Archived News : January-December 1997



I haven't been very fond of Soccer West Coast (formally called the Professional Soccer Federation) since they were formed in 1993 when the PSL and the SFWA merged. Its a fact that Soccer West Coast (SWC) don't know how to run professional soccer in this state.

Due to the merger in 1993, SWC decided to have 14 teams in its top league, to make both sides of the merger happy, It included 12 PSL teams and 2 SFWA teams. The 2 SFWA teams were Inglewood Kiev and Osborne Park Galeb, even though both finished mid table in their league in 1992 while Ferndale United and Balga dominated it. So offcourse there was no surprise to see Osborne Park Galeb struggle in 1993 with 1 win and 25 loses. Inglewood Kiev did much better finishing mid table, but it must be noted they got Balga's coach before 1993 season, and he took nearly all the players from the successful Balga senior team of 1992 with him.

SWC said before the 1993 season that 14 teams was too much and that it was only temporary due to the PSL and SFWA merger, and they would bring it down to 10 teams within 2 years. By 1995, SWC has reached their target and the top league was back to 10 teams, but surprise, surprise, in 1997 SWC had changed its whole league format again, and decided on a 14 team Premier League, due to the fact they were scared that some teams were proposing a break away league. So we were back to square one again while the lower division was strengthen to a ridiculous 15 team league, meaning 28 games for each team. There was nothing wrong with the 3 league structure the year before, why did they change it? Not only that, but none of the club members of SWC knew what was going to happen in 1998. SWC had no rules set for promotion and relegation, it seem they would wait to their annual general meeting and decide for themselves what teams would get relegated and promoted and what the league structure for 1998 would be. What is SWC doing? They are meant to be running the professional soccer set up in this state. The clubs need to know what's happening before the season starts, not after it, when is SWC going to wake up to themselves??

Now the latest from Soccer West Coast, they have now cut 4 league teams from membership of SWC just so the can change their league formations once again, one of the teams cut, University, was perhaps expected to be kicked out, seeming that they're the only club that doesn't have their pitch enclosed and that they still owe SWC money due to fines because they were the only team that didn't field an under 18's team. But for the other three, I think its a joke how SWC can just get rid of them. North Lake Espanol have one of the best grounds in the state, with facilities that could match almost any of the Premier League clubs, but they have been cut, along with Leeming Strikers, a team that has a fine home ground and a club which was formed from a merger of Canning Corinthian and Melville Alemannia in 1993. SWC is encouraging teams to merge, merge to kick them out it seems. The other team they have cut is Balga, a club that has one of the largest clubrooms in the First Division, it also has produced many juniors into top class players for top flight clubs in the late 1970's and early 1980's and a team that brought star import players like Gaven Tait and Paul Gaffney from Scotland to WA and had local star players play for them like Ray Ilott, Willy Kelly, Steven Sceats, Tom Burke and Steve Whitehead in the mid 1980's. Why is SWC getting rid of these clubs for no good reason?? These four clubs are expected to play in a new league under WAASSA next year if SWC gets their way.

This comes after SWC President Nick MacCallum and general manager Ian Bird resigned. John Galal has been elected the new President of Soccer West Coast. Lets hope this change in leadership gives all Western Australian local soccer clubs a fair go.



Floreat Athena clinched its first league title since 1988, when it defeated Stirling Macedonia 3-0 at the Velodrome to finish three points ahead of Fremantle City on the league table, and a week later Floreat Athena won another trophy when they won the Divella Cup. Fremantle City finished as runners up, a great achievement by the club after being promoted from the First Division last season. Sorrento had its best year since 1989 finishing in third sport, while the defending champions Inglewood Falcons finished in fourth position. Stirling Macedonia had its worst finish in years, finishing third from bottom, while Kingsway Olympic and Swan I.C. finished in the bottom two for the second year in a row.

A few weeks later, Southside United took out the First Division title, it was the club's first league title in its own right, after the merger of Gosnells/Ferndale United and Kelmscott Roos in 1995, but will they be promoted to the Premier League? and will Kingsway Olympic and Swan I.C. be relegated to the First Division? nobody really knows. It seams that no one can get an answer from Soccer West Coast.



