The Early Days

 

The first in a series of articles, which chronicles the history of Sydney FC, every game, every signing, every key event is documented with links to website articles, photos and other references.

This section covers the period 24 March 2004, when Soccer Australia announced plans for a new league, to 7 April 2005, when Sydney FC left on a preseason tour of the UAE.

This is a key period in the development of the club and provides insight into the work that went into building a club from scratch.

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HAL v1 - Champions!

¤ 12 December 2005: Sydney FC vs Deportivo Saprissa, Toyota Stadium, 7:20pm (Club World Championship - QF)
Sydney bow out of the Club World Championship despite playing impressively against experienced opposition. Clint Bolton had an excellent game but couldn't stop Cristian Bolanos' goal from a long ball, while Alvin Ceccoli was sent from the field with ten minutes remaining for an innocuous challenge on the Saprissa 'keeper.[SFC][FIFA]
Deportivo Saprissa 1 (Bolanos 47') def. Sydney FC 0
Sydney FC: 1 Clint Bolton (gk), 2 Iain Fyfe, 3 Alvin Ceccoli, 10 Steve Corica (9 David Zdrilic 83'), 11 Kazuyoshi Miura, 12 David Carney, 14 Andrew Packer (4 Mark Rudan 61'), 15 Terry McFlynn (21 John Buonavoglia 61'), 16 Mark Milligan, 19 Dwight Yorke (c), 22 Sasho Petrovski
Deportivo Saprissa: 1 Jose Porras (gk; c), 2 Christian Bolanos, 3 Victor Cordero, 4 Ronald Gonzalez, 5 Jervis Drummond, 8 Walter Centeno (6 Reynaldo Parks 89'), 11 Ronald Gomez, 12 Alvaro Saborio (20 Gerold Drummond 90+3'), 16 Gabriel Badilla, 23 Tray Bennett (17 Jose Luis Lopez 83')
Cautions: McFlynn 3', Gonzalez 32', Gomez 56', Milligan 71', Centeno 77', Porras 90+2'
Sent off: Ceccoli 81'

¤ 16 December 2005: Sydney FC vs Ahly Sporting Club, National Stadium, 7:20pm (Club World Championship - 5th-place playoff)
Sydney officially become the world's fifth-best football team, with a 2-1 win over African Club of the 20th Century, Al-Ahly. Sydney certainly didn't play as well as they did in their previous match, but a quality header from Dwight Yorke and a nicely timed run from David Carney sealed the victory, and a prize of $800,000 which is distributed amongst the A-League clubs.[SFC][FIFA][SFC]
Sydney FC 2 (Yorke 35', Carney 66') def. Al-Ahly 1 (Emad Moteab 45')
Sydney FC: 1 Clint Bolton (gk), 2 Iain Fyfe, 4 Mark Rudan, 6 Ufuk Talay (15 Terry McFlynn 78'), 8 Matthew Bingley, 10 Steve Corica (14 Andrew Packer 64'), 11 Kazuyoshi Miura, 12 David Carney, 16 Mark Milligan, 19 Dwight Yorke (c), 22 Sasho Petrovski (9 David Zdrilic 89')
Al-Ahly: 21 Nader Al Sayed (gk), 3 Mohamed Abdel Wahab (23 Flavio 76'), 4 Emad El Nahas (7 Shady Mohamed 63'), 5 Ahmed El Sayed, 6 Wael Gomaa, 8 Mohamed Barakat, 9 Emad Moteab, 13 Hossam Ashour, 17 Mohamed Shawky, 18 Osama Hosny (c; 2 Islam El Shater), 22 Mohamed Aboutrika
Cautions: Ashour 42', Rudan 67', Packer 71', Gomaa 76', Yorke 87', Emad Moteab 90+3'

