Lambert Park, is the home of Australia’s most well-known, Football Club and sporting brand.
The complex, is a historical Inner West – landmark.
Lambert Park, is recognised, as the heartland sporting facility, of Australian Football.
We propose the following;
A cantilevered grandstand along the Marion Street side of the ground. We are incorporating a bus stop within the site, for the benefit of patrons to the sporting facility and the general community.
This bus stop will provide, a safe pick up and drop off zone – for that special occasion, for people and public community organisations, operating and living in the immediate vicinity, of Lambert Park.
This is a perfect opportunity to gain, an off-street bus stop, in the Inner City.
Within the undercroft of the grandstand, we will be incorporating and providing – lift access.
We will also have a supporters merchandise and Club sportswear shops, introducing the Clubs, very own sportswear brand, that being Superstar Sportswear. APIA Leichhardt Tigers Football Club Inc, is the very first Football Club in Australia, to have introduced our very own sportswear brand, so that Club funds remain invested in the Club, for the sole purpose of the participants – in essence eliminating, extraordinary, another sportswear brand profits, also eliminating distributor profits, by buying direct from the manufacturer, to the tune of approximately $75K, per annum. To simplify this scenario, the Club for the past 66 years, has had to part with valuable Club funds, to two middle companies, on top of the manufacturer, of course. These two middle companies now, have been made redundant. Because the Club, as stated, has now our very own, sportswear brand.
As well, the Club will be establishing a historical Club Museum, within the grandstand complex, fronting Marion Street, forming part of the Grandstand facade – allowing all APIA Leichhardt Tigers’ supporters and the Clubs’ youngsters, to gain a significant insight into the Clubs’ mega history (formerly known as Leichhardt – Annandale), as well as Football Fans, from within New South Wales – and all parts of Australia.
Of far greater importance, is for non-Football followers, living within the Inner West, the opportunity to embrace, understand and experience the importance of such, a much-loved community icon.
The Club will be providing street lighting and uplighting, underneath the cantilevered grandstand – to provide security, surveillance, plus weather protection for commuters walking towards the Marion Street light rail (the light rail, has provided a magnificent transport system, for all Inner West Residents).
The Lambert Park section of Marion Street, will be beautified, with a series of street trees, landscaping, park-like benches on the footpath, provision for water bubblers,(pet-friendly as well), and bicycle stands to compliment the Lambert Park Football Complex and the adjacent Lambert Park Reserve. The footpath will be paved, with burnt granite.
A wonderful opportunity has finally arisen, whereby the existing unsightly graffitied block brick wall (prison type structure), enclosure, the sports ground, will be completely demolished and replaced, with an open style palisade and glass fencing, so that the community can see, and feel the activity, vibe and incredible excitement, within the complex.
The Inner West Council, presides over two of the most magnificent Football complexes and facilities, of any other suburb, in the Country, and obviously in the Inner West, suburb, of Leichhardt.
We have the first-class Lambert Park and Leichhardt Oval – which incidentally Lambert Park, is one of the biggest, if not the biggest playing field in all of Australia, as well as, incredibly Europe.
The following are real facts, the playing field at Lambert Park is bigger than any English Premier League playing fields, larger and bigger, than any other field in all of England,(Great Britain) including all divisions. The largest playing field, in all of England, is English Premier League, Brighton and Howe Albion, Socceroo’ goalkeeper, Matt Ryan’s Club.
Now to shock and surprise you further, Lambert Park, is larger, than such massive World renowned Club’s, as follows, more vast, than Anfield, Liverpool FC, Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium, Manchester United’s Old Trafford, Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge, even bigger than Tottenham’s new billion-dollar-plus Stadium, the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and yes, even larger than the mega, London’s, Wembley Stadium.
The Lambert Park, playing field is bigger, than any other playing field in all of Italy, France, Germany, Brazil, Russia, Holland, Portugal, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden and Spain.
It is far larger, than Milan’s San Siro, also shared by Inter Milan – Rome’s Olympic Stadium, jointly occupied, by Lazio and Roma.
Larger than Real Madrid’s Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, and Barcelona’s Camp Nou.
In Germany, the largest is Borussia Dortmund’s, Signal Iduna Park, I also need to mention, Arsenal’s Emirates and Aston Villa’s, Birmingham Stadium – Prince William’s Club, that he supports.
Ironically, Aston Villa, shares the same colours as APIA, and a Club that Australia’s greatest, if not one of the World’s, best ever goalkeeper, Mark Bosnich, played for.
