FORMER State team player and Perth Azzurri stalwart Peter Giorgi has died. He passed away on June 22 and was buried a week later on what would have been his 71st birthday.
The very affable Peter played with Azzurri through junior ranks up to the first team and was still heavily involved at committee level when the club amalgamated with others in 1987 to initially form Perth Italia and then later become the current Perth Soccer Club.
“Peter was totally committed to the club and would willingly turn his hand to anything to help – even go into the kitchen to become a cook on our Thursday night dinners,” said Perth SC President Gary Marocchi, who was also Peter’s brother-in-law.
“It’s a sad time for the club and he will be sorely missed.”
Peter Giorgi broke into the Azzurri first team as a teenage defender in 1963 and was a key member of the squad when Azzurri broke a five-year drought to win the State League championship in 1967.
He was also in the squad that won the title again in 1968, but didn’t figure in 1969 when Azzurri brought up a hat-trick of championships.
“He had a bad knee injury that brought his playing career to a premature end,” said Marocchi. “It was the type of injury that could probably be overcome with the right medical treatment today, but 50 years ago it was a different story.”
Peter, however, was not to be denied maintaining his love of Azzurri and served on the club committee through the 1970’s. He was then Senior Vice-President for four years, from 1983 to 1986, and later was chairman of the Social Committee.
He also coached the first team in 1983 and guided several junior teams to WA championships.
He was an Honorary Life Member of the club and the main entrance to the clubhouse at Dorrien Gardens has been named in his honour – the Peter Giorgi Entrance – and one of Perth SC’s awards is called the Peter Giorgi Clubman of the Year Award.
He made his State team debut as a teenager when WA took on top English side Chelsea at the WACA Ground in 1965. The visitors were too hot for the part-time locals, winning 6-1.
He won another State honour in 1966 when WA drew 1-1 with Hong Kong side Sing Tao, also at the WACA Ground.
And Peter then became part of history when he was named in the WA squad to take part in the Merdeka Cup international tournament in Malaysia in 1967, becoming the first Australian team to play in Asia.
He played in all five games in ther Merdeka event, in which WA finished a respectable ninth after narrowly losing a few tight contests, and then faced the Singapore Joint Services team in a one-off challenge before heading back to Perth.
Peter was one of several players to be honoured when the Football Hall of Fame Committee staged a 40th Anniversary event in 2007 to pay a tribute to the Merdeka Cup history makers.
He received a plaque from then Minister for Sport John Kobelke in a get-together that attracted a host of football celebrities and politicians.
PIC ONE: Peter Giorgi (left) receives his award from John Kobelke. PIC TWO: Peter (seventh from left, back row) with the WA squad before flying to Malaysia in 1967.