
Appropriately in a salute to the 50th anniverary of the 1965 championship-winning side, four members of that team turned up at the Reunion – goalkeepers Frank Franken and Pipo Crifo along with defender Eric Edmonds, who was only 18 when he excelled in the Tricolore line-up in 1965, and captain Graham Oughton, who later became player-coach.
Frank Franken, who recently turned 80, was accompanied by his 20-year-old grandson Jordan, who plays for Perth Glory’s youth team and is maintaining the family tradition of goalkeepers.
Jordan’s father is Tony Franken, the former Australian international keeper who began his career as a junior with Tricolore. Tony was unavailable to attend the get-together as he was fulfilling his role as Football Federation Australia chief goalkeeper coach at the national youth championships in Coffs Harbour.
“It was wonderful to see so many of the club’s playing greats turning up for what was a memorable occasion,” said former Tricolore player and coach John O’Connell.
“The four men who devoted so much time and effort to organise the gathering and ensure a bumper turn-out – Alf Blackmore, Jeff Lewis, Enzo Magro and John Poleykett – are to be congratulated.”
Many past players made long journeys to attend – but none longer than Harry Long, who came over from his home in the Victorian town of Geelong for the event. “I wouldn’t have missed it for anything,” said Harry.
One of the club’s most dedicated administrators, Frank La Macchia, was there – as were members of the family of the late Lou Ricci, who died in 2012 and served as Tricolore’s president for many decades.
Veteran scribblers David Andrews and Barrie Greenwood, now enjoying retirement, came from their homes in WA’s South-West for the occasion.
Both worked the room with a glint in their eyes, welcoming each familar figure with a hug.
“It was good to see a number of familiar faces, despite the advancing years for most of us,” said David. “At least we are lucky I suppose when you consider some of the younger ones who have passed away.”
David added: “One of the familiar faces, Tony Plum, suggested to me that it would be a good idea if the current WA football administration undertook a similar reunion but for football as a whole. It would cost little as far as the administration is concerned, inviting all past players and administrators, club members, coaches and so on to revisit old times. A thought worth considering.”
One of Tricolore’s goalscoring greats, Andy Godfrey, was there along with his dad Tony, who is a former referee. Another former whistler – and ex-Tricolore player – Eddie Evans was another to enjoy the occasion.
Other ex-Tricolore greats who relished the reunion were State team stars like goalkeeper Steve Pateman, strikers Nick McCallum, Peter Murphy and Mike Smith, midfielders Mike Ireson and Micky Cairns. Other past players to attend included Fab Pagnoni, Andy Thorburn, Mark O’Keefe, Neil Hornby, Brian Headley, Bill Beattie, Steve Huxtable, Tony Plum, Neil Garvey. And many, many more…
PIC ONE: John O’Connell, Frank Franken, Jordan Franken. PIC TWO: Harry Long, Fab Pagnoni, Micky Cairns, Peter Murphy. PIC THREE: Mike Smith, Eddie Evans. PIC FOUR: Graham Oughton, Mike Ireson, Bill Beattie, Nick McCallum. PIC FIVE: David Andrews, Barrie Greenwood.