Gold Coast United players celebrate a goal in the recent FFA Cup clash with Gold Coast Knights at the Croatian Club
The third and current incarnation of Gold Coast United represents the City of Gold Coast in the National Premier Leagues Queensland competition, providing the best possible elite pathway to aspiring players from across the Coast and adjoining Northern Rivers regions.
Gold Coast United was resurrected following an extensive planning process spear-headed by Sports Gold Coast who approached Football Federation Australia in 2017 to use the intellectual property surrendered by the Clive Palmer led A-League version of the Club that folded in 2012.
Gold Coast United players celebrate an A-League goal
This current United has a strong focus on growing the game from the grassroots up and has adopted a Community wide football philosophy which sets itself apart from the Palmer led model and links it back to the aspirations of the first version of the Club.
Gold Coast United were the oldest senior club on the Gold Coast beginning their journey in the 6th division in Brisbane in 1966. United started playing in black and white strips and changed to the now famous blue and gold in 1967. The club worked its way up to the Brisbane Second Division in 1978 winning the Grand Final that year.
Gold Coast United badge (photo from Gold Coast Football History Facebook page)
With no formal Senior league established on the Gold Coast until 1975 that first United was a melting pot of young men with ‘football in their blood’ drawn to the Coast from near and far.
Coach Trevor Edwards brought much experience to the fold, having represented Wales in the 1958 World Cup. Local football stalwart, Englishman Dennis Dodd, joined United when he arrived on the Coast in 1975 and continued to play for the club until it folded after the 1978 season.
The list of ‘revered’ names who played or were associated with the first United is long and reads as a who’s who of the movers and shakers that helped establish football on the Gold Coast.
GCU side & mascot from 1975, played in the Brisbane 2nd Division (photo from Gold Coast Football History Facebook page)
The Club played out of Broadbeach Oval with their ‘clubhouse’ the old Zuider Zee restaurant on Ferny Avenue. According to former burly centre-back Shane O’Connor (OAM), some early recruiting happened at The Playroom. O’Connor was a doorman at the landmark establishment, ‘inviting’ fit looking young gentleman with accents to training.
When United folded in 1979, Gold Coast City was born, a name later ‘adopted’ proudly by Palm Beach SC when playing in the NPL Queensland and the FFA Cup. Gold Coast City continued to play in the State League but away from Broadbeach so it was decided by a few people including Dave Blake, Rini Hendriks and Eddie Dwight that the Oval should still have a senior team playing there.
The Gold Coast Dolphins were formed in 1979, the 3rd team in the newly formed Gold Coast Premier League who became known as the Broadbeach Dolphins. The oval remains a home for football today, the dolphin remains too, as part of the badge of the current Broadbeach United. One of the fiercest football rivalries on the Coast, ‘Broadie v Palmie’ has its roots deep in the history of Gold Coast football.
Shane O’Connor (OAM) a former GCU player & sometimes ‘recruiter’
The Gold Coast of today is a far cry to the Coast of the 1970’s. The current governing body, Football Gold Coast, oversees 26 Clubs with close to 8,300 registered players. It’s near southern neighbour, Football Far North Coast oversees 24 Clubs and has responsibility for over 9,000 registered players, some of whom play in the Gold Coast competition.
Gold Coast United is extremely fortunate to be able to draw upon such a rich history and gifted pool of football talent that has produced a string of internationals including the following most recent notable players:-
Craig Foster (Goonellabah)
Tommy Oar (Palm Beach)
Mitch Nicholls (Palm Beach)
New Zealand Internationals
Dane Ingham (Lennox Head)
Jai Ingham (Lennox Head)
Shane Smeltz (Runaway Bay)
Glen Moss (Runaway Bay)
Tameka Butt (Mudgereeba)
Hayley Raso (Palm Beach)
Eliza Campbell (Cobaki)
Elise Kellond-Knight (Runaway Bay)
Lisa Cassagrande (Goonellabah)
The Club is keen to link with all former Gold Coast United players to record the stories from the past.
If you have any interesting anecdotes, photos or information to share, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many thanks to the outstanding work done by John Benigno on the History of Gold Coast Football. Much background was drawn from that facebook page for this article.
Sincere thanks also to former GCU players David Spence for his insightful input and to Shane O’Connor for sharing a few yarns over a coffee.