HOPE AND GLORY (from "the Sunday Times")
There's an air of religious-like fervour at Perth Oval. It's there in the wailed anthems and the songs of praise from The Hill, a tight little enclave where the jam-packed faithful give a public declaration of faith, amid raised fists. It's there when the seated crowd on the nearby grassy bank rise like clockwork and, en masse, salute the arrival of the team - their team - in a display of obediance and affection rarely seen outside a religious gathering. And it's there in the name of the Glory. But for the presence of an enterprising, sports-minded man from an advertising agency who was at the birth, it could so easily have been Perth Rams, Bulldogs or Demons.
But calling it the Glory, a name which summoned up visions of a glorious future as the top club in the National Soccer League, was different. And so was the decision on the colour combination - purple and orange - which declared that Perth Glory owed nothing to any group in a city where many clubs had traditionally relied on ethnic support. Purple and orange together on shirts - billboards and merchandise - and Perth Glory sells more merchandise than the rest of the N.S.L. clubs combined - was a bold declaration of difference. And what of the logo, an orange sunburst topped with nine spikes? Some said it looked like a crown more than a sunburst but if, as predicted by knowledgeable observers, the Glory goes close to winning the N.S.L. in its third year, no one will be complaining about a case of mistaken identity.
It's match-day on a Sunday afternoon at Perth Oval - home of the East Perth Football Club where 2,000 is a good attendance dueing the football season - and the gates open at 1.30pm for a 4.00pm kick-off. The fans, many sporting shirts in the colours of English teams - West Ham, Aston Villa and Manchester United - pour in seeking one of the prized blue bench seats in the Mazda Family Stand. Two hours later the crowd has swollen to 17,000 and the coach Bernd Stange, tall, slim and grey-haired, walks across the pitch to give the ritual wave to those on the Hill. Stange, who once coached the East German team, is one of the better-paid employees of businessman Nick Tana, the major shareholder in Perth Glory, who also runs fast-food retailer Chicken Treat. Insiders estimate Stange's salary, which is partly performance-based, at about $150,000.
Tana, who is 47 and slightly overweight, has his own pre-match ritual. A pre-match walk around the pitch and a half-time visit to the Hill - occassionally to plead with the faithful to use the F-word less. The relationship between Tana and Stange, once that that of boss and employee, is becoming one of friendship. "He's sincere," says Tana, once inside-left for suburban Tuart Hill Soccer Club. "He's passionate. He's got an aura about him. He talks about nature, the grass and the birds. He's almost a freak." In a crowded collection of sponsorship signs it's difficult to ignore the Chicken Treat symbol - "the best tucker around" - according to a loudspeaker announcement. And, as if on cue, Nick Tana, who still enjoys his barbecued chicken and chips, heads for his blue bench seat in the chairman's box beneath the Top Top sign. "Sponsors," he says ingoring his own company's role as a major sponsor, "get the armchairs."
But as Perth Glory seeks the glittering prize of an N.S.L. championship, its success has sparked new rivalries in a which, in W.A., has been plagued by rivalries for much of its 100 years. The 20 players making up the Glory squad represent soccer's elite in W.A. They are the highest paid, the best trained, the most admired. Most of the 1,400 part-time professionals under the umbrella of Soccer West Coast - who earn anything between $50 and $300 a game - have little chance of making the squad. But Soccer West Coast wants to be seen as the natural breeding ground of Glory players - and accuses the Glory of playing foul.
S.W.C. general manager Paul Tombides claims the Glory is all but ignoring the talent available. He says that Glory's squad - including goalkeeper Danny Milosevic who, on a package worth $125,000 a season, is said to be Glory's highest paid player - less than half are products of S.W.C. "Players in Soccer West Coast have only a slim chance of ever reaching the top of the pyramid," says Tombides, who would like to see six players who have graduated through S.W.C in Glory's line-up each week. "We're virtually competitors with the Glory and we shouldn't be," says Tombides, whose offices in the Perry Lakes Stadium is, ironically, next door to that of the Glory's administrators. Another soccer administrator in W.A., angered by Healthway's financial support of the Glory, says "The Glory will only do anything if there's a quid in it for them." Glory's percieved snub is behind moves by a number of clubs within S.W.C. to bid for the next N.S.L. license in Perth to showcase S.W.C. players at the top level.
But Tana dismisses suggestions that the Glory has ignored local players and cites Scott Miller, Tony Carbone, Scott Halpin, Paul Strudwick, Craig Naven, Vas Kalogeracos and Bobby Despotovski as match day regulars who have all done time at S.W.C. clubs. "Soccer West Coast can't compete with us," says Tana, visibly riled at suggestions that the Glory isn't playing fair. "Our success should automatically flow on. Soccer West Coast has to ride on our backs, but instead everything is conflict and confrontation. With all due respect I don't care about individual clubs. I do care about the development of the game in W.A." Tana's suggestion is that S.W.C. and the clubs should direct resources into a summer competition for the top players aged between 16 and 23 instead of, in his view, "paying players of 30 or 35 years old who aren't going anywhere." He dismisses talk of a second N.S.L. club in Perth as premature, saying it would reduce sponsorship and crowds and doom one team to be the poor relation.
Glory's general manager, Roger Lefort, says "People think Perth Glory is a gold mine and thy're wrong. It's not a cheap exercise and our guys on the park have to make a good living." Glory's players earn an average of $45,000 for the season, although some - like John Markovski and Robert Trajkovski, both imports from Carlton - are nearer $80,000. Tana, who says that despite record crowds and burgeoning sales of merchandise, Glory makes a profit of less than $100,000 a year, and has a simple definition of full-time work. "If you can go out and get a mortgage you're in full-time work," says Tana. "Our guys are full-timers. Minnows can knock off whales in this business but for how long?"
