Melbourne Knights FC
posted on May 24, 2010 11:08
WITH overseas clubs circling, it did not take long for the Melbourne Knights teams of the title-winning 1994-95 and 1995-96 National Soccer League seasons to break up.
But for a few brief hours during the club’s reunion weekend, the Knights were able to re-assemble the majority of both squads.
It was the first time either squad had largely been in the same room together since those championship wins.
Many of the club’s biggest names were involved.
Mark Viduka, whose name adorns the stand at Knights Stadium, was in attendance at Saturday night’s gala ball, which featured a video presentation of each grand final and clips of media coverage of both seasons.
The former Australia captain, notably media-shy, did not take part a reunion match involving players of both squads on Sunday evening at Knights Stadium after the club’s Victorian Premier League game.
Just a handful of other names were missing from the teamsheet. Defender Josip Simunic is in World Cup preparations with Croatia while midfielder Kresimir Marusic now resides in Belgium.
It failed to take the shine off the game, which finished 2-2. 1994-95 title-winners Steve Horvat, Joe Spiteri and Frank Juric still ooze class, while fellow club favourites Danny Tiatto, Lubo Lapsansky and John Markovski showed they’d lost none of the touch of the victorious 1995-96 season.
“It was a great weekend - absolutely great,” president Ange Cimera said after the final whistle of the reunion match.
“The gala night last night was absolutely fantastic and today the atmosphere has been great.
“We’ve had 2000 to 3000 people here.
“Unfortunately the senior team lost (1-0 to Green Gully), but it was just great to see these boys back here. It has been 15 years.”
Several well-known faces littered the crowd. Club legend Billy Vojtek was hard to miss with his flowing silver locks, while comedian Jimeoin visited the changerooms after the game and former Knight now Melbourne Victory midfielder Mate Dugandzic signed autographs for the more eagle-eyed youngsters.
Cropatak - the club’s familar duck mascot - was another interested onlooker.