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The Early Days

Everything you need to know about Sydney FC and a whole lot of stuff that you don’t. Corrections/suggestions encouraged.


Each event is colour-coded into the following general categories:
¤ Administration, sponsorship
¤ Matches, draws
¤ Players
¤ Managers
¤ League
¤ Miscellaneous

Where possible, I’ve included a link or two at the end of each event, mainly as a source, but also if you want to read about it in more detail. Most of the links should be working, let me know if you find a dead one. Where there is an [F], I accessed the story using Factiva, which is basically a paid news archive with a whole heap of sources, which I get through uni for free. If you mouse-over the [F], I’ve included the article title and a couple of other facts. Dates may be out by one or two days.

¤ 22 March 2004: The Australian Soccer Association announces its plans for a new eight-team league, featuring one team each from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, Newcastle and New Zealand, with the final team to be selected from the remaining expressions of interest.[FFA]
¤ 06 April 2004: Soccer NSW announces its intention to bid for a place in the new national league, due to start in 2005. Tom Doumanis is chairman of the “Bid Team”, also including Ross Kelly, Bobby Clark, Rob Laws, Kyle Patterson and Angela Travis. An “Advisory Panel” is also formed, consisting of Johnny Warren, Remo Nogarotto, Nick Tana, Angelo Picca and Jim Davies.[FFA]
¤ 20 July 2004: Bidders for place in new national league announced. The “Sydney Blues”, a consortium headed by Nick Politis are Sydney FC’s only rivals for the Sydney franchise.[FFA]
¤ 28 July 2004: Soccer NSW confirm that Parramatta Stadium will be its preferred choice of home ground, with the Blues bid opting for Aussie Stadium, one of their potential stakeholders. The Australian Soccer Association indicates it might consider stepping back from its “one city – one team” policy in Sydney or Melbourne.[F]
¤ 21 August 2004: Soccer NSW members formally endorse the Sydney FC bid with an 85% majority. The bid was conditional upon the support of Soccer NSW members.[FFA]
¤ 08 September 2004: Harry Kewell is announced as an investor in the Sydney Blues bid, citing disappointment in NSW’s current development systems.[SMH]
¤ 10 September 2004: Kewell’s manager, Bernie Mandic reveals that the ASA will support the Soccer NSW bid.[TWG]
¤ 24 September 2004: Nick Politis threatens to withdraw from bidding after John O’Neill compares his bid to Parramatta Power, and suggests a merge with the Soccer NSW bid, with 25% owned each by Politis, Soccer NSW, Peter Turnbull and the Hakoah club. Harry Kewell also expresses his opinion of the proposal: “There is no way I will associate my name with anything that has Soccer NSW involved with it. I would withdraw my support from the Sydney Blues if Soccer NSW are associated with any part of the bid.” O’Neill insists there is still a chance that the Blues bid will be successful.[F][SMH]
¤ 26 October 2004: Sydney FC confirms that David Lowy, Peter Turnbull and Soccer NSW will each hold 25% shares in the new franchise, while negotiations with a potential fourth shareholder were ongoing. Tom Doumanis anoints Sydney as the “glamour club” of the new competition, also saying “we’re all booking our tickets for the grand final now.” Doumanis also confirms that Sydney will play their home games out of Aussie Stadium.[SMH]
¤ 01 November 2004: The Hyundai A-League is officially launched, with Sydney FC confirmed as one of the eight teams. Campell-Arnotts CEO Walter Bugno is announced as the club’s inaugural chairman.[A-L][A-L]
¤ 16 November 2004: SBS’s The World Game “exclusively reveal” that former Swiss national coach Roy Hodgson will be announced as Sydney FC’s manager for their first season. The announcement comes just over a week after Walter Bugno announced Sydney FC’s intention to target

a foreign coach or technical director.[TWG][TWG]
¤ 17 November 2004: Sydney FC announce their first signings: Clint Bolton (APIA Leichhardt, 3 Socceroos caps), Alvin Ceccoli (Parramatta Power, 4 caps), Steve Laurie (South Melbourne), Robbie Middleby (Newcastle United, 5 caps), Andrew Packer (Queensland Lions) and Sasho Petrovski (Bankstown City, 1 cap).[SFC]
¤ 25 November 2004: Former Tottenham and Norwich City midfielder Ian Crook is announced as assistant coach, to “oversee the start-up of football operations for the club and plan for the inaugural pre-season training in 2005.”[SFC]
¤ 01 December 2004: Sydney FC sign Steve Corica (Walsall FC, 31 caps), who becomes the first Australian to return from Europe to play in the A-League.[SFC]
¤ 04 December 2004: Sydney FC sign four under-20 players: Mark Milligan, Wade Oostendorp, Justin Pasfield and Joeys captain Jacob Timpano. All four have played for Australia at either under-17 or under-20 level.[SFC]
¤ 09 December 2004: Mark Rudan (Selangor Public Bank FC) signs a three-year deal with Sydney FC, becoming the club’s 12th signing.[SFC]
¤ 09 December 2004: Alejandro Salazar, son of American marathon runner Alberto Salazar, signs a one-year deal with Sydney FC. Sydney FC assistant coach Ian Crook said he was excited about the prospect of Salazar joining the squad after watching him play several matches on video during the signing process.[SFC]
¤ 11 December 2004: A Soccer NSW AGM decides to “cut ties” completely with Sydney FC, citing numerous factors including the decision to play at Aussie Stadium rather than Parramatta, the signing of Alejandro Salazar, the reduction in SNSW’s shareholding from 100% to 25% as well as the apparent snubbing of Branko Culina as a potential manager.[SMH]
¤ 13 December 2004: David Zdrilic (Eintracht Trier, 29 caps) signs a three-year deal with Sydney FC.[SFC]
¤ 16 December 2004: Andy Harper is announced as Sydney’s inaugural CEO, reportedly earning a salary of $120,000 a year, with a bonus of up to $100,000 should the club qualify for the World Club Championship and win the inaugural A-League championship.[TWG]
¤ 28 December 2004: Rival clubs speculate that Sydney FC is exploiting the salary cap through the payment of “service agreements”. Walter Bugno confirms the club will use the provisions, but insists the club will not seek to exploit any loopholes.[TWG]
¤ 05 January 2005: Ufuk Talay (Mersin Ydman Yurdu), once described by Josip Skoko as the best player never to have represented Australia, becomes Sydney FC’s 15th signing after returning from a 10-year stint in Turkey.[SFC]
¤ 07 January 2005: Dutchman Arie Haan arrives in Australia to discuss the inaugural coaching position with Sydney FC. Haan is considered favourite for the job at this stage, ahead of Brian Kidd and John Gregory.[PB][TWG]
¤ 02 February 2005: Alejandro Salazar arrives in Australia. Describing himself as a box-to-box player in the mould of Roy Keane or Claudio Reyna, Salazar predicts, “I think this is going to help my development and at the end of the day I will hopefully be playing for the U.S. national team in five years.”[TWG]
¤ 16 February 2005: Former Australian under-17 international Iain Fyfe (Hamilton Academicals) becomes the 16th player in Sydney FC’s squad, signing a two-year deal.[SFC]
¤ 17 February 2005: Wade Oostendorp becomes Sydney FC’s first international representative, playing for the Australian under-17 team (Joeys) against Palestino under-1

