Museum scores

FHOFWA president Elizabeth Re with some of the football exhibits collected so far and (right) the first red card used in a WA game. Referee Brian Haffendet recalled “On one side the red card reads ‘Send Off’ in English and on the other side it’s in Chinese.” Photo from FHOFWA

AFTER a decades-long search the Football Hall of Fame WA has found a home for a museum, nestled in Fitzgerald Street’s WA Italian Club.

Until now there’s been nowhere to safely house memorabilia from the state’s 127 years of football (the ‘soccer’ type) together.

FHOFWA president Elizabeth Re says she’s heard some tragic tales of important football artefacts like trophies being thrown out by family members after the death of a footballing loved-one.

“We hope that when people can see we have a secure museum, they’ll donate their items,” Ms Re says.

The search for a home for a museum started pretty much from day one after the first inductions to the hall of fame took place in 1996.

Many plans for a standalone museum came and went, some attracting whispers of government support or funding promises but never quite making it to fruition. 

Ms Re said it became clear that running their own building, which would’ve needed them to fund their own security and staff or volunteers, was out of their reach.

So they set out to find somewhere to co-locate it, and after 12 months’ work the museum opened inside the Italian Club WA this week. 

ICWA president Sal Valelonga tells us it’s a good fit: Football’s the most connected sport to Italian culture by far, and they were glad to have their lounge lined with cabinets to house some round ball history.

This makes WA the first state to set up a museum for its football hall of fame.

Among the artefacts collected so far is the first ever red card that made it to WA, and it’s likely one of the oldest red cards in the world.

It was donated by former referee Brian Haffenden, who was issued it in Hong Kong in 1970. He was there serving in the British army and refereed both civilian and military games. Hong Kong was one  of the first referee associations to adopt the red and yellow card system.

The first game he carried it at here in Perth was the 1971 D’Orsognia Cup between Gosnells City and North Perth Croatia. 

But it stayed holstered.

“I didn’t need either card that day,” he told HOFWA. 

“There were no cautions and no sendings off.”

Ms Re says they’re hoping more items like that make their way out of boxes and drawers and over to the museum.

Photos, balls, old boots, team clothing, trophies; “Please don’t put it in the bin!” she urges. 

“Give us a call first!”

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