APIA Leichhardt are going back to the future - returning to its roots with a complete re-brand as part of a new era for the historic club.
The former NSL powerhouse has launched a new club badge, but older readers would be forgiven for recognising it.
The new badge is APIA’s original, after the club decided to reintroduce the same crest they used when formed as Associazione Polisportiva Italo-Australiana in 1954.
The club has also dropped the 'Tigers' moniker.
“This is about linking the past with the present, and the present with the future,” APIA’s chairman Jim Apostolovski said.
“We want to position ourselves to be one of the pioneering clubs that enter the new second division when it launches.”
The move makes APIA the first club to return to their original name and badge since Football Federation Australia repealed its controversial National Club Identification Policy, which effectively banned clubs from having ethnic identities.
The new badge was launched last night at the club’s home ground, Lambert Park, with former Socceroos captain Charlie Yankos as special guest.
Yankos played for the APIA team which won the 1987 NSL Championship, undefeated, under the tutelage of Rale Rasic.
“This place (Lambert Park) was very different back then,” Yankos said.
“It was just mud. And every time we played here the balls would fly on to the train tracks or the main road.
“I have great memories of that time, and that team is part of Australian football history.”
APIA veteran Franco Parisi was a junior at APIA, which has been the launching pad for a career that has seen him win the NSL with Sydney Olympic, and also play in the early seasons of the A-League.
Last season, the evergreen number 10 played a key part in APIA’s run to the championship, sealed with an extra-time win against Sydney United 58.
“This badge means a lot to me, perhaps more than to the younger guys - because I’m old,” Parisi said.
“What we’ve achieved in the past few seasons has been nothing short of amazing, but there’s more to come.
“It means so much to be here to launch this badge and I’m so excited for the prosperous time ahead for this great club.”