Club history

According to the scribes who keep the records, there was a club in Brisbane called Thistle as far back as 1888.

A fore-runner to our club was called ‘Merthyr Thistle’ founded in 1911 and disbanded in1918 after a group of supporters and all but one player broke away and formed the Thistle Club of today. The recognised founder of the club was a Robert Waddell, father of a past president of our Club and the Qld. Soccer federation, Bill Waddell.

When researching the history of the Club, a pattern emerged that has continued throughout the years, and that was of the 95 years we have been in existence. The club can be divided into a series of eras or decades where we were fortunate to have outstanding players represent the club in their respective era.

In the 20′s and 30′s ten members of the first division team, represented the state and country and they were: Billy McBryde, Jack & Dave Cummerford, Jim Peebles, Andy Thompson, William Nichols, Ross Craig, Sam Ross, Allan McMillan and Jim Perrotte.

The Club went into a kind of hibernation in the late thirties and the competition was stopped during the war years, but charity matches were played at Lanham Park against visiting Navy, Army and Airforce personnel and the money raised was used to send food parcels back to England.

The Club was reformed after the Second World War and an influx of Scottish and English immigrants boosted the playing strength of the Club. It was in the late Forties and Fifties that the next band of outstanding players donned the Thistle jersey. During this period Thistle set a record by appearing in four consecutive Tristram Shield finals from 1949 to 1952, winning the last three, thereby allowing the club to proudly display the Shield as their own. An interesting note was that eight players of that era also represented their state and country and they were: Herb Bool, Wally (Shirley) Cansick, Derrick (Nobby) Clark, George Haggert, Clem Higgins, Robert (Bob) Jardine, Sammy Morgan, and Charlie Stewart.

The sixties started a new era and the Club entered the import business in earnest. Over the next few years many quality players were brought to the Club from overseas to play for the Club and start a new life in Australia. It was in this period that the Club was also represented by many players who had progressed through the junior ranks, and once again Thistle provided Brisbane and Queensland with many colorful and talented personalities, such as, Barry Allison, Barry Dann, Barry Jardine, Jim Ancliffe, Alec Anderson, Tom Bewick, David Jones, Owen Monaghan, Alan Rigby, Ian Shaw, George Shearer, John Parker, Allan (Bluey) Smith, Richie Smith, Norm Tran, and George Whitaker.

The late Seventies and early Eighties were undoubtedly the most successful period in the clubs history. Players of this era equaled and surpassed the success of their predecessors of the Twenties and Fifties with Mark Aponas, Tony Bailey, Steve Dolan, Iain Fagan, John Ferguson, Peter Gee, Glen Huntley, Alan Marley, Wislon Maelaua, John Patterson and Ken Swan all gaining Queensland honours. It was from 1977 to 1983 Thistle had won three Premierships, four Championships, the Ampol Presidents and Golden Circle Cups. This period in the Clubs history is yet to be equaled and in the years since, the Club has been on a roller coaster ride but it’s foundations have remained as solid as they were ninety five years ago.

It would appear that the success of our Club has been reliant on the success of our Senior teams, and rightly so, for where ever the top team is in competition the rest of the Club follows. However they are only a part of the History of our Club. An integral part of our History has been the Junior players who have played for the Club over the past Eighty years, and we have been fortunate to have been strongly represented in that area and many of whom have progressed through the ranks to represent the Club at the highest level. A progression that is essential for the success and longevity of any Club.

But the unsung hero’s of our History are the members who have worked voluntarily on committees, ex players and parents of players who have taken the responsibility of running the Club and who were instrumental in shaping the Clubs History. Too many to mention, but to whom the Club owes a great debt of gratitude, for without them our History would have been a lot shorter.

So that brings us to the present and as we look towards the future, one thing is assured. That Grange Thistle Soccer Club, as stated in their constitution, will continue to promote and foster the game of soccer in the Junior and Senior divisions and represent the Club in the foremost of Association football leagues and competitions at the highest professional level.

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