Far in excess, of the Parc Des Princes, the home of Paris St Germain…and finally, Brazil’s World-famous, Maracana, the home of Flamengo and Fluminese – located in one of the most beautiful cities in the World, Rio De Janeiro.
Lambert Park, creates a visual, exciting and breathtaking atmosphere, for the spectator and participants, which range from 4-year-old boys and girls, amateur footballers, to semi-professional status….and again for both Men’s and Women’s.
With our new spectator grandstand, you will no longer feel, you are watching a game, but actually participating in the match, because of this stunning boutique and future National Heritage listed, sporting stadium – Lambert Park.
In other words, you are sitting right on top of, the playing field.
We intend to provide an indoor training and leisure facility and multi-purpose functional gymnasium, to facilitate, the fitness needs and requirements, of all ages – joining the existing Clubhouse, which currently comprises, four-state-of-the-art, user friendly dressing rooms, equally divided between Men and Women, Boys and Girls, and two referees rooms, to accommodate, Men’s and Women’s referees.
APIA Leichhardt Tigers Football Club, was the first, sporting and Football Club in the Country to provide, two dressing room facilities, for both males and females.
This second-floor additional training and leisure facility, will be suitable, for up to eight teams, at any one time, as such approximately 128 players, when Council sporting fields are closed, due to inclement weather, around 128 players of varying ages, will be able to continue to maintain, their daily sporting activity and ongoing training needs.
Indoor sporting facilities, as we all know, are extraordinarily scarce, and when various teams, and Clubs’ attempt to book and hire, these limited and essential facilities, especially during the cold and rainy winter periods, it is a fact, that it is an absolute impossibility, to secure, such a sought after and in demand facility, when Council grounds are closed, at any cost.
This second-floor sporting, fitness and leisure facility, will also include a viewing platform/balcony, overlooking the Football playing field, and directly opposite the new, grandstand complex.
This viewing balcony, will provide additional spectator comfort and facilities, and in a minor way, increase the permissible spectator numbers, to attend, at any one time, whether it be amateur playing matches, semi-professional games and local schools Grand Finals, or even for that matter, School Athletic Carnivals or community social and sporting events.
Simply put, this balcony/platform, will provide much-needed, additional spectator facilities.
This valuable training and lesuire facility, will be serviced and accessible, via the existing lift.
The second-floor facility, will incorporate a TV and media room, but the existing limited space, will not be impacted upon, as this TV and Media room, will float within air space and protrude and project from the second-floor, facade of the building. This facility, will be of tremendous value and importance for live TV broadcasts, and other forms of televising, recording and filming matches.
This facility, will also provide an opportunity, even for the mums and dads, to simply film and record their children’s matches.
As well, it will provide an essential, tool for our Club coaches and visiting Clubs’, who require such a facility, to film matches, so as to improve and enhance the ongoing development of their players, by having the necessary and required access, and the infrastructure to video and record their player’s performances.
There will also be an additional viewing platform, below the new grandstand, at pitch level.
The introduction of a hybrid playing surface, which is a combination of natural and synthetic turf – designed to deliver an elite playing surface, with the flexibility of extensively increasing the number of hours of usage, versus natural grass, without compromising, the playing surface.
The six (6) water cannons (the first and only of their kind, in all of Australia) will remain intact, to irrigate, the new playing surface.
As well, as is widely known, a synthetic surface, during scorching summertime soaring temperatures, may at time result, in matches, being cancelled and suspended.
Since 2015, Lambert Park, due to the original vision of the Club, ensured that this issue was totally eliminated, as the playing surface, on any given sweltering day, or during a 3-4 day period of extreme hot weather conditions, was at all times watered (utilising the Club’s existing, 120,000 litre water tanks – currently 6 in all – as such, only using rain water, and not valuable Sydney Water. Lambert Park’s, playing surface, in the past, currently today and in the future, at 6 am, is water saturated, on any given match or training day, to ensure that the playing surface is cool, playable and does not cause what-so-ever, any potential, health risks.
This hybrid playing surface, is not new, and to name a few venues, that already exist, and currently to be completed, they are at, the World-class Bernabeu, in the heart of Spain’s, capital Madrid, the illustrious home ground, of Real Madrid FC – and soon to be installed, at the State Sports Centre, in South Australia, the Capital City, Adelaide – just 10km from the Central Business District.
As well, this playing surface, is currently in place, at the marvellous and World-renowned San Siro, within the heart of the universe’s, fashion city, Milan.
