As Perth Glory Football Club celebrates its 20th anniversary to mark two decades in domestic football, we pay tribute to the heroes and fan favourites of yesteryear.
We start our “Where Are They Now” series focusing on Tommy Maras, the first goalkeeper for Glory in the National Soccer League (NSL).
The 48-year old enjoyed an illustrious State League career, which included a title with Spearwood Dalmatinac in 1986 alongside current Glory coach and good mate Kenny Lowe.
Lowe joined Dalmatinac that season after arriving from the UK and emerged as the best player in the State League, winning the coveted Rothmans Medal and was nominated for the WA Sports Star of the year.
Season 1996-97 NSL
Rear l-r: Vinko Buljubasic, Peter Vukmirovic, Vince Matassa, Robert Zabica, Tom Maras, Doug Ithier, Gavin Wilkinson.
Centre: Barry Tate, Vas Kalogeracos, Anthony Carbone, Vladimir Beretovac, Paul Strudwick, Marc Wingell, Bobby Despotovski, Trevor Russell.
Front: Paul McVittie, Dale Wingell, Willy McNally, Gareth Naven (c), Gary Marocchi (coach), Craig Naven, Micky Brennan (Asst Coach), Alan Mackenzie, Scott Miller.
After his time at Spearwood, Maras went on to win another five championships with Perth SC and represented his home state 21 times.
He recalls his time at Perth Glory with great fondness.
“Being involved with all the local players and teammates from State League and State teams… in front of our home crowd at Perth Oval, it was just amazing”.
Maras, who represented Australia’s U-21 team, enjoyed twenty games between the sticks with Glory from their inaugural season in 1996 to 1998 and insists the unrivalled support for the team played a pivotal role in creating an exemplary club culture.
“We never imagined how much support we would receive from the Perth public”.
“We were so motivated to do well for Glory after seeing the response from the Perth supporters and relatives. It was a family environment in the team.”
After finishing his playing career in 2001, Maras moved into coaching, assisting Graham Normanton at Perth SC.
Maras a builder by trade, started his company “Maras Building Company” in 2004 and helped Kenny Lowe, build two houses.
“Kenny was a great client,” Maras said.
“Our families are very close, as his wife Nicki is close friends with my wife Caroline and our children are all very close,” he added.
Maras believes a top four finish in the Hyundai A-League is achievable for the Glory squad and said the local influence is again becoming a major focus of the club, which is good to see.
“I think Kenny has done an amazing job rebuilding the team,” he said.
“It will be great to see players like Williams, Taggart, Lowry, Risdon and Griffiths, all local players making a real impact.”
Maras was inducted into the WA Football Hall of Fame in 2008 and is a member of Perth Glory’s 20th anniversary committee.
When he’s not supporting Glory on match day he’s on the football pitch coaching his son’s U-11s Melville City side.
Glory kicks-off its Hyundai A-League campaign against the Central Coast Mariners on October 8 at nib Stadium.