Despite internal rumblings which continue to hurt the game in W.A. - and which may be resolved by a State Government review currently under way - Tombides has no doubt that Glory is about to emerge as a major force in the N.S.L. As to this season's prospects, he says "Put your house on a top six finish, maybe even a top four." And up on the Hill the anthems of hope, the songs of joy, continue to echo for a club searching for glory on a chicken wing and a prayer.
1998 WA CHAMPIONS - WESTERN KNIGHTS
The Western Knights won its first ever league championship with a 3-1 win over Sorrento at Dorrien Gardens yesterday. The Knights opened the scoring after 12 minutes when Singeorzan scored from a loose ball. The Knights went two goals up 4 minutes later when a Ray Marinovic cross enabled Singeorzan to volley home his 2nd goal of the game. Trim Morgan then put the Knights up 3-0 in the 23rd minute after another Marinovic cross.
Sorrento tried desperately to get back in the game, but the sold Knights defence stood firm until Greer got one back with a powerful long rage header near half time. Sorrento kept on looking for the 2nd goal, but they couldn't unsettle the Knights and the game finished 3-1, which gave the league championship to the Western Knights for the first time.
Rockingham City become the first division champion of champions after they defeated Wanneroo City in the early game yesterday. Graeme Mathews scored for Rockingham after 9 minutes but Tony Marshall equalised in the 2nd half. Andrew Cornwall then clinched the Grand Final and the first division top 5 for Rockingham with an 85th minute winner.
LATE GOAL PUTS SORRENTO INTO GRAND FINAL
Sorrento are only one game away from winning its first state championship as it beat Fremantle City 2-1 in the Preliminary Final at the Kiev Sports Ground yesterday. Fremantle City took the lead in the 24th minute, when veteran Fremantle striker Peter Murphy, who retired yesterday, scored with a header from a Joe Vaz free kick. Sorrento dominated much of the second half, but wasn't able to break through the Fremantle City defence until Simon Harland got the equaliser that Sorrento deserved in the 77th minute. Then with the game poised to go to extra time, another veteran, Trevor Morgan scored in the 89th minute to seal the game.
Sorrento now go on to play the Western Knights in next week's Grand Final at Dorrien Gardens. The Western Knights would have to be slight favourites as they are the minor premiers, but Sorrento who have come from 4th place to make the Grand Final have won three elimination play-off games in a row to get to the championship decider and wont be easy to beat.
Wanneroo City made their way to the first division Grand Final by defeating Ashfield/Bunbury 3-2 in extra time yesterday. Wanneroo have come from 5th place and will now meet 2nd placed Rockingham City in the Grand Final for the first division championship. Even though Ashfield/Bunbury have missed the Grand Final, they will still most likely be promoted to the Premier League, being league champions will help their cause, and they have much better facilities at their home ground than Wanneroo or Rockingham.
GLORY LICK THEIR WOUNDS AFTER DEFEATING STATE SIDE
Perth Glory coach Bernd Stange was left shaking his head after this afternoon's Charity Shield victory over the West Australian State side. Scott Miller and Vasko Trpcevski are both in doubt for the opening game of the National Soccer League season next week after limping out of the 'friendly' which Glory won 2-0 at Arena Joondalup in front of around 3,000 spectators. With five players away on international duty and Paul Strudwick, John Carbone and Jamie Harnwell already out injured, Glory included Floreat Athena defender Boza Erakovic in the starting side while Perth S.C. midfielder Vince Tana was a late addition to the bench.
The match was only 27 minutes old when Glory's injury list lengthened after Trpcevski was caught by a crunching tackle from Paul McVittie. Trpcevski, who was replaced by Tana, suffered knee ligament damage in the challenge and is looking at up to six weeks on the sidelines as a result. In a bruising encounter Glory were by far the more creative side and deservedly took the lead after 40 minutes when Bobby Despotovski earnt the side a free-kick which set up Michael Garcia to blast into the roof of the net. After the break Glory continued to dominate with the lively Vas Kalogeracos unlucky not to score with a couple of headers. The State team strung together some promising moves but were unable to convert their chances, none more so than forward Trim Morgan who let Glory off the hook with several close-range misses.
Miller was immediately taken off after being chopped from behind by Peter Vukmirovic in the 72nd minute that left the flying wing-back with a badly bruised calf muscle. The hard-working Kalogeracos teed-up Glory's second goal when he ran on to a superb pass from Bobby Despotovski before laying the ball off to substitute John Markovski who calmly steered it home from close-range in 89 minutes. Following the game Stange said he expected a tough encounter but thought today's clash was too physical at times for a so-called friendly. "For me the game was too hard," he said. "We weren't able to show what we can do but it was a good training exercise and the important thing was that we won."
KNIGHTS ADVANCE TO GRAND FINAL
The Western Knights are only one win away from their first WA league championship after beating Fremantle City 2-0 in the double chance Second Semi-Final at Macedonia Park yesterday. Goals from Ray Marinovic in the 22nd minute and Trim Morgan in the dying seconds settled the match. The Knights now move straight into the Grand Final on the 11th October, while Fremantle City play in the Preliminary Final in 2 weeks.
Sorrento ended Floreat Athena's hopes of back to back championships with a 1-0 win in the Elimination Final at Macedonia Park on Saturday. Todd Harnwell was the goal scorer just after the half time break. Sorrento now go on to meet Joondalup City in next week's First Semi-Final, the winner goes on to meet Fremantle City, while the loser will be eliminated. With Floreat Athena out of the finals race, it means a team which has never won the title before will be WA Champions for the first time.
First Division Champions Ashfield/Bunbury suffered a blow to their champion of champions aspirations yesterday after a 3-1 loss to Rockingham City in the Second Semi-Final. Graeme Matthews got 2 goals and Stephen Stewart scored the other for Rockingham, while Steven Rogers replied for Ashfield/Bunbury. Wanneroo City advance to next week's First Semi-Final against Swan I.C. after a 2-0 win over Queens Park in Saturday's Elimination Final.
