The club was formed in 1957 by Hungarian migrants, and named Budapest, entering the newly created NSW Soccer Federation. Chief proponents of the new club were the Bordacs brothers, Les and Zsigmond, named as secretary and president.
It didn’t take Budapest long to rise to the top division, winning promotion at the end of the 1958 season. The club’s first premiership was won just four years after that, taking the 1962 title by a one point margin from Hakoah and APIA. Both of these clubs would prove to be St George’s major rivals over much of the next thirty years.
In 1963, John Warren joined the club, an association which would last until his retirement twelve years later, in 1974. John was of course, set to become the most recognisable name in the Australian game, both during and after his playing career.
During the mid 1960s, the club, then led by president Alex Pongrass, moved into the St George district, adding St George to its name for the first time in 1965.
Coached by Lorinc Hegyes, St George-Budapest won its first Grand Final in 1967, at its fourth attempt, defeating APIA 5-2, but it was in the years ahead, that our greatest period was to blossom.
The signing of coach Frank Arok at the start of the 1969 season was to prove one of the club’s most influential of all time, and Frank’s passion for St George was never-ending. A two year stint as coach for 1969 and 1970, was followed by a further year in 1972, a year which was to see St George claim its second title.
Sandwiched between the initial Arok years, and coached by the legendary Rale Rasic, St George had also won its second Grand Final, in 1971, a 3-2 win over Western Suburbs.
In 1971, St George was also invited to participate in an international tournament in Japan, competing against the Japanese national team, its “B” team and Danish club side, Frem of Copenhagen. The Saints won that round robin competition, becoming the first Australian club side to win an international tournament.
The Socceroos, now coached by Rasic, qualified for the its first World Cup, travelling to West Germany in 1974. As proof that St George was the pre-eminent side of the time, five Saints players were selected in the squad of 22. They were Doug Utjesenovic, Manfred Schaefer, John Warren, Atti Abonyi and Harry Williams. It was only due to work commitments that Saints keeper, Jim Fraser, was not included amongst that squad.
Two successive Grand Final wins followed in 1974 (coached by Mike Johnson) and 1975 (Manfred Schaefer) before a third Premiership was won in 1976, with Manfred Schaefer still at the helm.
St George, and Alex Pongrass, contributed substantially to the creation of the National Soccer League, which kicked off in 1977, the first sporting competition in the country to go national. While the first few seasons saw St George struggle, resulting in relegation in 1980, the club was quickly returned to the national league at the end of 1981 season, following yet another Grand Final win, this time over Sydney Croatia. Perhaps it was no coincidence that 1981 had seen the return of coach Frank Arok.
A Grand Final win in 1982, 3-1 over Sydney City, may have shown up the talents of the St George side of the day, a team including players such as Australian keeper Terry Greedy, fellow Socceroo David Ratcliffe, gun striker Dez Marton, and a young Robbie Slater, but unfortunately for the Saints, the end of season playoffs were not regarded as the official Championship, that award going to the team that finished first past the post. Strangely enough that year, Sydney City.
But our first national title was to be only a further twelve months away, and that was claimed in 1983, when St George became national champions for the only time.
Frank Arok combined his club duties with coaching the Socceroos, taking Australia through two ultimately unsuccessful campaigns, in 1985 and 1989, and the Saints to another Grand Final win in 1987, 4-0 victory over APIA, but again, what was regarded “only” as an end of season finals playoff.
At the end of the 1990/91 season, St George were controversially omitted from the National Soccer League, returning to the NSW State League for 1992. The club has yoyo-ed between the top two divisions of the State Leagues since, its last major title being the Super League (second division) title in 2013, a season which saw the Saints, coached by Manny Spanoudakis, win both the Premiership and grand final.
Australian Champions 1983
NSL Playoff winners 1982, 1987
NSW Champions 1962, 1972, 1976
NSW Grand Final Winners 1967, 1971, 1974, 1975, 1981
NSW Super League Champions 2013
NSW Super League Grand Final Winners 2013
Ampol Cup (Preseason) Winners 1960, 1967, 1972, 1975, 1982
Notable Former Players