¤ 30 December 2005: Sydney FC vs New Zealand Knights FC, North Harbour Stadium, 8:00pm (A-League - Rd 16)
Jacob Timpano returns to the team after missing the CWC, while Andrew Packer is out with a back injury. Two early deflected free kicks make the score 1-1 before Sydney get a second just before the break from a lucky penalty. Jeremy Brockie equalises in the 86th minute with a cracking volley from the edge of the area.[A-L][A-L][A-L]
Sydney FC 2 (Carney 6', Yorke 45+3' pen) drew New Zealand Knights 2 (Devine 3', Brockie 86')
Sydney FC: 1 Clint Bolton (c), 2 Iain Fyfe, 3 Alvin Ceccoli, 6 Ufuk Talay (15 Terry McFlynn 88'), 9 David Zdrilic (7 Robbie Middleby 77'), 10 Steve Corica (4 Mark Rudan 83'), 11 Sasho Petrovski, 12 David Carney, 16 Mark Milligan, 17 Jacob Timpano, 19 Dwight Yorke (c)
New Zealand Knights: 1 Danny Milosevic (gk; 20 Glen Moss 46'), 2 Darren Bazeley (c), 4 John Tambouras, 10 Sean Devine (6 Neil Emblen 75'), 11 Zenon Caravella, 13 Jeremy Brockie (8 Ben Collett 90+3'), 16 Noah Hickey, 17 Frank van Eijs, 19 Naoki Imaya, 21 Jeremy Christie, 24 Kris Bright
Cautions: Yorke 11'

¤ 01 January 2006: Football Federation Australia officially becomes a member of the Asian Football Confederation, meaning two A-League teams will compete in the AFC Champions League from 2007.[FFA]
¤ 06 January 2006: Sydney FC vs Newcastle United Jets FC, Aussie Stadium, 8:00pm (A-League - Rd 17)
Sydney held the advantage for most of the match but could not break through, leaving them 9 points behind Adelaide with just four matches remaining. David Zdrilic makes his 300th top-flight appearance when he comes on in the 72nd minute, while Andrew Packer returns from a back injury to replace Robbie Middleby.[A-L][A-L][SFC]
Sydney FC 0 drew Newcastle United Jets 0
Sydney FC: 1 Clint Bolton (gk), 2 Iain Fyfe, 3 Alvin Ceccoli, 6 Ufuk Talay (14 Andrew Packer 72'), 10 Steve Corica (9 David Zdrilic 72'), 11 Sasho Petrovski, 12 David Carney, 15 Terry McFlynn, 16 Mark Milligan, 17 Jacob Timpano, 19 Dwight Yorke (c)
Newcastle Jets: 1 Liam Reddy (gk), 2 Steve Eagleton, 3 Jade North, 5 Ned Zelic (c; 16 Labinot Haliti 76'), 8 Matt Thompson, 9 Ante Milicic, 10 Nick Carle, 12 Paul Kohler, 14 Jobe Wheelhouse (15 Stuart Musialik 46'), 22 Allan Picken, 25 Vaughan Coveny
Cautions: Zelic 35', North 71', Milligan 88', Fyfe 90+1'

¤ 14 January 2006: Sydney FC vs Central Coast Mariners FC, Aussie Stadium, 8:00pm (A-League - Rd 18)
Sydney's third consecutive draw of the new year sees Adelaide clinch the inaugural A-League Premiership. Dwight Yorke has a weak penalty saved by Danny Vukovic just seven minutes into the match. Terry McFlynn will serve a two-match suspension after copping his seventh yellow card for the season.[A-L][A-L]
Sydney FC 1 (Carney 61') drew Central Coast Mariners 1 (Pondeljak 52')
Sydney FC: 1 Clint Bolton (gk), 2 Iain Fyfe, 3 Alvin Ceccoli, 9 David Zdrilic, 10 Steve Corica (14 Andrew Packer 75'), 11 Sasho Petrovski, 12 David Carney, 15 Terry McFlynn, 16 Mark Milligan, 17 Jacob Timpano, 19 Dwight Yorke (c)
Central Coast: 20 Danny Vukovic (gk), 2 Wayne O'Sullivan, 4 Noel Spencer (c), 5 Michael Beauchamp, 6 Andre Gumprecht, 7 John Hutchinson (19 Adam Kwasnik 34'), 8 Dean Heffernan, 10 Tom Pondeljak (17 Matthew Osman 74'), 11 Damien Brown, 15 Andrew Clark, 18 Alex Wilkinson
Cautions: McFlynn 36', Pondeljak 53', Kwasnik 55', Carney 59', Ceccoli 64', Timpano 77'