The WAASSA league season ended yesterday, with Fremantle United ending their league championship winning season with a 2-1 win over arch rivals Shamrock Rovers. The Beechboro White Eagles won only their third game of the season as they beat WA Maccabi 1-0, the loss means WA Maccabi will be relegated to the first division along with the Beechboro White Eagles. Morley Windmills ended a disappointing season as they thrashed Forrestfield United 5-0, Kwinana United finished runners up with a 3-0 win over Mandurah City, Hamersley Rovers were too good for Murdoch University in a 3-1 win and Canning/Langford ended the season on a good note as they defeated the Sorrento Amateurs 2-0.
South Perth United came from 2 goals down to beat Balga 4-2 to take out the WAASSA First Division championship and promotion to the Premier Division, they will be joined in the WAASSA Premier Division by Spearwood Dalmatinac which beat the Joondalup City Amateurs 3-1. Perth Azzurri finished in third place as they defeated University 3-2, Colo Colo and Lynwood Chile fought out a 0-0 draw in their big derby game, Cloverdale Chindits defeated Naval Base Wescoa 1-0, Belmont Villa escaped relegation with a 5-1 thrashing of the Stirling Macedonia Amateurs and Subiaco sent the Perth Royals down to the Second Division with a 3-1 win.
North Perth United won the WAASSA Second Division title and will be joined by second placed Cockburn United in the First Division next season. The Kingsway Olympic Amateurs took out the Third Division championship and Morley Golden Lily were the league winners in the Fourth Division.
JOONDALUP WINS BORAL CHALLENGE CUP
Joondalup City won its first major trophy since entering the professional ranks in 1995 yesterday, when it defeated Kingsway Olympic 1-0 in the 105th minute of extra time. Veteran striker Carl McDarby scored the extra time golden goal with a powerful header which gave Olympic keeper Cory Hugo no chance.
It was Kingsway Olympic's first cup final since 1986 when Kelmscott won 2-1 with 2 late goals and the loss to Joondalup finished a disappointing season for Olympic when it just managed to avoid relegation.
Joondalup City now have the chance of doing what Floreat Athena did last year, and that is to win the league and cup double. Joondalup play the winner of the Elimination Final between Floreat Athena and Sorrento in their first play-off match.
Floreat Athena won the Reserves Cup with a 4-0 win over the Inglewood Falcons and Ashfield/Bunbury beat Perth 2-0 in the Under 18's.
FREMANTLE UNITED - WAASSA CHAMPIONS
Fremantle United took out the WAASSA Premier Division Championship last week when it defeated Hamersley Rovers 3-0 which gave the club an unbeatable 7 point lead. It's Fremantle United's first championship since 1994.
In latest results yesterday, Fremantle United lost only its 2nd game of the season after taking out the championship last week, when relegation threatened Morley Windmills won 3-0. WA Maccabi won 3-2 over Canning/Langford which keeps Maccabi's hopes of avoiding relegation alive. The Beechboro White Eagles who are already doomed to first division were thrashed once again with Kwinana United running out 8-1 winners. In other games, Murdoch University moved to 4th place after defeating Mandurah City 3-0, Shamrock Rovers beat Hamersley Rovers 4-1 and the Sorrento Amateurs had a 2-1 win over Forrestfield United.
The WAASSA First Division looks set for an interesting finish on both ends of the table after yesterday's results. League leaders South Perth United just managed to beat relegation threatened Perth Royals 4-3, while Spearwood Dalmatinac and the Joondalup City Amateurs still have a chance to take out the championship with wins over University and Belmont Villa respectively. In other results, the Stirling Macedonia Amateurs, who are now relegated the WAASSA Second Division, lost 2-1 to Naval Base Wescoa, Lynwood Chile and Subiaco drew 3-3, Cloverdale Chindits ended Perth Azzurri's hopes of winning the title with a 1-0 win and Balga eased their relegation fears with a 5-1 thrashing of Colo Colo.
South Perth United will win the title next week if it beats Balga. Spearwood Dalmatinac and the Joondalup City Amateurs meet each other next week and a win by either could still give it the title if Balga, who still needs at least a point to make sure of avoiding relegation, manages to defeat South Perth. Belmont Villa and the Perth Royals will be fighting to stay in the league, the Perth Royals has to defeat Subiaco, or at least draw, as long as Belmont Villa lose to bottom side the Stirling Macedonia Amateurs.
North Perth United are leading the WAASSA Second Division and have already won promotion to the first division, North Perth will be joined by either Rochester or Cockburn United.
FREMANTLE CITY GET DOUBLE CHANCE
Fremantle got the all important double chance and 2nd place on the league table after a 2-1 win over Sorrento at Fremantle Oval yesterday, the win means Fremantle City will take on the Western Knights on the 27th September in the second semi-final, with the winner going straight into the Grand Final. Sorrento finished 4th and will now meet defending league champions Floreat Athena in the elimination final on the 20th September. Floreat Athena sneaked into the top 5 thanks to a come from behind win over Cockburn City. Floreat Athena now must win 4 of their play off games in a row if they want to win back to back championships.
Three teams were fighting against relegation on the weekend, Kingsway Olympic lost 4-2 to Joondalup City, meaning a win for the Dianella White Eagles would be enough to send Olympic down, however Stirling Macedonia, who also had a chance of being relegated, defeated Dianella 2-1 to send them to the bottom of the table, which will most likely bring relegation.
