Central Coast Mariners FC
Central Coast Mariners Football Club is an Australian professional soccer club based in Gosford, on the Central Coast of New South Wales. It competes under licence from Football Federation Australia; the Mariners are one of the eight original A-League teams. It is the first professional sports club from the Gosford region to compete in a national competition. Despite being considered one of the smallest-market clubs in the league, the Central Coast Mariners have claimed one A-League Championship from four Grand Final appearances and topped the table to win the A-League Premiership twice; the club has appeared in the AFC Champions League four times. The club plays matches at a 20,059-seat stadium in Gosford; the facility is home to a youth team that competes in the National Youth League. The English EFL Championship team Sheffield United has invested in the Central Coast-based club, the Mariners has affiliation agreements with several international clubs; the Mariners' main supporters' group is known as the Yellow Army, for the colour of the club's home kit.
The club shares a rivalry with Newcastle Jets, known as the F3 Derby, after the previous name of the motorway that connects the cities of the teams. Matt Simon is the Mariners' all-time leading goalscorer as of December 2014, with 49 goals in all competitions; the team record for matches played is held by John Hutchinson, who has appeared in 263 games for the Mariners. Central Coast Mariners' bid for a franchise in the Football Federation Australia's new A-League competition was aimed at filling the one spot for a regional team, designated by the FFA. Media speculation prior to the announcement of the franchises in the new league suggested that the Mariners' bid may be favourable due to its new blood. Backing from former Australian international player and club technical director Alex Tobin, as well as Clean Up Australia personality Ian Kiernan—who would act as inaugural club chairman—also strengthened its proposal; as the only regional bidder, Central Coast was expected to make it into the league by default.
Following a reported signed deal with the FFA, the club signed former Northern Spirit coach Lawrie McKinna as manager and Ian Ferguson, a former Rangers and Northern Spirit player, as coach. To aid the FFA's goals of building the profile of the sport, the Mariners created formal links with local state league team Central Coast United. On 1 November 2004, after much expectation, the club was announced as one of eight teams to become part of FFA's domestic competition, the A-League; the decision made Central Coast Mariners the first Gosford-based professional sports team to play in a national competition. At the time of the formation of the new league in 2004, the club was owned by Spirits Sports and Leisure Group; the club announced its search for a star player under the league's allowance for one star player outside of the $1.5 million salary cap, insisting that the player should not look at the position as a retirement fund. Coach Lawrie McKinna sought interest from Australia national football team players Ante Milicic and Simon Colosimo, announced that he may sign more than the three under-20 players required by league rules.
Early concerns for the club focussed on concerns over financial stability, but after forming a partnership with technology company Toshiba and a cash injection from local businessman John Singleton, the club's financial worries were eased. McKinna was keen to sign local player Damien Brown of Bateau Bay of the Newcastle Jets. In a decision which prompted the player to declare that he was "over the moon", Brown became the first player to sign with the club. Club chairman Lyall Gorman was pleased that a local had become a "foundation player" and part of Brown's role would be to assist with selection of younger players from the local area. By early December 2004, the club had created a steady foundation of player signings and began negotiations with former Perth Glory striker Nik Mrdja, signing him in the month as its star attacker. Mrjda was one of the most prominent players in the last season of the National Soccer League, scoring the final goal to secure Perth Glory's finals win; the club's management was reluctant to sign a star player outside of the $1.5 million salary cap, stipulating that they "would have to contribute on the pitch and get people to come to the ground."
The Mariners' inaugural season was considered a resounding success by most. Central Coast was defeated by Sydney FC 1–0 in front of a crowd of 41,689—a competition record at the time; the Mariners won the 2005 Pre-Season Cup, defeating Perth Glory in the final 1–0. Before the 2006–07 A-League season, the Mariners secured the services of then-Australian international Tony Vidmar from NAC Breda for two years; this was the club's first marquee signing, following the lead of Adelaide United. Central Coast again reached the grand final in the 2006 Pre-Season Cup, losing to Adelaide United 5–4 on penalties after the score was tied 1–1 after extra time; the Mariners participated in the 2006–07 A-League season, but was unable to gain a spot in the final series, finishing sixth after the regular season. Club captain Noel Spencer was released by the Mariners signed to participate in the Asian Champions League by Sydney FC after the 2006–07 season, Alex Wilkinson was appointed the new captain. Only 22 years of age at the time, Wilkinson had played every possible competitive match for the Mariners up to his appointment.
