Sunshine George Cross FC
|Full name||Sunshine George Cross Football Club|
Sunshine, Victoria, Australia
|Website||Club home page|
Sunshine George Cross Football Club is an Australian soccer club from Sunshine, a western suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, and plays in the National Premier Leagues Victoria 1. Sunshine George Cross play at Chaplin Reserve. The club was founded by Maltese immigrants.
Having been one of eight Victorian clubs to have participated in Australia's National Soccer League, the club's best achievement was reaching the playoffs as finalists in the 1986 season. Winners of the Australian Cup in 1964, Sunshine George Cross were named champions of the 1977 Victorian State League and were also runners up on 9 occasions. Producing 5 Weinstein Medalists and three Bill Fleming Medalists throughout its history. The club was once proudly home to John Markovski, Craig Foster, Kevin Muscat, Emmanuel Muscat and Andrew Nabbout.
Sunshine George Cross wear red and white stripes for their home colours, the colours on the Maltese flag.
- 1 History
- 2 Rivalries
- 3 Affiliated clubs
- 4 Current squad
- 5 Former players
- 6 Honours
- 7 International Representatives
- 8 Notable coaches
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
George Cross Football Club
Maltese migrants Danny Gatt, Bill Sandham and Angelo Puli instigated the formation of a Maltese backed football team after the Second World War. The club was officially launched on the 12th of March 1947, and was called George Cross Football Club. The club first entered a team in 1948, when they joined the Third Division. The club's first home ground was Royal Park. They played their first match on Saturday May 8, 1948, beating Woodlands 2–0. They finished the season in second place.
The next year, the young club took out the championship and was promoted to Second Division. In 1954, the club won the Second Division and were promoted to the highest level, the First Division, despite being just seven years young. In 1958, the First Division was named the State League for the first time, with George Cross achieving their goal of surviving in the league. 1959 was a great year for the club, finishing runners up in the league, but taking out the Sun Cup, the State League Cup and the Dockerty Cup. The trophies were celebrated in front of our 1,000 people, with the number of supporters of the club rapidly growing. 1961 saw the club introduce Juniors for the first time. In 1962, the club won its second Dockerty Cup. In 1964, the club won the Australia Cup, beating A.PI.A from N.S.W. 3–2 in front of over 15,000 at Olympic Park. The following year George Cross won the Ampol Cup beating Hakoah 3–0 in front of 10,000 fans in South Melbourne.
In 1967 George Cross moved to a new home ground in Selwyn Park in Sunshine. The club stayed at Selwyn Park for just two seasons, moving back to Olympic Park, struggling to find a permanent home ground solution. During the 1960s, grounds like the Showgrounds, Heidelberg’s Olympic Village, Shintler Reserve, Olympic Park’s number one and number two grounds, Elsternwick Park, Maribyrnong, Selwyn Park, St. Kilda Cricket Ground and Optus Oval were just few grounds the George Cross Football Club has used as home grounds.
In 1968, long serving President Lou Debono retired, ending a 14-year spell as president. He was affectionately known as the father of George Cross.
Between in 1958 and 1976, the club finished runners up in the State League competition eight times – earnings themselves the title of perennial runners up. That all changed in 1978, though. In 1977, Mooroolbark, J.U.S.T., Heidelberg and Hellas joined the NSL. This made the club more determined than ever before to win the State League, which they did. They finished 7 points above Slavia in the 1978 season. In 1979 and 1980, financial trouble began to hit and the club managed just 7th and 8th-placed finishes in the league. Hiring Olympic Park was a burden on the club, with gate takings not being enough to cover rent. In 1980, the club made the decision to move back to Selwyn Park. A longer term solution was finally found in 1980, when the Sunshine Council gave a long term lease on Chaplin Reserve to George Cross.
In 1983, George Cross amalgamated with Sunshine City to become Sunshine George Cross.