Ashfield/Bunbury won the First Division Championship on the weekend with a 4-0 win over Armadale Park, star striker Jimmy Provan scored two of the goals. Rockingham City were too good for the Perth City/Leeming Strikers after a 2-0 win and finished just behind Ashfield/Bunbury in 2nd place. Swan I.C. defeated Wanneroo City 3-0 and finished 3rd, Queens Park are in 4th place after they thrashed North Lake Espanol 8-0. Wanneroo City make up the top 5 in 5th place.
KNIGHTS WIN MINOR PREMIERSHIP
The Western Knights took out the minor premiership on Saturday even though they lost 2-0 to relegation threatened Kingsway Olympic. Fremantle City, who still had a chance of winning the minor premiership lost to defending league champions Floreat Athena 2-1. With one game remaining of the regular season the Knights have an unbeatable 4 point lead on top the league table, however with the top 5 deciding the league winners this season the Knights still have a lot of work to do if they want to take out the big one.
There are two vital games next week, Fremantle City play Sorrento, the winner will move to 2nd place and have the very important double chance in the play-offs. The other important game is between 5th placed Cockburn City and 6th placed Floreat Athena at Dalmatinac Park. Floreat Athena have to win to make the top 5 and to have any chance of winning the championship for the 2nd time in a row.
THE RACE TO THE FINALS
The race for a place in the Premier League top 5 is hotting up with only 4 home and away games left in the Soccer West Coast season. The Western Knights have a good chance to take out the minor premiership as they have a 3 point lead over second placed Fremantle City, who beat Dianella White Eagles 4-2 on the weekend. The top 2 teams get the very important double chance in the play-offs. Joondalup City have moved into third with 31 points, while Sorrento and defending champions Floreat Athena are fourth and fifth respectively with 30 points. Inglewood Falcons, Cockburn City and Perth are all just out of the 5 and still have a chance of making the play-offs. Kingsway Olympic are on the bottom with 11 points and remain in serious relegation trouble, along with Stirling Macedonia who are on 12 points.
Three teams are leading the First Division with Swan I.C, Ashfield/Bunbury and Rockingham City all having 42 points, Swan I.C. has the better goal difference after a 7-0 thumping of the Perth City/Leeming Strikers, Rockingham City had a similar win on the weekend with an 8-1 win over bottom of the table Armadale Park. Armadale Park and second bottom North Lake Espanol, who lost 4-1 to Wanneroo City, have had a tough season, and from what I've seen of them, they would struggle in the WAASSA First Division, let alone the WAASSA Premier Division.
Fremantle United and Shamrock Rovers are showing the way in the WAASSA Premier Division, both have 32 points, and have a 4 point lead over third placed Kwinana United. Hamersley Rovers have fallen to fourth after a good start, and fifth placed Mandurah City are slowly making their way up the table. WA Maccabi and the Beechboro White Eagles continue to struggle and will have to start winning games soon to avoid relegation.
Lynwood Chile look set to an immediate return to the WAASSA Premier Division after a 2-0 win over Naval Base Wescoa on the weekend which put them on top of the First Division on equal points with South Perth United who both have 33 points. The Joondalup City Amateurs are close behind on 32 points, with Spearwood Dalmatinac in fourth place on 27 points. Balga are unbeaten in 5 games and are slowly making their way up the table after a poor start, while University have jumped to mid-table after a 2-1 win over the Perth Royals. The Stirling Macedonia Amateurs and Belmont Villa are struggling to avoid relegation to the WASSA Second Division with a 5 point gap between the relegation zone and the 12th placed Perth Royals.
HALPIN TO PLAY FOR STIRLING MACEDONIA
Perth Glory star Troy Halpin has been lent to Stirling Macedonia until mid August, when he returns to pre-season training with the Glory. Halpin is keen to test his fitness after the heel operations he had, however, he will have to wait until after the quarter finals of the Boral Challenge Cup on the 15th July to play because of a suspension he received when he got booked in the Glory's last game of the 1997-98 season.
Stirling Macedonia, who have been in the top flight since 1980, have only recently appointed state coach Eric Williams to help the club get off the bottom of the table, with the league season already passed the half way mark, Macedonia are in serious trouble with only 2 wins and 2 draws. However, if the club does finish bottom, Soccer West Coast will most likely save the day and make sure they don't get relegated.
CUP DRAWS ANNOUNCED
The cup draws have taken place for the Boral Challenge Cup and the Mitre Cup recently, they are as follows:
Boral Challenge Cup:
(To be played underlights on 15th July or 29th July)
Perth vs Rockingham City
Kingsway Olympic vs Sorrento
Joondalup City vs Cockburn City
Stirling Macedonia vs Western Knights
(To be played on 5th July)
Naval Base Wescoa vs Lynwood Chile
Shamrock Rovers vs Hamersley Rovers
Forrestfield United vs Gosnells City
Colo Colo vs Perth Azzurri
Cockburn City Amateurs vs Cloverdale Chindits
Mandurah City vs Morley Windmills
Fremantle United vs Carlisle
Murdoch University vs Singleton Wanderers or Spearwood Dalmatinac
Shamrock Rovers were held to a 3-3 draw against Forrestfield United at Hartfield Park yesterday in the WAASSA Premier Division match of the round. Forrestfield, who had a surprise 5-3 win over Hamersley Rovers last week, looked to have all but lost as the end of the game neared with Shamrock 3-1 up, but 2 goals in the last 5 minutes tied the score at 3-3 and gave Forrestfield the handy point they wanted. In other games yesterday, league leaders Hamersley Rovers stayed on top with a 3-0 win over the Beechboro White Eagles, Canning/Langford and Fremantle United fought out a 0-0 draw, Kwinana United were too good for WA Maccabi in a 3-0 away win, the Sorrento Amateurs edged out Murdoch University 3-2 and Morley Windmills continues to struggle with 4-1 home loss to Mandurah City.
