Australian Soccer Kit History

A pictorial history of Soccer kits from Australia, New Zealand and Oceania.

Canberra Cosmos

Home Kits

1995-97

1997-98

1998-99

1999-2000

Away Kits

1999-2000

2000-01

Background

The Cosmos were founded in 1995 as a new franchise for entry into the 1995/96 NSL season. The club arose as a community model consortium with shares held by ACT Soccer Federation and a number of local clubs, with some support from the ACT Government.

Canberra Cosmos finished respectably in their first season for a new club. In finishing ninth, they performed better than much more experienced teams Wollongong, Newcastle Breakers and Gippsland Falcons. Much of the credit could be given to experienced Socceroo captain Paul Wade. But 1995-96 also saw the revelation of talented Canberra-based youngsters Michael Musitano and Alex Castro, who were accordingly snapped up by other clubs in the 1996 off-season. In their inaugural season, the Cosmos played in predominantly dark blue shirts and dark blue shorts, colours reflecting the original shooting star logo, provided through sportswear manufacturer Asics. The alternate strip was a white shirt and shorts, also with large stars in the trim. A yellow alternate strip with black shorts was later introduced.

Canberra's second season was much more forgettable however. In finishing 14th and last, the club ended the season 16 points behind second-last placed team, Collingwood Warriors. Despite a dreary end to the season, a positive action would revive the club in 1997 as computing company Novell came on board with a stunningly large sponsorship deal.

This allowed the Cosmos to recruit the 1996-97 coach of the year Branko Culina and after losing their best players the previous year, Canberra was a net importer of quality players for this season. New signings included Scottish defender Gordon Hunter from Hibernian, Sydney United midfielder Ante Moric and the return of Michael Musitano. Unfortunately, this did not translate into into on-field performance, winning only once in the first thirteen games a run including an 8-0 loss to Wollongong and only three times in the season (including a record 8-1 win over UTS). The Cosmos finished the 1997-98 season bottom of the table again which saw the departure of Culina and appointment of former Socceroos coach Rale Rasic. For the 97/98 season, the away colours of a white shirt with blue trim became the home colours, giving more prominence to the sponsor.

New signings for 1998-99 including Melbourne Knights goalkeeper Vilson Knezevic brought hope, but a winless start to the season for Rasics young side escalated tensions with the board and Rasic departed seven weeks into the new season. The Cosmos continued to struggle in the national competition, finishing last for the third year in a row, ten points behind the second-last team, Gippsland Falcons. For the 1998/99 season, the club emblem was revised to a circle and star design. The home strip colours were changed to red shirt and shorts with a new change strip of yellow shirt and shorts, now manufactured under a new clothing deal with Admiral Sportswear. The logo featured a blue star over a gold circle, which was later revised to a black star over a red circle to closer reflect the new red home strip.

The 1999-2000 season saw some on-field improvement by the club achieving nine wins and nine draws. The Cosmos finished a credible 14th out of 16 teams which for them was an improvement as such. However, the Cosmos remained unstable financially, and administrators were appointed on 30 June 2000 to oversee the clubs financial position.

In a time of general turmoil for the NSL, the 2000-01 season was reasonably successful for Canberra, finishing a respectable 11th place and remaining competitive throughout the year with eleven wins and four draws.

Soccer Australia determined in mid-2000 that it would review the NSL for the 2001-02 season, proposing to reduce the number of teams from 16 to 12. Carlton and Eastern Pride folded during the season, and Soccer Australia determined in June 2001 that Canberra Cosmos was not a 'going concern', excluding them from the league along with Brisbane Strikers.

Appeals by and on behalf of the ejected clubs followed seeking a reversal of the decision, criticising the process and criteria used. Eventually the Soccer Australia board, under pressure from stakeholders and political figures agreed to re-admit Canberra and Brisbane to the NSL for the 2001/2002 season.

The Cosmos stepped up planning for the new season, appointing new coaching staff and even forming a partnership with English Second Division club Swindon Town. Despite looking forward, the Cosmos financial problems remained and were unable to recover from the initial exclusion decision. After being unable to pay their NSL affiliation fee, Soccer Australia determined that Cosmos FC had not met the required conditions of entry and on 26 September 2001 terminated its right to participate in the 2001/2002 NSL season.

Sources

  • "History of Canberra Cosmos". OzFootball Archives. by Tony Persoglia.
  • "Soccer Australia". Clubs in Crisis.
  • "The Cosmic connection", Salisbury Journal (Archive) (2001-06-04).
  • "Canberra Cosmos FC Report for Soccer Canberra" (March 2003).