A synthetic playing surface will also be installed within the Clubs’ warm up area, adjacent to the light rail hub, this will involve, compliant Civil Works, with the additional installation, of four mini, water cannons. An absolute necessity to maintain, ground moisture, and performance.
This crucial warm-up area, in a sporting complex, with limited land, is absolutely required, to allow teams, both home side and opposition, to properly warm-up before the commencement of their competition matches – as well as provide a valuable facility, for community sporting and social events, also to be able to, warm up and prepare themselves, for their sporting and social activity.
This addition, to the available and confined space, an area, that the Club is privileged, honoured and humbled, to be provided with, will also give an incredible opportunity to pre-schools, small local primary classes – to utilise this facility, for any outdoor requirement, that they, so may wish.
Adjacent to the warm-up area, and to also ensure that this tiny parcel of Crown Land, is not impacted upon, to utilise the current slopped driveway, ground entry hill, and to install a retaining wall, and provide off-street parking for eight (8) public car spaces.
These car spaces, are essential to the Inner West residents and community at large, because as we all know, there is virtually no public car spaces, available anywhere along the congested corridor, being Marion Street Leichhardt. As such, these incredibly important, much needed and valuable public car spaces, are of course, for the use of local commuters and residents, utilising Marion Street’s, light rail, to go to work or visit our Sydney Central Business District.
In the evening, and on training and match days, also being on a Saturday and Sunday, these public car spaces, will ensure eight fewer vehicles, fighting for non-existent parking spots, within the proximity of the Lambert Park Sporting Complex.
Apart from establishing a public bus shelter, within the void of the new grandstand, we will be providing ten off-street “Vespa type”, public parking zones, 24/7.
To erect, a visually appealing, Heritage/Federation, outdoor, solar powered, LED signage, placed within metres of the Clubs’ English styled entry gates, on the footpath, so is to increase, street visibility to attract visitor attention, and deliver, critical information, instantly.
This is to provide, a visual feature, of this landmark site and institution, to ensure that visitors and tourists, to the precinct, are made fully aware.
It will facilitate the name of the complex/facility, date, time, temperature…..and coming events.
The Inner West, has slowly but surely, moved towards an incredible and much required and necessary, reliance, of a increasing number of residents, who travel, utilising, their own personal scooter, commonly known as a “Vespa”, to travel a short distance, to go about their daily business, such as shopping, facilitate their banking needs, and generally, to have a fun-filled, low cost transport mode, within close proximity, to their personal, family living environment.
Australia today, is slowly, but surely and definitely moving towards, in a significant manner, as a local mode of transport, utilising bicycles and small “Vespa”, like mode of transportation. This has been a Century-old, mode of transport, in densely and populated Europe, and the most populated Asian cities, and now of cause, with our buzzing, high-density, Inner West residents…… this mode of transportation will continue to increase daily, and rapidly, to the extent that the day will arrive, where a large majority of the Inner West residents, will absolutely, favour this health conscience, mode of transportation.
The Club also acknowledges, the Cadigal and Wangal people, as the traditional owners of the land, which Lambert Park, occupies.
We acknowledge the Elders and the descendants of the Cadigal and the Wangal people. So, as such, we would like to thank the Cadigal and Wangal community, for allowing Lambert Park, to be built upon their land.
We would like to emphasise, that all works, will be undertaken, with the assistance, direction and guidance, of an Indigenous consultant.
The entire field area, at Lambert Park, is a staggering 8732 square metres……… now this is another fantastic Club milestone, on top of the following:
Australia’s most famous, historic and iconic Football brand.
The Club has had the most Socceroo, National team players, and Socceroo Captains, of any other Club, in the nation – ever.
APIA is officially, the highest ranked National Premier League 1 Club, in the Country.
The 1987, Championship National League, all conquering, winning APIA squad, all of which today, are legends of the game, and remain the invincibles, of Australian Football history – a feat that is unlikely, to be surpassed, in our lifetime.
A 33-year extraordinary record, that remains intact until this day – with the longest unbeaten streak, in a National Competition – proper.
The Club that has produced Australia’s, greatest ever footballer – Joe Marston, the very first Australian, to play in a FA Cup Final, the first Australian to play professionally, in the top tier, being, the English Premier League.
The A-League, Grand Final, Player Of The Match, is awarded and named after, in honour of Joe Marston, annually.
The Club that has had the most players signed, scouted, and recruited, from any National Premier League Club, in Australia – in essence APIA Leichhardt Tigers, has produced the most players to be acquired and signed, into the A-League, since the A-League’s, memorable, inception.