The Joondalup City Amateurs continues to lead the WAASSA First Division with a 5-1 win over Subiaco, while Lynwood Chile moved into 2nd place with a 2-0 away win over Cloverdale Chindits. 1997 Soccer West Coast clubs, University and Balga, continue to struggle in their new lower league. University drew with Naval Base Wescoa 2-2 to remain in 12th place, while Balga, still searching for their 1st league win since the 5th July, 1997 when they beat the Stirling Suns, remain on the bottom after a 2-1 away loss to the Perth Royals, however with last years coach back in charge and some quality players returning back next week, things should start to improve.
LAZARIDIS SCORES IN 4-2 WIN
A crowd of about 2,000 people saw Stan Lazaridis score a goal in the West Ham Academy side's 4-2 win over the Western Australian state team at Dorrien Garderns last night. Former Perth Glory striker Scott Halpin scored the opener for WA after 9 minutes, but Lazaridis equalised for the Academy side on 18 minutes. Richard Garcira made is 2-1 for the Hammers after 21 minutes before Scot Halpin scored his 2nd goal of the game to put the score back on level terms, but goals by Carl McDarby and Trim Morgan made it 4-2 for the Hammers.
THE WEEKEND ACTION
Fremanltle City are back on top of the McInerney Ford Premier League after trouncing the Dianella White Eagles 5-1, the goal scorers for Fremantle were Graig Surtees, Gary Farina, Michael Micro, Robin Dyers and Abdul Kamara. Sorrento scored a freak goal when it fought out a 1-1 draw with Inglewood Falcons at Percy Doyle Reserve, both teams have 14 points and are sitting at 2nd and 3rd place on the league table. The Western Knights also have 14 points and are 4th but are behind on goal difference after a 1-1 draw with Cockburn City. Floreat Athena had a shock 3-1 loss to Kingsway Olympic but they still have 13 points and make up the top 5. Stirling Macedonia and the Bayswater City Panthers remain at the bottom on the ladder after failing to win on the weekend.
Ashfield/Bunbury and Rockingham City continue to dominate the First Division after winning again on Saturday. Both teams have 19 points with relegated Swan I.C. in 3rd place who lost ground from the 2 top teams when they could only draw 1-1 with Perth City/Leeming Strikers. Queens Park and Wanneroo City make out the First Division top 5. North Lake Espanol and Armadale Park continue to struggle on the bottom with only 1 win each.
LAZARIDIS IN STATE GAME
West Ham star, Stan Lazaridis arrived back in Perth yesterday after the completion of the 1997/98 English season on the weekend and will play for the West Ham academy side against WA at Dorrian Garderns on Sunday, along with West Ham's other Western Australian players Chris Coyne, Jamie Coyne and Richard Garcia. The game will officially launch the West Ham academy which is based at first division club Wanneroo City, kick off is at 5pm.
Today's Premier League action saw 26 goals scored, including an amazing game when the Bayswater City Panthers drew 6-6 with Kingsway Olympic at Bayswater Oval. The result is even more remarkable considering Olympic were 5-1 up with only 20 minutes to go. With the game looking to be all but over, Bayswater came back thanks to hatrick by Marc Wingell, the Panthers could have even won the game with a penalty, but Wingell missed from the spot. Inglewood Falcons were also on a goal feast when they easily beat Stirling Macedonia in a 7-0 drubbing.
In other results, Floreat Athena defeated Sorrento in the top of table clash with Peter Coci scoring the only goal, Cockburn City were too good for Perth, winning 2-1, while the Dianella White Eagles beat Joondalup City with the same scoreline. The Western Knights meet Fremantle City tomorrow at the Croatian Sports Centre in Gwellup, a win for Fremantle will see them on the top of the league.
NEW PREMIER LEAGUE SPONSORS
McInerney Ford are the new sponsors of the WA Premier League, this comes after Boral's commitment to sponsor the Soccer West Coast Cup and Sony for the player of the month awards. McInerney Ford have sponsored club soccer before, with Balga in the mid 1980's and more recently with the Inglewood Falcons. They are expected to pour as much as $100,000 into the game for the next 3 years.
WAASSA have also got their fair share of league and cup sponsors this year, these include Austwest Homes, OLA Sports Cover, OLA Net Connections, British Soccer Week, Lifecare, Global One, Perth Glory, Access Home Loans and Mitre.
NEW SPONSORSHIP FOR SOCCER WEST COAST CUP
Soccer West Coast has found a new sponsor for its knockout cup for 1998. The WA building materials company, Boral, will sponsor it this year and has an option to extend it for a further 2 years, in a deal worth about $8000. It will be known as the Boral Challenge Cup after previously being sponsored by D'Orsogna and more recently Divella. Its disappointing, however, that there are no WAASSA sides in the cup this year, having a knockout tournament only between the 24 Soccer West Coast clubs is not much of what it use to be like when it was called the D'Orsogna Cup, maybe the asking price for the amateur clubs to enter it is much too high, but what else can we expect from Soccer West Coast? The 2nd round of the cup takes place on Monday with 4 games, while the Premier League teams will enter in the cup in the 3rd Round on Foundation Day on the 1st June.
Meanwhile, Sony will sponsor some of the Soccer West Coast awards this season, including a player of the month award along with awards for the goalkeeper, defender, midfielder and striker of the season, the sponsorship package is worth about $5000.
FREMANTLE THRASH JOONDALUP
It wasn't a good start for Joondalup City's new signing and state team star Jason Smith, who this week signed for the club from Floreat Athena, his new club got thrashed today by Fremantle City in a 6-0 result. The goal scorers for Fremantle were 2 by Micro and a 1 a piece for Clissold, Colova, Dyer and Bourne. Fremantle City lead the table with 3 wins out 3 and having scored 16 goals with only 2 against.