¤ 16 January 2006: The Daily Telegraph reports that Sydney are set to re-sign manager Pierre Littbarski on a $1 million, two-year deal, with a 'club source' quoted as saying "But baring the sun dropping onto the earth, the deal will go ahead." Walter Bugno denies the deal the following day, but confirms that Sydney wish to re-sign the German.[F][TWG]
¤ 21 January 2006: Sydney FC sign former Notts County midfielder Ruben Zadkovich on a short-term deal to replace the injured Ufuk Talay. Zadkovich has trained with Sydney since November and was named in the squad to go to the Club World Championship in Japan, but was ruled ineligible.[F][SMH]
¤ 21 January 2006: Sydney FC vs Queensland Roar FC, Suncorp Stadium, 7:00pm (A-League - Rd 19)
A lucklustre effort from Sydney sees them go 0-2 down to and Alex Brosque brace before snatching a scarcely-deserved consolation goal close to the end. The match sees the debut of 17-year-old David Williams for Queensland, the youngest A-League player.[A-L][A-L]
Queensland Roar 2 (Brosque 61', 70') def. Sydney FC 1 (Petrovski 87')
Sydney FC: 1 Clint Bolton (gk), 2 Iain Fyfe (10 Steve Corica 60'), 3 Alvin Ceccoli, 4 Mark Rudan, 7 Robbie Middleby (11 Sasho Petrovski 60'), 8 Matthew Bingley, 9 David Zdrilic, 12 David Carney, 16 Mark Milligan (23 Ruben Zadkovich 78'), 17 Jacob Timpano, 19 Dwight Yorke (c)
Queensland Roar: 20 Scott Higgins (gk), 3 Remo Buess, 5 Josh McCloughan (c), 8 Massimo Murdocca, 9 Michael Baird (10 Royce Brownlie 78'), 11 Jonti Richter, 15 Matt McKay, 16 Seo Hyuk-Su, 19 Alex Brosque (6 Todd Gava 88'), 23 Stuart McLaren, 24 Reinaldo (25 David Williams 64')
Cautions: Milligan 21', Petrovski 84'

¤ 22 January 2006: Melbourne Victory's 0-1 loss to Newcastle leaves them seven points in arrears of Sydney FC with two rounds remaining, marking the first ever St. Tardington's Day.[SFCU]
¤ 29 January 2006: Sydney FC vs Perth Glory FC, Members Equity Stadium, 5:00pm (A-League - Rd 20)
Sydney finally confirm their place in the finals with a much improved performance, and their first win since round 15. Zadkovich is impressive in his starting debut, scoring a goal from a nice one-two with Matthew Bingley. Clint Bolton saved a Bobby Despotovski penalty shortly after half time.[A-L][A-L]
Sydney FC 2 (Rudan 13', Zadkovich 23') def. Perth Glory 1 (Despotovski 55')
Sydney FC: 1 Clint Bolton (gk), 3 Alvin Ceccoli, 4 Mark Rudan, 8 Matthew Bingley, 10 Steve Corica, 11 Sasho Petrovski, 12 David Carney (7 Robbie Middleby 90+1'), 16 Mark Milligan, 17 Jacob Timpano, 19 Dwight Yorke (c; 2 Iain Fyfe 89'), 23 Ruben Zadkovich (14 Andrew Packer 75')
Perth Glory: 1 Jason Petkovic (gk), 4 Simon Colosimo (21 Adrian Caceres 46'), 5 Jamie Harnwell (c), 7 Scott Miller, 8 Nick Ward, 10 Bobby Despotovski, 14 Jamie Coyne, 19 Naum Sekulovski (12 Hiroyuki Ishida 46'), 22 Damian Mori, 23 Danny Hay, 25 David Micevski (17 Stuart Young 68')
Cautions: Colosimo 31', Hay 56', Packer 90+1'