In February 2008, Central Coast Mariners signed an arrangem
Mark Daniel Milligan is an Australian professional footballer who plays as a defensive midfielder for Scottish Premiership side Hibernian and captains the Australia national football team. Starting his career as a defender, Milligan has spent much of his career playing as a midfielder, he is the current captain of the Australian National team. FourFourTwo magazine revealed on 28 July 2007 that after the Asian Cup Milligan had gone without Sydney FC's permission to trial for teams in Europe. Milligan was linked with French sides FC RC Lens; the following day Milligan walked out on Metz just before a scheduled trial game appearance against Standard Liege out of frustration at the right-back position he would be trialled in. The following day it was reported, he was linked with a move to English Premier League clubs Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City and Arsenal, as well as RC Lens in France's Ligue 1, more with FC Porto in the Portuguese Liga and Bundesliga side Werder Bremen, during the summer of 2008.
On 21 October 2008, The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Milligan signed a guest contract with Newcastle United Jets for seven weeks. He made his debut on 24 October 2008, against Central Coast Mariners at Bluetongue Stadium, where his team lost 1–0. During this time he was sent off in a match against the Wellington Phoenix. Milligan joined Chinese Super League outfit Shanghai Shenhua in January 2009, signing a three-year contract. On 19 May, Milligan scored his first goal for Shanghai Shenhua in their 1–1 draw in the AFC Champions League group stage match against Kashima Antlers. Milligan finalised his switch from Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua to Japanese side JEF United Chiba, who were relegated to the second division; when the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami struck Japan, Milligan decided to flee the country, fearing for the safety of not only himself, but his wife and child. With the J2 League suspended until further notice, JEF United Chiba gave permission for Milligan to train in a bid to keep his fitness up with his former A-League club Sydney FC.
On 23 January 2012 it was reported that Melbourne Victory was to secure Milligan on loan until the end of the regular season. It was confirmed on 24 January that Milligan signed for a loan deal to Melbourne Victory until the end of the 2011–12 A-League season, becoming the first Sydney FC player to switch to Melbourne Victory, he returned to Japan in March. In July 2012, Milligan was released from JEF United Chiba and returned to Melbourne Victory by signing a three-year contract. Milligan starred for Melbourne Victory during their 2012–13 season, moving from centre-back to play as a defensive midfielder, established himself as one of the best players in the league. Although he has never been a prolific goal scorer, Milligan scored 8 goals in this season, a number of them being clutch goals in important games, including a penalty equaliser in an elimination final against Perth Glory that Melbourne Victory went on to win in extra time. To cap off his season, Milligan won the Victory Medal, awarded to the club's player of the season.
On 17 September 2013, Milligan was rewarded for his performances by being appointed the captain of Melbourne Victory, replacing Adrian Leijer. He was rumoured to be leaving Melbourne Victory to join fellow national team midfielder Mile Jedinak at newly promoted Premier League club Crystal Palace, however Melbourne Victory rejected a rumoured £2m offer for the defensive midfielder. Milligan, after a trial at Crystal Palace, stayed on at Melbourne Victory as captain in the 2013–14 season, he sustained an injury halfway through the season, the team suffered for this and other reasons such as losing their coach, an injury to Adrian Leijer and four players going to the Under 21 World championships. However, Victory improved after this period to finish fourth in the A-League. Milligan played every minute of all but one ACL match, only missing the final away match of the ACL Asian Champions League match through suspension. On 17 May 2015, Milligan captained his side during their 3–0 defeat of Sydney FC in the 2014–15 A-League Grand Final, held at AAMI Park and was awarded the Joe Marston Medal as the best player in the match.
