The history of Clinton Soccer Club (now Clinton Football Club) is one of Gladstone’s sporting success stories that started almost forty years ago. In March 1971 a group of soccer supporters met in the Town Hall for the purpose of forming a new club. By the time they walked out, Clinton Park Soccer Club was born. The word ‘Park’ was later deleted. By 1973 the new club was struggling and looked in danger of folding partly due to inaugural president, George Coffin, leaving town.Fortunately two newcomers came to Gladstone that year, Bill Wyper and Ted Coyle, who were ex-players and devotees of the game and helped put Clinton Club back on track. Bill Wyper was soon coaching the club’s young senior side which proved to be a very competitive outfit. With the senior team going well, officials then set out to establish junior soccer. In 1973 a successful sign-on was held at the South Gladstone School which was the junior training venue for many years. Fixtures were played at the Showgrounds but in 1974 moved to Blain Park which was the home for junior soccer for the next twenty years.It was soon obvious that junior soccer was Gladstone’s growth sport and Clinton was a very popular club. Numbers mushroomed and in 1975 a separate junior committee was set up. Clinton Club now had a Senior Section and a Junior Section with each responsible for its own administration and finances. An overall committee dealt with matters that affected the club as a whole. In 1975, Clinton juniors grew from 5 to 14 teams - from U6 to U16. Club officials were rapt and forecast a bright future for Clinton due to its strong junior base.In 1977 Clinton officials began to search for a home ground. Graham Ferguson, an earthmoving contractor, offered to lease a section of his land in Harvey Road, free of charge, for Clinton to develop as club grounds. Graham generously donated time and equipment to clear the area. Officials, supporters and parents quickly got behind the project. Old buildings were obtained and modified into toilets, showers and store areas. The ground was cleared, top dressed and grassed, electricity was connected, training lights set up and tanks erected to provide a water supply.

The grounds were used for training but it wasn’t until 1985 that the field was considered good enough to play the first fixtures. The last games were played there in 1987.It was a devastating blow to the club when the Council advised that a new road would cut through the field and further development and spending should cease. Clinton then had to look for another home and after considering a few options it was decided to apply to join the Clinton Park Sports Association. The application was successful and Clinton Soccer Club became an affiliated member in 1986 along with Gladstone Cricket Association and Mudcrab Aussie Rules. Clinton Club members worked on the clubhouse and later played a major role in setting up an underground sprinkler system and erecting field lighting so night games could be played. Soccer matches were first played at the new grounds in 1988. Players and supporters soon settled into their new home at the CPSA complex and appreciated the improved facilities.During this time, the juniors flourished and a ladies team was reformed in 1988 after a rather lengthy break. The Clinton seniors had made the step up in 1983 and had entered the newly formed regional competition, CQ League. Clinton entered this tough competition most years that it operated, many times as Gladstone’s only representative. The boys in green struggled at times but were always competitive and narrowly missed out on making the top four on a few occasions.

The CQ League was renamed Midstate League in 2000 and it was this year that Clinton finally made it to the top four and a place in the final series. But that was as close as they could get and the news wasn’t any better in 2002 when again a place in the top four gave some hope but no joy on the scoreboard. Midstate League became Capricornia League in 2004. In 2005, two divisions in Cap League were introduced and there was a bit to celebrate that year. The 1st division won the consolation grand final on penalties and the 2nd division won the minor premiership but was edged out in the final series. The following year, history was made when Clinton’s top team won the Cap League minor premiership with Coach Gary Larsen at the helm.The club’s CSL 1st division team didn’t make the top four in 2007. The 2nd division won through to the grand final but were beaten by Bluebirds in Yeppoon in their most important game of the season. In 2008, Clinton 1st division showed their strength under Coach Derek Horton and won the minor premiership before going on to win their way to the grand final. Once again the Wesley Hall Cup slipped through their fingers as Southside edged them out in Rockhampton on grand final night.But finally in 2009, Clinton was not going to be denied any longer and it was a determined and focused team that took to Marley Brown Oval against Bluebirds in the Cap League grand final. The scoreboard said it all: Clinton 7 Bluebirds 1.

After 26 years, Clinton would finally get its name on the prestigious and coveted Wesley Hall Trophy. Horton, also lead the team to Minor Premierships in 2010, 2011 & 2012. In 2012 the team once again showed its dominance and defeated Nerimbera 7 -1 in the Grand final.There is no doubt that Clinton is a fortunate club. Apart from the CQ Premier League team’s strong performances, the teams competing in the local competition (1st, 2nd division & ladies) have also notched up many victories over the years. This, plus an impressive junior line-up allows club officials and supporters to look to the future with confidence as Clinton Football Club continues to play an active role in promoting the game in the Gladstone area.

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