Sydney FC

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This article is about the men's association football team. For the women's association football club, see Sydney FC W-League.
Sydney FC
Logo
Full name Sydney Football Club[1][2]
Nickname(s) Sky Blues
Founded 2004; 11 years ago (2004)
Ground Allianz Stadium
Ground Capacity 45,500
Owner David Traktovenko
Chairman Scott Barlow
Head Coach Graham Arnold
League A-League
2014–15 A-League, 2nd
Website Club home page
Current season

Sydney Football Club /ˈsɪdni/, commonly known as Sydney FC, is an Australian professional soccer club based in Sydney, New South Wales. It competes in the country's premier competition, the A-League, under license from Football Federation Australia.[3] The club has won two A-League Championships (in 2006 and 2010) and one Premiership (2009–10) and is the only A-League club to have won the OFC Champions League (in 2005). Since 2006, A-League teams have competed in the AFC Champions League. Sydney FC has participated in the group stage of the AFC Champions League twice previously; in 2007 and 2011, and will participate for a third time in 2016. Having won titles in the W-League and in the National Youth League Sydney hold the distinction of being the only club to have won the A-League alongside its two affiliated competitions.

The club's home ground is Allianz Stadium, a 45,500 seat multi-use venue in the suburb of Moore Park.[4] As the only A-League team in the city for the first seven years of its existence, the club's fans hail from all across the Sydney Metropolitan Area. Since its establishment, Sydney FC has had a reputation for signing high-profile players.[5] Notable players who have represented the club include Dwight Yorke, Juninho Paulista, John Aloisi, Brett Emerton, Lucas Neill and Alessandro del Piero.

History[edit]

Main article: History of Sydney FC

Foundation[edit]

Sydney FC playing the Los Angeles Galaxy at ANZ Stadium during 2007.

The first steps towards the foundation of Sydney FC were taken in April 2004 when Soccer New South Wales (now Football NSW) announced its intention to bid for a licence in the new A-League competition.[6] The bid was lodged with the Australian Soccer Association (now Football Federation Australia) on 19 July, challenged only by a consortium headed by Nick Politis, known as the "Sydney Blues",[7] for Sydney's place in the 'one team per city' competition.[8] A public row broke out between the two bidders after reports that the ASA were set to vote in favour of Sydney FC,[9] causing Politis to withdraw his support for a team,[10] and leaving Sydney FC as the only candidate remaining.

Sydney FC was officially launched as a member of the new 8-team A-League on 1 November 2004, with a 25% stake in the club held by Soccer NSW, the remainder privately owned.[11] Walter Bugno was announced as the inaugural chairman of the club. On 11 December 2004, Soccer NSW announced that it would pull out of its involvement with Sydney FC amid concerns over part owner Frank Lowy's autocratic style in establishing the club and lack of consultation with Soccer NSW on key Sydney FC issues. These included the choice of the Sydney Football Stadium over Parramatta Stadium as the team's home ground, and the erosion of Soccer NSW's initial 100 per cent involvement to just 25 per cent.[12]

By February 2005, Sydney FC had filled 16 of its allowed 20 squad positions—attracting Socceroos Alvin Ceccoli, Clint Bolton, Steve Corica and David Zdrilic as well as youth internationals Justin Pasfield, Mark Milligan, Wade Oostendorp, Iain Fyfe and Jacob Timpano.[13] German Pierre Littbarski was signed as Head Coach, to be assisted by former Norwich City player Ian Crook. Sydney FC played its first ever match against Manly United FC on 25 March 2005, winning 6–1.[14] Shortly after, Sydney FC set off on a tour to the United Arab Emirates to play matches against local teams FC Hatta, Al Ain FC and Al Jazira, winning all three.[15][16][17] Whilst in Dubai, Sydney FC announced that it had agreed to terms with former Manchester United player Dwight Yorke as the club's "marquee player" – one paid outside of the $1.5 million salary cap — for two seasons.[18]

Early years[edit]

Sydney FC's first competitive match was against Queensland Roar at Central Coast Stadium in Gosford as part of an Australian qualifying tournament to enter the 2005 Oceania Club Championship. After winning the match 3–0, Sydney went on to defeat Perth Glory and the Central Coast Mariners to qualify for the Oceania Club Championship, to be held in Tahiti. Despite an early scare against New Zealand club Auckland City FC,[19] Sydney FC won all of its matches in the competition and qualified for the 2005 FIFA Club World Championship in Japan. The start of the 2005 A-League Pre-Season Challenge Cup marked Sydney FC's first match at Allianz Stadium, as well as Dwight Yorke's first appearance for the club. Yorke scored the first goal of Sydney FC's 3–1 win which stretched its unbeaten run to 9 competitive matches (15 including friendlies). Upon reaching the semi-finals, Sydney's unbeaten run finally ended at 11 with Perth Glory midfielder Nick Ward scoring in injury time to inflict the new club's first ever loss.[20]