At the end of the 2014–15 season it was announced that UAE Pro-League side Baniyas SC had triggered the release clause of Milligan's contract with a $1 million transfer fee, he signed with them on a two-year contract. On 31 July 2017, it was announced Miligan would return to the Victory on a one-year deal as a marquee player. On 28 January 2018, Melbourne Victory sold Mark Milligan to Al-Ahli for $1 million, he was assigned the number 5 shirt. On 4 February, he made his debut for Al-Ahli in a league game against Al Ittihad FC, he played at centre-half, with the game finishing 0-0. He got good response from the fans. On 18 August 2018, Milligan signed a two-year contract with Scottish Premiership club Hibernian. Milligan represented Australia at the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship in the Netherlands. In May 2006, he was the youngest player selected in the Australian 2006 FIFA World Cup squad, being one of only two players chosen from the A-League – the other being Michael Beauchamp. Milligan had impressed coaches Graham Arnold and Johan Neeskens at a recent camp in Vietnam, while Guus Hiddink recalled watching Milligan at the World Youth Championship.
He made his senior international debut against Liechtenstein on 7 June 2006, coming off the bench in the 85th minute of Australia's last warm-up game before
Adrian Leijer is an Australian retired footballer who played as a centre back. Leijer played on one occasion for Australia and made over 100 appearances for Melbourne Victory in the A-League. Leijer was born, grew up in, the New South Wales town of Dubbo to a family of Dutch and English heritage, he played from Under 10 - Under 14 with SASS Strikers Junior Soccer Club in the Dubbo & District Soccer Association. Whilst with SASS, he represented New South Wales Country in football. In 1998, Leijer was a co-captain of Orana Heights Public School in Dubbo; when Leijer was 15 years old his family moved south to Jan Juc on Victoria's surf coast and attended Belmont High School where he joined Geelong SC and represented the U-15's Victorian Country team. Ian Greener Head of Coaching & Development at the Victorian Soccer Federation, spotted his talent and recommended him to the head coach of the Victorian Institute of Sport Football program, Ernie Merrick. Leijer spent two years at the Victorian Institute of Sport and moved on to the Melbourne Knights for the last season of the now defunct National Soccer League, where he made 18 appearances during a season where the club finished second last in the competition.
While still training at the VIS, Leijer and his future team mate Kristian Sarkies were selected to trial with Premier League Everton Football Club for three weeks. However, they both returned home to Australia. Upon his return to Australia, he was signed by Melbourne Victory, a team in the new A-League competition, his former VIS coach Ernie Merrick, who had taken the reins at Melbourne Victory, stated. He is part of the senior leadership group within the club and is the second youngest player in the squad," The club's first season was reminiscent of Leijer's time at the Melbourne Knights as Melbourne Victory finished second last overall. Leijer, played 20 games for the club, only missing their final game against the New Zealand Knights through suspension. At the end of the season he was awarded the Players' Player of the Year and Clubman of the Year awards. Melbourne Victory's second season was more successful, starting with seven straight wins and culminating in a 6-0 victory over Adelaide United in the Grand Final.
At the A-League's end of season awards, Leijer won Young Player of the Year. On 2 August 2007, Melbourne Victory confirmed that English Premier League club Fulham had made a bid for the 21-year-old. Leijer signed a 3-year contract for an undisclosed fee. Leijer played for the Fulham reserve team throughout the 2007–2008 season and was included in the squads to face both Liverpool and Reading, but stayed on the bench both times. Following Adrian's return to Fulham after an unsuccessful Olympic campaign with the Australian U/23's team, Leijer returned without having played any games in the Olympic tournament. Whilst tipped by Fulham reserve coach Billy McKinlay to make a greater impact in the first team that season, Adrian missed most of the club's pre-season due to the Olympic tournament and only made the bench once, in a League Cup defeat to Burnley. On 2 February 2009, it was announced that Leijer has moved on loan to Norwich City until the end of the 2008–09 season, becoming Norwich City's 40th loan signing since they were relegated in their 2004–2005 season.
This loan spell was unsuccessful for Leijer, since it did not result in him seeing a great deal of first team action. It was announced that Leijer would return again to Australia during their 2009-10 season, after being re-signed by his former Melbourne Victory for three years. Melbourne had suffered shallow defensive stocks with numerous key players unavailable prior to the announcement. After a promising start, slotting straight back in to the side hours after landing, former captain Kevin Muscat commented on his potential to be a key figure in the club. On February 2011, Adrian Leijer was appointed the captain of Melbourne Victory. Leijer was the captain of Melbourne Victory from February 2011 to September 2013. On 17 September 2013, Leijer was replaced by Mark Milligan as Melbourne Victory's captain. On 25 February 2015, Leijer transferred to Chinese Super League side Chongqing Lifan. On 2 February 2016, Leijer transferred to K League 1 side Suwon FC. Leijer retired from football in January 2019 to take up a position with Adidas.
