In the early 1960s, soccer in Canberra was really a version of the United Nations, with teams such as Croatia, Hungary, Roma, Balkans, Bohemia, Hollandia, Olympic and Austria. This gives a real sense of the influence of overseas emigrants in the development of the game in Australia. Of course, things were about to change in the landscape of ACT football, because the powerhouse of ACT social football was soon to emerge.
In 1962 the mighty Australian National University (ANU) Soccer Club was established. How do we know? Capital Football does not keep any records of the early competitions. Ex-ANU player and ACT soccer historian, Nick Gouth, has the most comprehensive records of these early years but his records are varied (good in some years and limited or non-existent for others). Unfortunately, he does not have any records of anything related to 1962. What we do have is our crest, which has 1962. But more importantly, Paul Randles (player from 1981-84 and 1986) has been able to verify this because he remembers the t-shirt designed to celebrate the 20th anniversary, as it was he who suggested the slogan “Soccer for the Thinking Ape” which sat underneath a picture of a small monkey. The proof of the timing of the 20th anniversary comes from Paul’s sister who was visiting on holidays and took a T-shirt as a souvenir and confirmed (hand on heart) that it was indeed 1982.
So there we have it — 1962 was the landmark year that saw the best club in ACT football established and started what has been 57 fantastic years of sporting endeavour. An interesting note is that ANU has been the longest established club in the ACT, as we have retained our name throughout our entire existence, save for the change from Soccer Club to Football Club in 2002. While there are several long-term clubs that have had a presence in the ACT such as Croatia and Juventus, they have had various name changes over the years and there have been a multitude of short-lived entities such as AFP, Mawson, Electric Shadow and Zen Yai that have disappeared as quickly as they appeared.
The first competitive reference we have is in the Second Division Competition in 1963, competing against teams such as Duntroon 1 & 2, Forestry, Burns, and Queanbeyan. Interestingly, we lost the final game to Burns 1-0 which saw them promoted to Division 1 (and then relegated back the following year — a reference to the class divide between the two comps perhaps). Was this the start of our love/hate relationship with Burns?
There are no records for the years 1964 to 1966 but it is presumed that we won promotion in 1966 as we came last in 1967 (1 win and 2 draws) and endured the immediate drop back that seemed to be the fate for all promoted teams. There is nothing to indicate how we fared in 1968 but we ended up in Division 1 again in 1969, coming last with 2 measly draws. Also in the comp that year were Griffith and Wagga Wagga.
All the portents are there from this limited history that ANU would always struggle against the top clubs, who were able to use their financial backing to secure the best available players in what was a semi-professional top league. The ongoing debate as to whether we should compete in the highest level competition had effectively started and would continue throughout the club’s history. Despite all that, the club was well on its way
Paul Riggs (Club President from 1971 – 1974) has provided some of his recollections of the early 70’s years:
I arrived at ANU at the start of the student year in 1970. Having played Soccer from age five in Armidale, Northern New South Wales, I was easily convinced to join up, and for the four years of my degree this became my major sporting interest. The club comprised about 6 teams over a wide range of skill, and was self-funding, except of course that we did not meet any expenses of grounds maintenance.
The ANU and the Soccer Club in particular benefitted at the time from an influx of PhD students and academics recruited from the UK to the ANU. Some of these had a strong football background, and were pillars of the Club organisationally, as well as the core of the top teams. The networks around these people facilitated the decision of many other British migrants living in Canberra to play for the ANU Club. Despite the influence of the UK contingent, the Club was firmly known as the Soccer Club and not Football Club at that time. ANU Staff Paul Moens and Stuart Butterworth had kept the Club alive during the late 1960s.
There was also a steady stream of local Australian undergraduates such as myself joining the Club. Among local Canberra students, there were several already playing for Canberra-based Clubs. The top tier of these were ethnic-based or at least migrant-nationality-based, such as Juventus, Croatia Deakin, and Downer Olympic. We were quite successful in the top ACT League, but never won it against paid players and imports from Europe.
The third group I want to mention dates from a little before my era, but they were still present in Canberra and participated to a degree in playing and some other events associated with ANU Soccer Club. The three people I am thinking of in particular had played high-level and even professional football in the UK, and then returned to Australia and played socially with ANU Soccer Club. The best known of these was Charlie Perkins, who went on to become Head of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs, and his colleagues and friends Gordon Briscoe and John Moriarty.
A fourth group deserves recognition, and this is the group of Wives and Girlfriends, who suffered the bitter Canberra winter weather, and primitive facilities, to support us.
Mike (Mickey) Freeman was a goalkeeper and may have been President after me. He died in a motor accident while a player and we used to have the annual Mickey Freeman match/trophy for ex-players, named after him. In one season I recruited Jimmy Cant, a (formerly) Scottish guy who was in the Australian soccer team, and was a lifesaver at the pool in Canberra or Queanbeyan, to play a few games with our first team between his seasons. This is a reminder of how non-remunerative Soccer was in Australia in those days.
In 1970 there was a Premier League competition established and we were presumably in Division 2, the second level and one of a multitude of changes to the structure and naming conventions used within the Soccer Federation over the years — noting that various structures have been strangely repeated every 6-10 years or so. The club had mixed success in Division 2 but made the semi-final of the newly introduced Federation Cup, losing 4-1 to Forest. In the CA SSC competition we had two teams, Division A coming 4th and losing in the 1st semi, and Division B coming last. The Division 2 side came 4th on 16 points in 1972 and the club finished on 96 points in the Club Championship with Lyons Croatia winning on 204 points.
Corner Kick 8th May 1972:
“ANU Soccer Club will be taking part in the intervarsity Soccer Championships to be held in Sydney, from the 15th until the 20th May against teams from all states. The students’ will be travelling to Sydney after their federation cup match against Federal United on Sunday, but will be back for their vital match against Lyons. Last year Lyons played both their matches against ANU during the University vacation and they have done it again. But this time the majority of the team will be available and are keen to show Lyons that promotion to the 1st Division is not going to be as easy for them as some people think”.
Corner Kick 20th May 1972:
“In five matches this year ANU has only conceded a single goal and Fewster in the last line is a very good man for the students. Unfortunately the Varsity lads have been away in Sydney all the week for inter-varsity sports and it will be interesting to see how their condition lasts on Sunday. Paul Riggs is in good goal scoring form for the students but Hal Kostyrko and Joe Cairada form a strong rear-guard so I guess the team taking the chances will also take the match which should be well up to First Division standard and well worth the 50 cents admission”
Records are limited through the period 1973 to 1977 and we presumably had at least three teams competing successfully in each year.
In 1978 we had a Division 1, Reserve Team and a Colts side. In addition, there was the Canberra League and we had teams in Division 1, finishing 3rd and losing the final to Kambah 4-1, Division 2, finishing 2nd, and Division 3, finishing 1st. The first women’s league appears to have been started in 1978. This format was repeated in 1979 with the club finishing 4th in the Club Championship. Other competitions that were run along with the Federation Cup were the Jim Fraser Cup and the Autumn Shield to provide games for the lower levels.
Life Member Peter Foley put together some thoughts on his early years with the club back in 1993 which appeared in the SCUM annual that year.
