Belconnen United FC
|Full name||Belconnen United Football Club|
|Manager||Peter Mazis and Marko Perinovic|
Belconnen United Football Club is an Australian semi-professional association football club based in the northern Canberra region of Belconnen, ACT. The club currently competes in the National Premier Leagues Capital Football.
Founding and early years
The Belconnen United Football Club was founded in 1970 as the Belconnen United Soccer Club. The football club has been based out of the north Belconnen suburb of McKellar since its inception during the establishment of the Belconnen district of Canberra in the 1970s. Belconnen has run youth and senior footballing programs from recreational to elite level since its establishment.
The Blue Devils first appeared in the top flight of ACT men's football (then known as the ACT Division One) in 1975. The club quickly set-itself up as one of the top ACT clubs with a string of major ACT titles (15 in total) during the 80s, 90s and early 2000s. This included five league premierships, seven finals championships and three Federation Cups.
Move to NSW Premier League
In 2000, Belconnen United switched to the NSW Premier League and were renamed the Belconnen Blue Devils. Belconnen first competed in the NSW Premier League in the 2000–01 season. The Blue Devils competed in NSW top flight for five straight seasons before a dispute between the Blue Devils management and board of Football NSW resulted in the club losing its licence to compete in the competition from 2006 onwards.
During the club's brief time competing in NSW, The Blue Devils enjoyed success, reaching the finals series in each season post their first and becoming league premiers in the 2003–04 season, beating St George Saints to the title with a +3 goal difference over the South Sydney club. Belconnen started the finals series with a narrow 4–3 overtime loss at McKellar Park to Sydney club Bankstown City Lions in the major semi-final. This meant The Blue Devils had to compete in the preliminary final while Bankstown advanced straight to the grand final. Belconnen once again played host in the preliminary final against league runner-up and winner of the minor semi-final, St George Saints FC. The Blue Devils were victorious over St George with a 2–1 victory thanks to a brace to Belconnen striker Macor. The victory led Belconnen to reach the 2003–04 NSW Premier League Grand Final, held at Marconi Stadium, where the Blue Devils faced-off against Bankstown City Lions once again. In front of a crowd of 5,000 the Blue Devils succumbed to two-second half goals to lose the grand final 2–0. Bankstown were given a penalty in the sixty-fifth minute that was converted by Saso Boskovski before Belconnen player, Lee Pietrukowski, scored an own goal seven minutes later.
In the 2004–05 season Belconnen won the ‘Challangers League’ by three points over Marconi Stallions and Wollongong Wolves after the league split into two groups following the combined league section of the season. As such, Belconnen qualified for the 04-05 finals series along with the top four clubs of the ‘Champions League’. The Blue Devils defied the odds to beat former NSL club, Sydney United on penalties 2–2 (7–6) in the qualifying final and Blacktown City Demons 2–1 in the minor semi-final to reach the preliminary final. 18 June 2005, the Blue Devils took on Bonnyrigg White Eagles in the preliminary final held in Sydney. The match ended 0–0 after regular time meaning extra time was needed to split the two teams. The White Eagles’ scored twice in the first half of extra time to take a commanding 2–0 lead into the final fifteen minutes of the match. Belconnen scored in the one-hundred and seventeenth minute to set up a tense final few minutes, but the Blue Devils failed to score again, which resulted in a 2–1 victory for Bonnyrigg, who progressed to the grand final.
Return to ACT Premier League
In 2006, after separating with Football NSW, The Blue Devils returned to Capital Football in the ACT and were accepted back into the ACT Premier League. The Club was renamed Belconnen United Football Club, with Blue Devils reverting to being a nickname.
22 April 2006, Belconnen played its first match back in the ACT Premier League away to Canberra Olympic where United and Olympic played out a 1–1 draw. United finished the 2006 Act Premier League regular season as runner-up to Canberra Olympic by seven points. The Blue Devils qualified for the finals series where the club lost the major semi-final to Olympic 0–4 and the preliminary final to Cooma 1–2.
In 2007, Belconnen signed a mutual benefiting relationship agreement with A-League club Central Coast Mariners. The two clubs agreed to play an annual pre-season friendly match in Canberra at McKellar Park named The Bank of Queensland Cup. The agreement opened up opportunities for a development pathway for ACT talent to the A-League while the Mariners gained a foothold within the ACT footballing community. The agreement lasted five years with annual matches played between 2007 and 2011, starting with a 4–0 victory to the visiting Mariners on 30 June 2007.
Belconnen next won the Championship two seasons later in 2008. 14 September 2008, Belconnen met Canberra FC in the ACT Premier League grand final. Belconnen took a first half lead and were 2–0 up at half time before continuing the good form in the second half to secure a 4–1 victory for the club's first title since returning to ACT competition.
