Over the years I spent many a moment talking to Eduardo but one extended conversation at Perth Airport will live long in my memory. He was flying to Sydney to visit his sick mother. Waiting for our plane I found out more than I ever knew about Eduardo.
He like me, short in height, had been a goalkeeper; immediately he had my attention! He had played football in Chile and he talked about the passion in the game and how every single game was so important. He told me how before his accident, which resulted in him having one leg amputated, he had been an exceptional sprinter. He had apparently won many sprint events as a young man, but it was playing rugby and using that pace to burst through a gap he found to be more exhilarating than a straight foot race.
Eduardo was so proud of his South American roots and was always at events with a South American flavour, camera in hand. One night I know he never forgot was when the Buena Vista Social Club were playing in Perth. Eduardo as usual took photos, and then accompanied the band out on the town. Robbie Williams may have found Perth boring, but according to Eduardo these guys partied on all night and he struggled to keep up!
In the early days of Perth Glory Eduardo was on the touchline taking photographs and then at training he would give the players copies of the ones he had taken that that he thought they would like. He was however sadly a victim of the dawn of ‘professionalism’ and the Hyundai A-League. As he did not take photographs for a specific publication he was no longer granted media accreditation. Credit to Nick Tana and his CEO Jeff Dennis who went into bat for him with the FFA, but rules were rules! Eduardo was very hurt by this slight and understandably so. He was an asset to the game not a hindrance.
The A- League’s loss was Football West’s gain as he turned his attention to the local game and captured some images that will hopefully remain as a record of the history of Western Australian football. That is a very special legacy and one I am sure of which he would be proud.
The last time I saw Eduardo was at the England Media v the WA media Ashes football match, as usual he was there with his trusty camera. He snapped one of me with former England captain Michael Vaughan, a picture I will no doubt never see, but one that I will remember for far greater reasons, as it was probably the only photo Eduardo ever took of me that he did not generously pass on.
He was a kind and generous man, who loved sport and all things South American. He also loved having his photo taken with those he had photographed, especially if they happened to be pretty and female! I have no doubt that before he enters the pearly gates, Eduardo will pose with St Peter for a photo, he would never miss an opportunity like that!
Adios Amigo. Rest in Peace Eduardo my friend. You will be greatly missed around the football grounds of Perth