Dream Team 2021 - Midfielders

In 2021, as part of our 70th anniversary celebrations, a Dream Team of past and current players was voted for.

So, the Dream Team needs an engine room...the creative finesse and the stamina to defend. Here up the nominees to line up across the middle of the park:

 

Peter Pilkadaris 1957-1970
Athena has been home to four generations of the Pilkadaris family and there’s no denying Peter has been a club stalwart of the club dating back to 1957 when he first donned the Athena strip as an 18-year-old. The club had only been formed six years earlier as the “Hellenic Progress Association Athena” but the club was slowly but surely building a legacy from these early days. Pilkadaris slotted into the midfield position and played a strong part in the squad which quickly progressed from the third division to the topflight league in 1960. During the next decade he would go on and captain Athena, pick up a club Fairest and Best award and represent the state in 1963 and 1964. From 1986 to 1991 he served as Athena Treasurer and went on to serve as President in 1994 and 1995. In 2007 he was named as a Life Member of Athena.

Napoleon Christodoulakis 1965-1975
While the French may lay claim to one of the best military generals in history, Athena’s own midfield general in Napoleon Christodoulakis was a dominant and influential force in local football for an entire generation. After having trialled with the youth teams of Greek powerhouse club Olympiacos, Christodoulakis emigrated to Western Australia and found his football fix by wearing the number 10 strip for Athena from 1965. Before the term “pocket rocket” was coined, “Nappy” was known for his silky skills and deft touches to create space and score goals. During his decade long career in the blue and white, he was captain for three years, took part in first division championship of 1973, and was in the squad for the Top Four Cup win of 1975. Individually he was runner up fairest and best twice and is believed to have been named (but didn't play) in the WA squad in a friendly against Greece on the 13th of August 1969 at the Velodrome (Greece won 2-1). After his football tenure he went on to coach Athena’s U-18s and in more recent times, spent one season coaching the Athena’s Masters team.

John Montagu 1962-1963, 1965
Montagu arrived in Perth from England in 1961 and given his football pedigree he was destined to play a prominent role in WA. Having played for Liverpool and Everton reserves team, Montagu started his first season with Athena in 1962 and impressed from the outset. A year later he capped off the season by taking out the Carbonell Cup for being the best player in the league and asserted himself as a regular in the State team including the ground-breaking match against Everton which was the first overseas side to tour Australia following the lifting of a five-year ban by FIFA on foreign teams playing in Australia.

Ken Sandercock 1975-1977
Between 1968 and 1975 Sandercock played more than 160 games for Torquay United which played in the lower divisions of English football but in that time, he made nine appearances for Leicester City. He was one of several big-name imports that came to the club in 1975. He scored in the Preliminary final of that year in the Top Four Cup to help Athena advance into the Grand Final, ultimately defeating Perth Azzuri 3-1. It was the club’s first significant piece of silverware. Two years later, Sandercock was a central figure in the club’s first league premiership in 1977. He went on to represent the state on a few occasions including a clash against Norwich City at the WACA in 1979.

Dave Brooks 1974-1979
Hailing from Newcastle in England, Dave Brooks arrived in Western Australia on August 5, 1974 and was literally signed up by club stalwart Con Nicolaidis the next day! Brooks was a number of star imports who arrived at Athena that year joining Steve Stacey (the first Afro-American to play football in the UK, and John Sydenham who had amassed 400 games for Southampton). Brooks was part of the historic Top Four Cup squad of 1975 and helped Athena take out the club's first league title of 1977. Brooks served as club captain, took out the club Fairest and Best during his five and a half years with the blue and whites and pulled on the Black and Gold for WA in some big name matches against Manchester United, Glasgow Rangers and Legia Warsaw. He was the recipient of the Cathay Pacific Airways award for best WA player in 1975. Sadly, Dave passed away in 2016 but leaves behind a rich and colourful legacy.

Alf DeBono 1981-1983
Maltese born Alf DeBono, was one of Western Australia's hottest talents, gaining State selection in 1967 on his 16th birthday. His skills and prowess on the ball was so good even Manchester City came knocking on the door, but he turned down the chance to join them. By the time he came to play for Athena he had just turned 30 but his silky sills were just as dazzling as they were when he was a teenager. He came to Athena during the rebuild phase of 1981 where the club had been relegated to the first division at the end of 1980. Athena won the First Division title in ’81 and subsequently was promoted to the topflight for season ’82. It was here where he balanced his role as midfield general and assistant to club Head Coach John Sydenham. In 1983 DeBono took over the coaching reigns steering the team to competitive football, ensuring it remained in the Premier league. He was also instrumental in taking part in several junior sessions which boasted future club stars Dim Thomas and Vas Kalogeracos. DeBono made 13 appearances for Western Australia.

