By Roman Kulkewycz
While working at Berwick Potteries, Tony Arrigo of Bunyip cherished a dream – he would love to see soccer played in Bunyip. But because of work and family commitments, it was just a fanciful dream with little hope of coming to fruition.
As retirement loomed, however, the possibilities of his dream gnawed away at Tony and he often daydreamed of soccer being played in Bunyip.
Travelling one day with his friend, Alan Cole, Tony sheepishly mentioned his desire. Alan’s encouraging response and offer of support boosted Tony’s resolve and he thought that maybe, just maybe, this could work.
A public meeting to gauge community interest was encouraging. Secretary Roman Kulkewycz joined Alan as treasurer with Tony as president and a core committee was formed in 2008. Craig Marks, an experienced player and coach, took charge of the players.
Originally the Club was named The Bunyip and District Junior Soccer Club – the Strikers! But soon it was realised that if the club was to have a viable future, it was necessary to play seniors as well.
Support of all user groups at the Bunyip Recreation Reserve and other local sporting clubs was vital to allow for the club to develop. The support was overwhelmingly positive.
The support of the Cardinia Shire Council was also a key in the club getting off the ground.
To play at the highest level of competition Tony pushed to have the club compete in the FFV (Football Federation of Victoria) competition. To do this the club had to meet strict accreditation conditions.
Sheer hard work by the committee ensured this happened and continued to propel the club forward to the large expanding and successful organisation that it has become today.
There are many stories of hard work that paid off. Much work had to be done developing the ground into a playable surface. In fact the pitches were so good that during wet years schools used them to play competition on as theirs were under water. Many visiting clubs marvelled at the condition of the grounds and each time they visited, something new was being added to the club facilities.
But it all boils down to the work of just one man: Tony Arrigo, who had a vision and backed his dream with hard work and perseverance. Tony was suitably made a life member of the club on its 10th anniversary.
Currently the club is in the process in building a huge million dollar plus complex which will encompass clubrooms, change rooms and a lounge area for supporters to watch games in comfort.