Meanwhile, Sorrento are keeping up the pressure on Fremantle City at the top of the league table, after they kept their 100% winning record today with a 4 -2 win over the Bayswater City Panthers. In other Premier League games today, Floreat Athena defeated Stirling Macedonia 1-0, Cockburn City beat Kingsway Olympic with the same scoreline, Inglewood Falcons were too good for Dianella White Eagles in a 4-0 win and the Western Knights won 2-0 at home to Perth.
GLORY STAR SIGNS FOR THE KNIGHTS
Perth Glory star Paul McVittie has signed for the Western Knights after he became a free agent when he came out of contract with the Glory after the NSL season and was not offered an extension. Several NSL clubs, including the Gippsland Falcons wanted to sign McVittie, but he was not prepared to leave WA. McVittie previously played for local WA clubs Stirling Macedonia and the Bayswater City Panthers before he played with the Perth Glory, and he should help the Western Knights quest for a top 5 place this year.
An 8 goal thriller between Beechboro White Eagles and Sorrento Breakers was the highlight of the opening day of the WAASSA season on Easter Monday, with Beechboro winning 5 goals to 3. In other Premier Division games, Shamrock Rovers defeated Morley Windmills 4-0, WA Maccabi had a 2-1 win at Mandurah City, Hamersley Rovers were to good for Kwinana United in a 1-0 result, and newly promoted Forrestfield United and Curtin University both lost their opening games in the Premier Division to Canning/Langford and Fremantle United respectively.
The WAASSA First Division has been strengthened to 14 teams with the arrival of 1997 Soccer West Coast teams, Balga and University. Both teams, in an amateur league for the first time in over 20 years, met each other in the opening league game, with University coming out 5-1 winners, with former Balga and Inglewood Falcons player Maurice Pascall scoring 4 brilliant goals for University, with the skill he showed on Monday, you've got to wonder why a Soccer West Coast club hasn't picked him up for this season.
SOCCER WEST COAST CUP
The first round of the Soccer West Coast Cup starts tomorrow, with 4 games, they are:
Armadale Park vs Wanneroo City
Perth City/Leeming Strikers vs Ashfield/Bunbury
Rockingham City vs Balcatta
Southside United vs Queens Park
The other teams have a bye, while the Premier League teams don't enter until the third round. Also, the WAASSA league season starts tomorrow.
PREMIER LEAGUE XI WIN MEMORIAL GAME
A Premier League XI defeated the Western Australian state team by 4 goals to 3, in front of about 2,000 people at Percy Doyle Reserve today, in memory of 2 Sorrento Under 18ís players that died in car accident, with all the proceeds going to the families.
World Cup referee Eddie Lennie refereed the 7 goal match, the scorers for the state team were Carl McDarby and Steve Bourne, who scored twice. The Premier League XI scorers were Alan Pottier, Paul Simmonds and Alan Hunter got 2 goals.
THE HAMMERS NOW AT WANNEROO CITY
West Ham United, which set up a three year development program at Kingsway Olympic have recently changed clubs and have now set up the program with first division side Wanneroo City. It now means Kingsway Olympic will keep its old name, while Wanneroo City will keep its name, but will trade under the name Kingsway Hammers and play in West Ham colours.
Read the 1998 Season Preview.
PLAY-OFFS TO DECIDE THE LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP
After an absence of 7 years, the top 5 play-offs are back and will decide the league championship this season. A play-off system was used from 1989 to 1991, before going back to the first past the post system in 1992. Defending league champions Floreat Athena will probably not be to happy with the move, considering they finished on top of the league table between 1989 and 1991 but lost out to Perth Italia in the play-offs on all 3 occasions and even missed out on a Grand Final appearance in 1990 when they lost both games in the finals after going through the regular season undefeated.
This is the first positive step taken by Soccer West Coast in a while, a play-off system will generate more interest for the clubs and supporters, which is what they do in the National Soccer League and that still gives Perth Glory some hope of landing the championship which keeps everyone interested, hopefully this new move by SWC will bring more people to watch local games as the season progresses.
PERTH - NIGHT SERIES WINNERS
Perth made it 7 wins out of 7 games to clinch the Premier League OLA Sports Cover Night Series title with a 1-0 win over Fremantle City. Perth's player-coach Alan Pottier got the winner after 65 minutes when a Damien Rhoades cross was punched by Fremantle's goalkeeper Giacoma Boranga and fell nicely to Alan Pottier who put the ball in the net. Fremantle City had most of the chances during the first half but met solid opposition in the Perth defence. Fremantle tried to put more pressure on the Perth goal after Perth took the lead but they couldn't find the equaliser, so Perth took out the match and the Night Series title and are now looking good for the winter season league championship.
Ashfield/Bunbury took out the First Division Night Series final with a 7-3 win over Rockingham City, Savo Garic scored a hat-trick for the winners. Ashfield/Bunbury now look to be clear favourites to win the First Division league championship this season after impressive performances during the night series.
NIGHT SERIES SEMI-FINALS
Perth's winning streak in the OLA Sports Cover Night Series continued when it defeated defending champions Floreat Athena 2-1 in extra time. Floreat Athena first took the lead after 9 minutes thanks to a goal by John Carbone and Rob Perruzza equalised in 15 minutes for Perth with player-coach Allan Pottier scoring a sudden death goal winner from the penalty spot in the 5th minute of extra time.
Perth now go on the meet Fremantle City in the final, which defeated Sorrento in the other semi-final. Fremantle City's Peter Murphy scored the winner with a 15 metre drive in the 70th minute. Fremantle played the last 11 minutes of the game with 10 men, when goalkeeper Chris Ball was sent off for taking down Sorrento forward Todd Harnwell just outside the penalty box, however Fremantle managed to hang on for the 1-0 win.
