FORMER Spearwood Dalmatinac captain Derek Combe has died. He passed away on June 8 after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 57.
Derek was born in Edinburgh in 1961 and played at a high level in the very competitive junior football set-up in Scotland, starring on many occasions up front or in midfield for Newtongrange Star.
The Newtongrange club had produced Scottish international greats such as Dave Mackay, Alex Young, Bobby Johnstone and Willie Bauld.
Derek played for the club from 1982 until he migrated to Western Australia in 1985, picking up two under-21 Scottish junior international caps along the way. He apparently had a chance to sign for Edinburgh side Hearts and follow in the footsteps of Mackay and Bauld – but chose instead to head Down Under.
He joined Cockburn United on arriving in WA, but was quickly snapped up by Stirling Macedonia and was a pivotal figure in their State League championship triumph in 1987, when they took the title by 10 points ahead of second-placed Perth Azzurri.
Derek quickly became one one of the most versatile performers on the WA scene, showing a terrific eye as a goalscorer, a dogged determination in midfield, great vision as a sweeper and an inspirational skipper.
It was as a sweeper that he captained Spearwood Dalmatinac to victory in the 1994 D’Orsogna Cup final against his old club Stirling Macedonia.
Dalies twice came from behind to snatch the trophy, with another veteran, Keven Elliott, getting a hat-trick in what was a pulsating final.
Derek, who ran a successful electrical contractors business in Bibra Lake – and employed many of his fellow footballers – turned briefly to coaching with Dalmatinac when he put away his boots.
He rarely missed a home game when Dalies teamed up with Cockburn to form the Cockburn City team – and will be much missed from his usual viewing position on the Dalmatinac Park terracing. RIP.
PICTURED: Derek Combe (front left) celebrates with his Dalmatinac team-mates after the 1994 D’Orsogna Cup win.