In 2012, Belconnen won the league premiership with a comfortable nine-point first-place finish over Cooma Tigers, who finished second. Belconnen also reached the grand final of the finals series but lost the match to Cooma 1–2 at McKellar Park on 15 September 2012. This turned out to be the last ACT Premier League Premiership title as the league re-structured in 2013 under the FFA national banner of National Premier Leagues (NPL).
National Premier Leagues era
Belconnen United was a founding member of the NPL ACT in 2013 following Football Federation Australia’s national re-structure of football leagues in Australia. Belconnen finished their first NPL season in second place, seven points behind league premiers Canberra FC. The Blue Devils lost the major semi-final to the same opposition 0–4 before succumbing 2–4 to Canberra Olympic at McKellar Park in the preliminary final.
Belconnen repeated its second-place finish in the league ladder in 2014 but performed better in the NPL Capital Football finals series by winning the grand final and thus claiming the championship. United claimed the title with a 3–2 shootout victory over long-time rival Canberra FC after the two sides finished the match 3–3. 3 July 2014, Belconnen also added the Federation Cup trophy to the trophy cabinet with a 3–2 final win over Canberra FC yet again. The Federation Cup victory would normally mean Belconnen would qualify for the round of 32 of the FFA Cup but after a formal challenge was lodged by 2013 cup winners Tuggeranong United, Capital Football granted the 2014 qualification spot to Tuggeranong, meaning Belconnen missed out.
10 April 2015, Belconnen United FC announced they had formed a formal relationship with A-League heavyweights Sydney FC. The agreement between the two clubs established a formal pathway for Belconnen youngsters to progress and gain the possibility of an A-League contract with Sydney FC. The agreement also opened up ongoing opportunities for Belconnen coaching staff to work with and information share with Sydney FC staff including Graham Arnold. Finally, Sydney FC agreed to tour Canberra in 2015 pre-season to host coaching clinics and play a friendly match against the Blue Devils. Belconnen lost the friendly match against Sydney 0–3 with second half goals to Andrew Hoole, Jacob Tratt and Matt Simon in front of 1,852 fans.
2 January 2017, Belconnen United entered into an mutual benefiting agreement with NSW NPL club Wollongong Wolves to co-host a "festival of football" in the South Coast town of Nowra. 28–29 January 2017, The two clubs played a number of women's and men's junior and senior exhibition matches, ran free all-ages coaching and refereeing clinics, training drills, player sessions and family activities at Nowra's Ison Park.
Colours and crest
BUFC's primary colours are sky blue and white, used for home kits, with dark blue used as a contrasting colour for away kits. The crest consists of the sky blue devil head protruding from a dark blue and white trimmed round shield. The more detailed version of the crest also includes the club's name of Belconnen United FC, the territory the club is from, ACT, and the nickname of the club, Blue Devils.
Belconnen United has developed a club philosophy framework to establish a positive club culture and football approach and ensure the club remains a strong pillar of the community. This philosophy is broken into two groups, culture and football approach.
Club culture philosophy is based around open communication between the club staff, players, parents and external entities. It is about setting and expecting the highest level standards, positive good behaviour and personal conduct. This includes for example, ensuring safety and well-being of the players, parental etiquette is maintained at training, matches and tournaments, and assisting in the development of personality, self-confidence, motivation, concentration and communication skills for all involved with the club.
BUFC's football philosophy is based off four main principles. The development, delivery and review of the BUFC curriculum, coaching development, player development and a focus on home-grown talent. This approach to the footballing department of the club will deliver consistent development of both players and coaches associated with Belconnen United. Belconnen has established four feeder club agreements (see feeder club section below) to create a comprehensive player development pathways that nurtures home-grown talent. The club has implemented sets of age and program related goals for both players and coaches, it provides a uniformed style and system of play that emphasis technique before tactics, and it has developed a skills acquisition and game training program for all ages to achieve set goals.