I joined the club in 1976 and started playing in Don Grieg’s mighty team as a goalkeeper/winger. The ANU style in those days was based on ‘kick and chase’ and the club was reasonably successful at it. Soon after I joined there was an extraordinary AGM and elections were required. A group within the club organised their supporters and rolled the executive. This group was formed to take ANU into the Premier League (note at this time soccer in the ACT was split into 2 loosely affiliated groups — Premier League (who played on Sunday) and Saturday League. The push was eventually successful and , but ultimately expensive, as ANU joined the likes of Croatia and Juventus. Like now, the first team struggled but the reserves and Colts (Under 21s) were reasonably successful. A major highlight was the win over Juventus (3-0) who were the dominant force in Canberra at the time. After playing in various divisions, including a stint in a combined division with Southern NSW clubs, ANU eventually pulled out of Sunday football due to increased costs as the other clubs became more professional.
In the Saturday League ANU was always well represented. In the higher divisions a new style emerged as the result of an influx of players from European Universities led by Ian Brunskill and Jurgen Porsche (played like his name sounds). The Saturday league consisted of a mix of single team clubs, ethnic clubs, institutions and social players from the major clubs. Skills varied from abysmal to very good. The ethnic clubs were always very rough (more so when they played each other eg. Serbia vs Croatia). Many of the ethnic clubs were banned and reformed under different names due to crowd control problems. ANU never had crowd control problems.
In 1976 the club coach was Jimmy Shoulder. Towards the end of the season we lost Jimmy to the Australian team. When ANU attended IV at Macquarie University that year (and were soundly thrashed) Jimmy was the guest of honour at the presentation dinner. The “serious” players at the big-time unis were somewhat put out by his recognition of the ANU rabble.
The 3rd division side Don Grieg put together in the late 70’s was a great team of triers. In the best performance by an ANU lower grade team (until Bobo Lo’s victorious side some 10 years later), we won our division (first past the post) conceding about 4 goals. Then we won the Viscount Shield beating Ginninderra (a second division side) and Luso (on their way to the top of the first division). The final against Luso was very one sided. They had 18 fit players, a coach, manager, physio, masseur and about 500 fans. We had ten fit players, plus one with the flu and 5 players from 2nd division (came to get runners-up medals) to watch us. During the game we had five shots for five goals (I even scored). They had dozens of shots and scored four (one was from offside when one of their players was doing up his laces in the penalty area and was passed the ball — refereeing and referees have not changed). Peter Johns saved a penalty and we scored a goal for them (an Andrew Whitton special, he turned and volleyed in one movement giving our keeper no chance). The game went to penalties and Peter Johns saved all four Luso attempts and we scored two from four to win the game.
Fitness freak Andrew `Sutty’ Sutcliffe was well known in Canberra as an 800 metres runner. Playing soccer, Sutty used his speed to annoy oppositions in all grades and often ended up playing three games on a weekend. Sutty played left wing and possessed the uncanny ability of being able to run down the sideline and along the goal line without being in control of the ball at any stage, and all this despite umpteen tackles. He would then shoot between the keeper and near post. Sometimes it went in but mostly it fortuitously went to the centre forward or right winger to try a shot. Sutty was presented with the William Tell Award for shooting one year (20 goals, 4000 misses).
The Viscount Shield used to be held during the season. One year the draw put three ANU teams in a group of three for round-robins before the semi-finals. One of these matches was held on the Saturday after Bush Friday at South Oval (when two grounds running parallel with the creek were used). The ground was very wet but we started on time (although my team was short a couple of players who were still asleep and contained one goalkeeper who had not been to bed). While the crowd went to get the missing players we played on. At one stage our goalkeeper caught one ball and the let the other one go into the net. Unfortunately it was the wrong ball that he caught. Luckily the other players eventually showed up and we won (you know what local derbies are like). Another year the two ANU teams in the same division were put in the same group. The match was very tough and ended up in a controversial draw after some appalling refereeing. The next round we won 5-0 leaving the other ANU team to win their match by 10 goals…which the bastards did.
Referees — Some classic refereeing decisions I have known:
- Game abandoned due to corner posts not being wide enough.
- Don Grieg acting as linesman walked off when opposition player dribbled round him and referee waved play on.
- Cones being used for lines on South Oval (on cricket pitch) dribbled through by opposition player. Referee waved play on.
- On a wet day an ANU player shot at goal, the ball beat the keeper and the referee prematurely blowed their whistle for a goal but the ball hit a puddle and stopped before the ball went into the goal. Referee did not change their mind.
Over the years ANU has always been there or thereabouts in most divisions and the soccer played has always been within the spirit of the game.
We started 1980 with seven teams — Division 2 Grade 1 and Reserves, two teams in Saturday Division 1 and one each in Saturday Divisions 2, 3 & 4, with mid-field performances standard.
In 1981 the club had considerably more success with our top team coming second and the Reserves 4th. We came 4th overall in the Club Championship. The top team lost to Downer Olympic in the final of the Federation Cup. Rod Lynes (ex-ANU player and PL coach) remembers the game:
I played in the 1981 Cup Final, for Downer against ANU at O’Connor. The result was Downer Olympics 1 (Lynes) ANU 1 (Paviour) after extra-time. Downer won on penalties (4-3). Before you ask, I missed my penalty, blasting it over the bar and onto Macarthur Avenue. The match received an extensive match report in the Canberra Times, and in Australian Soccer Weekly, a popular publication at the time. Of note is that both sides adjourned to the old Downer Olympics club on Antill Street, for a post-match booze up. Of course, this was an eye-opener for the ANU contingent; free food and beer (as we Downer players recieved post-match in those days).
The reason for the improved result was at least partly due to the creation of a Southern League with the leading Canberra sides pitted against a range of country teams including Wagga Wagga, Albury, Cootamundra, Yoogali, Hanwood and Goulburn (lots of travel time). ANU Division 3 came second in the Viscount Shield but our two teams finished poorly in a 7-a-side competition.
More toying with the league structures occurred in 1982, and we were in Division 1 with an Under 23 Colts and an Under 18 team filled by Grammar. We finished 7th overall in the Club Championship and were represented by teams in Saturday’s Canberra League Divisions 2 (two teams), 3 & 4. ANU provided League Players of the Year (as voted by referees) with P Keogh winning CL Division 2 and R Sigley winning in Div 3.
Former player and Capital League winning coach Bill Simeonovic provided his memories of the early 80s:
I came to ANU in 1982 after spending 5 years at the then version of todays’ White Eagles. I think Les Bee was the coach. We trained on North Oval and played on the number 2 oval, close to Sullivan’s Creek. Training was on Tuesday and Thursdays and from what I can remember involved a fair bit of running and lot of 4v3 games. Les was a very forward thinking coach and introduced small sided games a lot earlier than what FFA are now using from their Dutch coaches.
As the years progressed we had a number of coaches including Graeme Barnes and Herbie Klemperer in my last season. I remember that in 1986, the then ANU Premier league team decided to employ a paid coach and Herbie got the job. We hired him at $1,000 for the season. In those days average yearly wage was around $15k so we paid him well. Things haven’t progressed in the pay parity as ANU still pays $1k per season. The external coach didn’t help as we got relegated to Div 2 in 1986. I retired in July and went on an overseas holiday. I was turning 31 and couldn’t take the hacking any more. The referees those days didn’t pay much attention to foul play. One of the old referees used to say: “get up it is only a broken leg, you have another to play with”. I became a referee for 25 years and tried to change that and protect the skilful players (I know some at ANU would dispute that fact).