TEAMS FOR 1998
WAASSA have decided to shelve their plans of making a new Saturday competition recently, after a shortage of teams to play in it. The Leeming Strikes have merged with Perth City and with Cockburn United merging with Spearwood Dalmatinac it meant that only 11 teams were left to play in the first division, so North Lake Espanol, another team like Leeming who were kicked out of Soccer West Coast, have been allowed back in to even up the numbers, even though they finished bottom last year, which now means only Balga and University will be forced to play in the Sunday WAASSA leagues.
PREMIER LEAGUE: Bayswater City Panthers, Cockburn City, Dianella White Eagles, Floreat Athena, Fremantle City, Kingsway Hammers, Inglewood Falcons, Joondalup City, Perth, Sorrento, Stirling Macedonia, Western Knights.
FIRST DIVISION: Armadale Park, Ashfield/Bunbury, Balcatta, Bassendean Caledonian, North Lake Espanol, Perth City/Leeming Strikers, Queens Park, Rockingham City, Southside United, Stirling Suns, Swan I.C, Wanneroo City.
Interesting to note here, is that back in 1983 there was 46 semi-professional clubs in Western Australia spread into 4 divisions compared to the 24 teams in 1998 in 2 divisions. There are 15 clubs that are still here today since the 1983 season, which havent merged or gone down to the amateurs, they are: (With their former name in brackets) Dianella White Eagles (Mount Lawley Serbia), Floreat Athena, Fremantle City (Fremantle Benfica), Kingsway Olympic, Inglewood Falcons (Inglewood Kiev), Sorrento, Stirling Macedonia (West Perth Macedonia), Western Knights (North Perth Croatia), Balcatta (Balcatta Etna), Bassendean Caledonian, North Lake Espanol (Leederville Espanol), Queens Park, Rockingham City (Rockingham United), Stirling Suns (East Perth Vardar) and Wanneroo City (Wanneroo).
Balga and University were also playing in 1983 but were relegated to WAASSA this season, of the other 9 Soccer West Coast clubs playing in the 1998 season, they have been made up with mergers during the past years, except for Armadale Park which joined the semi-professional ranks in 1985, Swan I.C. in 1986 and Joondalup City joined in 1995.
One of Western Australia's oldest clubs, Perth City, which was formed in 1893, has decided to merge with the Leeming Strikers to form the Perth City/Leeming Strikers. Perth City had been without a home and had shared grounds with Sorrento and the Kingsway Hammers in recent seasons. Perth City had to find a permanent home ground to make sure of their future with Soccer West Coast and they had little choice but to merge. Rumour first had it that they would merge with Balga but they eventually decided to join forces with the Leeming Strikes, who was formed themselves from a merger when Canning Corinthian and Melville Alemannia combined in 1993 to form Melville Corinthian which later changed to the Leeming Strikers. Leeming were facing the axe from Soccer West Coast this season and had to merge with a Soccer West Coast club such as Perth City to stay in the semi-professional competition.
Also, in a surprise move during the week, Cockburn United and their neighbours Spearwood Dalmatinac have merged to form Cockburn City.
NIGHT SERIES RESULTS AND TABLES NOW ONLINE
Read the 1998 Premier League Night Series results and tables.
NIGHT SERIES SEMI-FINAL MATCH UPS
After several weeks of group matches in the Premier League OLA Sports Cover Night Series, the semi-finalists are now known for next week. Perth finished on top of group A and will now play group B runners up and current league champions Floreat Athena. While in the other semi-final, group B winners Fremantle City will meet Sorrento, who finished second in group A.
WA STATE SQUAD ANNOUNCED
Western Australian state team coach Erick Williams has picked a squad of 25 for a series of games later in the season, with the 1st training session commencing tonight at Macedonia Park, the squad also includes four former Perth Glory players, they are Alan MacKenzie, Craig Naven, Marc Wingell and Doug Itheir.
The squad: Alan MacKenszie, Marc Wingell, Paul Dimmock (Bayswater City Panthers), Doug Ithier, Troy Bernard, Jason Smith (Floreat Athena), Carl McDarby, Toby Wright, Gareth Deig (Joondalup City), Nick Mrdja, Cory Hugo (Kingsway Hammers), Scott Daley, John Mirco (Inglewood Falcons), Rob Puca, Rob Perruzza (Perth), Steve Bourne, Scott Clissold, Alex Christie, Chris Ball, Abdul Kamara (Fremantle City), Mike Harkness, Jamie Harnwell, Simon Harland, Ross Greer (Sorrento), Craig Naven (yet to find a club).
KINGSWAY ALMOST UPSET FREMANTLE CITY
Kingsway Olympic almost pulled off the biggest upset of the night series so far on Friday night after Nick Mrdja put them in front after 7 minutes, however Fremantle substitute Darren Yates came off the bench to score the equaliser late in the second half.
In the early game, Joondalup City were much too strong for Stirling Macedonia, winning the game 4-1 thanks to 2 goals by Gary Murray and a goal each by Carl McDarby and Joe Kelly, Aniello D'Angelo scored the only goal for Stirling Macedonia.
ASHFIELD/BUNBURY THRASH SOUTHSIDE UNITED
Things went from bad to worse for Southside United as they got thrashed 10-0 by Ashfield/Bunbury in the First Division Night Series. After being denied the chance to play in the Premier League this year due to Soccer West Coast, even though they won the First Division last year, Southside United have lost many players, including top goal scorer from last year Jimmy Provern who has moved to Ashfield/Bunbury and played against his old club in that game. From that result it looks like it will be a long hard season for Southside, while Ashfield/Bunbury should be one of the title contenders for the Dirst Division this year.
SOUTSIDE UNITED'S COACH AND PLAYERS LEAVE
After winning the First Division League Championship last year, Southside United had expected to be in the Premier League for 1998, however, now that the players have learnt from SWC that it wont be the case, many have left the club, including coach Frank Longstaff, who has now joined Premier League club Dianella White Eagles. Southside will now most likely struggle to reach the same success they had last year due to SWC's broken promises.
