March 22nd will be a very special date indeed. The venue to be at is Lambert Park in Leichhardt – or more accurately the ‘new’ Lambert Park.
March 22nd will be a very special date indeed. The venue to be at is Lambert Park in Leichhardt - or more accurately the ‘new- Lambert Park. The day will honour the past of APIA Leichhardt as well as unveil the future.
It will be Round 2 of the NSW Premier League and the traditional derby between APIA Leichhardt Tigers and Marconi Stallions will be played. It-s not so much the game that will be centre of attention but the new ground.
APIA Leichhardt, who are celebrating their 60th birthday this year as the club because they were founded in 1954, have invested over $3.5 million dollars into Lambert Park.
$2.2 million came from the largesse of the government while nearly $1.4 million came from private benefactors. So what did this money go towards?
There are four new dressing rooms, new public toilets, a disabled toilet, a lift, a new bar, a supporters- shop, a gymnasium, street lighting inside the ground with an upgrade of the of the lights to 500 lux, state of the art irrigation system, six water cannons above ground, 8 new water tanks holding 120,000 litres, new perimeter fencing, a new English-style gate at the front of the ground, shade sail over the paved area near the canteen, a new sound system and the whole ground has been painted.
APIA Leichhardt Tigers president Mr Tony Raciti is very proud of the work that has taken place and of the new dimensions of the field.
“The playing area is 109m x 68m and it-s the biggest natural dirt infill in the Southern Hemisphere,” he said.
“Lambert Park is now bigger than Old Trafford, Emirates Stadium, Bayern Munich-s Allianz Arena, Juventus Stadium in Turin, Ajax Amsterdam-s ground, Benfica-s ground and even bigger than Brazil-s World Cup final venue.
“The Camp Nou in Barcelona is 7,420 square metres while Lambert Park is now 7,412 square metres. “In what is probably a first for football in Australia, the ground will also be blessed at the opening ceremony on the day which will be attended by the NSW Premier Mr Barry O-Farrell, five state MPs, the entire Leichhardt Council plus 80 APIA Leichhardt ‘legends-.
“The legendary old players of APIA Leichhardt will be joined by the FFA-s David Gallop and there will be guest appearances from Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers players.”
The whole day will be value for money given that the entrance fee is still only $15. At the end, there will be a flames spectacular which have been kindly donated by Foti International.
Mr Raciti is justifiably very proud of the club-s new milestone. “We expect a total sell out on the day with a strong possibility that we will not be able to hold the expected crowd of up to 7,000,” he said.
“Balmain Commercial is putting up $5,000 for the winning team and $1,000 for the player of the match and these are great incentives indeed. “We have worked very hard to complete Stage 1 and it has taken three years. We can hopefully move now to Stage 2 in the development of this major and prestigious boutique stadium of which there is no other kind in Australia.
“The club will be lobbying the government to deliver a further $5 million for a cantilevered (over the footpath) 3,000 seat grandstand.
“The club will also commence negotiations with the FFA and the government to accommodate Australia-s first History of Football museum under the proposed grandstand.
“However, the real centre piece of the day will be the unveiling of the Joe Marston Pavilion. Joe Marston, who is 88 years old, played for, captained and coached APIA Leichhardt at various stages of his career. He was also Australia-s first ever player to play in an FA Cup Final.”