This week we remember the day that our home ground St George Stadium was opened.
It was back on 5 March 1978 that the stadium had its gala opening with the commencement of the new Philips Soccer League season. The ground was officially opened before the actual grandstand was built with only three sides being available for spectators.
Our opponents that day were South Melbourne and a crowd of 3,853 attended the first ever game at the Stadium. One quirk of the day was that the two respective captains, George Harris of St George and Peter Ollerton of South Melbourne, along with the match day referee, Tony Boskovic, arrived for the grand opening by helicopter, for the start of the match.
The lineups that day were:
St George: Martin Coe, Doug Utjesenovic, Peter Terry, John O’Shea, George Harris, Brendan Grosse, Carlos Mendez (repl. by Rudi Gnavi), Paul Jones, Robbie O’Shea, Zoran Durisic (rep, Neville Morgan), Phil O’Connor.
South Melbourne: John Hansen, Mike Pye, Chris Kalafatidis, Baxter, Mike Hatzimanuel, Bertie Lutton, Sammy Wright, Bill Rogers, Duncan Cummings, Peter Ollerton, Chris Kent.
South Melbourne won 2-0 with goals by Cummings and Rogers.
Special mention should go to the club’s vice president of the day, Steven Koenig, who oversaw the stadium project, at the time the best boutique football stadium in all of Sydney.