St George FC said farewell to St George Stadium last week with a large gathering of players, past and present, fans and other well wishers in a final opportunity to visit the iconic Sydney football stadium prior to its redevelopment as a new Barton Park sporting precinct.
The Stadium was opened in March 1978 with the first match against South Melbourne in the old NSL.
Present at the farewell were two Saints players who played in that game, George Harris and Peter Terry, in a final return to the ground 44 years after that initial match.
In its heyday the venue was the prime Sydney football stadium and featured Socceroo, Olympic and U20 international matches, various touring teams, even once hosting the visiting Brazilian master, Pele'.
St George won its only national league title in 1983, claiming the championship on the ground in a last gasp last round 4-0 victory over Brisbane City.
Dez Marton, scorer of the opening goal in that game and one of the greatest of Saints strikers, also attended saying he couldn't believe he could fit into his old jersey.
A trio of players from the 1987 NSL Grand Final winning squad, Zoran Ilic, Michael Grbevski and Pedro Ricoy also turned back the clock reminiscing.
St George triumphed over APIA Leichhardt 4-0 in that final. Ross Warren also made the trip, a Budapest player in 1961 and 1962, as did Trixie Tagg, a member of the all conquering St George Budapest Ladies team from the 1970s.
The club was honoured that Robert and John Koenig could attend,the son and grandson of the late Steven Koenig,who was known as the "Father of the Stadium", he was the principal driver in having the stadium built.
As part of the fanfest, there was sporting trophies, newspaper clippings, old jerseys, match programmes as well as other memorabilia.
The farewell gave the younger generation of players the opportunity to speak and get a few tips from the St George legends.
Dean Petranker who has been playing football for St George FC since he was in the under 9s and now plays for the under 16s said "it was really nice to meet and speak to some of the older players and to understand their passion for the club".
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