NSL Where are they Now? – Northern Spirit

Northern Spirit first ventured into professional football in the 1998/99 season where they finished 5th, 12 points behind league leaders Sydney United. Unfortunately that’s where their season would end, as they lost 2-1 to Marconi Stallions in the Elimination final.

Their first home match was played at North Sydney Oval and attracted a then Australian record crowd for a non-finals match of 18,985 which stood until 2005, broken by Queensland Roar.

During their first season, former Crystal Palace owner Mark Goldberg purchased a 31% stake in the club, with an option to purchase another 35% which would have given him ownership, however he relinquished his option to a consortium made up of coaches and managers including Graham Arnold, Robbie Slater and Ian Crook. Scottish club Glasgow Rangers also owned Northern Spirit for a brief period of time, with their home colours being changed to Royal Blue.

The next two seasons were not nearly as favourable for them, finishing 13th both times, however they were still competitive picking up 11 and 8 wins respectively. The 2001/02 season showed signs of improvement, as they finished in the top half of the table once again and in 2002/03 they made the finals scraping into 6th, finishing 1 point above 7th places South Melbourne. At the end of the Championship series, they finished 5th picking up only 8 points.

Northern Spirit survived until the end of the NSL era, playing in the 2003/04, finishing just outside the finals in 7th spot. In fact, one more win would have seen them play in the last finals series.

Managers during the clubs NSL time included the club hopping Lawrie McKinna and A-League championship coach Graham Arnold who also finished his playing career with the club in 2001.

After the collapse of the NSL, the former youth teams were assembled into the new Gladesville-Hornsby Football Association with the nickname “Spirit FC”. They would win their first silverware in 2007, winning the NSW State League Div 1 Premiership, although did not receive promotion. However they won the competition the next season, gaining promotion into the Super League for 2009.

In 2013 when FNSW incorporated the NPL structure into their competitions, Spirit FC was selected to join the NPL 2 competition, which they were premiers of in 2015. However due to the NSW promotion Criteria, they were not promoted to NPL 1.

In the 2017 competition, Spirit FC finished 9th, only 2 wins outside of making the finals. They are looking to rebuild for next season, and with a little bit of luck, I’m sure they’ll be able to have another run at thee finals.


Image credit: Gettyimages

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