THERE is multi-sporting history galore on display in Perth’s new Optus Stadium – but no item arguably more significant than the photograph of the WA State football team line-up of 1955.
Included in the photo are three brothers – Ron, Noel and Bill Adair – who made history when they turned out for WA in the international challenge game against Rapid Vienna at Subiaco Oval in August, 1955.
It was the first time that three brothers had played in the same team at representative level for Western Australia – and one of the few times in the world that it has happened.
Ron was the better known of the Adair brothers – there were six in all who played football at one time or another – and he went on to captain Australia on two occasions and made 13 appearances in all for the Socceroos. He was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame in 1996, and was upgraded to the Hall of Legends in 2005.
Noel Adair was also a very talented defender and, while playing at club level with East Fremantle Tricolore, he won the Ledger Medal as the State’s Player of the Year in 1958.
Bill Adair had made his State team debut against South Australia in 1954 and played nine times in the WA side alongside brother Ron before the trio of brothers made history in 1955.
Another of the Northern Ireland-born Adair siblings, Jack, was also involved in a triple treat when he turned out alongside Noel and Ron for WA against South Africa in 1955.
Three of the Adairs – this time Ron, Noel and Bill – also teamed up for WA in a challenge game against Australia in 1956 when a crowd over over 5,000 turned up at Bayswater Oval to see the national side prevail 4-1. Bill was WA’s scorer.
The historic photo line-up for the Rapid Vienna game in 1955 is:
Rear l-r: Frank Reid (Perth City), Colin Beaman (Perth City), Joe Ruyters (Azzurri), Norm Corner (North Perth), Don West (North Perth).
Centre: Bob McShane (Trainer), Noel Adair (North Perth), Rob Lynn (Perth City), Bill Adair (Perth City), Dave Young (Sth Fremantle), Alec Mansfield (Coach).
Front: Doug Stewart (North Perth), Eddie Ham (Swan Athletic), Con Purser (Capt-North Perth), Des Abraham (Manager), Ron Adair (vice-capt Azzurri), Don McArdle (North Perth), Danny Burton (Perth City).
A World Cup record was set in 2010 when brothers Wilson, Johnny and Jerry Palacios were selected in the Honduras squad to face Chile in a Group match in South Africa, which Chile won 1-0.
But only one of the brothers, Wilson, started the game and the other two, who were substitutes, never got a run.
Wilson and Jerry did figure in the same Honduran line-up in later World Cup games against Spain and Switzerland, but Johnny never featured in any of the contests.
The first recorded occasion of three brothers turning out for the same team at a high level was in 1902 when the three Scottish-born Morris brothers – Samuel, John and Henry – represented Barcelona in the final of a tournament held to mark the coronation of Alfonso XIII in Madrid.
The Steel brothers, Bobby, Danny and Alex, played in the same Tottenham team against Bradford City in the Football League in 1910.
Jacky, William and George Carr all played in the same team, Middlesbrough, in 1920.
One of the more recent famous occasions was when the Wallace brothers – Danny and twins Rod and Ray – all turned out for Southampton against Sheffield Wednesday in 1988.
In 2017 the three Willock played in the same match – but not for the same team – when the Arsenal under-23s faced Manchester United under-23s. Brothers Chris and Joe lined up for the Gunners, while the other brother Matthew turned out for United.
**There are many recorded occasions of two brothers turning out for WA at representative level – mainly goalscoring supremos Jimmy and Andy Gordon in the 1920s; Fred and Reg Burt from 1902; twins Gareth and Craig Naven (14 times together for WA); Tony and Robin Witschge; Steve and Paul Tombides; Aldo and Tony Trinca; Alan and Mark Pottier.
The famous Marocchi brothers – Gary, Bruno and Eric – all played many times for WA, but never in the same team.****The goalkeeper from the 1955 WA squad, Dutch-born Joe Ruyters, went to play in Victoria with several clubs including Wilhelmina (now named Ringwood), also Victoria and Australia against the three Touring Sides in 1957 – FK Austria , Eastern Athletic Hong Kong and Ferencvaros. He also played against Hearts in 1959.