Vale Paul Sobek, one of WA's greatest
IT IS with great sadness that the Committee of the Football Hall of Fame WA has to report the death of Paul (Pawel) Sobek, one of the State's finest players.
He died late last year at the age of 85.
Paul was inducted into the Hall of Champions in 2002 following a distinguished playing career in which he turned out 33 times for the WA State team.
He played all his club football in Western Australia for Cracovia, which was instrumental in bringing him from his native Poland along with three other Polish-born stars - including Zygmunt Pieda, who went on to coach the State team, Wally Musial and Henry Lukoszek.
Paul was a winger or deep-lying forward with a hungry eye for goal, a trait which he displayed with great determination when he scored six goals for WA in the Merdeka Cup tournament in Malaysia in 1967, finishing as the top marksman in the competition.
He also got the crucial goal that earned Cracovia the First Division titlein 1966 when the race went down to the wire. He captured the glory in the 1-0 final-match win over Azzurri.
He also won the D'Orsogna Cup and the Night Series in 1967.
Paul started his working life as a miner in Poland, but he showed a rare passion for football and was soon picked to represent the Polish national team, which in those days was basically an amateur side.
He turned out in the Olympic Games for Poland and in all played nine times at international level, including games against the likes of France, Germany and Denmark.
The Cracovia club said in a death notice: "Cracovia Club regrets the passing of our past member and distinguished soccer player. Your contribution to the achievements of our soccer team will be remembered. Sincere condolences to the family. Rest in peace."
Hall of Fame Committee member John O'Connell, a joint record holder of State team caps, said: "Paul was a wonderful player, a real champion and, along with the other great Polish players with the Cracovia team, brought a high standard of football to the game in WA. He will be sorely missed."
Bob Brown was the State team manager when Paul played in the WA side that faced the formidable Manchester United in a memorable challenge game at the WACA Ground in 1967.
He said: "Paul was the perfect example of a professional. He was a real team man. He never caused waves and was always very polite. I don't remember him ever raising his voice.
"But on the field he was terrific. He was an old-fashioned inside forward, what today would be a midfield player. He was probably on balance the best player in the side that faced Manchester United.
"I was involved as team manager in a few other State games that Paul played in. He was always very effective, loved to score goals - and loved to create them. He probably laid on more goals than he scored. He was without a doubt a brilliant player."
PIC ONE: Paul Sobek at a Hall of Fame WA function. PIC TWO: Cracovia's four great Poles (from left): Paul Sobek, Wally Musial, Henry Lukoszek and Zygmunt Pieda