There was one player who left a lasting impression on me for his hard but fair play. He was a great team man and was the captain in my last year. This of course is Chris Phillips. Chris was the cornerstone of our defence. He played a traditional sweeper which was easy as he was 6 foot plus tall. I remember him saying that in his younger days he was a half back playing rugby league. I’d say that the weed/water he was on during his studying days in Sydney enhanced his growth. I think in my final year Chris could only remember my name as all I could hear all game every game from the back was: “Billy get back here, pass the f****ing ball, make that bloody tackle”.
I was fortunate to captain the side in 1984 and 1985 season. This was a great honour and captaining any side is exceptional. We worked hard and the boys drank hard, usually at the old workers club opposite ANU where the bus stop is now. In 1987 I became the most hated man on the football field, the referee. I refereed many an ANU game. It was strange refereeing some of the guys I played with but I did it without fear and favour. Coming back as a coach in 2011 was great to see that the tradition of a good piss up after the game had continued. In the 80’s it was a requirement at ANU to have fun. Now in the 2000’s the tradition is still there. Play hard and try to win, but have fun and get on the turps afterwards. How some things don’t change and I am proud to be a part of that.
No surprises to see changes to structure in 1983 with the two top leagues being a City and Country League (a modified version of the Southern League with less country towns). We were in the City League and finished 4th with our Colts side being Premiers (losing their GF 1-2 to Belconnen). We also had two teams in the Canberra Leagues divisions 2,3 & 4, so player numbers were steadily increasing. The Club came 3rd in the Club Championship and were well represented again in the Player of the Year awards in the lower grades, with Ian Brunskill winning Div 2 and K Bateman and H Reinhart joint winners in Div 4.
Let’s revisit the rationale for all of the league structure tinkering then as this extract from the Football League Chairman’s Report (1983) shows:
If one looks at the various formats of competitions introduced by the Football League or “State League” as it was unofficially known this year, over the past seasons the League could be accused of being too experimental. Despite the point that I can see nothing wrong in the fact to become wise and wiser every year and to have learned from previous mistakes, all changes over the years have been really enforced on us through circumstances as lack of financial support by sponsoring bodies (AMPOL the only exception), increased costs of conducting the game caused by the never ending demands of higher fees by the owners of playing fields, to a certain degree referee fees and contributions within the A.C.T.S.F. which have forced clubs out of the game and made it difficult for many others to make a certain commitment for a following season. This constant change in the number of member clubs is the result of the almost constant new face of the League year after year and not so much the result of unjustified experiments by its Management Committee. The collapse of the NSW Southern State League with the resulting inclusion of teams from Griffith and Albury into the Football League this year is such an example and lead to the formation of a Country and a City Division to find a compromise for clubs who were unable to afford the financial outlay of trips to these cities.
It is realised that the competition in 1983 was too short for teams which did not make the final four play-offs and had the misfortune to be eliminated from the Federation Cup at an early state. If the circumstances allow it some better solution has to be found. For the more successful teams the season was at times a little wet but pleasant and some good soccer was produced culminating in a brilliant display of the game by West Woden Juventus and Croatia Deakin in the AMPOL Cup final which rekindled some hope that soccer may after all survive in this Territory at an acceptable level.
Ex-President Ed Newbigin put together the following recollections of the club in the early 80s:
Back then the ANUSC wasn’t the well-oiled machine I’m sure it is today: there were some people like me who did things for the club on a more or less regular basis and together we worked in what I suppose could be broadly described as an anarcho-syndicalist manner. Others might call it, not inaccurately, complete chaos. So collectively we were probably all presidents and secretaries and treasurers of something called the ANUSC management committee, except that I don’t recall a single committee meeting so the terms had little meaning.
Graham Harrison used to run a radio program in the early 70s on the local soccer scene on the student radio station, 2XX. Saturday mornings as I recall. Andrew Ross was the first coach of the women’s team and I used to help out on occasions, attending games. They did have a president and her name was Heather Reid (nee Roper). Doug Smith was coach of the first team for a while as well. This would have been the mid-80s.
Ex-committee member Chris Phillips also shares some recollections:
As Ed said, romantics would say in the early 80s we were anarcho-syndicalists but the realists would say we were a disorganised rabble who probably thought we were slightly too good to play Saturday league and so hung around the Sunday league and won enough games to keep coming back each year (we got lucky with Grammar as our U18 team when they brought in that rule specifically to get rid of us).
As to coaches, my version of truth which may be wrong, is that when I turned up in 1980 there wasn’t one because Les Bee the coach of the previous few years had moved over to Belconnen, having taken half the first team with him. I seem to recall Roger Jones (as senior old player) and perhaps Dave Smith did a bit of informal “coaching” and team selecting but others had their hand in the pie as well.
In 1981 Doug Smith took over as coach of the firsts and seconds, but that ended in tears because of a falling out over team selection. After that Grahame Barnes became coach in 1982 (he was the only player who had some formal coaching badges). He was coach again in 1983 but then gave it up because of the pressure he felt about selecting himself ahead of others. He may have had a second stint too.
1985 saw the amalgamation of the Football League and the Canberra League after a series of meetings between the Management Committees of the three member Leagues of the ACTSF and its executive and was subsequently endorsed by the Council of Clubs meeting on October 1985. The club came 8th out 11 in the Division 1 State League, 4th in Reserves and 5th in the U/19’s giving us 5th in the Club Championship. In addition, ANU had teams in the Canberra League Div 1 (8th of 8), 2A (4th of 8) and two teams each in Div 3 (Blue 3rd and White 7th of 8) and in the 4A Division (4th of 8).
In 1986, the top team was coached by Herbie Klemperer and they struggled, finishing 9th from 11 with the Reserves and Grammar 8th and 5th respectively. We also had three teams in Div 6 but after a split in the competition saw our three teams go into the 7th division mid-season we dominated that comp with the B team winning, the A team second and the C team 4th (an interesting finals series with lots of derbies) but with no GF win with ADFA beating the B’s 4-1.
1987 was an interesting year with Herbie leaving to coach at Canberra City and taking several of our top players along (including Nicky Tonnini and Gary Van Der Platt who would star in Premier League for Cooma for many years). Stephen Kinimonth took over the coaching role of the top team which was in 2nd Division after dropping out of the top flight. While the club dropped down from seven teams to five, the club did not have an abundance of players and we spent many weekends playing three games with 2nd Reerves still playing on Sunday. 2nd division finished 3rd but ended up beating the premiers Weston Creek 1-0 in the GF. We also had some interesting clashes with Canberra City, proving to be their nemesis and knocking them out of the first semi-final. Don Grieg’s Law School side went into the 3rd division and finished 5th. The 5th and 6th div sides were also mid-table. Training at this stage was interesting with all teams training together at North. Stephen Kinimonth used to run the warm-up fitness session with all teams for 30-45 mins before breaking into team drills/games.
1988 was again just the five teams, with the shortest competition ever – 13 games the most played by any team with the top teams playing only 12. Adrian Paviour took over the top side which came 3rd and the reserves 2nd. Adrian was not a noted physical trainer and soccer-tennis over the posts was a common training activity. No joy in finals or by the other lower teams.