Adrian Leijer's first taste of the senior international scene was when he was selected by Guus Hiddink to train with the Socceroos before the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. After his short training stint with the senior team he continued being selected for Young Socceroos squads, he had been a regular member of the Australia national under-23 football team, the Olyroos. Leijer earned his first cap for the senior Australian national team against Singapore on 22 March 2008. Melbourne Victory: A-League Championship: 2006-07 and 2008-09 A-League Premiership: 2006-07 and 2008-09 A-League Pre-Season Challenge Cup Championship: 2008–09Personal honours: A-League Young Player of the Year: 2006-07 Melbourne Victory Players Player of the Year: 2005-06 Melbourne Victory Clubman of the Year: 2005-06 Adrian Leijer at Soccerway Adrian Leijer at National-Football-Teams.com Melbourne Victory profile OzFootball profile FFA - Olyroo profile Adrian Leijer – K League stats at kleague.com
Weston Workers Bears FC
Weston Workers Bears Football Club are an Australian semi-professional soccer club based in Weston, New South Wales. At its senior level the club participates in the National Premier Leagues Northern NSW, the highest tier of Northern New South Wales Football and the second tier of Australian football after the A-League. Three Weston football clubs were formed in 1907; the Bears are credited as being founded in 1907 by coalminers who worked at the Hebburn Colliery. The Bears have spent the majority of their 100-year history in the top flight of local football, winning 13 Grand Finals, 9 Premierships and 9 Club Championships. Weston wear White striped jerseys, with black shorts and black socks with white trimming, it is thought that Weston chose these colours due to the large number of English coalminers hailing from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne who settled in the region and helped to set up Weston Workers Football Club. Weston's away strip is a maroon jersey with sky blue trimming, maroon shorts and sky blue socks.
During the 1980s, Weston wore a yellow away strip, which resulted in the fans referring to the team as'The Canaries' for a short period. Weston play their home games at Rockwell Automation Park. Rockwell Automation Park has been home to the Bears since 1955; the park has two grandstands: the main stand and members stand for club members. Weston's performances in recent seasons of the NBN State League: *2010: Deserved Minor Premiers finishing the year on 39 points in 1st place. 2009: Finished 7th 2008: 4th on 32 points. 2 goals from Grand Final berth. 2007: 7th on 23 points. 2006: 8th place on 17 points. 2005: 4th place on 28 points. Defeated 3–0 in Minor Semi Final by South Cardiff 2004: 1st place on 42 points. Defeated 3–1 in Grand Final by Broadmeadow Magic FC 2003: 3rd place on 36 points. Defeated by Edgeworth Eagles FC in Semi-final 2002: 6th place on 22 points. 2001: 6th place on 16 points. 2000: 11th place on 12 points. 1999: 7th place on 22 points. 1998: 10th place on 28 points. 1997: 5th place on 28 points.
1996: 1st place on 48 points. 1995: 3rd place on 38 points. 1994: – 1993: 6th place on 30 points. 1992: 6th place on 28 points. After qualifying for the semi-finals against expectations in the 2005 season, the 2006 season was expected to be difficult for the Bears; the losses of Brad Swancott and James Monie to Broadmeadow Magic FC and Azzurri FC were major blows for Weston, however the fans still held out hope that the young Bears team would be able to compete in the State League. Weston struggled to string wins together throughout the season. Weston at times started to look like they had hit form, with wins such as the 4–1 victory over South Cardiff Gunners in Round 6, however they would follow up with a lacklustre performance, such as the 7–0 defeat against Azzurri in Round 7. Three-quarters of the way through the season, Weston looked as though they might be about to be dragged into a relegation dogfight with Adamstown Rosebud, however a win against South Cardiff in Round 15 followed by a 2–1 victory against Azzurri in Round 16 ensured the Bears would be in the State League for another season at least.