¤ 03 February 2006: Sydney FC vs Adelaide United FC, Aussie Stadium, 8:00pm (A-League - Rd 21)
Sydney's biggest crowd of the season turned up in the last round to see if the team could secure second place with a win. Dwight Yorke's cheeky chipped penalty over Daniel Beltrame was cancelled out almost immediately by Qu Shengqing, but Sydney won the match in the 71st minute with a thunderous free kick from Alvin Ceccoli into the far corner of the net.[A-L][A-L]
Sydney FC 2 (Yorke 48' pen, Ceccoli 71') def. Adelaide United 1 (Qu 50')
Sydney FC: 1 Clint Bolton (gk), 3 Alvin Ceccoli, 4 Mark Rudan, 8 Matthew Bingley, 10 Steve Corica (7 Robbie Middleby 89'), 11 Sasho Petrovski (2 Iain Fyfe 90'), 12 David Carney, 16 Mark Milligan, 17 Jacob Timpano, 19 Dwight Yorke (c), 23 Ruben Zadkovich (15 Terry McFlynn 74')
Adelaide United: 1 Daniel Beltrame (gk), 2 Richie Alagich, 4 Angelo Costanzo, 5 Michael Valkanis, 6 Ross Aloisi (c), 7 Lucas Pantelis (11 Louis Brain 56'), 8 Carl Veart (3 Kristian Rees 90+3'), 10 Fernando, 13 Travis Dodd (18 Robert Cornthwaite 80'), 17 Adam van Dommele, 19 Qu Shengqing
Cautions: Rudan 32', Qu 41', Pantelis 50', Aloisi 70', Fyfe 90+4'

¤ 04 February 2006: Adelaide United announced their decision to play the first leg of their two-legged major semi-final against Sydney FC at home, with John Kosmina saying the team "need a breather" from travelling.[AUFC]
¤ 09 February 2006: Sydney sign teenager Tolgay Ozbey (Blacktown City Demons) as a short-term injury replacement for David Zdrilic, who is out with a quadricep tear.[TWG]
¤ 10 February 2006: The 18-man squad for the Socceroos' first ever match as AFC members, against Bahrain, is named, with Sydney FC players David Carney and Alvin Ceccoli both called up.[FFA]
¤ 11 February 2006: The agent of Queensland Roar player Alex Brosque confirms that the striker has signed a three-year deal with Sydney FC. Brosque had been linked with Sydney since December, with reports even surfacing that he'd already signed for the club in order to play for them in the 2005-06 finals series.[A-L][TWG]
¤ 12 February 2006: Sydney FC vs Adelaide United FC, Hindmarsh Stadium, 4:30pm (A-League - Major Semi-Final Leg 1)
Sydney secured two crucial away goals in the first half, but the second stanza was comparatively dull. Andrew Packer returned to the squad in place of the suspended Iain Fyfe, while four Sydney players were put in suspension trouble with yellow cards from Matthew Breeze.[A-L][A-L]
Sydney FC 2 (Corica 9', Petrovski 39') drew Adelaide United 2 (Dodd 31', Fernando 33')
Sydney FC: 1 Clint Bolton (gk), 3 Alvin Ceccoli, 4 Mark Rudan, 8 Matthew Bingley, 10 Steve Corica, 11 Sasho Petrovski (24 Tolgay Ozbey 90'), 12 David Carney, 16 Mark Milligan, 17 Jacob Timpano (14 Andrew Packer 46'), 19 Dwight Yorke (c), 23 Ruben Zadkovich (15 Terry McFlynn 66')
Adelaide United: 1 Daniel Beltrame (gk), 2 Richie Alagich (3 Kristian Rees 60'), 4 Angelo Costanzo, 5 Michael Valkanis, 6 Ross Aloisi (c), 8 Carl Veart, 10 Fernando, 13 Travis Dodd, 17 Adam van Dommele, 18 Robert Cornthwaite, 19 Qu Shengqing (11 Louis Brain 70')
Cautions: Zadkovich 25', Yorke 49', Petrovski 80', Veart 80', Milligan 90+3'

