Classico Memories

 In News

Brisbane City take on Lions for one of the most storied fixtures in Queensland Football.

Legends from both teams gave us their thoughts and memories of their Brisbane Classico experiences ahead of tonight’s clash.

Kick off at Lions Stadium Richlands is at 6:00pm this evening – entry is free but if you can’t make it tune in on the Football Queensland Facebook page or YouTube Channel.

A heated exchange from the Round 1 Classico – a scene typical of the fixture! Photo by Scott Norrish.

Paul Schiavo

Brisbane City FC Immortal

“I remember my first National Soccer League Classico. Spencer Park 1985, we lost 2-0! I was a substitute that day but came on late in the second half. Alan Hunter of Lions (who would be capped 9 times by Australia and win the 1996/97 Joe Marston Medal with Strikers) actually growled at me when I came on!

“That sort of set the standard for the game, no holds barred. Spencer Park was pretty packed and the fans weren’t too happy with the result.”

Lions won 2-0 thanks to late goals from Cairney 75’ and Anderson 79’ in front of 1,885 at Spencer Park.

City: Kim Wishart, Mike Milovanovic, Billy Wilkinson, Luciano Fabrizio, Frank Mengotti, Ray Junna (Russell Robinson 76), Bobby Hamilton, Peter Carey (Paul Schiavo 86), Steve Glockner, Alan Reis, Gary Bromfield.

Lions: Wayne Evans, Steve Jackson, Rod Vasquez, Alan Hunter, Alan Niven, Russell Stewart, John Stewart, Clark Anderson, Joe Cairney, John Ogden, Jim McDonagh.

Stats thanks to

Paul Schiavo (right) alongside Alf Catalano after they were inaugurated as Club Immortals. Photo Anthony Napoli.

Billy Wilkinson

Brisbane City FC Legend

200+ National Soccer League Appearances.

“They were the highlights of the season – of all the games in the old NSL, that was the game you looked forward to most.”

“They were hard games. Very hard and very good games. People who were there watching will attest to that and be able to tell you how high the quality was.”

It was an important game in the NSL because there was already that rivalry there from long before I arrived, from the days of Hollandia and Azzurri.”

“Every one of them were your typical derby games – hard, fast, winner takes all football. They were played at 100 miles per hour, with no quarter asked and no quarter given.”

“Not long after the modernisation of Spencer Park, after the grandstand had been built the atmosphere was fantastic, it was already there when you ran out onto the field because a lot of Lions fans would come down and sit over to one side, but they were outnumbered 5 to 1 by the City fans and they just went ballistic when you walked out.”

Brisbane City FC Club Legend Billy Wilkinson at the club.

Craig Geerssen

1990 XXXX League Champion

Brisbane City FC Senior Team Manager

“I enjoyed every one of the Classico’s that I played in. They were difficult games no matter where you were sitting on the table. It was always a fierce rivalry, they were always very close, very tight, very physical.”

“That will continue, I hope it always continues forever and a day because I think it’s one of those great things when you’ve got a really big rivalry that’s been going for such a long time. That momentum keeps going and generations on, they still have that same feeling when they play each other.”

The Brisbane City Brisbane Premier League Grand Final winning team of 1990. Read more about the 1990 Grand Final in our Classic Classico series by clicking here. Photo from Archives.

Nick Meredith

Fox Sports Football Presenter

1996/97 National Soccer League Champion with Brisbane Strikers

“The games against City were always the seasons highlight, the game I recall the most was the XXXX League Grand Final in 1987. We beat City 2-1 in front of a packed Perry Park. It was a quality City side with Frank Mengotti, Frank Pimblett and Kieran Cooper all playing.”

Nick Meredith in action for Strikers in the NSL. Photo supplied.

Craig Collins

Brisbane City FC Youth Team Coach

“Going up against Nicky was tough, but I was better!” Chookie laughed. “Yeah it was always a good battle, plenty of banter. That’s what made it tough with Nicky, he could have a go at you, he always knew what he was saying and we were both quite quick and it was a good battle.”

“(Playing in the Classico) was always a big game. When I played for City when we played against Lions it was always big. Always had the biggest crowd and was a good rivalry, always has been.”

Craig Collins (left) with Julian Lorenti after the Youth team’s dramatic win over Lions in Round 1. Photo Simon Smale.

Warren Moon

Lions FC Senior Team Coach

14 A-League Appearances with Brisbane Roar

“They were always very hotly contested battles, it was a real tough atmosphere. I think it was because of the rivalry but also because both were good teams with some really good players.”

Warren Moon, current Lions Coach. Photo from Football Brisbane Media.

“I’ve been concussed two times in my playing career. Both times against City. Both times at Spencer Park. Both times the same player. There’s no hard feelings, that was the reality of playing in the late 90’s when the rule about elbows wasn’t what it is now. I don’t think he meant to hurt me, he just jumped with his elbows out.”

“My best memory was when we beat City 6-0 at home with over 1,000 people in 2002. The build up was massive, there was a sense that this was the big one. The crowd was huge, the grandstand full all the way down. The noise and the atmosphere was incredible, it was a big afternoon and a big day.”

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