After narrowly missing out on promotion last season, Yarraville Glory clinched promotion to State League NW 1 for the first time, on the last day of the season, by drawing 1-1 on home turf against league leader Banyule City on Saturday.
Both teams celebrated the draw, which secured the runner-up position and promotion for Yarraville and the title for Banyule thanks to the 1-0 loss at Geelong by third placed Moreland United.
“Four years ago we brought on Charlie Egan which was a big coup for us,” club president Jon Balakis told Neos Kosmos, “and Tony Polzella, our team manager, is a very important part of our whole growth. We put in place a four-year plan to get from division three to division one by 2016, our 50th birthday year. They’ve done it and you couldn’t ask for anymore from those boys.”
For Yarraville coach and former Socceroo Charlie Egan, Saturday’s draw was a satisfying culmination of the four year plan to win promotion.
“It was a terrific feeling …There were games throughout the season where we lost half of the team for various reasons, but we hung in there and in the end we needed a result (elsewhere) to go our way. In saying that, the boys certainly deserved it for the hard work they put in.”
The coach is adamant that Yarraville won’t suffer the same fate as Corio, the team that won promotion to NW 1 last season ahead of Yarraville but was immediately relegated this season back to NW2.
He says that the club has focused on building a strong culture over the last two seasons and says there is a strong bond amongst players.
“If you come down on Thursday night, you’ve got all the first team there, all the reserves and the girls team as well. So we’re all just like one big family … that is compared … and I’m not just saying Corio, but it happens to a lot of teams. They get promoted on the back of someone putting in a lot of money. Then the guy pulls the money and the club just tumbles further than when they started from.”
Egan says Yarraville has stability and a good base. “I mean, if we keep the squad we’ve got we’ll be competitive.”
The coach says the club is looking forward to crossing swords with some good Greek rivals that they have lost touch with in recent years, like Altona East and Western Suburbs. “These games will be massive for the club so I’m looking forward to it.”
President Balakis explains that promotion to division one was part of an overall five year business plan of how the club wanted to grow, which was submitted and received favourably by the local council, leading to an extended lease. The club has also enjoyed a growth spurt in the number of junior memberships (both boys and girls) as well as women players.
“Next year we’re going to our initial strip which is the blue and white stripes, the first ever strip from 1966. So all our juniors, all the way up through to the seniors are going to have that strip next season, because we need to be proud of where we are and where we’re going to.”
Meanwhile, Yarraville Glory’s womens team is also in line for promotion after winning the Womens State League 3 West v North Runners Up play off against Watsonia Heights 6-3 last weekend.
The FFV has officially notified Yarraville that Albert Park has pulled out of Sunday’s womens play-off final, meaning Yarraville Senior Womens Team are automatically promoted to State League 2 NW.