Nigel Coldrick took over the reins of the top teams in 1989 and he brought back the focus on fitness. That and perhaps the fact that John Mitchell joined the club saw us come 2nd in the 2nd Division. We finished equal with ADFA on 22 points but they won on superior goal difference (+3 goals). ADFA had beaten Southern Cross 10-1 in the final game after Southern Cross put their 19 players in Reserves (semis-bound) and played most of their youth team (who had already played) in 1sts. The club was shattered when we found this out because following our 4-1 win over Canberra United we were at unbackable odds to be assured the Premiership and promotion back to Premier League. Stephen was one of a group that would have advocated knocking back promotion anyway because of the class divide between the divisions. ADFA bore that out the next year when they didn’t win a game. The Reserves won their division and also secured a rare GF win against ADFA 3-1. Our 3rd Division and 3rd Division Reserves came mid-field. Our 4th Division team came second but lost their semi-final.
Birth of the SCUM
1990 was a tight top comp as ANU never really got going, finishing 7h out of 8 and Downer won their last game of the season against ANU to win the comp and return to the Premier League. The 2nd Reserves won the Minor Premiership but the other four ANU sides finished well down in their various divisions. The first Veterans Competition was introduced this year, although ANU did not have enough aged players to enable it to enter a team – this would soon change of course, as an ever-increasing alumnus of old boys would continue to stay on at the club and create the inevitable demand for a team.
The appearance of the SCUM in 1991 means that we actually have detailed records of club activities since this year. The SCUM sets us apart from a lot of other clubs and is a great vehicle to build club strength and camaraderie. Although started by Stephen Kininmonth, he does not claim it to be an original idea, seeming to remember Dave Dummet (ex-player) suggesting at an earlier time that it would be good to have a club newsletter. That idea obviously stuck, and on his return to the club in 1991, decided to put one together. Certainly the initial editions were pretty rudimentary (this was the time of typing pools, no personal computers and no e-mail). Witness the first edition cover.
Essentially, editions were cobbled together from poorly typewritten pages and handwritten notes and stuck together with copies of other articles and snippets from other sources. Stephen chose the name because he just liked it, and fashioned a crude acronym out of it (ANU Soccer Club United Magazine) just to give it some justification. Low-brow English humorous magazine Viz was a good source of content and selections were added liberally without any care of copyright laws. The first few years were lovingly put together by Stephen at work following the 6.00pm Tuesday deadline that night, copied and then distributed at training on Wednesday night. It is fair to say that the magazine has come a long way since the early days and while it is certainly easier to compile now, the increase in club size has meant that there is more potential material to collate and edit. Of course the quality and quantity of material has been variable over the years and it has really rested with the drive and desire of the few who have taken over the editorial role to drive it. It is pleasing that the new editors have come on and have managed to keep up their enthusiasm for a worthwhile yet somewhat thankless task.
Stephen coached the 2nd Division and Reserves with 2nd Div coming 3rd and the Res winning the Premiership. It was a particularly satisfying year, with two other teams making the finals with the 3rd Div Reserves under the inimitable Bobo Lo taking the League and Championship double. The Club was loosely sponsored by Mama’s Trattoria (Italian in Garema Place) thanks to Michael Stanier working there. Annual General Meetings were held mid-year straight after training (to maximise attendances) and there were several team dinners held at the Vietnam Restaurant at the O’Connor Shops (which became All Bar Nun). Of note is the reference to Shane Rattenbury (current ACT Greens leader and house speaker) who picked up a rare 1 point (Player’s Player vote) in the 3rd Res 5-1 win over TAFE mid-season. The Club usually went back to the Worker’s Club (now long gone) for post-match celebrations. Social events included the annual golf-day playing for the Short-Shaft Trophy and a gambling night which raised $100 for the club. 1991 saw our rivalry with Condors well established with one of their players breaking Phil Cohen’s nose amid a host of dirty niggling tactics. Unfortunately, they beat us in the first semi-final so the year did not end well. The Presentation Night was held at the Thai Lotus restaurant in Civic.
1992 saw another competition change with the creation of the Premier League and our top team in 2nd division becoming State League 1. This followed the release of the Neame Report in 1991 which wanted to create major clubs with junior pathways and also establish the concept of institution clubs (for ANU and CCAE). We advertised for a coach and Frank Kocsis won the position. But this was a failure. When he took over as coach of Weston Creek prior to his appointment at ANU, it was reported in the Canberra Times that ‘Kocsis has excellent credentials. He played top soccer in Hungary and Holland before coming to Australia in 1984’. John Bruce picked up the main coaching role after we let Frank out of his contract due to some underperformance issues (imagine seventy odd players at training with primary school hoops going through the motions of gymnastic artistry). A poor year for our six teams with the top team finishing 11th out of 12 and the best results being the 3rd and 4th place achieved by our SL 4A and 4B teams respectively. Fees in 1992 were $35 for students and $50 for non students and the Sports Union membership was $50. Bongo Bontjer took over the SCUM editorial role and the first appearance of the Sideline Spy was seen in May.
The club continued with six teams in 1993. The SL1 team came 4th and the SL Reserves 2nd under John Bruce’s continuing tutelage. The best lower team performance was the 3rd Divisions team’s 4th under John Tucker. We achieved sponsorship with Mitchell Irrigation (through Gary Lemmon, a Reserves player), the Private Bin (old Nightclub on Northbourne Avenue) and Tom’s Trash Paks. The Bin provided weekly prizes of 2 $25 bar tabs, 2 x dinner for two at their Waffles restaurant and 2 x t-shirt and caps (much sought after) and these were distributed to players of the week from each of the teams. The Bredbo Award for the player making the biggest tit of themselves on the Cooma road trip was introduced this year. Former Australian players Steve Hogg and Danny Moulis played for the club this year. The first player profiles were included in that year’s SCUM and the One Eye column also debuted. The Tom’s Trash Pak Award was presented to the Clubman of the year and this became the President’s Award.
1994 saw the club continue their 1993 sponsorships along with the Canberra City Soccer Shop and City Physiotherapy. The 1st Division team came 1st and won their GF over White Eagles. The 3rd and 4th grade teams also made the finals coming 3rd. Life memberships were awarded to Peter Foley and Don Greig this year at the Presentation Night held at the Bin. Fund raising was chiefly through chocolate sales but suffice to say that administering their sales was a nightmare (constant reminders in the SCUM for outstanding monies owing).
Matt Rodgers, Head Coach of the First Team from 1996 to pre-season 1998 talks about his time at the club:
I joined ANU Soccer Club in 1994 following the frequent promptings of Andy Allan that ANU was a good place to play the game, no big egos, no prima donnas, no wankers – not like the puffed up nobodies of the Premier League soccer competition in Canberra (where I had been playing for the previous few years, but I didn’t take it personally). In my first year we won the Grand Final under the masterful direction of Coach JB – which was, when you have a really, really good team, just let them go out and play, no direction required.
Willy Bollox came in next as Firsts Coach in 1995, a square peg in a round hole if ever there was one, but took the Firsts to another Grand Final, which we lost. It wasn’t a particularly happy camp that year though and no surprises when Willy bailed at seasons end.