Weston finished the season in 8th position. The highlight of the 2006 season was the finals campaign of the Reserve Grade team. After finishing 4th on the table, the Reserves defeated Broadmeadow and Hamilton to qualify for the Grand Final, which they won 5–0 against Azzurri FC; the Bears U19s team nearly made the semi-finals. The 2006 season was the last for Bears coach Trevor Morris who decided to step down after 4 years in the top job; the 2007 season saw several new coaches join the club, with Michael Boogaard coaching 1st Grade, Chad Dobson mentoring the Reserves and Paul Waters taking the Youth Coach position. The coaching transition came along with six teams instead of five with a new junior team coming in, the new U/ 13s. In 2007 the Bears upgraded to a special centennial strip which all six grades will wear. With a strong finish to the season the Bears came in 7th, just 2 wins outside the top 4; the Reserve and Youth teams didn't fare 10th respectively. During the season the Bears celebrated the 100-year milestone for the club.
Over 300 supporters, officials and ex players attended the dinner which saw the Team of the Century named. The team featured 14 Bear legends – Jack Avis Snr, John Bond, Jack Gilmore, Warrren Halverson, Roy Johnson, Dennis King, Jack Manion, Jim McNabb, Tom Oliver, Tom Snedden, John J Turnbull, John T Turnbull, Jim Wilkinson, Jim Williams; the 101st season for the Bears would prove to be a successful one. The young side had been kept together and continued to improve and fight out results against the top teams in the competition. Former Bear Steve Turnbull took over Steve Thomson coaching the new 17's team; the Bears revealed a new strip reverting to thick black and white vertical stripes. First Grade were the surprise packets of the competition, finishing 4th. Although the Bears went into the finals with high hopes they were outplayed in the first leg by Minor Premiers Broadmeadow Magic losing 3–0. Needing a victory by 4 goals, chances of progressing seemed impossible. Most people did not give the Bears a chance but going into half time with a 2–0 lead gave hope to the Bears faithful.
Broadmeadow struck back immediately after break, meaning Weston needed another 2 goals to advance. A penalty to the Bears put them up 3–1, Magic replied 2 minutes ending the Grand Final hopes for the Bears. Rese
Newcastle, New South Wales
The Newcastle metropolitan area is the second most populated area in the Australian state of New South Wales and the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie local government areas. It is the hub of the Greater Newcastle area which includes most parts of the local government areas of City of Newcastle, City of Lake Macquarie, City of Cessnock, City of Maitland and Port Stephens Council. Located at the mouth of the Hunter River, it is the predominant city within the Hunter Region. Famous for its coal, Newcastle is the largest coal exporting harbour in the world, exporting 159.9 million tonnes of coal in 2017. Beyond the city, the Hunter Region possesses large coal deposits. Geologically, the area is located in the central-eastern part of the Sydney basin. Newcastle and the lower Hunter Region were traditionally occupied by the Awabakal and Worimi Aboriginal People, who called the area Malubimba. Based on Aboriginal language references documented in maps and geological descriptions, eight landmarks have been dual-named by the NSW Geographic Names Board with their traditional Aboriginal names.
They include Nobbys Head known as Whibayganba. In September 1797 Lieutenant John Shortland became the first European settler to explore the area, his discovery of the area was accidental. While returning, Lt. Shortland entered what he described as "a fine river", which he named after New South Wales' Governor John Hunter, he returned with the area's abundant coal. Over the next two years, coal mined from the area was the New South Wales colony's first export. Newcastle gained a reputation as a "hellhole" as it was a place where the most dangerous convicts were sent to dig in the coal mines as harsh punishment for their crimes. By the start of the 19th century the mouth of the Hunter River was being visited by diverse groups of men, including coal diggers, timber-cutters, more escaped convicts. Philip Gidley King, the Governor of New South Wales from 1800, decided on a more positive approach to exploit the now obvious natural resources of the Hunter Valley. In 1801, a convict camp called King's Town was established to mine cut timber.
