Origin of O35 Football

Veterans Soccer at CB Complex

Back in the late 80s a group of old men would meet at Smith Park at Hamilton at about 8.00am every Sunday and have a small sided game soccer using hockey goals. Rules were established-It would only be a goal if the ball hit the back board of the goals,no corner kicks,no offside,half-time would be when one team reached ten goals and full-time was the first team to reach twenty goals.

All disputes were ruled on by Phil Brown and his decision was final. After a few months the games became more and more popular with some weeks it was up to 10 or 12 a side. In June 1989 Keith Anderson [who coached Valentine Cookers and at Tingira at a later stage] approached Bob Austin and asked if Valentine-Eleebana would be interested in hosting veteran soccer games. This request went to the Valentine-Eleebana monthly meeting who accepted the idea.

In late 1989 after making enquires with both Macquarie and Northern NSW, it appeared there was little support for the concept. VEFC representatives went to a Sunday gathering at Smith Park and informed the players that none of the governing bodies were interested in helping us establish a veterans competition . It was decided  that we would go ahead by ourselves and organise a Veterans comp in Newcastle on our own.

So around March 1990 a meeting was held at Valentine Bowling Club with all the interested parties in attendance:

Keith Anderson -Cooks Hill Pensioners
Phil Brown -Cooks Hill Pensioners
Bob Austin-Valentine-Eleebana Soccer Club and Cooks Hill Pensioners
Steve Smith -NOBS [Newcastle old Boys]
Alan Woods=NOBS 
Alan Eacott- West Wallsend
Fred Power-Edgeworth
Noel Fishburn-Westlakes
Garry Turner-Swansea
Daryl Reagan-New Lambton
Mike Trebilcock - Hunter

It was decide that a 8 team competition would be held at CB Complex on a Friday starting in October and finishing in December. It would consist of 14 rounds with each team playing each other twice,with "NO" points,no finals and it was the responsibility of each team captain to make sure that is played in the right spirit. It was decided that we would appoint two refs who were -Ray Bower and Dennis Jackson.All monies would be collected by VESC and the only people to receive any payment were the two refs and it was only a token amount.The other rules were as follows:

*No sliding tackles
* No off-side
*Any player who is sent off will have to face the judiciary[which consisted Keith Anderson, Phil Brown and Bob Austin]The send off punishment would be the same for all players no matter what the offence was- Banned for Life[It took three years for the first player to be sent off and in total 3 in the first 15 years].
* All matches would consist of two 40 minute halfs with the first game starting at 5.45pm and finishing at 7.05pm, and second game was to start at 7.10pm.
* The teams playing first were responsible for putting up a net each and the teams playing second to pull down a net each.
* Each team had two turns in cleaning the dressing rooms during the comp.

*Players had to be Over 35 except for the Goalkeepers who could be any age.

The only hicup was that the Hunter team who Mick Trebilcock organised did not have a good attendance response and after three weeks local Neil Bone became the organiser and the team became known as Valentine. The first night saw a great attendance and did not end until the early hours of Saturday morning[many had seen fellow players for more than ten years].So the first 8 teams were:

Eagles[New Lambton]
Hunter[who were replaced by Valentine in the first month]

This competition is still running today.



So now there was a Veterans comp being played at Complex,the first in N.N.S.W. As a group we also had been travelling down to Sutherland in Sydney at least once a year to play against a team from down there and they would come up to Complex and play the return match. The late Warren Millar would referee the game at complex for us.

O35s play in Macquarie,

At the end of the 1992 season Phil Brown [Captain Phil] said it was about time we had a over 35s competition in Macquarie so we would not have to play all age. So at the next general meeting of Valentine-Eleebana soccer club it was decided that we would ask Macquarie at their next general meeting if it was posible for them to organise a O/35s comp.


It was decided by M.D.S.A. that in 1993 a competition for O/35s would take place,however they had concerns that teams would struggle to field teams and therefore each team had to have at least 8 registered players over 35 years of age. It wasn't exactly what we intended however it was a start. So in 1993 the first over 35s comp in Newcastle had started.

During the 1993 season Mike Wade from M.D.S.A. approached the club and suggested that the O/35s Friday summer comp should be registered with them and it was not in the best interests of Valentine-Eleebana soccer club that was a member of M.D.S.A to be running a competition on a Friday night. Mike was directed to the Care and Control Committee of Croudace Bay Complex who organized that ground hire (this is a "in joke" difficulties with Macquarie and Northern NSW were always referred to a non-existant Care and Control Committee - bp)


Further Development of Over 35 Football.

A meeting was called of all the Veterans teams about the 1993 summer comp just after the discussions with Mike Wade. We decided to investigate about becoming a association for veterans[just like Macquarie was],approached N.N.S.W. and they said that they had no dramas as long as the Junior associations M.D.S.A.,N.D.S.A. and Hunter Valley Soccer association agreed. The chance of that occurring was slim.

We eventually were referred to Dept Sport and Rec and told them that we were interested in starting a veterans soccer competition in Newcastle and that the local governing bodies were making it hard for us to get it up and running and did they have any suggestions on making it happen.

Their advice was that it was not a problem and it was just a matter of becoming an incorporated body and have public liability insurance and that each player had the compulsory NSW government sporting insurance.

The public liability insurance was about $300.00 and the player insurance was $2.00 per player[8 x teams of 11,plus 2 x referees = 90 people, it was a group insurance so no names were required. So the grand total was less than $500.00 and we were up and running.

Bob went to the next Veterans meeting, told the guys what was required and they all agreed. So by the time the next O/35s summer comp of 1993 started we had become known as Newcastle and District Veterans Soccer Association Incorporated.

President- Bob Austin
Secretary- David Brown
Tresurer- Keith Anderson
Committee- Phil Brown,Alan Woods,Steve Smith,Gary Turner,Alan Eacott,Daryl Reagan,Fred Power,Brian Dick,Neil Bone and Terry Rhoades-Brown. 

We did inform N.N.S.W. in writing of what we had done and that we were more than willing to come under their banner as long as costs were kept to a minimum as we were a no profit organisation and had limited funds. No reply received.

2011 Update

The veteran's Football competition begun in 1990 is still running over the summer. The competition is still run by Phil Brown and the rules remain the same, the only difference is that under the "amended timekeeping rules", the game does tend to continue until Phil's team wins.  The competition has its own structure and most importantly its own insurance cover and indemnity for the officials.

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