Sydney FC's first season was ultimately a success. Finishing second on the ladder behind Adelaide United they went on to defeat Central Coast Mariners 1–0 in the 2006 A-League Grand Final with Steve Corica scoring in the second half. However the club's success wouldn't last long, with German manager Pierre Littbarski leaving the club due to being forced to accept a lower pay cheque[21] and inaugural marquee player Dwight Yorke being signed by Premier League club Sunderland.[22] Former English international Terry Butcher was signed as Sydney FC's new coach for 2006–07.[23] However it was regarded as an overall failure, with Sydney playing poor football despite the signing of Alex Brosque and Benito Carbone as a Guest player. Sydney also had 3 points deducted during the season, after it was found that they had breached the Salary cap, involving player David Zdrillic.[24] Despite the off field problems, Sydney managed to scrape into the finals series, however they lost in the semi final to Newcastle Jets. Although Butcher lead the club into the finals, Sydney fans were unhappy with his tactics. In the end Butcher and Sydney FC went their separate ways at the end of the season.[25] Sydney FC would go on to sign Branko Čulina for its 2007 Asian Champions League campaign, where they finished second in the group, one point behind ultimate champions and J-League heavyweights Urawa Red Diamonds. Despite the ACL success, Sydney FC's start to the 2007–08 season was poor, and the club sacked him, replacing him with former Adelaide United manager John Kosmina.[26] Sydney FC played well for the rest of the season but were knocked out in the finals by Brisbane Roar.

Lavicka tenure[edit]

Kosmina couldn't repeat the success of the previous season, replacing Brazilian international Juninho with Socceroos hero John Aloisi on a million dollar contract.[27] The club also unveiled Newcastle Jets championship winners Mark Bridge and Stuart Musialik as well as Socceroo Simon Colosimo for the 2008–09 season.[27][28] The season did not live up to expectations even with these key signings. Aloisi didn't perform very well during the season and came under heavy fire. So too did manager Kosmina, whose tactics were seen as controversial. His relationship with the media often became angry and frustrated which didn't help causes. Many players fell out of favour with the coach, including Steve Corica and Clint Bolton.[citation needed] For the first time in the club's history, they failed to make the play-offs. As a result Kosmina was fired when the new ownership of Russian billionaire David Traktovenko took over in March 2009. The fresh change at the club was about to bear fruit, when Sydney announced they had signed Czech Republic manager Vítězslav Lavička.[29] Lavicka completely changed the structure of the club, and for its first time turning it into a serious, European style football club. He kept faith in Steve Corica and John Aloisi and several others who had threatened to walk out on the club, and as a result, Sydney FC won its first premiership in the club's history. Sydney made it to the Grand Final of the fifth season of the A-League after defeating Wellington Phoenix in the preliminary final. The Grand Final was played against Melbourne Victory at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne. Sydney took the lead after 61 minutes through a Mark Bridge header, just seconds after Melbourne had a goal disallowed for offside. Melbourne equalised through Adrian Leijer in the 81st minute, and the game went on to a penalty shootout with no goals scored in extra time. Melbourne skipper Kevin Muscat missed his penalty, with his shot hitting the post. Sydney FC won the Grand Final 4–2 on penalties which handed the club its second Hyundai A-League Championship.

Sydney FC's title defence did not go smoothly. The club lost key players from its championship-winning side including Steve Corica (retired),[30] Karol Kisel (return to Europe),[31] Simon Colosimo,[32] John Aloisi,[33] and Clint Bolton[34] (all Melbourne Heart). The club however picked up the services of former Socceroo Nick Carle from his stint in England with Crystal Palace. This wasn't enough to steer the team in the right direction. The club were winless for the first ten rounds of the competition. Sydney FC managed to pick up a few points over the next few rounds but another five game losing streak ensured they would not qualify for the finals competition, finishing ninth. The third season under Lavicka began with the major signing of Blackburn Rovers player Brett Emerton to a three year deal.[35] The signing was significant in that Emerton became the first player to directly exchange the FA Premier League for the A-League by terminating his Rovers contract one year early.[36] The season however, only provided minimal success as the club scraped through to the finals series with a 3–2 win over Newcastle Jets in the final round of the regular season. Before the end of the season the club announced that head coach Lavicka's contract would not be renewed for the following season.[37][38]

Farina reign[edit]

Sydney FC playing against the Newcastle Jets on October 2012.