First-ever Club, in 2019/2020 to be the Number 1 Club, in all sections…… Men’s National Premier League 1, Women’s and Girls Premier League 1, Boys Youth League and Skills Acquisition Program. This feat is unlikely to be ever repeated, and again, we humbly, suggest, in our lifetime.
We are heading towards B-League status – and there is no doubt, that the Club, will establish ourselves, and raise to the very top, and the pinnacle of Australian Football – and eventually cement itself, and be ingrained and entrenched, in the highest Football competition in our World famous Country – Australia’s A-League, Football Competition.
Lambert Park, has for the past 66 years, been a facility, for everyone.
It has not been, and has never been, and will never be, for an elite few. It has been made available to all and sundry, as we, the Club, are a community leader, so we must lead, and ensure that Boys and Girls, from three years of age, up to Under 18s, at community grassroots level, Elite Boys and Girls, Elite Women and Men, wishing and desire, to play or participate in the World Game, have been given complete access to this facility, right up until today…… this is what this Club, is all about.
Lambert Park in 2014, underwent an extraordinary, $3.5m upgrade, $2.2m, was kindly funded by the NSW Government and Clubs NSW.
The Club and private benefactors, and other sources, in cash, contra, and in-kind, contributed a further $1.4m.
The Clubs’ importance, history, tradition, heritage, and widespread community benefits, in providing a sporting environment, for young Australians’, and the youth of the Inner West, and further afield, was acknowledged by the record funding, that was granted to a community, Football Club in Australia.
APIA Leichhardt Tigers Football Club, is held in such high esteem, so much admired, cherished and loved, such a community pillar, and fabric of our society, such a significant focus, for thousands’, of peoples’ daily lives – the Clubs’ administrators, when they meet newly registered players, whether they are Juniors or Seniors, their parents, their grandparents, their relatives, their supporters and friends, the respect shown towards, all our Club Directors’, Convenors, Coaches, Managers and support staff, all are genuinely, sincerely, and deeply shocked, by all of this.
This respect and admiration, is solely contributed, to the Clubs’ brand, the name, the Clubs’ culture, the history, and, of course, the game itself.
It is amazing, and simply staggering, to understand and comprehend, the importance of the Club, within our society.
It is really an exhilarating feeling, and privilege for all involved, and to be part of.
No amount of money, could or would ever equal, such an extraordinary, and fabulous feeling, in our lives.
Football is the only game, in the World, that can bring, the entire nation, to an absolute standstill, when a World Cup match, involving their Country, is played.
Football is the World Game; it is a massive part of our lives – and amazingly, for a vast number of citizens, it is actually, their life. This is not negotiable. What game, can consume, and create, such a daily involvement, in our lives?
Lambert Park today is simply stunning, it is spectacular, it is spine tingling, it is exciting, it is vibrant, and it is a showpiece, that the community, are rightly proud of. It has played, and continues to play, a significant role; this complex makes our community feel good, happy and content.
It serves a significant purpose, in all our lives.
Lambert Park’s magical, 15,000 sqm is for the current, and future youth of, the Inner West.
The Club has continued to maintain this facility, to the best of our financial ability, capacity, and limited resources.
The 2014, Lambert Park Upgrade, at the time, was highly recognised, that the project was completed on time, to the highest possible Australian Standards, and was the best-ever, in New South Wales history, utilisation of Government funds in our current lifetime, for any other sporting project undertaken, ever, in Australia’s, largest State, and highest citizen and tourist, population.
The Lambert Park project, at the time, if it was, to be managed and undertaken, by any other authority or organisation, would have cost, in excess of $6million. This claim, was made by experts, neutral and independent observers. This was all achieved, because the Club had the backing of passionate companies, and small businesses, and people, with credibility, professionalism, outstanding morals and ethics – and exemplary character.
The Club had access to; planners, builders, consultants, engineers, plumbers, electricians, concreters, carpenters, tilers, cement renderers, project managers, painters, air-conditioning mechanics, architects, labourers, welders, boilermakers, – who all contributed, at zero cost, collectively.
We the Club, have completed our work – we have ensured that the facility, has been maintained immaculately, it currently sits proud, and is stunning.
When these works are completed, it will be the greatest day, in the Club’s, unsurpassed and valued history.
Not forgetting to mention, that it will also become, a tourist attraction, as well as give, tremendous pride to the sporting, social fabric and residents, and the population of the Inner West, residential community. A region, that today, is the heart, and the life blood, of the Country.