Belconnen United has established a number of feeder club agreements with junior and senior clubs in the ACT and NSW to help create a pathway for junior and senior players alike. Currently Belconnen United has four agreements in place.
|Club Name||Club Description|
|Belnorth Football Club||A junior and state league club based in the North Belconnen region, catering for over 1,000 children and adults from Kaleen, Giralang, McKellar, Flynn and Melba|
|Belsouth Soccer Club||A junior club based in the South Belconnen region of Aranda, Bruce, Cook, Hawker, Macquarie, Page and Weetangera, catering for both boys and girls aged 4 to 18|
|Belwest Foxes Soccer Club||A junior and state league club based in Latham with a catchment encompassing Kippax, Latham, Holt, Scullin, Higgins, MacGregor, Charnwood, Florey, Page and Dunlop|
|Yass Football Club||United's regional affiliate, Yass FC is affectionately known as the Redbacks. The club was founded in 2006 in a grassroots movement which currently caters for 300 players within 40 junior and senior teams for both male and female players|
Belconnen United have created their own club song to sing in times of victory and joy. The song is as follows:
Belconnen United has always been based in the Belconnen suburb of McKellar, ACT. McKellar Park, formally known as McKellar Soccer Centre and Belconnen Soccer Centre, is the Blue Devils home venue and has been since its inception in 1970. McKellar Park went through a major renovation in 2002 with the building of a new grandstand and other amenities, transforming the once suburban ground into one of the premier association football stadiums in Canberra. The build cost was $1.10 million and was delivered on time by club partner Project Coordination. The venue was re-opened by former ACT Senator Margaret Reid on 23 November 2002. The first match played at the ground was a 2002/03 NSW Premier League match between Belconnen United and Bonnyrigg White Eagles, the match ended 2–2. McKellar Park now holds a capacity of 3,500 people with seating for approx. 600 people. The grandstand also contains a concession area, change rooms, public toilets, storage, moderate corporate areas and press facilities. Belconnen United ground share with W-League team Canberra United but because the W-League is played in the summer months and the NPL Capital Football league runs over the winter months, there is no overlapping in fixtures for use of the stadium.
Belconnen United FC has always been financially supported by the licensed club, Belconnen Soccer Club. On 20 January 2017, the Blue Devils announced a new front of shirt partnership with multi-national gym company Anytime Fitness. Anytime Fitness would also host junior gala days during the junior season.
- As of 6 July 2019
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Under-20s and Youth
- As of 15 February 2017
|NPL First Team|
|HC||Dean Ugrinic||AC||Luka Ujdur|
|HC||Marko Perinovic||AC||Peter Mazis|
|HC||Steve Forshaw||AC||Obi Shadmaan|
|NPL Specialised Coaching|
|GC Paul Jones|
- Premiers (6): 1982, 1990, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2012
- Champions (10): 1982, 1985, 1990, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2008, 2014, 2017
- Winners (4): 1990, 1992, 1998, 2014
The below table is updated with the statistics and final results for Belconnen United FC following the conclusion of each National Premier League Capital Football season.
|Ref||Season||National Premier League ACT||NPL
- "About Us". bufc.com.au. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
- "Honours and Awards". bufc.com.au. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
- Stock, Greg. "2000/1 NSW Premier League Final Table". ozfootball.net. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
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- "NSW Premier League 2004–05". socceraust.co.uk. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
- "National Premier League – Capital Football 2013". socceraust.co.uk. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
- Media Release – Inaugural Bank of Queensland Cup, Capital Football, 8 June 2007 Archived 29 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- MacDonald, Daniel (1 July 2007). "United outclassed but Cheyne a star". The Canberra Times. Archived from the original on 20 September 2007. Retrieved 4 July 2007.
- "ACT Premier League 2008". socceraust.co.uk. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
- "ACT Premier League 2012". socceraust.co.uk. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
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- "Shoot-Out Glory for Blue Devils". sportstg.com. 18 September 2014. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
- Gaskin, Lee (3 July 2014). "Belconnen United wins Federation Cup but misses out on national tournament". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
- Polkinghorne, David (10 April 2015). "Belconnen United form alliance with A-League club Sydney FC". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
- "Sydney FC Put Three Past Belconnen". sydneyfc.com. 19 August 2015. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
- "Nowra to host Football Festival". South Coast Register. 2 January 2017. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
- "Nowra Festival of Football". shoalhavenholidays.com.au. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
- "BUFC Football Philosophy" (PDF). bufc.com.au. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
- "Our Feeder Clubs". bufc.com.au. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
- "Club Song". bufc.com.au. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
- "Belconnen Soccer Club McKellar Grandstand". projectcoord.com.au. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
- "Major Partners". bufc.com.au. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
- "Anytime Fitness Partnership". bufc.com.au. 20 January 2017. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
- "Coaching Staff". bufc.com.au. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
- "2013 NPL Capital Football Ladder". www.socceraust.co.uk. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
- "2014 NPL Capital Football Ladder". www.sportstg.com. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
- "2015 NPL Capital Football Ladder". www.sportstg.com. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
- "2016 NPL Capital Football Ladder". www.sportstg.com. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
- "2017 NPL Capital Football Ladder". www.sportstg.com. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
- "2018 NPL Capital Football Ladder". www.sportstg.com. Retrieved 24 January 2019.