The 2012–13 season was one of high drama. There was a new appointment of head coach Ian Crook[39] and a high turnover of players in the off season. The expectations changed from a year of rebuilding to title contenders when the club acquired the services of international superstar Alessandro Del Piero.[40][41] He signed on for $2 million per year and became the highest-paid footballer to ever play in the A-League.[42]

"This is huge for Sydney FC, huge for the A-League and huge for Australian football [sic]. We feel honoured that Alessandro has decided to play for Sydney FC and we share his excitement that a move to Sydney FC will create a lasting legacy for football in this country."

—Sydney FC Chairman Scott Barlow, The Sydney Morning Herald

After only six weeks into the regular season Sydney were forced to find a new coach with the shock resignation of Crook. He cited the role was "a constant burden" and was adversely affecting his health.[43][44] Frank Farina was confirmed as Crook's successor for the season two games into Steve Corica's interim spell.[45] During the January transfer window, Farina bolstered his defensive stocks with Socceroos captain Lucas Neill[46][47] and Brazilian Tiago Calvano[48] joining the team. The pair made nil significant impact and with a 3–1 loss away from home to Brisbane Roar, Sydney were unable to pick up a vital point that would have seen them play finals football, finishing seventh.

For the 2013–14 pre season, the club became the first club in A-League history to tour in Europe, as Sydney toured in Venice, Italy where the club played against Del Piero's first professional club, Padova, Udinese Calcio, Vicenza Calcio, A.S. Cittadella, Venezia and Reggiana.[49][50] Sydney won half of these six games however upon returning home lost five consecutive friendly games in the lead up to the season proper. Two-thirds of the way into the season and with Sydney FC only accumulating 4 points from 8 games, fans began to express concerns over the vision for the club. Banners at the club's home game against Adelaide included sentiments like "We want Farina gone."[51] There was also a mass exodus from the club's active supporter group, The Cove.[52] The club then held a fan forum to receive questions and communicate the direction of the club.[53] During the last nine rounds, Sydney FC only lost two games making the finals. The club lost to Melbourne Victory in the first week of the finals. This marked the end of the Frank Farina reign.[54][55]

Arnold era[edit]

On 8 October 2014, Brosque was announced as the captain of Sydney FC for the 2014–15 A-League season, alongside vice-captains Saša Ognenovski and Nikola Petković.[56]

Colours and badge[edit]

The primary club colour of Sydney FC is sky blue, which represents the state colour of New South Wales. The secondary club colour is navy blue, with additional contrasting colours of orange and white.

The Sydney FC badge was created and used since the clubs founding in 2004. It features a football set centrally in a stylised crest shape. Above the ball is the shape of three shells of the Sydney Opera House, an internationally recognisable symbol of the city of Sydney. Below the ball is the Commonwealth Star, a seven-pointed star symbolising the Federation of Australia.[1]

Sponsorship[edit]

Period Kit Manufacturer Shirt Sponsor Minor Sponsor
2005–2007 Reebok Healthe HBA Insurance
2007–2009 Bing Lee,
JVC
2009–2011 Bing Lee,
Sony
MBF Health Insurance,
Pulsar
2011–12 Adidas UNICEF[57] Sydney Children's Hospital,
CMRI[58]
2012–14 Webjet Destination NSW,
Caltex
2014– Startrack,
Beechwood
2015—2019 Puma TBA TBA

Stadium[edit]

Sydney FC plays its home matches at Allianz Stadium (commonly known as SFS[59]), located in the Sydney suburb of Moore Park. It was built in 1988 to be the premium "rectangular field" for rugby league matches. It is also now used for soccer and rugby union for major matches and domestic competition.

It has been the venue for several Australian international matches (notably World Cup Qualifier against Argentina in 1993). The stadium's capacity was stated at 41,159 prior to renovations in 2007, although the attendance of the 2006 A-League grand final exceeded this number by over 500. The currently stated capacity is 45,500.

Sydney FC have played matches at other Sydney venues. Parramatta Stadium in western Sydney was the venue for an AFC Champions League match against Indonesian football side Persik Kediri in April 2007 when the SFS was unavailable due to an NRL match being played there. A friendly match against Los Angeles Galaxy was played at ANZ Stadium in November 2007 due to its greater capacity, and drew a crowd of 80,295. However, as of 2012 these districts are now represented in the A-League so such a move would be unnecessary. In December 2011, Sydney played a (2–0 winning) match at Kogarah Oval against Brisbane Roar, as the SFS was unavailable due to concerts being held at the ground that weekend.

