Perth Soccer Teams in the 60s, 70s & 80s …
This post eventuated because my very good friend Frank asked me what my memories were of soccer clubs located in Perth, Western Australia, during the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s.
He had searched the internet and been unable to find anything substantial on this subject. To be honest, I struggled to recall any teams, other than the major clubs of the time and those I had actually played for.
After a couple of days thought, and my own not-so-fruitful internet search, I began writing down the details I could remember, including the limited information I had been
able to glean from the internet. As is so often the case, the more I wrote, the more I remembered.
I emailed my recollections to Frank and he asked me to post them online. I was reluctant to set up a website, but I did agree to do so.
The following is not a conclusive history of football/soccer in Perth at that time, but simply the musings of an old ex-player and huge fan of the “beautiful game”…..
Back in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s when I played football seriously, most, if not all, football/soccer teams in Australia were extensions of ethnic social clubs.
First Division Football Clubs in the 1960s & ’70s:
(Morley) Windmills * [Dutch]
(Perth) Azurri [Italian]
(East Fremantle) Tricolore [Italian]
(Balcatta) Etna [Italian]
(Inglewood) Kiev * [Ukranian]
Cracovia * (can’t recall whether or not they had a suburb prefix – I think not?) Polish team which moved to Noranda in the ’80s.
(Floreat) Athena [Greek]
(North Perth) Croatia [Croats]
(Stirling) Macedonia [Yugoslavs]
(Spearwood) Dalmatinac [Croats]
(Fremantle) Benfica [Portuguese]
Bayswater United * (can’t recall their ethnic origins; they were the first club to have no ethnic indication within their name)
Kingsway Olympic [mixed ethnicity, but predominately Italian]
In the late 1980s, Azurri, Tricolore and Etna combined under one banner to become Perth Italia – I’m more than reasonably sure about this detail.
I think the suburb prefixes arrived in the 1980s, when the soccer federation was trying to make the game less ethnic specific and more inclusive/accessable to the average Australian.
In the very early 1990s, ethnic club names were banned by the national soccer federation.
I think the inter-ethnic violence at many matches, British-based clubs included, was the sealer regarding this strategy.
In Perth, Western Australia, one of the most infamous violent incidents occurred between North Perth Croatia and Spearwood Dalmatinac in the early 1990s.
After this incident, ethnic national flags were banned from being raised at club grounds.
Most of the violence at matches semed to occur between the Balkan teams – Croats, Serbs and Yugoslavs – however, this is a gross generalisation which may not be entirely fair, as there were/are good and bad elements in any club.
As a junior – about 12 years of age, playing in the ‘under 14s’ – I recall being threatened by a man brandishing a knife while playing in goal for Windmills against Macedonia. My goalkeeping coach came and stood alongside my goal in order to “protect” me although, to
be fair, I doubt the adult antagonist had any intention of stabbing me. He was simply trying to frighten me and put me off my game as just moments before this incident, I had saved a penalty.
It had been a somewhat scary day, but we did win the game. To the best of my knowledge, none of our team, or supporters, stayed for the usual post-match socialising at this venue on that day…..
Note: the asterix (*) above and below, denote the clubs I played for, including my junior years.
Most of my playing was with Kiev and Windmills – I had seasons here and there with the other clubs noted.
Apart from Windmills and Kiev, it was quite difficult to remain at a club for longer than a season, due to the language barrier and cultural differences. I was an outsider, and made to feel so, at many of the non-English speaking clubs.
There were very many more 2nd, 3rd, 4th and amateur division clubs in Perth at the time and different clubs were promoted, or relegated, as the seasons passed. However, the big clubs such as Azurri, Windmills, Kiev, Cracovia, Ascot and Kingsway Olympic were a constant presence in the 1st division for many years and probably still are.
With the advent of the national soccer league – “A League” – I have lost touch with grassroots, local football and really have no idea as to who’s in, or who’s out.
The clubs listed below were in the lower divisions during the ’60s, but by the mid ’70s and beyond, quite a few had become huge dominant 1st division clubs.
Perth City * [British]
Osborne Park Galeb
Maccabean (Dianella) Jewish team
West Perth Macedonia
Mundaring * [British] (amateurs)
Almost every major suburb had a team and the ones I’ve remembered above are but a smattering of them.
My memory is being stretched to breaking point trying to recount this information so I can’t categorically state that my time-frames are entirely accurate, but the events certainly took place in that era.
Some of the clubs have had name changes, and some just don’t even exist any more…..