Lost Glory – St. George Soccer Stadium, Sydney

St Georges Stadium, Sydney, Australia

It was once the home of one of Australia’s finest teams based in Sydney’s southern suburbs, St. George Budapest (who later became St. George Saints), playing in Australia’s then-leading professional division, the National Soccer League (they won the league in 1983). The club had a rich history, having supplied almost half of Australia’s 1974 World Cup team. Notable players for St. George span the ages, from Charlie George (yes, that Charlie George) to Robbie Slater and even featuring an appearance by Ossie Ardiles in 1985. Tim Cahill’s brother, Chris Cahill, also now plays for the club. Their manager during many of their glory years, Frank Arok, took charge of the Socceroos in the 1980s.

Now, St. George Stadium is sadly dilapidated, and St. George Saints play only in a low-level New South Wales league, with just the hardiest of souls showing up on the terraces that once held packed crowds.

The below photos, by Chris Round (Flickr page), tell the story of St. George’s Stadium’s current state.

Changing rooms, St. George's Stadium, Sydney

St. George Stadium

St. Georges Park, Sydney

Tunnel entrance, Barton Park, St George's Stadium - Sydney

Removed seats, St Georges Stadium, Sydney

Thanks again to Chris Round for permission to use these photos.

2 thoughts on “Lost Glory – St. George Soccer Stadium, Sydney

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  2. R

    Thanks for posting this story and photos.

    This is a sad demise for what was once one of the National League’s flagship stadiums, built largely on the pride and hopes of Sydney’s Hungarian community in what was then, a game burgeoning on the back of ethnic-backed clubs. Perhaps this reflects the demographic of the ‘mainstream’ football family in Australia today. However, I am young enough to remember hearing the sounds of Barton Park as it was proudly known back then, as the wind carried the roar of the crowd on game days. I remember the first time I climbed up the embankment outside of the stadium as a young boy on a non-game day when Saints were perenially challenging for the title in Frank Arok’s day, and seeing what was a truly glorious sight. The sprinklers irrigating the pitch which was a perfect, lush green, the line markings as clear as day. The grandstand had bright red seats as it sat over 2 team benches, covered by a metal and persex roof as the adverising boards carried the names of some of the area’s best local businesses as red/green flags marked the 4 corners of the pitch. There were commentators boxes at the back of the grandstand for TV broadcasts and the media.

    The stadium is now a sad relic that deserves to be demolished, partly because it is on the verge of structural collapse, and more importantly, because it offends the memory of the glory days of St George Budapest, once one of the great champion and true pioneering clubs of Australian football, and indeed Australian sport, and does not bear testimony to the halcyon days of the NSL. More so, it does not do justice to the memory of the local footballing community that helped build and support this great game and club.

    The club that now exists in the lower echelons of the game that has valiantly assumed the identity of the St George club along with its spiritual home, and in so doing, preserved the memory and history of the club (it was previously the St George Soccer Association) sadly lacks the infrastructure and funding to make an impression on the game especially with the capital city/region focussed business model of the new A-League, as it’s forefather had done decades ago.