National Soccer League Years
In 1984, the club made an application to join the newly expanded National Soccer League and was accepted. The club finished bottom, but as no other Victorian club wished to join the league, they retained their place. In 1985, the club finished 6th. In 1986, the team finished in 4th place, just 1 point behind 1st. The club was almost relegated in '87, but a heroic effort saw them climb to just 2 points above Heidelberg to retain their NSL status. During this decade, players like John Markovski, Chris Taylor, Andrew Marth, Paul Trimboli and Kevin Muscat donned the George Cross crest. During the 80's, George Cross were known as they Great Survivors due to their numerous close brushes with relegation.
In the 1989–90 NSL season, the first summer season, the Georgies played their first home game at their new ground in Skinner Reserve against the Ferenc Puskas led South Melbourne Hellas team. The Georgies won 2–0 in front of over 6,000. A 15 year old Kevin Muscat debuted in this season. In the 1990–91 season, the Georgies finished second last and had to reapply for a position in the NSL. This was denied.
Return to Victorian Football
The Georgies returned to the VPL for the 1992 season. Most of the squad left, and the club did quite well to finish in 6th position. In 1993, John Markovski returned as a guest player, scoring 18 goals as the club reached the preliminary final. In 1994, the Victorian Soccer Federation renamed the club Sunshine Georgies. In 1997, Sunshine George Cross bought Chaplin Reserve from the State Government. Club officials made it official by signing the deal at the club's 50th Anniversary Dinner Ball held at the Lakeside Banquet & Convention Centre on Saturday June 28, 1997. Saso Markovski scored a club record 25 goals that season. In 1998, the club tightened the budget and cut many senior players, replacing them with much younger ones. The club struggled and were relegated to the First Division. This was the first time George Cross had been relegated from the Premier League since 1958.
At the end of the 2000 season the club made the decision to go amateur. The club entered the 2001 season with what was practically the under 16 team from the previous season. Most of the supporters stopped attending matches, with only a handful, loyal supporters standing by the club. The club was at its lowest point in a long time and there were great fears the club would go bust. The team went all season without a win and were relegated. In 2002, a new committee took over with the goal of getting the Georgies out of this mess, consolidation and eventually back up into the First Division and above. The first win of 2002 came in round 13 when the Georgies won 2–1 at Croxton Park to end a run of 40 games without a win. The club managed to survive in the Second Division in 2002, and went about strengthening for 2003. The club went neck and neck with Pascoe Vale SC, just edging them to the 2003 Second Division championship. The team also won the State League Cup that year. It was the club's first cup win in 25 years. In 2004, the club shot up to the top of the First Division ladder, going neck and neck with Heidelberg United FC all season, who ended up winning the race by two points. The second-place finish meant promotion for the Georgies who, against all odds, returned to the Victorian Premier League.
The return to the VPL was always going to be tough, with the Georgies in a relegation dogfight from the offset. In the final round of the season, a point achieved from a 0–0 draw with Melbourne Knights FC was enough to ensure VPL football for another year. George Cross survived again in the 2006 season, but only on a technicality, as Essendon Royals were relegated for fielding an ineligible player. In 2007, the Football Federation of Victoria announced that four sides would be relegated from the VPL as the number of teams was being reduced. George Cross finished 3rd bottom and were relegated. In 2008, an Andy O'Dell lead George Cross took out the State League 1 championship, edging Dandenong Thunder by three points. In 2009, the club finished in 8th place. In 2010, players began to leave halfway through the season and Andy O'Dell quit his position as head manager. Sunshine George Cross slipped from 5th to last place, following 9 successive defeats. It was close with the relegation issue was not being settled until the final day when the Georgies lost 4–0 to South Melbourne and Bentleigh Greens upset the league leaders Richmond to avoid the drop. The club played their home matches at Knights Stadium that year, which incurred high costs on the club. The club's previous name of Sunshine George Cross FC was restored after a long time being known as Sunshine Georgies.