In the same year, the first shipment of coal was dispatched to Sydney. This settlement closed less than a year later. A settlement was again attempted as a place of secondary punishment for unruly convicts; the settlement was named Coal River Kingstown and renamed Newcastle, after England's famous coal port. The name first appeared by the commission issued by Governor King on 15 March 1804 to Lieutenant Charles Menzies of the marine detachment on HMS Calcutta at Port Jackson, appointing him superintendent of the new settlement; the new settlement, comprising convicts and a military guard, arrived at the Hunter River on 27 March 1804 in three ships: HMS Lady Nelson, the Resource and the James. The convicts were rebels from the 1804 Castle Hill convict rebellion; the link with Newcastle upon Tyne and whence many of the 19th century coal miners came, is still obvious in some of the place-names – such as Jesmond, Wickham and Gateshead. Morpeth, New South Wales is a similar distance north of Newcastle as Morpeth, Northumberland is north of Newcastle upon Tyne.
Under Captain James Wallis, commandant from 1815 to 1818, the convicts' conditions improved, a building boom began. Captain Wallis laid out the streets of the town, built the first church of the site of the present Christ Church Anglican Cathedral, erected the old gaol on the seashore, began work on the breakwater which now joins Nobbys Head to the mainland; the quality of these first buildings was poor, only breakwater survives. During this period, in 1816, the oldest public school in Australia was built in East Newcastle. Newcastle remained a penal settlement until 1822; as a penal colony, the military rule was harsh at Limeburners' Bay, on the inner side of Stockton peninsula. There, convicts were sent to burn oyster shells for making lime. Military rule in Newcastle ended in 1823. Prisoner numbers were reduced to 100, the remaining 900 were sent to Port Macquarie. After removal of the last convicts in 1823, the town was freed from the infamous influence of the penal law, it began to acquire the aspect of a typical Australian pioneer settlement, a steady flow of free settlers poured into the hinterland.
The formation during the nineteenth century of the Newcastle and Hunter River Steamship Company saw the establishment of regular steamship services from Morpeth and Newcastle with Sydney. The company had a fleet of freighters as well as several fast passenger vessels, including the PS Newcastle and the PS Namoi; the Namoi had first-class cabins with the latest facilities. Because of the coal supply, small ships plied between Newcastle and Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide, carrying coal to gas works and bunkers for shipping, railways; these were known as "sixty-milers", referring to the nautical journey between Newcastle and Sydney. These ships continued in service until recent times. During World War II, Newcastle was an important industrial centre for the Australian war effort. In the early hours of 8 June 1942, the Japanese
Sydney Football Club known as Sydney FC, is an Australian professional soccer club based in Sydney, New South Wales. It competes in the country's premier competition, the A-League, under licence from Football Federation Australia; the club has won three A-League Championships, three Premierships, one FFA Cup and won the Oceanian Champions League prior to Australia moving into the Asian Football Confederation. Prior to the 2018-19 A-League Season, the club's home ground was Allianz Stadium, a 45,500 seat rectangular multi-use venue in the suburb of Moore Park. With that stadium scheduled for demolition & rebuilding, the club will be playing at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Leichhardt Oval and Jubilee Oval for the next two seasons. Despite the club's migration, The SCG Trust agreed to renew Sydney FC's lease at Moore Park for a further 10 years on the 17 May 2017; as the only A-League team in the city for the first seven years of its existence, the club's fans hail from all across the Sydney Metropolitan Area.
Since its establishment, Sydney FC has had a reputation for signing high-profile players. In doing so, they have received the nickname'Bling FC' from pundits alike. Notable players who have represented the club include Dwight Yorke, Juninho Paulista, John Aloisi, Brett Emerton, Lucas Neill, Marc Janko, Filip Hološko, Miloš Ninković, Alessandro Del Piero; the first steps towards the foundation of Sydney FC taken in April 2004 when Soccer New South Wales announced its intention to bid for a licence in the new A-League competition. The bid was lodged with the Australian Soccer Association on 19 July, challenged only by a consortium headed by Nick Politis, known as the "Sydney Blues", for Sydney's place in the'one team per city' competition. A public row broke out between the two bidders after reports that the ASA were set to vote in favour of Sydney FC, causing Politis to withdraw his support for a team, leaving Sydney FC as the only candidate remaining. Sydney FC was launched as a member of the new 8-team A-League on 1 November 2004, with a 25% stake in the club held by Soccer NSW, the remainder owned.
