Danny Tisato played for Adelaide City FC (Adelaide Juventus as it was known then) in the early years of the club. He was goalkeeper for the Black and Whites in their first three championship-winning teams – 1953, 1954 and 1956.
In 1952, on a whim and with a sense of adventure at his back, and to the shock of his family in Italy, Tisato decided to migrate to Australia, a place about which he knew nothing at all. There were said to be good employment opportunities there.
On arriving in Adelaide, he found a thriving Italian community in Hindley Street. Word got out that he was an accomplished goalkeeper, and so he was introduced to Mario Bailetti at his family’s Hindley Street store. Tisato accepted an offer to train with Adelaide Juventus.
He started his playing career with Adelaide Juventus and played every match in the 1953 season. They won the Championship and the Federation Cup. A golden era had begun. These were the first trophies in the Adelaide Juventus cabinet.
In 1954, Tisato again played the full season as goalkeeper and the Club secured its second championship. On his wedding day that year, he played in a Federation Cup semi-final. The game went into extra time and then to penalties. He barely made it to the church on time!
In 1953, Adelaide Juventus played a friendly game against the much more highly-rated Melbourne Juventus, which Adelaide Juventus won. In 1954, the two teams played a re-match and Adelaide Juventus won again. As Melbourne Juventus had lost to Adelaide Juventus two years in a row, a journalist asked the Melbourne Juventus coach what his team had to do to beat Adelaide Juventus. He responded: “Bring me Tisato and Busidoni and we can beat anyone”. And so it came to pass: Melbourne Juventus pulled off a coup by signing the pair for the 1955 season.
Tisato played 14 games for Melbourne Juventus in 1955 before deciding to move back to Adelaide, due to a dispute over broken promises, which included a house that never materialised. For those 14 games, Melbourne Juventus went undefeated and Tisato conceded only 3 goals, one of which was an own goal and another of which was a penalty. Melbourne Juventus won the title that year.
Back in Adelaide, Tisato finished off the 1955 season as goalkeeper with Adelaide Juventus but there was not enough left of the season for him to save them and they failed to win the title. In 1956, he started working at General Motors Holden and continued his football career at Adelaide Juventus. The team was back on track with Tisato in goal for the full season and they won their third title in 4 years.
Tisato also represented South Australia as the State’s goalkeeper during those halcyon days.
In 1957, a motor vehicle accident cut short his playing career, but Tisato’s legacy lives on today at Adelaide City FC, with his grandson, Julian, playing for the club’s Under 9’s.
Danny Tisato died peacefully at Rostrevor surrounded by family in the afternoon of 28 December 2015.