Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Vale Christos 'Chris' Syrginis 22-11-1935 - 18-06-2019

Photo:  Chris Syrginis (left) and son, George [PlessPix]

The death occurred in Hobart recently of Christos Syrginis, who was one of the finest players of his generation in the 1950s and early 1960s.

Syrginis, who was aged 83, migrated to Australia from Greece in the 1950s and first played for Hobart's Austrian-backed club, Rapid, in the late 1950s.

He joined local Greek-backed club Olympia when they were formed in 1960.

Syrginis could play in defence or attack and was renowned for his technical abilities as well as his physical qualities.

Photo:  The Rapid side of 1958 with Chris Syrginis (third from left in back row).

I first saw him play for Rapid in 1958 at South Hobart and he was impressive, especially to a boy aged nine.

I recall an incident that season at the canteen end of the ground when he was playing centre-half for Rapid.

He lost a boot in a tackle but won the ball and kept his cool.  To buy time, he juggled the ball with his stockinged foot and then volleyed it with that foot over the canteen to concede a corner.

The crowd just loved this flamboyant showmanship and example of skill and ball control, as well as the unflustered nature of the player.

While the ball was being retrieved, Syrginis put his boot back on and took up position to face the corner.

Syrginis once owned the Carlton Café at the corner of Argyle and Liverpool Streets and whenever I had a meal there, sometimes served by Chris, I felt honoured to be in his company.

Photo:  Chris Syrginis (right) at the Rapid reunion in 2008 [PlessPix]

He attended the Rapid reunion in 2008 and was also present at Olympia’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 2010.

Syrginis in more recent times owned a tobacconist shop in Argyle Street.

His funeral was held last Tuesday at St George’s Greek Orthodox Church in Sandy Bay.

He is survived by his wife Roula and children Teresa, George and Ulga.

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