FORMER Australian and State team star Ray Ilott has died. He passed away on Sunday, November 27, following a long battle with cancer. He was 68.
Ray, who was inducted into the Hall of Champions in 1996, had hoped to attend the 20th anniversary of the Football Hall of Fame WA at Crown Perth on November 26. However, he indicated a few weeks previously that he was too ill but that he wanted his good wishes to be passed on to the new inductees.
The anniversary function MC John O’Connell, who was a State teammate of Ray’s, passed on the message on the night and also said that everyone at the event had Ray in their thoughts.
Ray, who was born in London in 1948, emigrated to Australia in 1970 and joined SMA Cottlesloe (later known as Ascot) where he was quick to make a big impact as a striker. He was transferred to Rockingham in 1977 for a then State record fee of $5,500.
He also played for Floreat Athena, Forrestfield, Balga and Wanneroo.
His explosive left-foot caught the attention of Australian selectors and he turned out five times for the Socceroos – four of them in a series against Russia.
He also played 32 times for the State, and was a key figure in the golden era of 1974 through to 1976.
He scored in the 4-2 loss to Chelsea in 1974. He was on the mark again in the 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough in 1975 and got the first goal in the famous 2-1 victory over Glasgow Rangers in the same year.
He was a member of the State sides that won the Marah Halim Cup tournament in 1975 and 1976.
As a player at club level he won five major trophies, including two State League titles, and was the Gold Medal winner as the fairest and best player in 1974.
Ray turned to coaching with considerable success, leading Forrestfield, Kingsway Olympic and Stirling Macedonia to trophies.
He is also credited with giving Stan Lazaridis – WA’s most capped international player – his first break as a young teenager with Olympic and then taking him to another level with Macedonia.
PIC ONE: Ray Ilott during his playing days. PIC TWO: Ray (centre) at a Marah Halim Cup reunion with Denis Barstow, David Jones and coach Alan Vest. PIC THREE: Ray receives his Australian cap from FFA representative Peter Friend at a 2006 function.