St Albans Saints SC

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St Albans Saints
St Albans Saints Dinamo logo.jpg
Full name St Albans Saints Soccer Club
Nickname(s) Dinamo
Founded 1954 as St Albans, '75 as Dinamo
Ground Churchill Reserve
Ground Capacity 3,500
Chairman Robert Colina
Manager Toby Paterson
League NPL Victoria 1
Website Club home page

St Albans Saints Soccer Club is an Australian semi-professional soccer club based in St Albans, Victoria. Established by local Croatian Australians, the club is a regular participant in the Australian-Croatian Soccer Tournament. The club is well known for having produced many great players over the years, including many that have gone on to play for its sister club the Melbourne Knights. The club currently competes in the National Premier Leagues Victoria 1.

History[edit]

The club was formed by Croatian migrants as Dinamo in 1975. In 1982 the club took over the German backed St Albans Soccer Club which was near bankruptcy. The club became St Albans Dinamo and took residence at Churchill Reserve in St Albans. The club still remains there till this day. The club would go onto build a social club there which holds 400 patrons. It has become an important meeting place for the local Croatian community.

St Albans Dinamo won its first title in 1983, winning the Victorian State League Division 2 with Melbourne Knights legends Billy Vojtek (former Socceroo) and Branko Culina leading the way. Billy Vojtek was the league's top goal scorer with 16 goals. The following year the club joined the Victorian Premier League, skipping Division 1, after several VPL clubs joined the expanded National Soccer League. The club had a poor first year in 1984, finishing 12th and narrowly surviving relegation. By the late 1980s the club had become one of the leading sides in the competition. From 1986 to 1989 the club finished in the top 5 each season. 1988 was the season the club came closest to winning the championship, they finished 4th only 3 points behind first place. In this time the club produced many great players like Ivan Duzel, Ivan Kelic, Velimir Kupersak and Oliver Pondeljak, all of whom went onto great success in the National Soccer League.

Over the next decade the club would struggle, with fluctuating results. The only joy came in 1993 with the club finishing 5th and making the finals. But the club was eliminated at the first phase, losing to Sunshine George Cross. But this period was marked by more young talent being produced by the club, in particular Ante Kovacevic and Tom Pondeljak. Both players went to win the National Soccer League championship with the Melbourne Knights.

In 1998 the club had its most successful season. The club finished first, winning the Minor Premiership. Striker Harry Karl had a great season scoring 23 goals, to finish 2nd on the goal scoring chart. The club made the Grand Final against the Bulleen Inter Kings. In a thrilling match Bulleen were up 2-0 by the 54th minute. But 10 minutes later St Albans had leveled in a remarkable comeback. The joy was short lived, with seven minutes remaining Bulleen scored what would be the winning goal.

After this stand out season the club would go back to being a mid table side. In 2005 the club was relegated from the Victorian Premier League after having played 23 seasons in the state's top league. Needing only a draw to survive the drop, the club was relegated in the final round after losing to Heidelberg.

In the 2010 State League 1 season the club would top the table and earn promotion back to the Victorian Premier League.

Supporters[edit]

The club's supporters are primarily from the local Croatian community in St Albans, as well as from surrounding suburbs such as Sunshine, Keilor, Taylors Lakes, Delahey, Hillside and Sydenham. Though their support also stretches out to the greater Croatian community in Melbourne. They are third most popular Croatian backed club in Victoria behind the Melbourne Knights and North Geelong Warriors.

2013/14 Season Committee[edit]

  • President Robert Colina
  • Vice President Steve Balta
  • Treasurer Ivan Kozic
  • Vice Treasurer Kristina Barisic
  • FFV & Government Officer Joseph Hovanjec

Honours[edit]

St Albans Saints side from 1977.
  • Victorian Premier league Minor Premiers 1998
  • Victorian Premier League Runner-Up 1998
  • Victorian Premier League finalists (playoffs) 1993, 1998
  • Victorian State League Top 4 Finalists 1986, 1988, 1989
  • Victorian Division 1 Champions 2009, 2010
  • Victorian Division 2 Champions 1983
  • Australian Croatian Soccer Tournament Champions 1983, 1985, 1990, 1991, 1998, 2000, 2008

Individual Honours[edit]

Victorian Premier League Gold Medal - VPL Player of the Year

  • 1985 - Branko Culina
  • 1989 - Velimir Kupersak
  • 1995 - Tom Pondeljak
  • 2000 - Damian Vojtek

Bill Fleming Medal - Media voted VPL Player of the Year

  • 1988 - Ivan Duzel
  • 1989 - Velimir Kupersak

Victorian Premier league Coach of the Year

  • 1998 - Vlado Vanis

Victorian Premier League Leading Goal Scorer

  • 1987 - Denis Morovic 18 goals
  • 1988 - Ivan Kelic 17 goals

Victorian Premier League Jim Rooney Medal - Grand Final Man of the Match

  • 1998 - Slavko Rados

Notable former players[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]