With Football NSW celebrating Heritage Round in the NPL1 this weekend, it is worthwhile to take a look back at one of our most famous St George teams of all time, that of 1971.
The Saints were at the peak of their powers during that period, and here we have a look at a match program from those heady days, a fixture against arch rivals APIA. The Saints included six players in the starting eleven who would travel to West Germany to represent Australia in the World Cup three years later (Jack Reilly, Doug Utjesenovic, Manfred Schaefer, Harry Williams, Atti Abonyi and Adrian Alston), while George Harris was only a whisker away from making the squad.
We played at Hurstville Oval in those days before moving to St George Stadium upon its opening in 1978. Our last game at Hurstville Oval was in the (national) Philips Soccer League in 1977, with only the one game played there (most games being played otherwise at the Sydney Sports Ground). Here is the program from that match, a fixture against Fitzroy United (renamed Heidelberg United a year later). Included in the Fitzroy side was Gary Cole, a striker who went on to hold the Australian record for the number of goals in an international, when he scored 7 in a game against Fiji, in 1981. That record was of course beaten famously by Archie Thompson’s 13 goals against American Samoa in 2001.
For St George, ex-Arsenal legend Charlie George played as a loan player for six matches that season.