This is when I decided that if Willy thought he could coach, so could I, and thanks to the ANU Soccer Committee, I was appointed for 1996. I stayed until pre-season 1998 when I headed back to Brisbane and handed the reins to Lars Koch. Of course, the quality of the 1998 pre-season had beautifully set up the team for a Grand Final win under Lars in 1998! (I’ll take whatever crumbs of credit I can!)
So what about 96 and 97? I don’t remember as much as I would like to be honest. Losing the Grand Final to Cooma in 96 was shit after not playing well that day and after we had finished top of the league after the home and away season. Having not celebrated the latter achievement we ended up celebrating nothing that season. Message for all future ANU coaches – don’t make the same mistake! ’97 was a pretty average season, finishing somewhere in the Top 4 but not making the Grand Final. Losing to Burns Club in the semi (or at any time) was never a good thing.
My main memories of ANU are of the people, the friendly atmosphere at the club. Post-game beers and hot chips at the Workers Club every Saturday post-game. Playing in the same team as fine players like Ole Bang, Andy Allen and Steve Hogg. Players you would always have in your team like Steve Holgate and Chris De Ruyter. Good kids (back then) like Paul Panebianca, Jeremy Barnes, Scott Haig and Dave Paabo, and a hugely promising young goalkeeper Chris Freeman. It was a good place to be, I really enjoyed my time at ANU, no big egos, prima donnas, no wankers, Andy was right.
In 1995 our numbers swelled to around 140 players and the club fielded eight teams. Billy Willox coached the 1sts and Reserves and finished 2nd and 3rd respectively. John Tucker took the 3rd Red (Racing) team to 1st and Peter Foley did likewise with the 4ths, while also winning their GF. The number of mystery contributors to the SCUM continued to increase as we saw the birth of ‘Tit on the Touchline’, ‘Boof on the Bench’, ‘Sod in the Stand’ and of course ‘Touchline Tosser’. Chris Behrens took over as President and the committee structure and functioning really started to become more and more professional.
Ex-SCUM editor (and regular SCUM contributor over the years) Anthony ‘Ron Jeremy; Ferguson provides his recollections of these times:
I edited the SCUM for a period sometime betwixt the years of 1996 and 1998. My memories of ANU as a club are generally warm and fuzzy. I always found the club really well organised, in terms of the number of teams they turned out, the amount of enthusiasm and camaraderie generated around and within each individual side, even down to the little things, like every team consistently having two alternate strips to call on, and the very fact the club had its own organised club magazine. You may think these are minor points, but let me tell you my friends, these things were barely dreamed about in any of the WA sides I ever played for. Moreover, the club was successful on field as well. I can recall ANU sides from the State League 1 all the way down frequently challenging for championships – admittedly, none of the sides I actually graced, but we can’t have everything.
As Fergo outlines above, he took over the editorial role in 1996 and the SCUM started to go in a little more risqué direction. On the sporting side, we added a ninth team with our first Masters team (who finished 9th). Matt Rodgers took over the head coach role and took the 1sts to first place while Stephen coached the Reserves to 3rd. Our 2nd Grade sides were also competitive with the 2As under Richard Wysoczanski finishing 2nd and the 2Bs under John Tucker finishing 4th. Unfortunately, there was no GF success anywhere; a worrying trend in our inability to convert consistent yearlong performances to wins in the knockout stages which has continued until this day. The club received sponsorship from the Worker’s Club for the year.
1997 saw Peter Signorini take over as President from Michael Dowzer for a three-year reign. Matt Rodgers took the SL1 side to 3rd and the Reserves under Andrew Allan, Tim Lovell, and Stephen Kininmonth took out the Reserve title and won the GF. John Tucker was able to turn the tables on Richard Wysoczanski by winning SL2 with his B squad. But the second-placed A squad was able to take out the GF in a memorable game at Hackett Oval (a truly epic derby match). The club had two teams in SL3, SL4 and a team in Masters, but all finished mid to lower table.
In 1998, Lars Koch took over coaching duties from Matt Rodgers in pre-season for the Premier League 2 squad, while Brett Graham coached the Reserves. PL2 finished 2nd but ended up with a rare GF win, while the Reserves finished 1st but could not do the double. Richard Wysoczanski took the SL1 side to 4th while most others were mid-table. Stephen Kininmonth started his slippery slide down the divisions coaching the SL2 Shooters to 5th, while Peter Foley’s SL2 Dribblers could only finish 10th. This year saw a short-lived ACT tertiary challenge with games against CIT, ACU, UC and ADFA played over a weekend. Popular post-game activities were the regular meals at the Vietnam Restaurant who had moved from O’Connor to Hobart Place in Civic, and who were sponsors of the SL1 side.
Jose ‘Flog’ Del Rio joined with Peter ‘Plastic’ Papathanasiou to produce the SCUM in 1999. Plastic’s long running affair with the SCUM was born – highlights included Peter Foley’s Fascinating Football Facts. The Club introduced the intra-club preseason day and it was seen to be quite successful as it has mostly continued to this day (with some minor variations). All Bar Nun began to see more action as a sponsored drinking hole and we introduced an AGM Pasta Night ($8 per feed). On the pitch we had good success. Lars took the PL2 team to 4th, Steven “Macca” McIntyre took the PL2 Reserves to 3rd, Dave Crawford took SL1 to 4th and a GF win, Stephen Kininmonth took the SL2 team to 3rd and Peter Signorini took the SL4Bs to 3rd. Masters continued to struggle with another 7th place, and Hector Rodriguez just missed the finals with his SL3 side finishing 5th. Damien Kuzak finished 6th with his SL4A team.
Life Member Steve ‘Macca’ McIntyre reflects on his journey with the club:
My first season with the club was in 1990 when I started my Bachelor of Arts at the ANU. Somehow I just survived the cut for the first’s squad (we were in Premier League Two and Reserves those days) and I managed to ensconce myself. I have left Canberra many times and always on my return, returned to the club. Why? Overall because of the values that the club continues to uphold. That of the sense of non-pretentiousness and serious fun we have in enjoying, playing and supporting the world game together.
We always try to win the Club Championship and Club Fair Play award from Capital Football. That is our goal. It says what we are, a club that excels in all grades and play the game in the right spirit. And then there are the post-match celebrations. I remember BIG nights at the now defunct Workers Club, the Rissole (now Hellenic Club Civic), ABN (now Duxton), Mooseheads (still Mooseheads!) and Wests Turner Bowling Club. That says a lot about us.
The Presentation Night has always been the BIG night of the year. I remember Presentation Nights from the Satay Hut, to Thai Lotus, West rugger club at Jamison, to many at our various social ‘homes and ANU Union. I think University House works best for the formal sense and links. With the growing list of awards and teams, there are many opportunities to relive the season, especially with the Annual SCUM handed out at the end.
2000 dawned with Brett Graham as President and Steve ‘Junior’ Kaleb joining Plastic to help produce the SCUM. We added another team to a field nine, with representation in every division from SL1 to SL6, and two in SL5 & 6. We had a player base of 150 registered players. This was another good year with Lars taking SL1 to 2nd and a GF win, Nick Gouth taking SL2 to the double, Dave Crawford taking SL3 side to 3rd, Jose Del Rio taking SL4 to the double, Ed ‘The Animal’ Huddy taking SL5 (2) to 4th and Peter Signorini taking SL6 (2) to 2nd. We won the ACTSF Club Championship award which was a great recognition for the consistent results over the year. The Golden Gloves award was renamed the Ben Paull Golden Gloves Award to recognise the late ex-ANU keeper who passed away over the summer. Off-field activities were focussed on the RSL Club in Moore St in Civic who came on as club sponsors. We entered a team in the Kanga Cup under 24 Division and ran a successful 8-a-side competition.