In 2011, Sunshine George Cross finished in 7th position in the Victorian State League Division One. The following year, the club endured similar fortunes, finishing in 8th position. In 2013, the club's results improved and the Georgies just missed out on promotion, finishing in 3rd place, three points off Werribee City.
National Premier Leagues Victoria
In 2014, after a restructuring of football in Victoria, Sunshine George Cross FC had their application for a place in the new National Premier Leagues Victoria accepted and were placed into National Premier Leagues Victoria Division One, effectively the second division of football in Victoria, the same tier they were in previously. The club finished in 9th position out of 14 teams in their first year in the NPL1.
In 2015, the NPL1 was split into East and West conferences after more sides were accepted into the NPL. George Cross was placed into NPL1 West. The club finished in 8th place in the 10 team West conference and 15th overall.
On 4 June 2015, Jamie Chetcuti, the president of Sunshine George Cross, announced that following the sale of Chaplin Reserve, the Club is "currently working with a municipality with the intent of developing a state of the art facility that George Cross juniors and senior’s players, staff and parents will call home". In July 2016, it was confirmed that George Cross will play their final game at Chaplin Reserve on 27 August 2016. Chaplin Reserve will be converted into townhouses, while Georgies will move out to a new facility in Taylors Hill, which will become a home base for both the club's senior and junior sides.
Rivalries of the club include Victorian former NSL clubs South Melbourne, Melbourne Knights, Green Gully, Heidelberg United and the Preston Lions. Other rivalries include Victorian club's that are based in Melbourne's west, such as St Albans Saints, Western Suburbs and Altona Magic.
Sunshine George Cross FC has a sister club relationship with Maltese-founded and Western Melbourne based club Green Gully Cavaliers. It is believed that both clubs adopted their familiar stripes from the Maltese club Floriana.
As of 15 June 2015 Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
For details of former players, see Category:Sunshine George Cross FC players.
- Australian Cup Winners: 1964
- National Soccer League Finalists (Playoffs): 1986
- National Youth League Champions: 1989
- National Youth League Runner-Up: 1986, 1987, 1988
- National Youth League (Southern Division) Champions: 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989
- Victorian State League (VPL) Champions: 1977
- Victorian State League (VPL) Runners Up: 1959, 1960, 1961, 1964, 1965, 1972, 1973, 1974 and 1978
- State League Cup (Top 4 Series) Winners: 1959, 1973, 1977
- Victorian State League Division 1 Champions: 2008
- Victorian State League Division 2 Champions: 1954, 1957, 2003
- Victorian State League Division 3 Champions: 1949, 1953
- Ampol Cup Winners: 1961, 1965, 1974
- Dockerty Cup Winners: 1959, 1962, 1978
- Federation Cup Winners: 2003
- Armstrong Cup Winners: 1976, 1994
- Bill Fleming Medal
- 1961 – Fred Falzon
- 1962 – Fred Falzon
- 1972 – John Gardiner
- Victorian Premier League Top Goalscorer Award
- 1977 – Ken Reed
- 1997 – Sasha Markovski
- Weinstein Medal
- 1986 – John Markovski
- 1988 – Lorenz Kindter
- 1990 – Kevin Muscat
- 1997 – Sasha Markovski
- 1998 – Anthony Magnacca
- National Youth Player of the Year
- 1989 – John Markovski
- State League First Division Player of the Year
- 2008 – George Papadopoulos
Malta national football team
- "Honours". Sunshine George Cross Football Club. Retrieved 9 February 2010.
- Cameron, Ben. "Former soccer ground set for townhouse transformation". Star Weekly. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
- Twomey, Liam. "Eagles president banned, points lost after melee". Star Weekly. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
- Gliddon, Greg (15 May 2007). "Montemurro walks". Brimbank Leader.
- Schwab, Laurie (31 January 1977). "Six losses but still a win". The Age. Retrieved 9 February 2010.
- "Championship at last". Brief History of Sunshine George Cross Football Club. Retrieved 9 February 2010.