GOODBYE LEEDERVILLE OVAL: New book published about WAFL Golden Era, 1984-86, by Kieran James

Message from the author Kieran James: "My new book is now available for purchase for £6.50 (paperback) and £20 (hardcover). Topic: West Perth unofficial cheer squad 1984-86. Also looks at the big games and main players in the Western Australian Football League (WAFL) over this period 1984-86".

Hardcover version 
SYNOPSIS: This book is the memoir of Kieran James, and details his experiences as co-founder of West Perth Football Club’s unofficial cheer squad (hardcore support) from 1984 to 1986 (Western Australian Football League / WAFL). Using Marsh’s theory of the “illusion of violence”, the author links the cheer squad to the academic literature on British soccer hooligans, Italian ultras, and other soccer supporter groups from around the world. The book details “traditional”, “hot” support for West Perth Football Club among teenaged supporters from middle-class and working-class backgrounds. The findings conform to Armstrong and Hughson’s idea of fluid “post-modern” “neo-tribes” where affiliations are very loose and people can easily adjust their degree of commitment to a group and / or leave the group when their personal priorities change. The book also allows the reader to relive great WAFL matches and meet again key players from the era.

Price: £6.50 + shipping (paperback) and £20 + shipping (hardcover).

Paperback version
AUTHOR BIO: Dr Kieran James is a Senior Lecturer in Accounting at the University of the West of Scotland, Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland.  He was formerly Accounting Professor at the University of Fiji from 2013-15. Alongside his high-school friend Michael Blewett, he was co-founder of the West Perth Cheer Squad (WAFL), 1984-86. He is the founder of the WAFL Golden Era website (established 18 December 2011) at which has had over 100,000 unique page-views as at 18/2/2017. Kieran is also a regular contributor to the Say NO to any AFL clubs in the WAFL Facebook group. He has published an academic journal article: “Where to now, Melbourne Croatia? Football Federation Australia’s use of accounting numbers to institute exclusion upon ethnic clubs” in Asian Review of Accounting (Vol. 19, No. 2, 2011). He is presently researching Fiji Soccer History 1980-89. His Fiji Soccer History website Nadi Legends Club can be viewed at the following URL: His email contact addresses are: and and his Facebook page is at: [Kieran James]. 

Dr Sean Gorman (left) and Dr Kieran James
I would like to thank: Mr. Brian Atkinson (official historian of the West Perth Football Club and the author of It’s a Grand Old Flag); Michael “Mike” Blewett (co-founder of the WPFC cheer squad 1984-86); Caveman (leader of the Footscray not Western Bulldogs lobby group based in Melbourne); John Devaney of Full Points Footy website and Full Points Publications; Chris Egan (Australian Society for Sports History Perth chapter member, Perth Glory historian, and Peel Thunder supporter); Professor Lionel Frost (Monash University and editor of Sporting Traditions); Dr. Sean Gorman (Curtin University academic and the author of BrotherBoys); Professor Chris Hallinan (Monash University); Pave Jusup, Kova, and Sime (MCF hooligan firm at Melbourne Knights Soccer Club); Patrick Mirosevich (present-day South Fremantle cheer squad member); Mark Whiting (East Fremantle supporter); members of the Lost WAFL Facebook group; and members of the Say NO to any AFL clubs in the WAFL Facebook group.