The club kicked off 2001 by hosting the inaugural pre-season club challenge against the University of NSW, with ANU prevailing 3 games to 2. We entered another nine teams and but had slightly less success for the squads compared to the previous year. SL1 Coach Steve Kaleb took them to 3rd while Dave Crawford took the SL2 team to 2nd. Jose’s SL4 team finished 2nd as did Paul Smith’s SL6 Blues. Meanwhile, the sole GF success was earned by Jim Dawson’s SL5 Blue team who scraped into the semis in 4th. An interesting note is that the SL1 side played the Matildas in a trial game at the AIS on 20 May 2000, with ANU FC winning 8 goals to 1.
We expanded to 10 teams in 2002, with three teams in the 6th Division (interesting derby games). Rod ‘Hot Rod’ Lynes took over the reins of the SL1 squad in 2002, coming 5th, with Darren Viskovich leading the Reserves to top spot. Peter Signorini led the SL3 team to dual honours, Jose led the SL4 squad to a GF win after finishing second, Stephen Kininmonth led the SL5 Blue to 2nd, Jim Dawson got the double in SL6 with his Blue squad, Cristian Torres’ White team were 2nd and Sachin Naidu’s Orange were 7th. The Masters team finally got a good result following the creation of a second Masters Division, Michael Robertson taking the team to second. ANU won the Club Championship and Fair Play Award. The committee struggled to cope with the 170 odd players registered under Chairman John Coates. The current club song seems to have got its first airing this year. The committee issued a club questionnaire to gauge player’s views and the SCUM Annual topped 174 pages. 2002 heralded our minor name change as we became the ANU Football Club following the AGM.
Club Legend Steve ‘Macca’ McIntyre reflects on the decision:
Some say Soccer still but we play FOOTBALL, and I think we were one of the first clubs in Australia to take on this mantle with the resurgence and move to mainstream that the game undertook since Soccer Australia expired. At the AGM held at the 2002, I had proposed we change the name to ANU Association Football Club (with a mischievous look at the Aussie Rules club). This was deemed silly but then Maurice ‘Mo’ Le Guen suggested ANU FC and this was carried. I was at the then Soccer Canberra (now Capital Football) Presentation Night and returned to the ANU Presentation Night at the RSL to present the club with the Fair Play and Club Championship and to confirm the name change. The cheer on receiving these sought after trophies plus the soliloquy from Cully soon afterwards will long live in the memory.
Club legend Steve ‘Junior’ Kaleb also recalls this historic moment:
I seem to remember a presentation night when a proposal came from the floor to change from ANUSC to ANUFC around 2001 to 2002. Maurice Le Guen got up and spoke in favour and members voted it in. Rob Wood was secretary at the time and he made a humorous quip about sending the club’s entire stock of jerseys to Maurice’s house so he could personally replace the ‘ANUSC’ with ‘ANUFC’.
And more from Dom Barbaro:
I recall the discussion of renaming of club to be ANU FC from ANU Men’s Soccer Club, happened at Coatesy’s house at one of the planning days. There were suggestions from Macca to go all the way and instead of ANU FC go to ANUAFC (A for Association) but we decided against this as everyone would think it is Australian. I think this motion was put forward by Macca as well. The suggestion of using orange as our third club colour was probably decided at the same planning day. Orange was going to be used as the away strip.
2003 began with a road trip to UNSW and an expanded range of merchandise (scarves, beanies, stubby holders). The Committee under John Coates and Dominic Barbero put together a club plan with an aim to get a soccer specific facility developed at ANU. On the field, the results were fairly poor, particularly in comparison to the previous year. The Premier League side under Rod Lynes finished second last and the Reserves 5th, Jose’s Division 3 side came 2nd, Jim Dawson’s Division 6 finished 2nd and Peter Foley took the Masters SL2 side to 4th. The only glory was won by new coach lain ‘Turps’ Warner, whose SL7 Blues won the double. This year, there were attempts to develop closer ties with the Women’s Club (a debateable issue in particular for some in the Women’s club) highlighted by a joint ten-pin bowling challenge at Queanbeyan.
Macca discusses the situation with the women in more depth:
We have had many females play for us commendably over the years. They are generally all known players of ACT if not Matilda standard. They include Kristyn Swaffer, Tal Karp, Amy Wilson & Sarah Crittenden. In 2000, Division 1 had the pleasure with other Div 1 teams to play against the Matildas as part of their preparations for the Sydney Olympics when they had the bye. 8-1 and 4-0 results to ANU FC in what was one of the best ANU FC teams in my time with the club ensued. But as one of the Matildas commented “I can’t believe we lost to a pub team…”
The ANU WSC (blue stockings) has always wanted to maintain their independence since they formed in the late 1970’s. They have the focus on playing for now as cheaply as possible (using summer comp money to subsidise fees). There have been attempts to merge the clubs I think on two occasions but the political will to make this happen has not been there. The women’s club are basically afraid of the men taking over. As if we want to take on this extra work! The evidence that we don’t want to take over is that we haven’t…!
I do understand their position but it has been time for many years to just get over it and combine to unite the football people on campus to work together to provide the best football experience for those who register. ANU FC try’s its best to grow the game and work to work towards our dream of a club house. The women are more than welcome to assist us in achieving this – and will see this happen sooner. Really though – we are not properly organised on the campus as long as there are two clubs.
We continued with ten teams in 2004 and had an improved year. We won four minor premierships, PL Res, SL4, SL6 and Masters SL2, with eight teams making the finals and two GF winners, PL Res under Darren Viskovich and SL6 under Turps Warner. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) we were relegated from PL after finishing 10th. George Kulcsar was appointed as a Technical Director so perhaps he can take some of the credit for the general improvements or shall we credit President Jose Del Rio? Tue Vu took over the SCUM editorial role and things just got a little bit weirder. We developed our club website and introduced a club discount card with some of our sponsors.
We dropped to nine teams in 2005. The fortunes of our SL1 and Masters team highlighted the difficulty we have had as a club when faced with the best teams in Canberra. Our relegated PL side won the SL1 comp under Darren Viskovich, while our promoted Masters team finished 9th in Division 1. Our SL2 side under Cristian Torres finished 1st. Six teams made the finals, with only SL1 winning the GF. Steve Kaleb became President and bemoaned the difficulties of working with the SRA regarding rugby unions ongoing preferential treatment over oval allocation and training times/dates. Mooseheads were our major sponsor and keg nights were relatively popular (particularly for the few hardy souls who actually ventured there). Our crest was finalised this year and Andy Allan’s calling card ‘talk is cheap’ (or “chalk is cheap as it would inevitably become later each night) was immortalised as ‘vilis est sermo’. There was plenty of lively debate about the design with some not so enamoured with the ‘volleyball’ winning out. The move to Voluntary Sports Union membership was also on the horizon and was of some concern to the committee at the time.