Floreat Athena meet arch-rivals Stirling Macedonia this weekend in the final of the Divella Cup. Although they have already lifted the Premier League and Night Series titles, Athena will need to lift their game after scrapping over the line against bottom side Swan I.C. in the semi-finals. Athena opened the scoring in the 1st minute but failed to go on with the job and stamp their authority over the game. The young Swan side refused to lie down and equalised through Steve Law after 25 minutes. Swan searched desperately for a second goal before the end of the opening period only to fall behind shortly before the break when Jason Smith netted after being set-up by James Afkos. Macedonia needed penalties to get past Fremantle City after their semi-final meeting remained level at the end of extra-time. Both goalkeepers were outstanding in the penalty shoot-out with Macedonia's Phil Triandes rising to the occasion with several sensational saves to see his side into the Cup decider. The Divella Cup Final gets underway from 3.00pm at Bayswater Oval.



Perth Glory may have claimed victory by 4-1 over a Soccer West Coast XI at Hilton Reserve today, but the club heads into the final week of preparations for the 1997/98 National Soccer League with five players under injury clouds. Centre-half Gavin Wilkinson (hamstring), attacking midfielder Paul Strudwick (calf) and the versatile Doug Ithier (blisters) all limped out of today's while goalkeeper Tony Franken (groin) and left wing-back Scott Miller (knee) did not even start the friendly. Despite the injury list coach Gary Marocchi is confident all five will be available for Saturday's opening game of the season against Carlton.

Glory took the lead 10 minutes into their final pre-season hit-out through trialist Gabriel Gonzalez who turned sharply to drill a stunning left-foot shot from 18-metres past goalkeeper Mike Harkness. Paul McVittie made it 2-0 with an explosive 20-metre drive after 21 minutes, and Gonzalez was involved again five minutes later when his cross from the right was nudged in from close-range by Strudwick. Carl McDarby got the SWC side back in the hunt in the 34th minute by nipping in to score after a defensive mix-up between Peter Vukmirovic and Glory custodian Tommy Maras. But Bobby Despotovski put the seal on a solid opening half for Glory when he raced on to a precision pass from Gareth Naven to expertly slide the ball past Harkness. The goal of the afternoon came six minutes into the second half when SWC attacker Simon Harland volleyed brilliantly from the top of the 18-yard box to reduce the deficit.



The Western Australian Soccer Site commences.


TO GO WHERE NO CLUB HAS GONE BEFORE (from the "West Australian")

David Hill was right. The Soccer Australia chairman who pushed for the sport to leave behind its ethnic affiliations - and was criticised for doing so by the very clubs whose supporters he sought to broaden - can point to Perth Glory as evidence. The National Soccer League's newest addition is proof that soccer can invade an Australia Rules stronghold such as Perth - if only while the country's biggest code is sleeping. Twelve months ago the thought of cramming 17,000 spectators into Perth Oval to be entertained by 22 men was beyond the expectations of even the most optimistic soccer lover. After all, the NSL's biggest drawcard last year was Sydney's UTS Olympic, whose average home gate was just over 6,000.

Hill must have been bursting inside when he watched Glory snatch a last-minute winner against the Melbourne Knights in a five-goal thriller at Perth Oval two and a half weeks ago. The crowd of 14,700 erupted as Scott Miller's blast found the back of the net and Hill smiled the "I told you so" smile. He always knew soccer could appeal to the wider Australian audience and the Glory's record gates - average 11,000 and climbing - are his vindication.

But even before coach Gary Marocchi sent his boys to battle against UTS Olympic in the season's opener, soccer's war against division had already been setting up an emphatic victory. With only one NSL team in town, the fans had no option but to put aside their differences if they wanted to watch the best players in Australia. Thousands of Brits chant and rant under the Shed. Italians, Croats, Serbs, Spaniards and Greeks raise their fists in excited celebration around the ground. Pensioners, fathers, mothers and brothers all dance as the Glory puts together another victory. Different backgrounds, but a common purpose. The Glory represents all of cosmopolitan Perth and its followers have fused into a tribe that worships the world's most popular game.

The success of the team on the pitch is another significant contributor to the overall success of the new club. As a finals contender, the Glory has succeeded beyond expectation and in the process has won the respect of eastern States opposition who had probably been expecting the newcomer to put up little resistance. After seven home games, the Glory phenomenon is well established and the club is streaking ahead in the attendance stakes. More than 17,000 packed into Perth Oval last Sunday to see its latest encounter against Marconi. WA Institute of Sport director Wally Foreman, an astute observer of sport, agreed soccer had previously been retarded by ethnic differences and the Glory's decision to go it alone, without allaying itself to any particular group, was the right one. There's no doubt Perth Glory has arrived to stay.

Back to the Archived News Index

This page was last updated on the 31st December 1997