Manly Allambie Club History 1949 to date
The history of Manly Allambie United Soccer club starts in 1949 with the founding of Manly Soccer Club by John and Margaret Tilley and Dudley Charlton, who brought together a senior team playing in the Southern Metropolitan League competition with junior teams made up from canvassing local schools. The club’s colours were yellow and black and the home ground was Millers Reserve.
Allambie Soccer Club was founded in 1963 by the Jefferson, Jones, Kay and Littlejohn families as the area was opened for housing and to cater for the growing interest in playing football.
The club’s colours were brown and white and were affectionately known as the chocolate soldiers. Originally, Allambie Heights Oval was the home ground, then Millers 1, Aquatic Reserve and lastly Passmore Reserve. In 1964 the club first played in the then Manly Warringah Soccer Association with 9 teams and 115 registered players. Manly Soccer Club helped the fledgling Allambie by suppling footballs and their first President, Tony Clarson. In 1988 Allambie won promotion to the MWSA Premier League after many years rising through the Amateur League competition. A number of the players were long serving Allambie boys, most notably, Tim Barras, Geoff Ross, Ian and Steven Jefferson.
With both clubs, junior participation expanded rapidly and the clubs’ playing strength increased to around 300 players in the 1970s. However, by the late 1980s, both clubs suffered a decline in players due to demographic changes and 1991 talks were held between the clubs with a view to merging. In 1992 this became a reality with the forming of Manly-Allambie United Soccer Club and to ensure a smooth and trouble free transition, the new club operated with two committees, two home grounds, two canteens and had the combined colours of yellow, black and white. Life Memberships and Long Service Playing Awards histories were continued into the new club. Millers Reserve was granted home ground and Allambie Heights Oval also returned a few years ago. During 1992 a competition was held for a new playing strip and badge, which resulted in Ross Styles’ designs being accepted by the members and was used unchanged until 2007. In 2008 the club updated its playing strip to predominately gold with black darts with red piping.
Graeme Sutherland and Steve Thompson were elected inaugural dual presidents, John Catchpool and Phil Edney, vice presidents, John Parker and Sharon Melvin, secretaries, Steve Jordan and Terry O’Brien, treasurers. The following year a single committee was formed and led the way forward to build up the club to over 450 in 2003. However, with further demographic changes, playing numbers fell away in 2004 and 2005 but in 2006 numbers increased by 20% to 501 with increases in sub juniors, junior girls, mens Amateur League and both mens and womens Over 35 leagues.
Since 1992, the club has had its fair success of teams involved as Champions, semi finalists and finalists. In 1992 and 1993 the club’s U21 side were runners up in the NSW U21 State Cup knock out competition. However, in 1998 the club was relegated from the MWFA Premier League and has since been very competitive in the Amateur League Division 1, narrowly missing promotion on several occasions. With many players who have been Manly Allambie juniors now playing as seniors in Amateur League Divisions 1, 2 and 3, hopefully the return to the area’s top flight competition is not to far off.
2007 saw the return of Manly Allambie to the Premier League with both 1sts and Reserves being League Champions and Final winners. The First Grade did not drop at point all season winning 19 games scoring 63 and only conceding 6. The Manly Warringah Football Association awarded their Best and Fairest Team Award to the AL1 squad for a season that had no send offs and only three yellow cards, quite remarkable in mens’ senior football. In 2008 the club was awarded the MWFA President’s Trophy for presentation and conduct of the club, a testament to the effort that everyone puts in to keep the club going. Also Dave Bonney was recognised, by his peers, as the Premier League Coach of the Year, for guiding both the First and Reserve Grade teams into the semi finals, again, an outstanding effort considering the league champions were undefeated all season. Nick Tracey was awarded the Premier League Club Person of the Year for his service as secretary.
Over the years Manly Allambie has gained the reputation for being a small but family orientated club with several families playing and serving the committee. Dave Tomlinson served 11 years as Treasurer and is also the Manly Warringah Football Association’s Treasurer. John Parker, Ross Styles, John Catchpool, Rob and Bev Hessell have contributed an enormous amount of their time over the first 15 years of Manly Allambie and Terry O’Brien was Trophy Co-ordinator long after his children ceased playing. Of recently, Dave Howell and Trevor Watson have been long term Presidents and Registrars, as well as playing in the Over 35 competition and coaching junior teams.