In other news, its rumoured that Perth City and Cockburn United might leave Soccer West Coast and join the new WAASSA Saturday competition with the four teams that were kicked out, North Lake Espanol, Balga, Leeming Strikers and University. Geraldton La Fiamma might also join. WAASSA are hoping to get 10 teams for the competition. The reasons, from what I've heard, why Perth City and Cockburn United might leave Soccer West Coast is because SWC are asking too much money for membership fees which they are having difficulty in affording.
DIANELLA TOO GOOD FOR STIRLING MACEDONIA
Dianella White Eagles commenced its night series campaign with a 2-0 defeat of Stirling Macedonia. Brian Keegan, who was back playing top league soccer for the first time in 6 years scored the first goal straight from a corner kick in the 17th minute. Zoran Milner got the second goal with a powerful drive in the 74th minute. In the other game on the same night, the Kingsway Hammers, thanks to great goalkeeping by Corrie Hugo, was able to keep the Bayswater City Panthers scoreless with a 0-0 score line.
Meanwhile, Joondalup City are poised to sign former Newcastle goalkeeper Gareth Deig, who is eventually hoping to get a contract with Perth Glory.
SOCCER WEST COAST AT IT AGAIN
The Soccer West Coast circus continues, latest news is that president John Galal, who has only been in the job since November, has resigned, with the main reasons being that he didn't get on with three members of the board. SWC is likely to advertise for a new president.
Now to the latest in the relegation saga with Swan I.C, it is now understood that they might not be relegated after all. SWC have now decided to reassess the criteria of Swan I.C. which might now keep them in the Premier League, which would mean a 13 team competition. What the hell is Soccer West Coast doing? They've just had to fight the club in court to keep them out of the Premier League and now they are thinking of keeping them in, this is getting beyond a joke now. Are they going to do the same to First Division Champions Southside United? If Swan I.C. can be reassessed to keep them up then why can't Southside have the same right? The same can be said for clubs like North Lake Espanol, Balga and Leeming Strikers who were kicked out of Soccer West Coast. SWC needs to get its act together now!!
SWAN I.C. RELEGATED
An injunction that Swan I.C. had applied for to stay in the Premier League has been refused by the Federal Court. Swan I.C. finished 13th in the Premier League last season and found themselves forced to play in the First Division in 1998 by Soccer West Coast, however, the club argued that it has superior criteria to some other Premier League clubs and deserved to stay in the Premier League. After listening to both sides for three hours the court favoured SWC which means Swan I.C. will now play in the First Division for the 1998 season, its first season out of the top flight since 1993. Lets hope SWC sets its relegation and promotion rules before the season starts this year, to make it fair on all clubs, so we don't see clubs have to go to court again after next season because they think they deserve to be in a higher league than other clubs.
WEST HAM UNITED LOOKS TO KINGSWAY
English Premier League club West Ham United have set up a three year development program with WA side Kingsway in the hope of finding more talented young players from the club where Stan Lazaridis, who is now one of West Ham's star players, commenced his junior soccer. The English club are putting $500,000 into the program and to help strengthen the link between both clubs, Kingsway have decided to change its name to the Kingsway Hammers.
NIGHT SERIES GROUPS ANNOUNCED
The groups for the Premier League Ola Sports Cover Night Series competition has been announced, one group is made up of League Champions Floreat Athena, Fremantle City, Western Knights, Spearwood Dalmatinac, Bayswater City Panthers and the newly renamed Kingsway Hammers. The other group consists of Sorrento, Joondalup City, Dianella White Eagles, Inglewood Falcons, Stirling Macedonia and Perth. The series kicks off on Friday week at Dorrian Gardens, with the first games Perth vs Joondalup City and Fremantle City vs Floreat Athena.
SWAN I.C. TO TAKE SOCCER WEST COAST TO COURT
Swan I.C. will take Soccer West Coast to court to try to avoid relegation from the Premier League after they finished 13th last season. The club has put an injunction on SWC and says it deserves to stay in the top flight because its credentials are superior to some other Premier League teams. If SWC had layed out their relegation and promotion rules before the season started they wouldn't have this problem. During the mid 1980's if a club finished in the bottom 2 they would be relegated and the top 2 from the old second division would be promoted, whether they were big clubs or not, no questions asked, it was a rule that the old SFWA put in place, its a shame SWC can't see that in those days the league was a lot more stable and brought bigger crowds to local games and they should be doing the same again, if they don't then clubs will most likely take them to court at the end of each season saying they deserve to be in the Premier League, while clubs like Stirling Macedonia, Floreat Athena and Perth Italia will never have to worry about relegation again it seems even if they finish bottom, will SWC ever relegate them if that was the case? I don't think so.
MORE STUPIDITY FROM SOCCER WEST COAST
Here's another example of stupidity from Soccer West Coast, during December it was decided that First Division Champions Southside United would not be promoted to the Premier League, due to criteria, even though Southside United, who also won the First Division Reserves, guaranteed new improvements to its ground by March. The club told SWC this and they accepted that this would be fine, but one week later SWC changed their minds and said that Southside United didn't come up to Premier League standards and this would mean 12th place Kingsway Oylmpic will keep their place in the top flight, but has anyone seen Olympic's ground? What's so special about it? At least at Walter Padbury Reserve, the home of Southside United, you can watch the game through the comfort of their clubroom windows, no chance of doing the same at Kingsway, they don't even have a decent undercover area. Also Southside has a much stronger side, I saw both sides play this year and Olympic were pathetic, while Southside were quite strong and I'm sure would beat Olympic on the field.
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This page was last updated on the 31st December, 1998