We have selected a page from the then popular Football Record which highlights an article on the proposed sale of Picken Oval by its owner.
Wests had use of the ground for almost 20 years before ‘an incident’ occurred between the licensed club and a member of the owner’s family. This resulted in the owner banning use of the ground by the club.
This event took Wests for a spin. They could not longer train nor play on the ground, in fact the league also lost use of the ground which was a great blow to the game in Sydney.
It might be said that at the time the Wests licensed club were negotiating with the owner to purchase the land, of course this all fell through.
Wests were then forced to look for an alternate venue which included Bankstown’s Jensen Oval and Mac Uni’s Roger Sheeran Oval, Henson Park before they settled on the disused brickpit which became Wagener Oval, Ashbury. The title of the oval was named after a former umpire and president of Wests in their halcyon days, Bill Wagener.
The owner then began talks with developers with one proposal to build a super mall containing Coles and other variety stores on the parcel of land. Following urging of local residents, many of whom were Wests supporters, the local council took the matter to the Land and Environment Court which disallowed any development and decreed that the site be maintained as open space/recreational.
So while the land never did end up in the hands of Wests, the club was granted use of the as their home ground.
The page also provides advertisements, one from Allen Sigsworth, a player with the Newtown Club who later went on to become an umpire and Jim Mitchell who conducted a sports store in Crofts Avenue Hurstville. Jim was a former player with St George and most if not all clubs in Sydney did their business with Jim.
It provides the names and contact numbers of the Sydney club secretaries, some of whom have passed but a number are still with us and at least two, John Armstrong and George McGifford are members of the Football History Society.
The photograph shows Newtown’s captain and coach, David Sykes (also a member), accepting the trophy after winning the 1970 premiership. League president, Bill Hart is on his right along with a delightful young lady who also managed to get into view. She would be well in her fifties by now!
Enjoy the read, just click the image above.