MARAH MAILM CAPS SUCCESSFUL YEAR
The state team in recent years has set a high standard and one which fans in WA have come to expect will be maintained. This aim was achieved in the main in 1976 - WA retained the Marah Halim Cup played in Medan, Indonesia, and easily accounted for the North American professional league side Metros-Croatia of Toronto. In mid-year WA was well beaten 4-0 by the English first division side Tottenham Hotspur, but were unlucky not to have beaten Sunderland, who recorded a streaky 2-1 victory over the home side.
Despite the successes there was a distinctly disturbing downward trend in attendances. Less than 10,000 watched Spurs, one of the most attractive teams to come to Perth, and with a host of names well known through TV. The Sunderland match was a disaster with less than 3,000 turning out in miserable conditions to see WA put on one of their fine displays. In fact, the Sunderland crowd was easily the worst on record for a major international. This trend has been on the boards for at least two years where even Glasgow Rangers, the great Scottish champions, could manage only a 9,000 gate.
For the Federation attendances such as these create headaches in trying to negotiate for further visits by world-famous sides. The price asked by overseas clubs are skyrocketing well out of the reach of WA. The Federation could well have played host to many more teams had they been willing to meet fees in the region of $15,000 to $25,000. If a gate of 15,000 could be guaranteed then the Federation could charge a reasonable fee such as $2 a ticket, meet all the costs and make a reasonable profit to plow back Into the game.
But if the Sunderland trend is indicative of the future, then the Federation is risking financial ruin in negotiating to bring clubs to Perth. The only alternative is to lift the price of admission which in turn adversely affects attendances. Unless the problem can be solved, international matches in Perth could dwindle to as few as one a year. This would leave the state's international experience to be found elsewhere such as Indonesia and competitions like the Marah Hallm Cup. It was this tournament that once again provided WA with its greatest success.
Unfortunately for WA fans, they have rarely, if ever, seen the state side play at a fully professional level. Their performance in Medan was inspirational under extremely trying conditions. Under the guidance of Alan Vest, WA achieved what was thought impossible by winning the Marah Halim for the second successive year. It was a performance more of discipline rather than one of brilliance. In conditions that resembled a sauna bath before thousands of spectators looking for a WA defeat, WA overcame some superb footballing Asians to assure themselves another trip to Medan.
In seven matches, WA lost only one match - to South Korea, who beat them 2-1 in the first match of the second round. Of the individuals, Nick MacCallum once again topped the scorers list in the tournament scoring a total of seven goals, the same as the previous tournament. It was also a vintage tournament for referee Barry Harwood who was voted the best referee in Medan for the second successive year. WA was under tremendous pressure and had to beat Japan to make the semi-finals. After a tense battle WA eked out a 1-0 victory from a superb headed goal by striker George McMillan from a Gary Marocchi free kick. In all, WA conceded four goals, two of them against the Indonesian district side Aceh, the weakest team in the competition. Fortunately it meant nothing with WA winng 7-2.
Probably the most amazing game was against another district team Surabaya, who had a chance of making the second round if they beat WA. >From the start it was a torrid encounter which erupted in the second-half with a series of physical assaults on WA players. In scenes reminiscent of a South American riot, WA ended the game battered, but winning 2-0. The final, after unexpectedly beating Burma 4-0 in easy fashion, WA turned the tables on South Korea. In fact, WA learnt by their mistakes from their earlier defeat, and where they allowed the opposition plenty of room on the first. Two great goals from McMillan and Nick MacCallum sealed the issue before a massive crowd of 50,000 plus.
There have been snide remarks that the opposition WA faced was not exactly the best. While it is recognised that the teams are not full international teams, they nonetheless provide extremely tough opposition in conditions that are completely alien to Europeans. It is competitions like this that can only improve WA soccer and increase the confidence of local players to meet international opposition on more equal terms.
WA arrived back in Perth with the knowledge that within four days they had to face the might of Tottenham Hotspur. Travelling and working in the conditions of Asia takes a tremendous toll on the body and WA was clearly not ready for Spurs. They were no match for the Londoners and suffered their worst defeat since the 5-0 hammering WA took from Moscow Dynamo in 1970. The great Martin Chivers notched a hat-trick, while Chris Jones scored the fourth.