¤ 19 February 2006: Sydney FC vs Adelaide United FC, Aussie Stadium, 5:00pm (A-League - Major Semi-Final Leg 2)
Sydney secure a home grand final in front of over 30,000 supporters with a 2-1 victory over Premiers Adelaide. Iain Fyfe returned to replace injured Jacob Timpano, whilst Mark Milligan will miss the grand final having picked up his second yellow card of the finals series. Prior to the match, Pierre Littbarski and the players unfurled a banner reading "TO THE BEST FANS - THANKS" in front of the Cove, and after the main match, Melbourne Victory embarrassed themselves by playing a match against Nerds FC.[A-L][A-L][MVFC]
Sydney FC 2 (Petrovski 29', Rudan 76') def. Adelaide United 1 (Qu 60')
Sydney FC: 1 Clint Bolton (gk), 2 Iain Fyfe, 3 Alvin Ceccoli, 4 Mark Rudan, 8 Matthew Bingley, 10 Steve Corica (7 Robbie Middleby 88'), 11 Sasho Petrovski, 12 David Carney (15 Terry McFlynn 71'), 16 Mark Milligan, 19 Dwight Yorke (c), 23 Ruben Zadkovich (14 Andrew Packer 66')
Adelaide United: 1 Daniel Beltrame (gk), 2 Richie Alagich, 3 Kristian Rees, 4 Angelo Costanzo, 5 Michael Valkanis, 6 Ross Aloisi, 8 Carl Veart, 10 Fernando, 13 Travis Dodd (18 Robert Cornthwaite 84'), 17 Adam van Dommele, 19 Qu Shengqing (22 Greg Owens 76')
Cautions: Carney 36', Milligan 57', McFlynn 80', van Dommele 81', Aloisi 90+2'

¤ 22 February 2006: The first release of Grand Final tickets is completely sold out within five hours of going on sale.[SFC]
¤ 22 February 2006: Alvin Ceccoli makes his first senior national team appearance since 1998, playing 90 minutes in Australia's 3-1 win over Bahrain in Asian Cup qualification. David Carney makes his Socceroos debut in the same match, coming on as an 82nd-minute replacement for Scott McDonald.[FFA]
¤ 24 February 2006: Sydney FC vs Picton Rangers, Valentine Park, 7:00pm (Friendly)
Training match during Sydney's week off, watched by a reported crowd of around 300.[SFCU][SMH]
Sydney FC 8 (Ozbey [3], Middleby [2], Corica, McFlynn, A Trialist, B Trialist) def. Picton Rangers 0
Sydney FC (incomplete): Clint Bolton (gk; Justin Pasfield), Robbie Middleby, Steve Corica, Terry McFlynn, Tolgay Ozbey, Brendan Renaud, Ian Crook
 
¤ 26 February 2006: The Central Coast Mariners are confirmed as Sydney FC's opponents in the 2005-06 A-League Grand Final, having beaten Adelaide United 1-0 at Hindmarsh Stadium.[A-L]
¤ 28 February 2006: At 1:20pm, the inaugural Hyundai A-League Grand Final is completely sold-out.[A-L]
¤ 01 March 2006: Sydney FC captain Dwight Yorke scores twice in Trinidad & Tobago's 2-0 win over Iceland in London.[SFC]
¤ 05 March 2006: Ruben Zadkovich agrees to a two-year deal with Sydney FC, having signed as short-term injury cover towards the end of the 2005-06 season.[Fox]
¤ 05 March 2006: Sydney FC vs Central Coast Mariners FC, Aussie Stadium, 5:00pm (A-League - Grand Final)
A crowd of 41,689 sees Sydney FC become inaugural A-League Champions. Sydney perhaps weren't the better team on the day, but a single goal was enough, with Dwight Yorke mesmerising two Mariners defenders before laying the ball off to Steve Corica on the edge of the box to blast home. Sydney captain Yorke wins the Joe Marston Medal for best on field.[A-L][A-L]
Sydney FC 1 (Corica 61') def. Central Coast Mariners 0
Sydney FC: 1 Clint Bolton (gk), 3 Alvin Ceccoli, 4 Mark Rudan (2 Iain Fyfe 71'), 8 Matthew Bingley, 10 Steve Corica, 11 Sasho Petrovski (7 Robbie Middleby 90'), 12 David Carney, 14 Andrew Packer, 15 Terry McFlynn, 17 Jacob Timpano (23 Ruben Zadkovich 80'), 19 Dwight Yorke (c)
Central Coast: 20 Danny Vukovic (gk), 2 Wayne O'Sullivan, 4 Noel Spencer (c), 5 Michael Beauchamp, 6 Andre Gumprecht, 8 Dean Heffernan, 10 Tom Pondeljak, 11 Damien Brown (17 Matthew Osman 67'), 12 Stewart Petrie (19 Adam Kwasnik 72'), 15 Andrew Clark, 18 Alex Wilkinson (3 Paul O'Grady 83')
Cautions: Spencer 57'

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