Walter Bugno was announced as the inaugural chairman of the club. On 11 December 2004, Soccer NSW announced that it would pull out of its involvement with Sydney FC amid concerns over part owner Frank Lowy's autocratic style in establishing the club and lack of consultation with Soccer NSW on key Sydney FC issues; these included the choice of the Sydney Football Stadium over Parramatta Stadium as the team's home ground, the erosion of Soccer NSW's initial 100 per cent involvement to just 25 per cent. By February 2005, Sydney FC had filled 16 of its allowed 20 squad positions—attracting Socceroos Alvin Ceccoli, Clint Bolton, Steve Corica and David Zdrilic as well as youth internationals Justin Pasfield, Mark Milligan, Wade Oostendorp, Iain Fyfe and Jacob Timpano. German Pierre Littbarski was signed as Head Coach, to be assisted by former Norwich City player Ian Crook. Sydney FC played its first match against Manly United FC on 25 March 2005, winning 6–1. Shortly after, Sydney FC set off on a tour to the United Arab Emirates to play matches against local teams FC Hatta, Al Ain FC and Al Jazira, winning all three.
Whilst in Dubai, Sydney FC announced that it had agreed to terms with former Manchester United player Dwight Yorke as the club's "marquee player"– one paid outside of the $1.5million salary cap— for two seasons. Sydney FC's first competitive match was against Queensland Roar at Central Coast Stadium in Gosford as part of an Australian qualifying tournament to enter the 2005 Oceania Club Championship. After winning the match 3–0, Sydney went on to defeat Perth Glory and the Central Coast Mariners to qualify for the Oceania Club Championship, to be held in Tahiti. Despite an early scare against New Zealand club Auckland City FC, Sydney FC won all of its matches in the competition and qualified for the 2005 FIFA Club World Championship in Japan; the start of the 2005 A-League Pre-Season Challenge Cup marked Sydney FC's first match at Allianz Stadium, as well as Dwight Yorke's first appearance for the club. Yorke scored the first goal of Sydney FC's 3–1 win which stretched its unbeaten run to 9 competitive matches.
Upon reaching the semi-finals, Sydney's unbeaten run ended at 11 with Perth Glory midfielder Nick Ward scoring in injury time to inflict the new club's first loss. Sydney FC's first season was a success. Finishing second on the ladder behind Adelaide United they went on to defeat Central Coast Mariners 1–0 in the 2006 A-League Grand Final with Steve Corica scoring in the second half of the game. However, the club's success wouldn't last long, with German manager Pierre Littbarski leaving the club due to being forced to accept a lower pay cheque and inaugural marquee player Dwight Yorke being signed by Premier League club Sunderland. Former English international Terry Butcher was signed as Sydney FC's new coach for 2006–07; however it was regarded as an overall failure, with Sydney playing poor football despite the signing of Alex Brosque and Benito Carbone as a Guest player. Sydney had 3 points deducted during the season, after it was found that they had breached the Salary cap, involving player David Zdrillic.
Despite the off field problems, Sydney managed to scrape into the finals series, however they lost in the semi-final to Newcastle Jets. Although Butcher lead the club into the finals, Sydney fans were unhappy with his tactics. In the end Butcher and Sydney FC went their separate ways at the end of the season. Sydney FC would go on to sign Branko Čulina for its 2007 Asian Champions League campaign, where they finished second in the group, one point behind ultimate champions and J-League heavyweights Urawa
Australian Institute of Sport
The Australian Institute of Sport is a sports training institution in Australia. The Institute's headquarters are situated in Canberra; the 66-hectare site campus is in the northern suburb of Bruce. The AIS is a division of the Australian Sports Commission. Two reports were the basis for developing the AIS: The Role and Development of Recreation in Australia by John Bloomfield and Report of the Australian Sports Institute Study Group; the need for the AIS was compounded in 1976 when the Australian Olympic team failed to win a gold medal at the Montreal Olympics, regarded as a national embarrassment for Australia. The Institute's well-funded programs have been regarded as a major reason for Australia's recent success in international sporting competitions. A brief overview of the history of the AIS follows; the AIS employs a number of staff who work in Sports Science and Sports Medicine, which includes disciplines such as sports nutrition, performance analysis, skill acquisition, recovery, athlete career education and conditioning, physical therapies, talent identification, applied performance research.
