Adelaide City and West Adelaide meet on Saturday afternoon as the two sides look set to reignite a 40-year-old rivalry, with the combined might of their two WNPL teams as well!
By Michael Barbaro @michaelbarbz22
The two clubs were members of the inaugural National Soccer League, sharing their own vast amounts of success in a competition mostly dominated by teams across the eastern seaboard.
West Adelaide joined the NSL in the league’s foundation year of 1977.
Hellas were the only non-Sydney team to win the league in the first six years of the competition as they took home their first and only national title in 1978 after a draw with City on the last day of the season meaning they finished one point ahead of Eastern Suburbs – now known as Maccabi Hakoah.
In 1986 the club was put back into the South Australian 1st Division for a three season spell, winning two titles in the process before being reinstated into the NSL for the 1991/92 season.
The club pulled out of the NSL due to financial difficulties, and in 2008 their junior ranks were finally reinstated with seniors as they participated at state level.
West Adelaide was home to many of the country’s finest ever players, including champion goalkeeper, the late Martyn Crook, prolific striker John Kosmina, and 60-time Socceroo Stan Lazaridis.
Adelaide City also entered the league in 1977 with their counterparts, but took nine years for the club to win their first national title.
City overturned a first leg 1-0 deficit against Sydney Olympic to win 3-1 at Parramatta Stadium as they took home a 3-2 aggregate victory in the two-legged Grand Final.
In 1987 as a result of their Grand Final victory, they participated in and won the first ever Oceania Club Championship when they defeated University-Mount Wellington at Hindmarsh Stadium in front of 3,500 fans.
They finished fourth and progressed to the finals of season 1991/92 as they went on to claim their second title in a penalty shootout against Melbourne Croatia.
Their final national league title came in 1994 as they again defeated Melbourne Croatia, then known as the Melbourne Knights.
City have also been the most successful South Australian club ever, with a dominating 17 South Australian championships spanning from the club’s inauguration in 1946.
Along with the league titles, City boast a further 17 Federation Cup wins.
Adelaide City also played the stomping grounds to some of the best players and coaches in Australian football history.
Australia’s first-ever World Cup coach Rale Rasic led the club in 1979, and Zoran Matic coached City to their three NSL titles.
Former Celtic striker Dixie Deans donned the Black and White shirt from 1977-1980 while some of City’s greatest ever players include Sergio Melta, Aurelio and Tony Vidmar, Joe Mullen, Alex Tobin and current City coach Damian Mori – who up until four years ago held the record for the most goals scored for the Australian national team.
Saturday’s derby is sure to be a fantastic spectacle for the players, staff and fans of these great football clubs, and many will be interested to see how the next chapter in South Australia’s biggest football rivalry unfolds, as women’s football takes billing alongside the men.