Spending almost half a century at one club, being there almost every day is near impossible.
Not for Bonnyrigg White Eagles’ Bozidar “Bob” Vrankovic.
The popular “Bob”, as he’s called around Bonnyrigg Sports Ground, arrived in Australia in 1965, at only 21 years of age.
Three years after his arrival, Avala FC was formed (today’s White Eagles).
Bob, alongside his late brother, was part of the first ever Avala team and played there for the next six years.
“When we came here, we were drawn to this club.
“The Serbian community, it was a Serbian club and where ever our people were, I wanted to be there too.
“I loved being there.”
Bob continues with a memory of a fox.
“At 24 I played my first game for the club who were then called Avala, named after a mountain in our native Serbia.
“I hung up my boots at 30 but have stayed with the club through and through ever since.”
He has watched the White Eagles evolve during its 50-year plus existence, remembering his best moments with the club.
“Since 68’ till now I’ve been here, always.
“The 1992 team I think was the best that we have ever had.
“We won the Premiership, Grand Final and Waratah Cup.”
Bob had one special player he thought was the standout during the treble winning generation and one name stood out.
“It’s tough as there were good players all over the park but I think the one that stands out was Pero Vukmirovic.”
The Bonnyrigg stalwart remembers some of the toughest times his club went through.
“We spent a lot of money in 2005, had a very good team.
“Bobby Despotovski, two international goalkeepers in Glen Moss (Wellington Phoenix) and Danny Vukovic (Melbourne Victory) and all big players who played in the old ‘Phillips League’ or NSL.
“We didn’t end up winning anything that year despite coming second in the Premiership and losing the Grand Final.
“What followed was our relegation to the second tier and that hurt everyone.”
When asked which game has left a mark on him over the years, his dearest victory, Bob’s memory was as clear as day.
“In 1977, it was our first clash against Yugal at Macksfield, we beat them 1-0.
“That same season, we beat Sydney Croatia (Sydney United 58), 1-0 in the Cup as well.
“Those two games are the dearest in my life, since I’ve been a part of this great club.”
Today, in his 70s, Bob still plays a major role around the club, taking care of the facilities and of course, in one of the most popular ‘officials’ in the PlayStation 4 NPL NSW Men’s competition.
– By Nikola Pozder
Tickets are available at the gate of all venues this weekend. Attend your local Heritage Round fixture and use #NPLHeritageRound on social:
Heritage Round – Saturday 28 May 2016
6:30pm – Sutherland Sharks v Manly United – Seymour Shaw
7pm – Bonnyrigg WE v Rockdale City Suns – Bonnyrigg Sports Centre
7pm – Hakoah Sydney City East v Wollongong Wolves – Hensley Athletic Field
Heritage Round – Sunday 29 May 2016
3pm – Sydney Olympic v APIA Leichhardt Tigers – Belmore Sports Ground
3pm – Parramatta FC v Blacktown Spartans – Melita Stadium
4pm – Sydney United 58 v Blacktown City – Sydney United Sports Centre