A week later, with rest under their belt, WA were a different side against the English second division champions Sunderland. In all fairness Sunderland were one of the poorest English teams to come to Perth. WA deserved at least a draw, and if the forwards had been in touch no doubt would have chalked up another victory. At half time Sunderland had a comfortable 2-0 lead with goals from Mel Holden and Bob Kerr. Then a second half fightback by WA saw McMillan fight his way calmly into the penalty area before scoring under Jim Montgomery's falling body. A sensation was the loss of midfielder Denis Longhorn who was ordered off the field by referee Barry Harwood in the 66th minute. After the game both Sunderland manager Ian McFarlane and national coach Jimmy Shoulder said that WA was the best state side in Australia.
This they had already proved in March when they met and easily accounted for a star studded North American side Metros-Croatia of Toronto 2-0. Again McMillan's name appeared in the goalscoring list with Tony Trinca. Then in April a young inexperienced WA side held the Indonesian champion club Jayakarta to a 2-2 draw with Bert Kirkpatrick and Tony Trinca putting the home side into the lead before the arrears were reduced by Risdianto and Andi Lala. Two days later Azzurri beat Jayakarta 2-1 at the Veiodrome. This was the second leg of an inaugural inter-cities Premiers' Cup between Indonesia and WA. In the first leg Azzurri had drawn 3-3 with Jayakarta.
WA 2 (McMillan, Trinca) Metroa-Croatia 0
WA 2 (Kirkpatrick, T. Trinca) Jayakarta 2 (Riodianlo, Lala)
WA 1 (llott) Thailand O
WA 7 (Trinca 2, Marocchi, MacCallum, Iozzelli, McMillan, Ilott) Aceh 2
WA 2 (MacCallum, O'Callaghan) Surabaya O
WA 1 (McMillan) Japan O
WA 1 (MacCallum) South Korea 2
WA 4 (MacCallum 3, Malcolm) Burma O
WA 2 (McMillan, MacCallum) South Korea O
WA 0 Tottenham Hotspur 4 (Chivers 3, Jones)
WA 1 (McMillan) Sunderland 2 (Holden, Kerr)
TEAM verses Metros-Croatia: Tony Witschge, Saverlo Madaschi, Sauro Iozzelli, Denis Barstow (Capt.), Dave Jones, Frank Bibby, Steve Stacey, Vince Radcliffe, Gary Marocchi, Gordon McCulloch, Stephen Sceats, John O'Connell, George McMillan, Tony Trinca, Ray Ilott, John Davies
TEAM verses Jayakarta: Tony Witschge, Stephen Marlin, Sauro Iozzelli, Arno Bertogna, Dave Jones, Ian Emalle, John Fiamengo, Stephen Sceats, Gary Marocchi, John O'Connell, Bert Kirkpatrick, Clive Pearce, Wally Migas, Tony Trinca
TEAM for the Marah Halim Cup: Saverio Madaschi, Tony Witschge, Sauro Iozzelli, Denis Barstow (Capt.), Dave Jones, Peter Johnston, Hugh Miller, Gary Marocchi, Gordon McCulloch, Stephen Sceats, John O'Connell, Tony Trinca, George McMillan, Dave O'Callaghan, Nick MacCallum, Ray Ilott, John Davies
TEAM verses Tottenham Hotspur: Tony Witschge, Sauro Iozzelli, Denis Barstow, Dave Jones, Peter Johnstone, Gary Marocchi, Gordon McCulloch, Stephen Sceats, Ray Ilott, George McMillan, Dave O'Callaghan. Sub: Tony Trinca, John Davies, Hugh Miller, John O'Connell
TEAM verses Sunderland: Tony Witschge, Stephen Marlin, Sauro Iozzelli, Denis Barstow, Peter Johnston, Dave Jones, Hugh Miller, Gary Marocchi, Gordon McCulloCh, Stephen Sceats, John O'Connell, Ray Ilott, Frank Bibby, George McMillan, Tony Trinca, JOhn Davies, Dave O'Callaghan
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This page was last updated on the 24th February 2006