The Football Hall of Fame WA is sad to hear of the passing of former Floreat Athena and Perth Italia coach Ken Worden. Ken passed away at a care facility in Townsville, Queensland, aged 78, having suffered from dementia for several years.
Born in Preston, England, Ken had playing stints with Preston North End and Burnley before taking off on many successful globetrotting exploits. He had considerable success in Western Australia where he followed three trophy-laden seasons at Athena in the late 1980s by scooping an amazing hat-trick of titles in his first year with Italia.
Ken assembled a star-studded team at Perth which included, amongst others, Hall of Fame Legend-to-be Robbie Dunn, Dave Evans, Shaun Murphy, brothers Gareth and Craig Naven, Peter Murphy, Gerry Christie and Allan Pottier. That side went on to triumph in the 1990 Night Series, Super League Grand Final and D’Orsogna Cup.
In a memorable season, Italia also enjoyed much success at reserve team and under-age level with a tasty line-up of coaches who included Gary Marocchi (another Legend to-be), Ian Buckley, David Harrison, Neil Morson and Laurie Naven. Ken could be a bit of a prickly character at times – he once banned this author from Dorrien Gardens after he disliked something I had written – but he rang me up the next day to say all was forgiven – but was undoubtedly a very influential coach.
Ken departed Italia after the triple success and, in December 1990, joined National Soccer League club Melbourne Croatia, leading them to their first Minor Premiership in the 1990/91 season. However, they lost a Grand Final thriller to South Melbourne on penalties. He then headed for Asia where he enjoyed much success with Selangor and was also as coach of the Malaysian national team and the Singapore national side. He also coached in Myanmar.