There are a number of sculptures located throughout the Bruce Campus, such as'Acrobats','Gymnast','Pole Vaulter' and'Soccer Players' by John Robinson and the'Swimmer' by Guy Boyd. After the Sydney 2000 Olympics, two of the three sculptures -' Gymnast' and'Wheelchair Basketballer' - that were located on the Sydney Tower Eye prior to the Olympics were installed at the AIS; the AIS Arena is a 5,200 capacity indoor stadium, used for sports such as basketball and volleyball as well as music concerts. Directly adjacent to, but not part of the Institute is the 25,000 capacity outdoor Canberra Stadium which has hosted matches of all the major forms of football played in Australia. In 2005, 2009, 2010 the Institute won awards at the prestigious Canberra and Capital Region Tourism Awards; these awards were given in recognition of the daily public tours. Each tour, which takes in several different buildings of the Institute as well as the arena and the Sportex zone, is led by an athlete training there.
Shortly after its inception in 1981, the AIS held a competition for a symbol that would depict the AIS aim of "achieving supremacy in sport". Over 500 designs were submitted; the winner was a design student from Bendigo in Victoria, Rose-Marie Derrico. Her design showed an athlete with hands clasped above the head in recognition of victory; the colours of the logo were red and blue, which are the same colours as the Australian flag. On 3 February 2014, the AIS launched a new logo in line with its new direction as outlined in its Winning Edge program, launched in 2012. Landor Associates designed the new logo; the gold in the brand representing Australia's pursuit of gold. From 2014, as a result of Australia's Winning Edge 2012-2022 strategy, the AIS no longer directly offered scholarships to athletes; as a result of the strategy, many national sporting organisations are utilizing the AIS facilities and services on an ongoing or regular basis. Several national sports organisations have located their national centres for excellence at the AIS.
These include: Basketball Australia Centre for Excellence, Netball Australia Centre for Excellence Football Federation of Australia Centre of Excellence, Rowing Australia National Training Centre, Volleyball Australia Centre of Excellence and Swimming Australia National Training Centre. The AIS does continue to support other athletes in other sports however they are self funded and not under the National Training Centre banner. Up until 2013, the AIS offered scholarships to athletes across 36 programs in 26 different sports: Artistic gymnastics, athletes with disabilities - swimming and winter sports, netball, football, swimming and field, volleyball and water polo administered from Canberra Diving, squash and cricket administered from Brisbane Sailing and slalom canoeing administered from Sydney Hockey administered from Perth Sprint canoeing, triathlon and BMX administered from the Gold Coast Road cycling, track cycling and beach volleyball administered from Adelaide Australian rules football, rugby union and rugby league are camps based programs Winter sports administered from MelbourneSports that had an AIS program but were discontinued prior to 2013 included: weightlifting, water polo, wrestling, archery and golf..
The head coach for the AIS boxing program from 1997 to 2010 was Bodo Andreass. Many prominent Australian athletes have taken up AIS scholarships. In 2001, the AIS established the Best of the Best Award to recognise performed AIS athletes; as of 2011, the following athletes have been recognised - Alisa Camplin, Robert De Castella, John Eales, Simon Fairweather, Neil Fuller, Bridgette Gusterson, Rechelle Hawkes, Shane Kelly, Luc Longley, Michelle Martin, Glenn McGrath, Michael Klim, Michael Milton, Clint Robinson, Louise Sauvage, Kate Slatter, Zali Steggall, Mark Viduka, Vicki Wilson, Todd Woodbridge, Lauren Jackson, Chantelle Newbery, Petria Thomas, Kerry Saxby-Junna, Jamie Dwyer, Anna Meares, Malcolm Page, Ricky Ponting, Oenone Wood and Matthew Cowdrey. In August 2013, Stuart O'Grady was indefinitely suspended from the'Best of the Best' due to his admission to doping in 1998; the Australian Institute of Sport Alumni highlights