Memories are made of thisÖ
Benedict Coxon talks to a parishioner, businessman and soccer star of yesteryear.
Born in the small town of Sondrio, Italy in 1932, Fulvio Pagani first started playing soccer at an early age. In 1955 he decided to leave the alpine town of his birth and come to Australia. When asked why he did this, he replies, with a huge grin, that he was seeking adventure. He began playing in our National Soccer League for Juventus (now Adelaide City Force) in 1956 and at the highest level for Australia in 1957.
During his career, he played thirteen matches for Australia and about twenty matches representing the state. The international games were irregular with about two or three being played each year, as at that stage Australia was not famous as a soccer-playing nation. Any matches played were exhibition matches against teams such as Blackpool and China. This accounts for his low number of international matches. The Australian team never went overseas while Pagani was a member.
The most outstanding moment of Fulvio Paganiís soccer career occurred when Blackpool came to Australia for two matches in May 1958 (one at the Adelaide Oval and one at the Melbourne Olympic Stadium). The great Stanley Matthews, whom Pagani idolised, was playing for the visiting team. Hanging proudly on the wall of one of the rooms of Mr Paganiís house is a framed front page of The Advertiser. On it is a picture of Mr Pagani and Matthews contesting possession of the ball. Mr Pagani recalled, "Matthews was 39 but, at that stage, he was still a national player in England. The coach of my team at the time, Juventus, told me: "Fulvio, if you want to succeed with this man, stick with him, anticipate him, donít let him get the ballí and that is what I did. It was a great feeling to play against a man like him and I think he is the greatest player England has produced. He was so kind, a beautiful manÖnot many people are like him, believe you me".
Mr Pagani believes that soccer has been successful in Australia, particularly its introduction into the school curriculum, but feels that the media could do more to promote the sport.
Despite what most people would be tempted to say, Mr Pagani gives Australia a good chance of winning gold at the upcoming Olympics in Sydney, so long as the team is at full strength. This is even considering the success of teams like France and Brazil.
Fulvio Pagani attends all Adelaide Force games and his business, Rio Coffee, which he began in 1964, sponsors the team. Except for this interest, he has no current involvement with the sport. Formerly a member of the Rostrevor parish, he has been attending St Ignatius, Norwood for over ten years.
[Benedict Coxon, is currently in Year 9 at Marryatville High School. He attends the 10am Sunday Mass at which he participates as a musician.]