7 in Santiago, Chile.[TWG]
¤ 26 February 2005: 1990 FIFA World Cup winning midfielder Pierre Littbarski signs a two-year deal to become manager of Sydney FC. Littbarski has previously coached JEF United (Japan), MSV Duisberg (Germany) and Yokohama FC (Japan).[TWG]
¤ 28 February 2005: Sydney FC holds its first official training session.[SFC]
¤ 07 March 2005: With four places still available on the 20-man roster, Littbarski is trialling five players for two of the remaining positions: Terry McFlynn, Pierre Demon, Osvaldo Carro, David Carney and Boris Lucic.[SMH]
¤ 07 March 2005: The draw for the inaugural A-League season is released. Sydney FC’s first match will be at home on August 28, against Melbourne Victory.[SFC]
¤ 11 March 2005: Former Everton junior David Carney (Hamilton Academicals) becomes Sydney’s 17th signing after five years in the UK.[SFC]
¤ 12 March 2005: Terry McFlynn (Morecambe), a former Northern Ireland under-21 international captain, signs after a two-week trial.[SFC]
¤ 15 March 2005: On the final day before the transfer deadline, Sydney finalise their 19-man squad by signing 33-year-old Matthew Bingley (Central Coast United) on a one year deal. The final position on the roster is set to be filled by a marquee player, with Littbarski describing favourite Dwight Yorke as a “50-50 chance” to sign with the club.[SFC][TWG]
¤ 25 March 2005: Sydney FC vs Manly United FC, Cromer Park, 5:00pm (Friendly)
Sydney FC’s first ever match.[SFC][SMH][CJB]
Sydney FC 6 (Middleby 6′, Petrovski 13′, Carney 25′, Bingley 32′, 68′, McFlynn 83′) def. Manly United FC 1 (Bradley Groves 44′)
Sydney FC squad (unconfirmed): Justin Pasfield (gk), Iain Fyfe, Alvin Ceccoli, Mark Rudan (c), Steve Laurie, Ufuk Talay, Robbie Middleby, Matthew Bingley, Steve Corica, Sasho Petrovski, David Carney, Andrew Packer, Terry McFlynn, Mark Milligan, Jacob Timpano
[David Zdrilic, Clint Bolton, Wade Oostendorp on Socceroo duty; Alejandro Salazar injured]

¤ 29 March 2005: Sydney FC vs Illawarra Invitational XI, WIN Stadium, 6:30pm (Friendly)
Sydney’s second match, in front of a crowd of 1,008.[SFC][CJB]
Sydney FC 2 (Timpano 40′, Talay 47′) def. Illawarra 1 (Chris Smith ~88′)
Sydney FC squad (unconfirmed): Justin Pasfield (gk), Iain Fyfe, Alvin Ceccoli, Mark Rudan (c), Steve Laurie, Ufuk Talay, Robbie Middleby, Matthew Bingley, Steve Corica, Sasho Petrovski, David Carney, Andrew Packer, Terry McFlynn, Mark Milligan, Jacob Timpano
[David Zdrilic, Clint Bolton, Wade Oostendorp on Socceroo duty; Alejandro Salazar injured]

¤ 29 March 2005: David Zdrilic becomes Sydney FC’s first full international, scoring a goal in Australia’s 3-0 win over Indonesia in Perth.[OzF]
¤ 05 April 2005: Marquee player candidate Dwight Yorke arrives in Australia for face-to-face talks with Sydney FC.[TWG]
¤ 07 April 2005: Sydney FC depart Australia for a pre-season tour of the United Arab Emirates.[F]
¤ 07 April 2005: Without A Trace star Anthony Lapaglia is announced as an investor in Sydney FC, paying an estimated $800,000 for a 7.5% share in the club.[SMH][SMH][SMH]