FOREWORD, by Brian Atkinson
This is a book with a difference. It recounts primarily the memories and reflections of a then 15-year-old school boy who jointly founded a cheer squad for the West Perth Football Club (WPFC) in 1984 to succeed the previous one that was disbanding. These memories and reflections cover the 1984-1986 period. The nature of social relations within the group is also examined.
Dr Kieran James (left) and Mr Brian Atkinson
The book commences with a review of the extensive literature covering “hooliganism” associated with soccer “cheer groups” in the United Kingdom and Europe in those times and up until the hooligan scene wound itself up in the late-1980s. It examines the intersection between punk rock music and soccer hooliganism.
The author recalls commencing to follow West Perth in 1976 at the age of seven, and describes some of his early memories. The performances of the West Perth team and of many of the players from 1984 to 1986 are then recounted. Readers will enjoy recalling many team and individual highlights from that period in particular. Some interesting exchanges with cheer squads from the other Western Australian Football League (WAFL) clubs are described.
Tin shed with Technical School behind it, 6 July 2011.
This book will appeal to WAFL traditionalists who mourn the demise of the then elite suburban based tribal football competitions, as they were, within the states. The author expresses some very strong views about the evolution of the national Australian Football League (AFL) competition in 1987, and the impact that the creation of the West Coast Eagles, and subsequently the Fremantle Dockers, had on the WAFL competition. He deplores the corporatization of football. He has similarly strong views on the relocation of the West Perth Football Club from Leederville Oval to Arena Joondalup in 1994. These developments impacted heavily on his enthusiasm for football.
The book will assist to preserve the memories and part of the history of the transition period of the middle- and late-1980s when Australian Rules Football was changed forever, and the impact that this change had on the WAFL.
This book is very well researched, extensively referenced, and very well written. It will create controversy amongst readers. Many will strongly agree with the views of the author. Many will strongly disagree. But all West Perth supporters will enjoy their recollections of the players and the times of the mid-1980s.
Mr. Brian A. Atkinson,
West Perth FC official historian,
Perth, 19 November 2011.

Book Extract (from Chapter 4, page 142):
South Fremantle versus West Perth, Fremantle Oval, Round 19 (9 August), 1986

Discounted plain cover paperback version (£8)
I once talked to Pete C. and spent the game with him on the scoreboard bank’s concrete terracing at Fremantle Oval (at around the half-forward flank position) for a match against South Fremantle late in the 1986 season. The cheer squad's flags had vanished and there was only the two of us left at this juncture in time. Pete C. and I hadn’t even arranged in advance to meet; it was a chance meeting. I would have to say that the cheer squad no longer existed at this point. However, Pete’s charming, quiet, and thoughtful manner had not changed.
After the game Pete C. and I walked through the Fremantle city streets together and I think Pete took a Number 106 bus or a train back to Perth while I took a different bus to Booragoon. We probably parted at Fremantle train station. I originally wrote this paragraph 26 years later, on 9 January 2013, and I still haven’t seen Pete again since that day at Fremantle Oval near to the close of the 1986 season. As we walked through the Fremantle city streets together, as the dark and the chill started drifting in from the ocean, we were both fairly subdued and disappointed as it looked like our team’s season was over (the team probably could not make the final-four) and all the hope of the past two years had come to nothing. I think that another reason for my anxious and melancholic mood was the realization, pushed to the back of my mind, that my life was changing and it would never be the same again. I was 17-years-old, in the first year of university, and the adult world of responsibilities, choices, careers, and consequences was fast closing in, whilst childhood was at an end. In football terms, there was also massive change at work behind the scenes as the powerbrokers were putting together and planning for the new as yet unnamed super-team which would play in the VFL in 1987. Every genuine football person in Perth knew that the WAFL would never be the same again no matter how upbeat the newspapers were. Like my childhood, the old WAFL was slipping away. The days of 14,000 plus crowds at the match-of-the-round were never coming back.
West Perth unofficial cheer squad (1984-86) co-founders Mike Blewett (left) and Kieran James, Exchange Hotel, Kalgoorlie, 14 July 2011.
Laurie James @ Leederville Oval, looking south towards the city-centre, 6 July 2011. On fine winter days like this one in the eighties West Perth could be devastating at home with the roar of the crowd behind them. However, with no grand-final appearances between 1976 and 1994, it was also a case of potential unfulfilled. Supporter group the Grandstand Falcons used to sing the England 1982 World Cup song "This Time (We'll Get it Right)" which summed up the frustration of West Perth fans in the mid-eighties just as well as it had reflected the mindset of English soccer fans in 1982.
Kieran James back behind the northern-end goals at the Technical School end of the ground where the West Perth cheer squad congregated from 1984-86. The wooden benches behind the goals are now gone but the tin shed (see earlier picture) in the north-west corner of the ground looks much like it did in the eighties, and the wooden benches still go down from the tin shed to the playing arena fence. Picture date: 6 July 2011.


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