FROM THE HALL OF FAME VAULT: The great John McInroy, who was recently named in Football West’s State Dream Team honouring the Best of the Best over 118 years of WA football, should have been called the “Octopus Man”.
At least if this pic from the past (featured in the 1965 WA Soccer Yearbook) is anything to go by it would be an appropriate nickname.
The East Fremantle Tricolore stiker is all arms and legs in this tussle with Olympic goalkeeper Lou Ivanoff during a State League match at Memorial Park in 1964.
Ivanoff was the State team keeper at the time so wasn’t an easy man to get the better of. He later played for Australia and was the custodian in WA’s high-profile contests against Chelsea and AS Roma. He then played over east in the NSL, and also turned out in Australian Rules games when based in Melbourne.
But, despite his reputation as being a formidable opponent in the air, Ivanoff was no match for the all-action McInroy in this particular contest. Tricolore won 7-1, with the amazing McInroy bagging four of the goals.
Tricolore won the State League championship that year with an unbeaten run of 16 wins and two draws from 18 games. They finished with 34 points, 10 more than second-placed North Perth. Olympic were fifth with 21 points.
It was the first time that a team had gone through the season unbeaten in the new-look State League which was established on the implementation of semi-professionalism in 1960. (Tricolore, in fact, won the title in three successive years – 1963, 64, 65).
Of Tricolore’s 89 goals in 1964, McInroy got 41 of them. The little Scotsman’s total included a stunning NINE hat-tricks.
Even at that, his tally couldn’t beat the total he himself had set in 1963 when scoring an astonishing 48 of Tricolore’s 105 goals (including eight in one league game against Britannia) from 18 games. A post-war record then, and still a record.
Apart from lauding McInroy’s 41-goal achievement, the 1965 Yearbook also gave credit to two of his team-mates, Tony Monks and Rod Reid.
“The presence of two shrewd goalmaking inside-forwards, Monks and Reid, playing alongside and behind him in the Tricolore attack must have made his job a lot easier than those of other league centre-forwards,” stated the Yearbook.
(Reid, incidentally, got 18 goals himself that year and was third on the goalscoring charts).
The article (penned by West Australian newspaper columnist Alan Newman) continued: “But a lot more than that goes into making the McInroy cocktail: equal parts of uncanny anticipation, split-second acceleration to top speed, fine positional sense and about 12st of Scottish beef. Add a jigger of ice-cool temperament, mix in two lethal feet, shake it up and you have a deadly potion that’s guaranteed to have rival centre-halves wishing they had a chaser.”
McInroy was one of the inaugural inductees into the Hall of Champions when the Football Hall of Fame WA held its first ceremony in 1996. And he was one of the first four to be elevated to the Hall of Legends in 2005.
PIC ONE: Tussle between McInroy and Ivanoff. PIC TWO: Ivanoff (top left) with reserve keeper Alister Norwood and WA team-mates Paul Sobek and Rod Reid before the clash with AS Roma. PIC THREE: McInroy with his Hall of Legends trophy.