APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC
|Full name||APIA Leichhardt Tigers Football Club|
|Founded||1954 (as APIA Leichhardt)|
Leichhardt, New South Wales
|Website||Club home page|
APIA Leichhardt Tigers Football Club, also known simply as APIA, is a semi-professional soccer club based in the suburb of Leichhardt in Sydney, Australia. The club was formed in 1954 as APIA Leichhardt, by Italian Australians (APIA stands for Associazione Poli-sportiva Italo Australiana). APIA, winner of the national Australian championship of 1987, is currently a member of the NSW Premier League.
Founded in 1954 by the burgeoning Italian community of Inner Western Sydney, APIA Leichhardt initially competed in the local Canterbury District competition. With the establishment of the NSW Federation of Soccer Clubs in January 1957, APIA was given a place in the state league.
In the 1960s APIA became one of the foremost football clubs in Australia and won the Premiership of NSW of the years 1964, 1966, 1967 and 1975, which was the highest level of achievement in the absence of a national competition. Between 1966 and 1974 APIA also won three times the State Cup of NSW, then named after a sponsor Ampol Cup. The 1974 final was considered "one of the most incredible finals" of the history of the pre-season competition. APIA around skipper Jimmy Rooney and the classic centreforward Peter Ollerton, who scored five goals, won 9-1 against Auburn in front of a crowd of 5210 at Wentworth Park, the highest finals result ever.
Rooney and Ollerton were also in the team that represented Australia a few months later in its first World Cup participation in Germany.
In 1979 APIA was given access to the National Soccer League, the top tier of Australian football since 1977. In 1987 APIA won the national championship, six points ahead of the Preston Makedonia Soccer Club from Melbourne, with then only two points awarded per win. Coach in that season was the legendary Rale Rasic. Charlie Yankos and Peter Katholos are probably the best known players from that side. The main cast of that year consisted of
- Tony Pezzano; Charlie Yankos, Arno Bertogna, Mark Brown, Jean-Paul DeMarigny, Peter Tredinnick, Peter Katholos, Edward Lorens, Hilton Phillips, Gary Ward, Rod Brown and Tony Parison.
In 1988 APIA won the National Soccer League Cup. By 1992 the APIA Leichhardt was overwhelmed by financial difficulties. The club was somewhat restructured and forthwith played on state level with the moniker "Tigers."
APIA has also hosted home games at a number of venues, including Lambert Park, Wentworth Park, Leichhardt Oval and Henson Park. Lambert Park in Leichhardt is the club's traditional home ground. It was opened in 1954 and has over the years been used for most of the club's home games. It is still APIA's main ground and hosts all of the club's NSW Premier League matches.
Lambert Park is also located within metres of Sydney’s most popular dining spots, the famous Norton Street. Renowned for its restaurants, history and culture, Leichhardt and surrounding suburbs like Balmain, Haberfield and Drummoyne are also APIA strongholds.
- Championship of Australia: 1987.
- National Soccer League Cup: 1988
- Premiership of New South Wales: 1964, 1966, 1967, 1975.
- State Cup of NSW: 1966, 1970, 1974.
- Brian Mossop: Soccer with everything... APIA win 9-1, The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 March 1974, p. 11.
- Tigers Eye History Win. Balmain Village Voice.
- Leichhardt Tigers Hunt For New Prey. Inner West Courier