WESTERN Australian fans of football had been starved of information about its long and distinguished past owing to a dearth of written content…that was until WA Football Historian Richard Kreider’s current publication ‘Paddocks to Pitches’ hit the back of the net.
And, as you would expect by the number of pages, this 800-page work goes into practically every aspect of the game since the very first league competition began in May 1896.
Pictured: Football Hall of Fame WA Legend Gary Marocchi (left) congratulates Richard Kreider on the publication of ‘Paddocks to Pitches.’
Kreider’s epic achievement – the result of many years of dedicated research culminating in the most comprehensive history of the game in any State throughout the land – delves into the early days of when groups of friends would have kicked a ball socially in the few parks around Perth, until a half-hearted attempt to create a football body, together with rugby, took place in 1892.
It stuttered to get off the ground – but a far more successful attempt eventuated four years later when the game in the West was officially born.
Then, just when the code was thriving, the Great War intervened by taking away the State’s young men, of which many either never returned or, if they did, so many were too maimed to play sport altogether.
Football eventually regrouped and again got into a harmonious rhythm until WWII emulated the Great War to seriously disrupt sporting competitions.
Kreider documents that Australia then began to accept migrants from countries other than northern Europe, to include those that were displaced by the terrible events of 1939-45. Meantime, those same nations had already embraced football as their number one team sport and had brought this enthusiasm to Australian pitches.
This altered the complexion of the sport from one that was originally with a British background to one with cosmopolitan game. It either rankled or enthralled supporters, depending on what side of the fence you were on.
The game stuttered and stumbled along until a National Soccer League began in 1977, although WA could not participate until nearly 20 years later with the birth of Perth Glory.
Glory was an instant hit because of its loyalty to no particular ethnic group or country other than Australia. The Glory model eventually became the catalyst to the formation of the A-League, which involved corporately-run clubs and closer ties to the mainstream Australian public.
Meanwhile, women’s football eventually got underway in WA in 1977 and progressed steadily to now having a side in the national W-League.
‘Paddocks to Pitches’ details the major players that made a solid contribution, records all representative games and major cup tournaments. It is also extensive in its coverage of the game in the regions, junior football, administrators and even a chapter on referees.
Kreider is to be congratulated on a significant tome that will doubtless become the definitive record of the game in the West.
The author is a member of the Hall of Fame Committee and, thanks to his genorosity, the Football Hall of Fame WA is providing readers of this page the opportunity to snap up a copy of ‘Paddocks to Pitches’ at the exclusive price of $20:00, plus $5 delivery, if you mail money orders or cheques directly to:
SportsWest Media, PO Box 11, Leederville WA 6902.
Or, you can purchase at the current sale price on http://www.paddockstopitches.com