Macca reflects on the development of the crest and motto:
After the wrangling and debate died down, one day I decided to propose a few ideas and actually make this happen. The crucial parts were to enshrine:
- The continuation of the vertical royal blue and white stripes in the strips the club plays under
- Orange as the away colour to be distinctive from other clubs (as voted by committee after debate by Dom Barbaro and myself in 1999)
- The football -obvious but the most controversial because the one voted in is an ‘old school football; one that I am sure that the first generation of players played with. This was inspired by other clubs, for example Barcelona and Manchester United which have the same football.
- The link to ANU through the book symbolising learning
- Est. 1962 – to note the known start of the game formally on campus.
This was carried after consultation with the membership through the SCUM. Credits to Paul ‘Gunner Gunning for formalising the winning design and for the 50th version. There was debate about the nickname – although the media always says ‘the students’. Nothing was agreed on.
In terms of the motto, I seem to recall Andy ‘Aging’ Allan always propping up the wall saying anything to us in conversation “chalk is cheap” to such frequency that we kinda decided to forward this to the club to make it a motto. But being ANU it had to be in Latin. If only to have that email conversation between the two academics about whether it should be ‘sermo est vilis’ or as the winner argued because of the tense – “vilis est sermo”. It was gold.
2006 saw a return to the Premier League under Coach Darren Viskovitch with the ACTAS Squad fulfilling our requirement for a Premier Pathway team. Rod Lynes took over the role of Technical Director. The PL team finished 7th (2 wins from 16 games) with the Pathway team finishing 1st. In all, seven of the ten teams reached the finals with SL5 under Peter Baker and SL8 under Jim Dawson getting Minor Premierships. Unfortunately, only SL5 were able to win a Premiership title. SCUM editorial duties were shared by Lee ‘Galloping’ Gordon and Stephen Kininmonth until Adam Wilson came on board mid-season. Steve McIntyre and Adrian Cunningham were made life members. Committee assistant Dom Barbaro was heavily involved in driving the Capital Works Project which was to be funded by quarantined funds earned from the Summer Comp run by Steve McIntyre.
Macca outlines some of the background to the project and fund-raising attempts:
We used to have a specific football field on North 2. Sometime during the 90’s we were able to convince the Sports Union and rugger that club days could see both sports use both fields if we arranged the draws properly. This worked well until the Sports Union backed the rugger club to complete the pavilion/club house. ANU FC was asked to financially contribute but chose not to because guarantees of access were not given. Therefore once the synthetic Willow Oval with two fields was completed, ANU FC was completely kicked off our spiritual home of North Oval. Nice! By the way we own half of those spectator stands still there. Don’t get me wrong, the Willows fields are a great facility but it has been compromised from the start. This is because hockey wanted a surface for themselves to return to a field on campus – do they use it now? So the surface is only FIFA 2-star. So now football is the biggest user but there are no toilets or change rooms at Willows (and still Capital Football play Women’s PL games there).
Other ideas about finding a home included a lease on the athletics field oval just north of North Oval, and one that to me is still viable that we set up at South Oval. All we asked is that rugger and aussie rules share North Oval. So the nature of sharing a venue does not change for them, and we can improve plus use South Oval every season weekend. But no once again logic and football territory do not mix.
In terms of the Summer Comps, I set them up with Jose Del Rio a decade ago (2002). It has grown and is a BIG fundraiser for the club for the clubhouse project. We have conducted comps at Fellows, Dickson, and now South. They are great at keeping teams together and having some fun. They have settled down to 6 a side comps with now four divisions (once 7 a side).
In terms of other fund-raising activities, I remember the first sign that the club was starting to mature when we purchased a solid 4 burner BBQ back in 1993 (by John JB Bruce). When football was only allowed on North Oval 2 (rugby on 1), he and I would carry the BBQ from the North Oval sheds around the rugby field, and a rugger bugger wag commented, “look the soccer guys are getting organised”. Over the years there were canteens – organised by various people with ‘Maccas Mess’, ‘Dunnys Diner’ and recently Richos Rotisserie’ in operation.
We fielded 11 teams in 2007, with Radford acting as our U18 side as required in the new PL format. We had around 180 registered players. Jeremy Murray took over the Presidential reins from Steve Kaleb. This wasn’t a really successful year on the football field with only one Minor Premiership, SL8 under Sashin Naidu, and only one GF appearance, despite six teams scraping into semis action. The PL team improved slightly with a 6 position but it was becoming increasingly clear that we wouldn’t ever really bother the top sides. SCUM Editor Adam Wilson tried to introduce a new format for the SCUM by not issuing a version as such, but rather posting articles on the Club’s web-site and encouraging players to subscribe to the RSS feed. This was a brave but flawed approach and general busyness meant that not many articles got posted and it was a bit of a nightmare to access and read. This approach lasted from late April to late May. Stephen Kinimonth ended up coming back to pull together a more traditional version for the remainder of the season. This was a year that really tested the ongoing role of the SCUM as contributions were pretty lean over the year and there were serious concerns over the value and desire for it to continue. Of course it did – but that owes much to the enthusiasm from Plastic who would drive the SCUM in partnership with Hugh Paterson from 2008. Macca generously introduced the McIntyre Scholarship this year and it was shared by Alex Dalgleish and Ari Jerrems.
Again, we fielded 11 teams in 2008, with our PL team coming last of nine (two wins and 1 draw) in what was to be Darren’s last year at the Club. We ended up with 3 Minor Premierships, Peter Baker’s SL5, Jim Dawson’s SL9 and John Martin’s Masters Div 3 side. SL9 and Masters went on to win their GF’s with Tom Motherwell’s SL6 side also winning after finishing 2nd. Under President Jeremy Murray the committee expanded from eight to ten members which helped balance the increasing workload. The SCUM under Plastic and Hugh Paterson thrived including a bumper 237 page final edition. One of the more interesting inclusions was a table of top performing teams of the past 23 seasons (1986-2008). On the social side a large group of ANU players made the trek to Murrindindi NSW, to see club legend Coatesy’s (ex-President) and accountant take on his dream job of owning and operating a pub and then marrying the former owner’s daughter there.
In 2009 we fielded an incredible thirteen teams with around 220 players. Adam Wilson took over as President and John Mitchell returned to the club as Technical Director and Coach of the Premier League squad; effectively the ACT Academy of Sport squad playing under the ANU banner with Radford College also providing two teams in the Under 16 and 18 competitions. The Premier League Squad had an average age of 18 and while they were competitive they still struggled finishing 7th from 9 (4 wins, 3 draws and 9 losses). Current Socceroo Tom Rogic had his stint with the club before he was selected to take part in the Nike Football Academy. Luke Pilkington, winner of Fox Sports Next Football Superstar and former Melbourne Victory player, played for the club this year as well. Around $45,000 worth of sponsorship was provided to enable us to compete in the top flight. We had two Minor Premiers, SL2 under Jezza Murray and SL5 under Peter Baker. We won an incredible four Premierships, SL2, SL6 under Paul Hughes, SL9 under Glenn Stretton and Masters Div 2 under Macca. The development of Willows began and the promise of improved playing facilities was seen to be very desirable. The range of club merchandise continued to expand. The social side of the Club continued to be an important component of the clubs success.
