The History of Gunners Soccer Club
In July 1976, a group of residents from Macquarie Fields and Glenfield held a meeting to gauge whether there was enough interest to establish a Soccer Club in the local area. Some of these residents had children playing for Ingleburn Eagles and decided that they should have a team to represent their own area, as the Glenfield and Macquarie Fields areas were growing very rapidly with the developing Housing Estates in the mid 1970’s.
A unanimous vote of approx. 40 residents was carried to form the ‘Glenquarie United Soccer Club’ with the logo of “The Gunners” based on the Arsenal Football Club logo in England. A committee of nine was quickly elected and charged with the responsibility of organising the club and entering as many teams as possible in the 1977 football season in the Southern Districts Soccer Association Leagues.
(The clubs Inaugural Season)
Some of the first and founding Members were President - Mr Ralph Steedman; Vice-President – Geoff Palmer; Secretary - Lawrence Annesley; Publicity Officer - Ian Lloyd & Treasurer – Deirdre Taylor, just to name a few.
In their first year, Glenquarie United managed to assemble 17 teams (over 200 players) and quickly raised nearly $3,000 to organise soccer strips in the all red socks, shorts and shirts with white trims. They also managed to get all the field nets and training equipment and played all their home games behind James Meehan High School, Macquarie Fields.
One Team won the league, two teams came second; two came fourth and four in fifth place in the first season.
In 1978, the club progressed to 22 Teams including its first Ladies Team.
In November 1978, the club was successful in its bid to take control of the Macquarie Fields Sports Club Limited which had purchased 5 acres of land on the north-east corner of Parliament Rd and Harold St, stretching across to Eucalyptus Drive, Macquarie Fields, with a view of having our own field and clubhouse on this block in the near future. (This is now filled with houses)
In 1980 the Club fielded its first Senior Team in the NSW Soccer Federation in 6th Division which they successfully won the Premiership and Grand Final against Chullora in a replay.
In 1981, the club was successful in having land at Bensley Road rezoned to private open space. Campbelltown Council assisted the club in clearing the land around an old fibro cottage, which became the Gunners Clubhouse, and built a small toilet block.
Turf was laid by the members, goal posts, lights & fences erected with the aid of the club sponsors and Council, and the club was relocated from James Meehan to Bensley Road in 1982. The 5 acres of land in Parliament Road was eventually sold and the funds used to help set up at Bensley Road Complex.
In 1983 the club changed its name to the Campbelltown Gunners and moved away from the Southern Districts Association to join the newly formed Macarthur District Soccer Football Association for all its junior and ladies teams. The Senior Team was still playing in the NSW Soccer Federation (actually 2nd Division Inter-Urban in 1983 and then first Division Inter Urban in 1984.
In 1986 the old Gunners clubhouse (fibro cottage) was arson attacked and burnt to the ground. Campbelltown Council subsequently assisted the club in building the new canteen and amenities block that stands today in 1986-87.
In 1987, the Gunners again changed its name to the Campbelltown District Soccer Club & celebrated their 10 year history. Brett Emerton played Under 9’s for Gunners that year with our Former M League coach, Kris Hawes and Rick Harkness was the coach. The Senior Team was playing 2nd Division State League against teams like King Tomislav (Sydney Croatia), Concordia, Uni of NSW, Mt Druitt Town, Bondi Marine and Granville Chile, to name a few.
In 1988, the Senior State League Teams merged with Campbelltown City as the NSW Soccer Federation looked to consolidate teams across the three State League Divisions from each area/district. The costs of fielding the three grades in this competition were escalating and the club was struggling financially to keep it going, talks were held with the Macarthur Association, as well as approaches made from other clubs in other districts like Fairfield/Smithfield areas, to take the State League over. Without going into too much detail about how it all happened, at a 2nd Special AGM and vote, it was unanimously carried that Macarthur Association take over the State League Teams and it became known as the Campbelltown Vikings who played out of Bensley Road in the new colours of grey and maroon.
In 1992 the Team became the Campbelltown Rams and was playing in the NSW Soccer Federation Division 1 State League and it has now progressed to the Macarthur Rams as we know them today.
In 1990 the Gunners also merged with Fields United for a couple of seasons, hence the move to the white strips similar to the old German National Team. (These shirts are now worn as our alternative strip when colours clash with other teams.) The club then became known as ‘Gunners United Soccer Club’.
In 2000 the Gunners dropped the ‘United’ from its name and reverted to the ‘Gunners Soccer Club inc’, as it is known today and changed back to the traditional predominantly red shirts and socks with black shorts, similar to a previous Arsenal shirts to reflect our origins.
In 2007, the club celebrated its 30th Year Anniversary with a formal function at West Leagues Club, which was keenly attended by over 200 current and former players, coaches, committee members, including a few of the founding members and first President.
The Gunners have been a very successful club over the past 35 years for which it is very proud of all our achievements and our humble beginnings. The club has also produced notable representatives in Brett Emerton (Blackburn Rovers, Sydney FC and Socceroos) and Sarah Walsh (Sydney FC, Western Sydney Wanderers, Matildas).
In addition to this, the club has always been very competitive in the Macarthur Association and in the representative area within Football NSW Competitions.
As outlined above, the Gunners were an integral part of the formation of the Macarthur Rams and were a very successful Team in their own right, in the NSW Soccer Federation and State League Competitions, winning promotion year after year from 6th Division Federation in 1980 to Division 1 State League in 1992.
Some of the clubs other Major Achievements have been;
1991 – NSW Champion of Champions – Under 9
1998 - Kanga Cup – Winners – Under 12
2001 - Kanga Cup - Runners Up – Under 11
2001 - NSW Soccer Federation Club Champions – Under 15
2001 – Trish Burden Memorial Winners – Under 11
2001 – Sydney Amateur League Champions – All Age 1
2003 – Sydney Soccerfest International Cup Champions – Under 15
2005 & 2008 – Girotto Cup Winners – Under 9
2010 & 2011 - ‘M- League’ Minor Premiers – 1st Grade
2011 – NSW Champion of Champions – Under 17
2012 – NSW Champion of Champions – Under 18
The club currently has 10 Life Members in Shane Howard, Geoff King, Sean McAreavey, Jenny King, Narelle Appleby, Steve Naden, John Farmer, John Rawes John Herrison, Brett Muir.
(Compiled by John Rawes - 2013)
This information has been collated from documentation and discussions with current and former associates of Gunners Soccer Club, If you believe some information is incorrect or relevant history items missing, please contact the Author by email firstname.lastname@example.org
This document is not be altered or changed without the permission of the Author.