Panorama of Allianz Stadium prior to Sydney FC defeating Melbourne Victory 2–0 to win the 2009–10 Hyundai A-League Premiership in front of 25,407 fans

Training ground[edit]

Sydney FC's primary training ground is at Macquarie University in North Ryde where they use the grounds, and they also have use of the sports and aquatic centre for post match recovery sessions. Occasionally Sydney will train at the SFS and have been seen after home games having recovery sessions at local beaches such as Coogee Beach, Bondi Beach and Maroubra.

Supporters[edit]

Sydney supporters at the northern end at the Allianz Stadium

Sydney FC draw support from right across Sydney, and is one of the most heavily supported clubs in Australia, as they were the only A-League team from Australia's largest city until 2012. The largest supporter group of Sydney FC is known as "The Cove",[60] and are located at the Paddington (northern) end of Allianz Stadium in bays 22 – 26. The name came from the original name given to the colonial settlement of Sydney — Sydney Cove.

Cove members attend every home match and also travel as a group around the country to support the team at away matches. As a vocal group, The Cove demonstrates its support by singing football chants, wearing club colours, standing up, waving flags and holding banners. On 7 July 2006, Australian rock singer Jimmy Barnes recorded a club song entitled 'Sydney FC For Me' with 25 members of The Cove singing back-up vocals.[61] It was released prior to the start of the 2006–07 season.

Rivalries[edit]

See also Sydney FC league record by opponent

  • Melbourne Victory — The Big Blue — The clash between Australia's two largest cities is considered the biggest rivalry in the League by both sets of fans.[citation needed] Sydney and Melbourne have been rivals on many fronts for over a century.
  • Western Sydney Wanderers — The Sydney Derby  — With the introduction of the Wanderers into the competition, Sydney FC now contest a true local derby for the first time. The two teams played their first match on 20 October 2012 at the Wanderers' home ground, Parramatta Stadium. Sydney FC won the match 0–1 in front of a near-capacity crowd of 19,126 fans. On 15 December 2012 in the following derby, the Wanderers defeated Sydney FC 2–0 away from home; the two teams went on to draw 1–1 at the Wanderers' home ground during their third encounter. At the conclusion of the 2014-2015 A-League Season, Sydney FC lead the head-to-head count with four Derby wins compared to the Wanderers' three, with the clubs drawing twice. Each team has scored thirteen Derby goals.

Current squads[edit]

For a list of all former and current Sydney FC players with a Wikipedia article, see Category:Sydney FC players.

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
46 Australia MF Nathan Harvey
3 Australia DF Alex Gersbach
4 Australia DF Zachary Anderson
5 Australia DF Matthew Jurman
6 Serbia MF Miloš Ninković
7 Australia MF Andrew Hoole
8 Serbia MF Miloš Dimitrijević
9 New Zealand FW Shane Smeltz
10 Slovakia FW Filip Hološko
11 Australia MF Chris Naumoff
12 Australia GK Anthony Bouzanis
No. Position Player
13 Australia MF Brandon O'Neill
14 Australia FW Alex Brosque (captain)
16 Australia DF Riley Woodcock
17 Australia MF Terry Antonis
20 Australia GK Vedran Janjetović
22 Iraq MF Ali Abbas
23 Australia MF Rhyan Grant
25 Australia DF Aaron Calver
26 Senegal DF Jacques Faty
27 Senegal MF Mickaël Tavares
29 Australia FW George Blackwood
34 Australia MF Robert Stambolziev

Youth squad[edit]

Further information: Sydney FC Youth

Academy[edit]

On 21 December 2009, Sydney FC inaugurated an elite academy to develop young players. The main goal of the academy was stated as to produce better players by providing technical and tactical knowledge, as well as to identify potential new talent that could represent Sydney in the National Youth League and A League in future. This began a continued commitment from Sydney to invest in and develop junior talent for the benefit of grassroots soccer. The initial 26 players taken in were drawn from the NSW State League clubs and consisted of junior players aged between 14–18 years old. They started training with the academy at Macquarie University.[62]

Captains[edit]

Captains by Years (2005–present) A-League games only.