I would sincerely and genuinely, would like to thank, and acknowledge, the Clubs’ previous full-time Football administrator and current casual administrator, the ever-loyal, diligent, and incredibly hard-working, Pia Scarselletta – spanning 22 years.
In recent weeks, I would also like to recognise and thank, the dedicated assistance, of young and up and coming, potential leading Football Administrator, James Chetcuti – after an eight-year term at Football New South Wales, James will, unfortunately, cease to be a director, of Australia’s largest sporting organisation, in terms of player participation number, in March 2021.
I will absolutely not, forget to mention the outstanding architectural advise and guidance, provided by GM Architects, with their principal “architects” George Khouri and his son Matthew, both providing incredible pro-bono hours, to an extreme level, as well as paid, architectural design services.
As well, I strongly wish to highlight, the incredible and far-reaching support, both financially and incredibly, visionary contribution, of the current APIA Leichhardt Tigers Football Club Inc, Football Club’s Board of Management, which comprises, Michael Cutrupi, Aldo Di Mento, Frank Mustica, Frank Primerano, Bill Kadayifici, Mario Raciti, John Mellino, David Marocchi, Nick Rizzo, Joe La Ianca.
And finally, humbly behind the scenes, but very much part and parcel, of the Club’s stability, and unparalleled success, plus, we have our 30-year Technical Coaching Director, Billy McColl, Matteo Maiorana and Vince Ciolino, that all have been a stabilising and contributing powerhouse force, to the Club’s ongoing – well being.
In recent times, our supporting Junior Clubs’ and committed Board members, have been relentless and a driving impetus, to ensure, the financial and viability strength, of the Club, and they are, Lina Boffa, Anthony Mazza, Joe Mirigliani and Joe Garufi.
But Felice Montrone (OAM) – has ensured, and maintained a watchful eye, in the background, and monitored administratively, and financially supported, to guarantee, and advise, strict Corporate Governance.
The Club also has had an amazing 66 benefactors and philanthropists, with no ego, self-importance, between them, they have contributed millions of dollars, over a vast number of years, to maintain, the ongoing financial viability of the Club – a Football Club, a genuine and true Football Club, in every sense of the word.
The Club today, this extraordinary community, and much-loved icon, in the past, today would not exist, unless the following, five people, approximately 33 years or so ago, funded, what was serious money at the time, and is still substantial money today, being $12k each, to ensure the previous private consortium did not, liquidate the Club.
It has now been 33 years or so, and the following magnificent five, have yet to be repaid, their loan contribution.
They were and are, Tony Arcella, Aldo Di Mento, Vince Di Mento, Mario Guererra and Nino Panuccio.
That was the past, and God bless them, and up until today, not one of them has ever asked the Club, which they are legally entitled to, to be reimbursed, their loan monies, to maintain the Clubs’ ongoing existence, viability and survival.
Today, and in recent times, for a staggering, 27 consecutive years – the magnificent Wests Leagues Club, has been the Clubs’ Major Sponsor – without this mega community organisation – APIA Leichhardt Tigers Football Club Inc – would not exist.
Because of Wests Leagues Club’s, amazing community funding, has absolutely assisted, cemented, and allowed, the ongoing and vital community, social and sporting activity, that the Club provides, to literally, thousands and thousands of spectators, and an incredible number of, playing participants …to continue, and flourish.
In conjunction with Wests Leagues Club – a jointly, another broken record, has been established, by having the longest sporting partnership, of any code, in Australia – and for that matter, anywhere in the World – again, this will never, be surpassed, in our life time.
But the final and last piece, to complete the jigsaw puzzle, requires the listed scope of works, to be funded, built, and to finally deliver, a masterpiece, Sporting facility.
The Inner West of Sydney…The people’s Football Club.
In closing, this entire Media Release, has been written by, compiled, collated, and researched by Tony Raciti.
A life long, to be precise, 44 consecutive years, as the Clubs’, Honorary President of both, the APIA Leichhardt Tigers Football Club Inc and the Leichhardt Tigers Juniors Soccer Club (excluding the past two years, whereas for the Juniors, where I have held the position of, Vice President).
During this 44 year, volunteer service, I have never received an honorarium, nor derived one solitary cent, for my administrative commitment.
I am proud and honoured, to declare what is an absolute fact, that during this period, I have given my services, on an absolute volunteer basis, 24/7 – saving the Club, millions of dollars, in administrative wages.