Australian Soccer Kit History

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

Sydney United

Home Kits

1958
Sydney Croatia

1997-98
Sydney United

2010

Away Kits

1997-98

2008

2010

Special Kits

FFA Cup 2014

Background

Formed 1957

The club was formed in 1957 as Sydney Croatia by Croatian migrants. The Sydney Croatia Football Club played in its first season in 1958 in the old NSW Soccer Football Association (NSWSFA) where they did not lose a single match in that season.

After transferring to the NSW Soccer Federation (a rebel league that was established in 1959) they were competing in the Third Division. In 1961 they were promoted to the Second Division and in 1963 were promoted to the First Division where they were amongst the elite teams in not only NSW but Australia. Teams like St. George Budapest, Pan Hellenic (who later become Sydney Olympic), APIA-Leichhardt, Hakoah and United's major rivals in Yugal.

For the seasons of 1964 and 1965 saw a name change from Croatia to Metropolitan Adriatic and then back to Croatia in 1966. This however was not the last name change for Croatia. The NSWSF ordered Croatia and Yugal in 1968 to anglicise their names after a few incidents with crowd violence. Thus Croatia changed their name again to South Sydney Croatia as they resided in the South Sydney area of Sydney with the local Croatian club at Surry Hills.

After a few lean seasons in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Croatia won their first NSW Premiership in 1977. The team beat Auburn in front of a crowd of in excess of 6,500 at the Sydney Sports Ground to win 2-0.

In 1978 they won the Minor Premiership for the first time, but in the Grand Final Replay (the first was a 1-1 Draw), Croatia lost to Sutherland 2-1 in front of 9,700 fans.

In 1979 they won another Minor Premiership before losing in the Premlinary Final to Sutherland 2-0.

1980 had arrived and Croatia then purchased a block of land in Sydney's west to call their new home. This home is what is known as the Sydney United Sports Centre at Edensor Park. The successful years then rolled on with Croatia winning Minor Premierships in 1981 and 82 and winning the Premiership in 1982 and 1983.

In the early 1980s Sydney Croatia were often drawing home attendances of 10,000 in the NSW state league. Yet the National League Clubs of the time could only manage average crowds of 3,000. The national league was crying out for such a heavily-supported club to enter the national competition. But the national league executive had deemed it not appropriate for clubs to enter the league under nationalistic titles. Croatia were not keen to change their name. However after a massive National League shake-up in 1984, Sydney Croatia (and its sister club Melbourne Croatia) were accepted into the national league, and under that name.

1984 also saw a record established by the new NSL club. Large home crowds in these early national league days ensured that Croatia soon became the most popular club in Sydney.

1985 and 1986 saw better success, with Croatia winning the Northern NSL Division crown in front of powerhouse clubs such as Sydney Olympic, Marconi, and Sydney City. However in the Preliminary Final they lost to Sydney Olympic.

1987 saw a lean season in the league, however a great cup season which brought them another trophy – this time the Beach Fashions Cup with a 2-0 aggregate victory of South Melbourne with Croatia strikers Robbie Slater and Graham Arnold scoring.

However in 1988, after finishing second in the normal season, Sydney Croatia made its first NSL Grand Final playing neighbours Marconi-Fairfield at Parramatta Stadium. In front of a big 17,000 strong crowd saw goals by Alan Hunter and Manis Lamond for Croatia with Frank Farina and Zlatko Nastevski scoring for Marconi. With the game ending at 2-2 after extra time, the teams went to a penalty shootout, and with the score at 4-4, Croatia's young midfielder Shane Clinch hit the post with his spot kick. Marconi veteran Tony Henderson stepped up to beat Croatia's Tony Franken to slot home the winner for Marconi.

Two more names changes, firstly to Sydney C.S.C (Croatian Soccer Club) in 1992 and then to its current name of Sydney United and the move from a winter league in Australia to a summer league saw a few lean seasons for the club in the early 1990s.

1992/93 Season saw United finish 7th. 1993/94 saw Zeljko Kalac keep an NSL record 12 clean sheets in 26 games. The club finished 3rd after leading the competition. 1994/95 season United finished 3rd.

In the 1996/1997 season United won another Minor Premiership and subsequently booked itself into its second Grand Final – this time in Brisbane. In front of an Australian Football record of 44,000 people United lost 2-0 to Brisbane Strikers. 1997/98 saw the club struggle however finished a respectable 4th.

United won its third NSL Minor Premiership in the 1998/99 season. United reached the NSL Grand Final for the 2nd time. However, in the Grand Final in Melbourne against South Melbourne, United lost 3-2 with goals to Mile Sterjovski and Danny Townsend in front of 15,000 fans.

Then in its darkest period for history for the club, 1999/2000 Sydney United has lost all their players and their coach to a new "professional" football club called Parramatta Power. Decimated, but still showing guts, United managed to ruffle a few feathers in the 1999/2000 season despite finishing last. The standout out performance was defeating Parramatta Power 1-0 at home to end their final aspirations.

In 2000/01 United finished 10th after starting the season winning all their first 3 games. Season 2001/02 United finished 11th. In 2002/03 and 2003/04 saw the club finish in 10th.

Subsequently, United's performances in the last few years of the NSL were not great, finishing mainly in the bottom half of the table.

With the death of the NSL, the club once again plays in the New South Wales Premier League.

In 2005 United started off brilliantly only to limp into 4th place by the end of the season. However, United enjoyed more success with a 3-1 victory over the Belconnen Blue Devils in the Continental Tyres Cup Final at Parramatta Stadium in front of 1,500 ecstatic fans.

In 2006 United started slowly but ended up finishing up 3rd during the season. During the Top 4 Final Series, United then went on to become premiers of the Vodafone NSW Premier League, after beating Blacktown City Demons 4-0 in the 2006 Grand Final.