Name Nat Period
Mark Rudan Australia 2005–07
Tony Popovic Australia 2007–08
Steve Corica Australia 2008–10
Terry McFlynn Northern Ireland 2010–13
Alessandro Del Piero Italy 2013–14
Alex Brosque Australia 2014–

Club officials[edit]

Management[edit]

Position Name
Chairman Scott Barlow
Director Michael Crismale
Director Jamie Samaha
Director Mark Arbib
Chief Executive Officer Tony Pignata
Chief Financial Officer Adam Santo
General Manager, Digital, Media and Communications David Warriner
General Manager, Commercial Nic Barbato
General Manager, Marketing and Community Rawya Jammal

Technical staff[edit]

Position Name
Head Coach Australia Graham Arnold
Assistant Coach Australia Steve Corica
Strength/Conditioning Coach Australia Andrew Clark
Goalkeeping Coach Australia John Crawley
Chief Medical Officer Australia Dr. Ameer Ibrahim
Club Doctor Australia Dr. Ameer Ibrahim
Physiotherapist Australia Stan Ivancic
Assistant/Masseur Australia Joe Niutta
Youth Head Coach Australia Robbie Stanton
Youth Assistant Coach Australia Miro Vlastelica
Youth Goalkeeping Coach
Youth Physiotherapist Australia Franco Zappavigna
Youth Team Manager Australia Michael Swibel

Head Coaches[edit]

Name Period Record Honours
Pld W D L %
Germany Pierre Littbarski Feb 2005 – June 2006 24 12 7 5 50% A-League Champions: 2005–06
OFC Champions League: 2005
England Terry Butcher July 2006 – February 2007 23 9 8 6 39%
Australia Branko Culina April 2007 – October 2007 9 2 3 4 22%
Australia John Kosmina October 2007 – March 2009 35 13 11 11 37%
Czech Republic Vítězslav Lavička February 2009 – May 2012 89 35 22 32 39% A-League Premiers: 2009–10
A-League Champions: 2009–10
England Ian Crook May 2012 – 11 November 2012 6 2 0 4 33%
Australia Steve Corica (caretaker) 12 November 2012 – 27 November 2012 2 0 0 2 0%
Australia Frank Farina 28 November 2012 – 23 April 2014 47 19 8 20 40%
Australia Graham Arnold 8 May 2014 – present 28 15 8 5 54%

Records only include A-League matches, does not include; friendly matches & competitions, Pre-Season Challenge Cup, Oceania Club Championship, FIFA Club World Championship, Asian Champions League & FFA Cup

Hall of Fame[edit]

On 16 March 2015, Sydney FC inducted eight members into its inaugural Hall of Fame at the clubs' 10 year anniversary lunch.[63]

Name Role
Steve Corica Foundation player (2005–2010) and captain (2008–2010)
Dwight Yorke Inaugural Marquee player (2005–2006)
Mark Rudan Inaugural captain (2005–2008)
Clint Bolton Foundation player (goalkeeper), 142 appearances (2005–2010)
Terry McFlynn Foundation player, captain (2010–2013), all-time leading appearances (214) across 9 seasons (2005–2014)
Alessandro Del Piero International Marquee player (2012–2014), captain
Pierre Littbarski Inaugural coach (2005–2006), honours — OFC Club Championship (2005) and A-League Championship (2006)
Vitezslav Lavicka Coach (2009–2012), domestic double (A-League Premiership and Championship in 2010)

Records[edit]

For more details on this topic, see List of Sydney FC records and statistics.

Terry McFlynn currently holds the team all-time record for number of total games played with 214 matches, including a club record 178 league matches. Alex Brosque has the second most appearances of all-time with 144 matches and Clint Bolton has the third most appearances for the club with 142 matches.

Sydney FC's all-time highest goalscorer in all competitions is Alex Brosque with 40 goals, including a club record 33 league goals. Steve Corica has scored the second most goals for the club with 31 and Sasho Petrovski is third on the list with 26 goals.

Sydney FC's highest home attendance for a league match is 41,213 recorded on 18 October 2014 at Sydney Football Stadium against the Western Sydney Wanderers in the Sydney Derby.[64] The highest home attendance in any fixture is 80,295 recorded on 27 November 2007 for a friendly match against LA Galaxy at Stadium Australia.

Honours[edit]

Domestic[edit]

Premiers (1): 2009–10
Runners-Up (2): 2005–06, 2014–15
  • A-League Finals Series
Champions (2): 2006, 2010
Runners-Up (1): 2014–15

International[edit]

Champions (1): 2005
Group Stage (2): 2007, 2011
Fifth-place (1): 2005

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  33. ^ "Heart sign Aloisi". 29 March 2010. Retrieved 17 July 2015. 
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  58. ^ "Sydney FC And Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI) Form Community Partnership". CMRI. Retrieved 24 February 2012. 
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External links[edit]

Preceded by
None
A-League Champions
2005–06 (First title)
Succeeded by
Melbourne Victory
Preceded by
Melbourne Victory
A-League Premiers
2009–10 (First title)
Succeeded by
Brisbane Roar
Preceded by
Melbourne Victory
A-League Champions
2009–10 (Second title)
Succeeded by
Brisbane Roar