HISTORY

HISTORY


Founding and early years
The Belconnen United Football Club was founded in 1970 as the Belconnen United Soccer Club. The football club has been based out of the north Belconnen suburb of McKellar since its inception during the establishment of the Belconnen district of Canberra in the 1970s. Belconnen has run youth and senior footballing programs from recreational to elite level since its establishment.

The Blue Devils first appeared in the top flight of ACT men’s football (then known as the ACT Division One) in 1975. The club quickly set-itself up as one of the top ACT clubs with a string of major ACT titles (15 in total) during the 80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s. This included five league premierships, seven finals championships and three Federation Cups.

Move to NSW Premier League
In 2000, Belconnen United switched to the NSW Premier League and were renamed the Belconnen Blue Devils. Belconnen first competed in the NSW Premier League in the 2000-01 season. The Blue Devils competed in NSW top flight for five straight seasons before a dispute between the Blue Devils management and board of Football NSW resulted in the club losing its licence to compete in the competition from 2006 onwards.

During the club’s brief time competing in NSW, The Blue Devils enjoyed success, reaching the finals series in each season post their first and becoming league premiers in the 2003-04 season, beating St George Saints to the title with a +3 goal difference over the South Sydney club. Belconnen started the finals series with a narrow 4-3 overtime loss at McKellar Park to Sydney club Bankstown City Lions in the major semi-final. This meant The Blue Devils had to compete in the preliminary final while Bankstown advanced straight to the grand final. Belconnen once again played host in the preliminary final against league runner-up and winner of the minor semi-final, St George Saints FC. The Blue Devils were victorious over St George with a 2-1 victory thanks to a brace to Belconnen striker Macor. The victory led Belconnen to reach the 2003-04 NSW Premier League Grand Final, held at Marconi Stadium, where the Blue Devils faced-off against Bankstown City Lions once again. In front of a crowd of 5,000 the Blue Devils succumbed to two second half goals to lose the grand final 2-0. Bankstown were given a penalty in the sixty-fifth minute that was converted by Saso Boskovski before Belconnen player, Lee Pietrukowski, scored an own goal seven minutes later.

In the 2004-05 season Belconnen won the ‘Challangers League’ by three points over Marconi Stallions and Wollongong Wolves after the league split into two groups following the combined league section of the season. As such, Belconnen qualified for the 04-05 finals series along with the top four clubs of the ‘Champions League’. The Blue Devils defied the odds to beat former NSL club, Sydney United on penalties 2-2 (7-6) in the qualifying final and Blacktown City Demons 2-1 in the minor semi-final to reach the preliminary final. 18 June 2005, the Blue Devils took on Bonnyrigg White Eagles in the preliminary final held in Sydney. The match ended 0-0 after regular time meaning extra time was needed to split the two teams. The White Eagles’ scored twice in the first half of extra time to take a commanding 2-0 lead into the final fifteen minutes of the match. Belconnen scored in the one-hundred and seventeenth minute to set up a tense final few minutes, but the Blue Devils failed to score again, which resulted in a 2-1 victory for Bonnyrigg, who progressed to the grand final.

Return to ACT Premier League
In 2006, after separating with Football NSW, The Blue Devils returned to Capital Football in the ACT and were accepted back into the ACT Premier League. The Club was renamed Belconnen United Football Club, with Blue Devils reverting to being a nickname.

22 April 2006, Belconnen played its first match back in the ACT Premier League away to Canberra Olympic where United and Olympic played out a 1-1 draw. United finished the 2006 Act Premier League regular season as runner-up to Canberra Olympic by seven points. The Blue Devils qualified for the finals series where the club lost the major semi-final to Olympic 0-4 and the preliminary final to Cooma 1-2.

In 2007, Belconnen signed a mutual benefiting relationship agreement with A-League club Central Coast Mariners. The two clubs agreed to play an annual pre-season friendly match in Canberra at McKellar Park named The Bank of Queensland Cup. The agreement opened up opportunities for a development pathway for ACT talent to the A-League while the Mariners gained a foothold within the ACT footballing community.[7] The agreement lasted five years with annual matches played between 2007 and 2011, starting with a 4-0 victory to the visiting Mariners on 30 June 2007.

Belconnen next won the Championship two seasons later in 2008. 14 September 2008, Belconnen met Canberra FC in the ACT Premier League grand final. Belconnen took a first half lead and were 2-0 up at half time before continuing the good form in the second half to secure a 4-1 victory for the club’s first title since returning to ACT competition.

In 2012, Belconnen won the league premiership with a comfortable nine point first-place finish over Cooma Tigers, who finished second. Belconnen also reached the grand final of the finals series but lost the match to Cooma 1-2 at McKellar Park on the 15 September 2012. This turned out to be the last ACT Premier League Premiership title as the league re-structured in 2013 under the FFA national banner of National Premier Leagues (NPL).

National Premier Leagues era
Belconnen United was a founding member of the NPL ACT in 2013 following Football Federation Australia’s national re-structure of football leagues in Australia.[11] Belconnen finished their first NPL season in second place, seven points behind league premiers Canberra FC. The Blue Devils lost the major semi-final to the same opposition 0-4 before succumbing 2-4 to Canberra Olympic at McKellar Park in the preliminary final.

Belconnen repeated its second-place finish in the league ladder in 2014 but performed better in the NPL Capital Football finals series by winning the grand final and thus claiming the championship. United claimed the title with a 3-2 shootout victory over long-time rival Canberra FC after the two sides finished the match 3-3. 3 July 2014, Belconnen also added the Federation Cup trophy to the trophy cabinet with a 3-2 final win over Canberra FC yet again.[12] The Federation Cup victory would normally mean Belconnen would qualify for the round of 32 of the FFA Cup but after a formal challenge was lodged by 2013 cup winners Tuggeranong United, Capital Football granted the 2014 qualification spot to Tuggeranong, meaning Belconnen missed out.

10 April 2015, Belconnen United FC announced they had formed a formal relationship with A-League heavyweights Sydney FC. The agreement between the two clubs established a formal pathway for Belconnen youngsters to progress and gain the possibility of an A-League contract with Sydney FC. The agreement also opened up ongoing opportunities for Belconnen coaching staff to work with and information share with Sydney FC staff including Graham Arnold. Finally, Sydney FC agreed to tour Canberra in 2015 pre-season to host coaching clinics and play a friendly match against the Blue Devils.[14] Belconnen lost the friendly match against Sydney 0-3 with second half goals to Andrew Hoole, Jacob Tratt and Matt Simon in front of 1,852 fans.

2 January 2017, Belconnen United entered into an mutual benefiting agreement with NSW NPL club Wollongong Wolves to co-host a "festival of football" in the South Coast town of Nowra.[16] 28–29 January 2017, The two clubs played a number of women's and men's junior and senior exhibition matches, ran free all-ages coaching and refereeing clinics, training drills, player sessions and family activities at Nowra's Ison Park.
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