Ricky Davis 1982-1984, 1993
Although he was regarded as more of a defender, Davis spent time in the engine room and carved out a solid name for himself as a constant danger player which earned him a number of caps for Western Australia. He helped guide the club to the '84 Cup final, after scoring in Athena's 2-1 win over Macedonia in the semi-final. Luck was not on Davis' side as the Rothmans medal eluded him twice during his tenure at Athena, finishing runner-up back to back in 1983 and 1984. Davis came back to the Velodrome in 1993 and spent a season under coach Eric Williams and rising stars Bobby Despotovski and young "veteran" Taki Nicolaidis. He would go on to win the elusive Rothmans Medal (best player award) the following year (1994) with another Greek based club in Kingsway Olympic.

Ronnie Campbell 1990-1993
A dynamic scoring midfielder, Ronnie Campbell arrived from Scotland in 1980 and played for several WA clubs, but it would be another decade before he would join Athena during its "glamour years". Before his Athena spell, Campbell played for and coached Preston Makedonia in the National Soccer League and then spent a season with Heidelberg Alexander before heading back West. He arrived at the Velodrome in 1990 and helped guide the senior team to back to back minor premierships ('90 and '91). His personal pinnacle was undoubtedly his Rothmans Medal for the Fairest and Best player in 1985. He also won a DÓrsogna Cup, a night series title and a Top Four Cup. He represented the state 13 times and scored the winning goal in a 2-1 victory over the Socceroos in 1983.

James Afkos 1997, 2000, 2002-2003
The Afkos name has reverberated in WA football circles for more than a quarter of a century and is no stranger to the world game. James' father, Paul, was co-owner of the Perth Glory at a time the NSL club reached its dizzying heights in popularity. James spent three stints with Athena and undoubtedly his most memorable time with the blue and whites was during the 1997 treble winning season under former National Soccer League coach Jim Pyrgolios. It was a season where Pyrgolios exploited a hotbed of talented Greek-Australian youth in the squad which resulted in Athena taking out the night series, league, and cup final. Afkos was also part of the squad which scooped the night series title in 2000 and finished league runners up in 2002. In between his Athena spells, James, spent a season with Perth Glory and then went on to play a couple of seasons for Marconi Stallions.

Mark Pritchard 2011-2013
Mark Pritchard arrived at Athena in 2011 and already had international experience under his belt. Having represented Wales at the U-21 level, a young Pritchard showed what he could do early on, dominating the midfield and controlling the game, thanks to his UK experience. In his second season under new coach Chris Barbas, Pritchard was given the captain’s arm band and with that, a license to create and attack from the middle of the park which helped Athena reach the Grand Final of 2012 against Sorrento. Despite leading for most of the match, Sorrento came back and clinched the game 4-3 in extra-time. Pritchard was named man of the match. He also led the state team on several friendlies including clashes against Perth Glory.

Ludo Boi 2012-2021
While he may not be technically a home-grown Athena boy, Ludo has played much of his adult career at Litis Stadium, leaving his mark and etching his name in the record books along the way. For the past decade Boi has consistently been one of the feared midfielders across the league and has shown the uncanny ability to turn a game on its head. Awarded the Gold Medal in 2015 for the Fairest and Best player in WA, Boi has also picked up the club's Fairest and Best along the way. A former Athena captain and important member of the senior leadership team, Boi has represented WA on a few occasions and has been a strong part of the club's Night Series successes of 2015, 2018 and 2019 and the State Cup wins of 2016 , 2019 and 2021.

Dean Evans 2016-2021
While his 2021 season may have been cut agonisingly short due to an ACL/LCL injury, Dean Evans has epitomised the Athena spirit. With a never say die attitude the current club captain has always led from the front and has consistently performed at a level beyond what this competition demands. With a repertoire of stunning world class free kicks and an ability to create something out of nothing, Evans is a rare breed of player. His career at Athena has flourished, so much so that he was awarded the Gold Medal for Fairest and Best player in 2020, after he was ruled ineligible in 2019 despite leading the points tally. He has been awarded the club’s fairest and best four times and has represented the state on several occasions. He has been part of the club's Night Series victories of 2018 and 2019 and the State Cup wins of 2019 and the Top Four Cup of 2020. This year will be Evan's last at Athena before he heads over to Sydney to make a new life with his young family.