Balmain Tigers FC
|Full name||Balmain Tigers Football Club|
|Website||Club home page|
Balmain Tigers Football Club is an Australian semi-professional football club based in the Inner West suburb of Balmain in Sydney, New South Wales. The club played at the historic Birchgrove Oval, just west of Balmain. They now play their home games at Wentworth Park, having recently moved from Lambert Park, but continue to train at Birchgrove Oval. After several years of playing in the NSW State League Division 2, they gained promotion at the end of the 2008 season to Division 1 after a hard fought match against Camden, winning on penalties. In 2012 they made the finals series in Division 1 for the first time in the club's history and followed this up by winning the 2013 grand final and securing the State League 1 title. Balmain were the first club to qualify for the Round of 32 of the 2015 FFA Cup.
In 1986 Roy Lawrence, an English migrant living in Sydney, and Steve Hendrick formed a six-a-side football competition, inviting all Brits living in Australia to play in the competition. After there was lots of interest, and dozens of players, they formed the Balmain Tigers Soccer Club, and entered it into the Canterbury District Premier League. The first season in the CDSFA was a huge success, finishing runners up and reaching the grand final. This early success led them to being promoted into the NSW Soccer Federation Division Seven in 1989. The next season, their winnings continued and they finished Runners up and grand finalists again in their first season in Division Seven. Ultimately they were promoted, and continued to be promoted yearly all the way up into Division Five. In 1991 was the season where they won Division Four, winning all but two games.
1992 saw the club move from Easton Park to Lambert Park where it remained for a couple of years with varying results that saw the club remain in Division Four.
Soon after in 1995 Roy Lawrence retired as coach, manager, secretary, and as a result in 1996 they moved to Birchgrove Oval, and reformed under new coach Bruce Allen.
In 1997 Roy Lawrence came out of retirement to help with the coaching, and took up role of Assistant coach to Bruce Allen. In 1998, on the 10 year Anniversary, two brand new coaches were appointed, Tony Dunn from Concord SC, and former Balmain SC player Jimmy Campbell, with the latter taking Balmain into Division Three, after winning the 1999 Grand final.
The 2000 season saw Balmain finish runners up in the division, and were promoted to Division Two, showing what a remarkable history Balmain has had, going from the lowest Division to Division Two, inside of a decade. This was culminated in 2001 with an astonishing Grand Final Win on Penalties after again finishing runners up in the minor premiership.
In 2002 the club was invited into Division One but with mounting debts the club was in dire financial straits and sold its position to The Norther Tigers resulting in the club's renaming to Birchgrove United and dropping down to Division Four. Incoming President Dave Grill, bitterly disappointed that they had not been able to go up, vowed that if the club was ever presented with this opportunity again they would be ready.
A Year later, the returning Jimmy Campbell led Balmain to second in Division Four, seeing the once again gain promotion into Division Three, Where the following season saw Balmain take out the Minor premierships in both grades and two grand final appearances with the reserves taking out the double and the firsts losing out on penalties. With three out of four titles secured, this remains to this day as Balmain's most successful season.
2005 Saw Jimmy Campbell once again leave for pastures new and the following two seasons saw a mid-table finish and a disappointing exit in a semi-final appearance. There was the highlight though of the under-21s who, under Coach Alex Kaltenegger and his exciting brand of football, won their championship in 2006.
In 2007, with the aforementioned coach promoted to the first team, his first point of business was to stun the footballing world with the signing (on a free) of Johnny Buonavoglia the ex-NSL and Sydney FC forward and by 2008 they had won the Division title and beat Camden in the Grand Final on Penalties. True to his word Dave Grill along with his committee saw that the club was ready to be promoted to Division One, where it rightfully took its place in 2009.
After a number of mid-table finishes in Division One, the 2012 squad secured 5th spot in the league, enabling Balmain to participate in the Division One final's series for the first time, where they progressed to the qualifying final.
The end of 2012 season heralded a significant shift behind the scenes with under-20s' coach Joe Di Giulio being promoted to first grade manager and Alex Kaltenegger, arguably Balmain’s most successful coach, stepping down after six years in charge. Johnny Buonavoglia also left the club along with a number of first-grade players meaning Balmain would head into the 2013 season with a new look playing group and a new home in the form of Wentworth Park.
The 2013 season turned out to be the most successful in terms of highest achievement in the club's history as the new look Tigers narrowly missed out on the minor premiership, finishing third, but won their way through to the Grand Final, hosted at Jensen Oval, where they defeated Northbridge FC 2–0 after extra time to secure the NSW State League One Title. This milestone meant that from Division Five, every division the club has played in, they have either won the minor premiership, championship or both.
Balmain FC created FFA Cup history, in only the competitions second year, when they qualified for the 2015 FFA Cup Round of 32 to play the A-League club Melbourne Victory. In qualifying for the national knockout stage, they beat non-league clubs Glenmore Park FC (5–0), and North Epping Rangers FC (5–0). Balmain would also defeat National Premier Leagues NSW 2 club Bankstown City (3–1), before defeating Western NSW Mariners FC 0–3.
Sporting teams representing the Balmain district traditionally take the colours of black and gold. These colours were first adopted by the Balmain Rowing Club on its formation in 1882, and soon became recognised as the district colours. Almost every sporting team that represents Balmain is called the Tigers, which originated with the Balmain District Rugby League Football club in 1908. Most Balmain Junior Football Club teams are black and gold. In 2005, Balmain FC changed from gold to yellow, but are still nicknamed the Tigers. In 2017, club president Terry Wilkinson signed a three year deal with Italian sports brand Givova to become the new club kit sponsor.
Balmain Tigers historic played matches at Birchgrove Oval just west of Balmain, though they have used a number of home grounds in their history, most recently Hensley Athletic Field, Birchgrove Oval and Lambert Park where they ground shared with APIA Leichhardt Tigers. In 2013 the club moved to a new ground, Wentworth Park.
Current Playing Squad
1st Grade squad as of Jan 2015
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.