History of Parramatta Eagles

by Greg Stock with thanks to Andrew Howe

Parramatta Eagles have had a long and distinguished career in NSW soccer history. Their origins in the Maltese community stretch way back to the formation of the original NSW Federation of Soccer Clubs in 1957. Along with higher profile clubs like Prague, Hakoah and APIA Leichhardt they were party of the original breakaway movement which was the death of the old NSW Soccer Football Association in January 1957.

Starting off in third grade in 1957 the Eagles progressed to second grade in 1962 adopting the name of Melita Eagles-Newtown and playing their home games at Fraser Park, Sydenham. At the end of the 1966 season where they finished third they played off for a spot in the first division with wooden spooners Corinthians. Winning the match 3-0 they progressed for their first stint in the top flight in 1967. Finishing in the bottom few clubs in '68 and '69 they were relegated at the end of the 1970 season when they finished last. By the end of 1976 they were lucky to avoid relegation to third division again when they finished last but with the establishment of the NSL they were given a reprieve and stayed into second division.

A complete transformation occured in 1977 when they finished minor premiers of second division and were awarded promotion into the first division again for the 1978 season. Making every post a winner they finished outright third behind Croatia and Sutherland. Fifth in 1979 saw the progressive club win the minor premiership in 1980 by a whopping six premiership points. They did this again in the 1983 season where they lost just three games to finish in top spot. This was enough to earn Melita a crack at the National Soccer League but sadly they finished 11th out of the 12 teams and were again relegated to first division of the NSW State League.

After minor premiership wins in 1986 and 1989 the ASF deemed Melita ready for another stint in the NSL. Although not one of the competitions glamour sides the hardworking Melita camp made two forays into the NSL finals with their best season being 5th in 1990/1. In the finals they bowed out to Marconi unhappily 3-6 on penalties. In 1992/3 they again finished 6th and launched another assault on the semi-finals only to lose 2-4 on aggregate to the Wollongong Wolves. The changing of the clubs name to Parramatta Eagles was in accordance with the wishes of the ASF to remove ethnic origins from club names.

Sadly at the end of the 1994/5 Soccer Australia relegated the Parramatta Eagles back to the NSW Super League competition where they made every post a winner in 1996. Finishing on top of the second round table they played in the grand final against Adamstown Rosebud and won the match 5-3 on penalties with the game locked 1-1 at full-time. In 1997 a new coach in former Socceroo Doug Utjesenovic took them to the minor premiership. They demolished all opposition in the semi-final series and ultimately won the grand final 3 goals to 1 against Bonnyrigg White Eagles.

1998 was a poor year for the club where they missed out on a semi-final spot to Eastern Suburbs finishing sixth. Coach Utjesenovic was out of a job and in came the youthful Roberto Viera who has overseen the club in season 1999.