West Adelaide Sharks - History
Added 2006 Mar 17, 00:31 by Admin
Profile: From the humble beginning, the West Adelaide Soccer Club can reflect on an extraodinary fine history, claiming to be one of the glamour clubs instrumental in helping put Australian Soccer on the International map.

The club had progressed enourmously since a handful of Greek Migrants - 15 or 20 of them got together in 1936 and decided to found the Hellenic Soccer Club. The team played on Sundays at any ground they could find, often at Adelaide High School, and provided their own clothes and boots. They paid the referee out of their own pockets. In those days a "big crowd" would have been around 100 people, but then the Greek community as a whole barely exceeded a couple of thousand.

The club was was officially formed in 1945 under the name Olympic by members of the Greek community. In 1960, Olympic was suspended from competition and was reconstitued as the Hellinic Athletic and Soccer Club, in 1961. It re-entered the South Australian State League as West Adelaide Hellas through amalgamation with the West Adelaide Soccer Club, which was founded in 1910 and used Hindmarsh Stadium as its home ground. From 1962 the club achieved enormous success in the State League. It was a founding member of the National Soccer League.

West Adelaide had the honour of scoring the first point in a national football league in Australia. The date was the 2nd of April 1977, the scorer was John Kosmina, and the venue was Manuka Oval in Canberra.

How ironic it was then that the national league's first goal scorer ended up being the national league's top goal scorer - amassing a record 133 goals in his national league career. Not to mention top scorer in full international games for the Socceroos (25 goals).

It did not take too long at all for the ambitious and progressive club to gain national success. In only the year after inception of the national league, West Adelaide were national champions. In these non-finals years, the 'minor' premier was crowned the champion team. West won the 1978 title in a scenario only dreamed about - at its home ground, with an 85th minute goal, on the last day of the league, in front of 16,251 fans - and against long time cross-city rivals Adelaide City. This was a fitting way to celebrate the club's 30th anniversary!

A long lean spell followed West Adelaide's early successful national stint. The club was to finish at the wrong end of the national league ladder for most of its following national league seasons, and were lucky to avoid relegation twice the early 1980s. West were relegated after the last dual-conference national league in 1986. The club spent four of the next five seasons in the relative limbo of the South Australian state league, interrupted by a brief return to the national flight in 1989-90.

A major report commissioned by the national league executive in 1990 implied that it was in the national league's interests to have a strong club like West Adelaide back in its ranks. Thus West Adelaide were virtually invited back to the national league for the 1991-92 season.

Since 1991-92, on and off the field success has seen West Adelaide needing no more favours to continue its national league survival. After another slow return (finishing second last in 1991-92), the club then made the astute selection of Raul Blanco as their new coach. Dividends were returned immediately with finals' placings in 1992-93 and 1994-95. In June 9 , 1998, bad news for the Adelaide Sharks as a fire destroys change rooms and some administrative offices at their new Thebarton Oval base. The damage bill could reach $150,000.

In September 6 ,1998, A general meeting of Adelaide Sharks members supports the privatisation of the Club, endorsing Mr Con Makris as the new owner with a 51% share of the Sharks.

In 1999 the privatisation of the Club collapsed and the Adelaide Sharks went into liquidation on the eve of round one of the NSL season closing the chapter on this great South Australian club.

Adelaide Sharks' A-league record
league season Final ladder
position National knock-
out cup placing Average
home crowd
1977 7th (14 teams) =3rd (14 teams) 5500
1978 1st (14 teams) =9th (32 teams) 6800
1979 7th (14 teams) =17th (32 teams) 4900
1980 13th (14 teams) =17th (32 teams) 3700
1981 16th (16 teams) 2nd (36 teams) 3000
1982 9th (16 teams) =5th (16 teams) 3600
1983 13th (16 teams) =5th (16 teams) 1900
1984^ 10th (12 teams) 18th (24 teams) 2100
1985^ 10th (12 teams) =9th (24 teams) 2500
1986^ 9th (12 teams) 2nd (32 teams) 3200
1989-90 13th (14 teams) =9th (14 teams) 4000
1991-92 13th (14 teams) =8th (14 teams) 3900
1992-93 5th (14 teams) =9th (14 teams) 4400
1993-94 9th (14 teams) =8th (14 teams) 3700
1994-95 5th (13 teams) =5th (14 teams) 3800
1995-96 5th (12 teams) =7th (12 teams) 4500
1996-97 8th (14 teams) =9th (16 teams) 4800
* champions.
^ national league divided into two conferences. West Adelaide in southern conference.

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