2010 saw us continue the 2009 model with the addition of another team in Div 10 (with 16 teams and 270 players now wearing the ANU strip) making us clearly the biggest club in the ACT. This was to be our last in the top competition with John Mitchell’s young squad finishing 10th. Ultimately it was just too expensive for the club and the large workload on the committee was taking its toll. We finished with three Minor Premierships (SL5 under Peter Baker, SL6 under Chris Denney and SL8 under Don Lovie) and two League Championships (SL2 under Jeremy Murray and SL9 under Andrew Allan). The Willows Oval development was completed and we commenced training and playing there. The two pitches are Desso Ambition artificial grass, a surface composed of monofilament fibers that do not require watering, saving 15 megalitres of water per year. Alas this meant that training could never be called off as the state of the art facilities are playable in any weather (much like South Oval) and the billiard table like surface meant that you did not have any excuse when your touch was crappy. It wasn’t a bumper year for the SCUM with only five regular issues produced but the final annual made up for it with Plastic and Moesy pulling another masterpiece together.
In 2011, the club dropped out of Premier League and team numbers actually dropped to thirteen with we over 230 registered players. We were represented by a team in each of the State League divisions, SL 1 to SL10, two Masters Teams and a third squad added to provide playing opportunities for the older more mature over 45 footballer. Ed Huddy took over the reins from Adam Wilson as President and Plastic and Moesy continued to produce the SCUM . The playing results were fairly good with nine teams making the finals, SL1 under Bill Simeonovic, SL 2 under Riccardo Natoli, SL3 under Jeremy Murray, SL4 under Jim Dawson, SL7 under Don Lovie, SL8 under Malcolm Paterson, SL9 under Jordan Windley, SL10 under Hugh Paterson and Masters Div 1 under Macca. Only Jim Dawson’s SL4 were able to win the Minor Premiership and only Jezza Murray’s SL3 squad won Championship honours. However, six teams made Grand Finals. We won the Capital Football State League Club Championship. Ex-player and 1st team captain Bill Simeonovic returned to the club to coach the SL1 side. The Club developed its internet presence on Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, and a new club web-site.
In 2012 we added a fourteenth team in the new Division 11 and early signs are promising for more silverware at the end of the year. Ed Huddy continued as President and drove the 50th anniversary activities with a small team of organisers (well done to all). One of the key activities was the inaugural Community Day to launch our 50th Anniversary season. The feature match between the ex-Presidents and All-Stars (with a few ring-ins) was a hard fought affair with All Stars prevailing 2-1 with goals from Scott Channing and Rob Bennett. Don Lovie scored for the ex-Presidents. It was a great day for reunions with many players coming along to enjoy the beautiful autumn weather and catch up with former team mates. It was particularly pleasing to see the large group of players from the early 70’s who came from all around the country to get together. A sure sign of fond memories and another indicator of the greatness of this club. The club held its 50th Gala Dinner and was great opportunity for current and former players to catch-up with old mates and reminisce about the good old days while also considering the opportunities ahead in the next fifty years.
Anthony “Fergo” Ferguson’s memories of editing the SCUM are circa 1996-1998, before the online media assault of today’s world. Fergo recalls how he would often sneak back into his office after dark and utilise all the technology at hand for free to knock up several hundred hard copies of that week’s issue. Fergo usually produced issues in a range of different colours: ‘Depending on my mood ideally, but more so depending on the availability of whatever coloured paper I could pilfer from my unsuspecting government department… at taxpayer expense.’ Hence, readers would often receive their edition of SCUM in an obnoxious shade of green or a pretty pink.
The fourteen team model continued in 2013 with 11 state league teams and 3 masters teams. 12 of the club’s 14 teams reached the finals of their respective competitions. Five teams took home premierships, SL3, SL4, SL6, SL7 and SL8. From the 12 teams to make finals, six progressed to Grand Finals with three teams taking home the championship, SL3, SL4, and SL10. SL2 was unlucky to lose 3-2 and Masters 1 went down to an extremely powerful Weston side 4-1. Matt Caldow took over the president’s role from Ed Huddy.
Tom Sharp continued on as president in 2016, and the recent dominance in state league continued. The club fielded we fielded 12 state league teams and 4 masters team, composed of almost registered 300 players. Premierships for 2016 were won by CL, CL Res, SL1, SL2, SL5, Masters 2, with grand final wins for Capital League, SL2 and Masters 2.
2017 saw Patrick Holloway finally step up into the president’s role, supported by Jack Mendham. The club fielded a record equalling 16 teams across 15 divisions. We won eight League Championships with Capital League, SL2, SL4, SL6, SL7, SL8, SL10 and Masters 2. We had 12 teams qualify for finals. We reached 8 grand finals, played in 7, and won 6.
For a club with a bit of a monkey on our shoulder for finals performances, 2017 was certainly the year we kicked it off and into the opposition’s net. The club took out six Grand Final Winners in Capital League, State League 2, State League 7, State League 10, Masters 1 and Masters 2!
There is no doubt the club has come a long way in its fifty seven year history and we are well placed to continue to have a big impression on the ACT football scene for many years to come. To all that have undertaken committee roles, coached or helped out along the way, a sincere thank-you. Let’s continue to build the greatest club in ACT Football. Life Member Andrew ‘Aging’ Allan reflected on the reasons why we are the greatest in the ACT during the clubs 50th anniversary celebrations:
As a life member of the Club, I’ve been asked to pen a few words for this year’s 50th birthday celebrations. It was suggested I could provide highlights or lowlights or an insight into what has kept me wanting to be involved with the Club for over 20 years. There have been way too many highlights to list and few lowlights.
A lot of people from a lot of different walks of life regularly state that it is an organisation’s or institution’s people that make it great.
I say that’s bollocks. People routinely come and go from any long lived institution – that’s the nature of life. Some are truly good people who leave an indelible, positive mark before they move on but others, equally as good, leave no mark.
For mine, it’s not the people that count per se, it’s the values they bring to an institution, the culture they help create and nurture in their time there and, ultimately, the legacy they leave behind that’s what really counts.
On first arriving at the Club in the early 1990’s, it was obvious it was something worth being a part of (notwithstanding its then somewhat parlous financial and administrative state – much since improved). This feeling has persisted with me to this date.
For me, a number of key traits make the Club what it is – the very best Club in the ACT to play for by a country mile.
No matter what the grade, we: always play to win – but never at any cost; we play hard – but fair; we don’t need to sledge first – but are more than happy to sledge you off the park if you want to start something; football is serious – but never let it get in the way of a good laugh over a beer after the game; and, we try and play the Beautiful Game’ – but recognise we sometimes don’t get quite there. Contrast this with what we routinely face as opposition on a Saturday or Sunday.
Three other things that have played a huge role in making the Club what it is, are the volunteers who have donated their (considerable) time to run the Club over the years, the commitment of successive Committees to ensure all members get a fair go regardless whether they play for first grade, SL10 or M3, and the SCUM.
I’m confident what I see as the culture of the Club will continue to thrive to ensure WE remain the best football institution in the ACT for at least the next 50 years.
And, never forget, TALK IS CHEAP
* The history provided above is a summarised and edited version of the club history provided in the 2012 History of ANUFC compiled by Stephen Kininmonth. A full copy of the book is available from our secretary upon request. Additional photos and descriptors are available on the ANUFC Facebook page.