History of Adelaide City

History of Adelaide City

by Andrew Howe

The Juventus soccer club of Adelaide, later to be known as Adelaide City, was the first major Australian soccer club to be formed after the second world war. In fact, in celebrating their 50th in 1996, Adelaide City is the longest established of the current Ericsson Cup clubs.

Predominantly developed by post war immigrants from Italy, Juventus were very soon one of the strongest clubs in South Australia. It was not long before Adelaide City experienced their first golden era. Between 1953 and 1959 the club won 107 of their 126 games in the strong South Australian first division, securing six out of seven SA championships in the process.

AdCity were one of the keener clubs to advocate the formation of the national league. Brisbane Lions were the first team play against Adelaide City in the league, a 0-0 draw at Adelaide's Olympic Sports Field on April 3, 1977. In this, the national league's first year (1977) AdCity boasted the highest average home crowd. And an on-field highlight of this inaugural national league season was City's 10-3 drubbing of Mooroolbark. To this day this stands as the highest number of goals in a game scored by a national league team, and is the highest number of goals scored in any national league game (there has been well over 4000 national league games played now).

The club's first national trophy was the 1979 knock-out cup, where AdCity beat St George 3- 2. The previous year they also reached the cup final, but lost out to Brisbane City.

Stability and consistency have always been the trademarks of AdCity, one of only three clubs to compete in all twenty one national league seasons to date. In playing in every one of the first thirteen seasons, AdCity stalwart Bugsy Nyskohus was the first player to chalk up 300 national league appearances. The next player to attain this feat was teammate Sergio Melta, who then went on to play 445 games - a record unlikely to be equalled in the foreseeable future. AdCity and Socceroo goalkeeper Robert Zabica played an unrivalled 170 consecutive national league games between January 1988 and October 1993. Former player Zoran Matic holds the coaching record for consecutive matches with the one club by leading AdCity through 270 league games between 1986 and 1995. The past two coaches, John Perin and John Nyskohus (current coach), together played almost 300 games for the club.

Adelaide City won their first championship the hard way in 1986. In a two legged grand final against UTS Olympic, the Zebras went down 1-0 at home, recovering to win the return away leg 3-1. AdCity appeared in a record consecutive four national league grand finals from 1992 to 1995. They achieved victories in 1992 and 1994, both times against Melbourne Knights in Melbourne. AdCity scored the national league's first 'golden goal' by scoring in extra time against Marconi in the 1997 finals series.

If stability and recent history is any guide, it will be a major surprise if the ever reliable Adelaide City don't feature in the climax of this year's Ericsson Cup.

Adelaide City's A-league record

league season
Final ladder
National knock-
out cup placing
home crowd
1977 4th (14 teams) =8th (14 teams) 7400
1978 10th (14 teams) =2nd (32 teams) 5300
1979 5th (14 teams) 1st (32 teams) 5200
1980 5th (14 teams) =3rd (32 teams) 4000
1981 7th (16 teams) =3rd (36 teams) 3200
1982 13th (16 teams) =9th (16 teams) 2700
1983 11th (16 teams) =9th (16 teams) 1700
1984^ 7th (12 teams) =5th (24 teams) 1800
1985^ 9th (12 teams) =17th (32 teams) 2000
1986^ 3rd* (12 teams) =9th (32 teams) 2700
1987 10th (13 teams) =9th (13 teams) 3400
1988 6th (14 teams) =5th (24 teams) 3300
1989 6th (14 teams) 1st (14 teams) 3200
1989-90 4th (14 teams) =3rd (14 teams) 5000
1990-91 3rd (14 teams) =5th (14 teams) 4400
1991-92 4th* (14 teams) 1st (14 teams) 5200
1992-93 3rd (14 teams) =3rd (14 teams) 3600
1993-94 5th* (14 teams) =5th (14 teams) 4100
1994-95 2nd (13 teams) =9th (14 teams) 4100
1995-96 5th (12 teams) =3rd (12 teams) 4500
1996-97 4th (14 teams) =5th (16 teams) 4700
* grand final winner/champion ^ national league divided into two conferences. Adelaide City in southern conference.