Tuesday, November 19, 2019

New club Clarence Zebras sees the light of day

Photo:  The new club's badge [PlessPix]

Vale Hobart Zebras (aka Juventus, Hobart Juventus, Juventus Pioneer) (1956-2019).

Vale Clarence United (aka Phoenix, Eastern Suburbs) (1958-2019).

Long live Clarence Zebras!

That’s the story in black and white.

Hobart Juventus is no more after a long and illustrious history in the Tasmanian game.  The club produced some of the Tasmania’s finest talent and some players went on to represent Australia at senior and youth levels.

Clarence United is no more after being the dominant club on the eastern shore in past years.

They have had a horror couple of seasons and with dwindling support it was decided to merge with Hobart Zebras.

This new story, as with most stories, is one comprised of shades of grey and not black and white.

That story is that there is a new Tasmanian NPL club called Clarence Zebras.  This new club has much to do to equal the achievements of Juventus, for example.

It’s sad, really, that two clubs have become one and the State has, in effect, lost a club.  But that’s often what happens.  It’s happened in the past and will probably happen again.

Photo:  Former Clarence player Jeremy Price (left) and former Hobart Zebras player Riley Dillon show off the new strips [PlessPix]

Photo (L-R):  Maddie O'Brien, Danielle Kannegiesser and Caitlyn Maundrill model the new strips [PlessPix]

The new Clarence Zebras strip looks smart and congratulations must go to 11-year-old Lachie Pears, son of one of Hobart Juventus’s best defenders from the past, Bruce Pears, for coming up with the design.

Veto, the shirt manufacturer, also played a part in the design of the strip and the new club’s badge.

Clarence Zebras will have co-presidents to begin with in Nick Di Giovanni from Hobart Zebras and Ronnie Bolton from Clarence United.

At yesterday’s official launch of the new club at Wentworth Park, the co-presidents were both optimistic about the future.

Photo:  Co-president Ronnie Bolton (right) is interviewed by the media as co-president Nick Di Giovanni looks on [PlessPix]

“It’s a fantastic day and we’re looking forward to the future,” said Bolton.

“The process was relatively smooth and I thought it would take a lot longer, but there’s some good people behind this and the result is very good.”

The new club’s first training session is tonight [Tuesday] and Bolton did not know how many former Clarence players would be involved.

He said David Smith, who coached Hobart Zebras for the past season, would be the new club’s inaugural coach and playing matters were in his hands.

“This merger probably means survival for our club and former players and members,” Bolton said.

“When you’re at the bottom of the ladder for a while it’s very difficult to attract players and sponsors and it costs a lot of money to be in the top league so, for us, it was a no-brainer not to do this.

“If you’ve got the right people in the right places, players will come.  They may not stay, but at least they’ll come and have a look and potentially we could get some quality players.”

Bolton said the new club would talk to the Clarence Council about improving facilities.

“We got plans that we hope will come to fruition, but it may just take a while,” he said.

Money would need to be sourced from sponsors, the council, government and even the sport’s administrative body.

Photo:  Clarence Zebras co-president Nick Di Giovanni [PlessPix]

“It’s a great day and very exciting,” said Nick Di Giovanni.  “Everyone’s done a great job and we’ve moved quicker than I thought we would.

“With so much work by both committees, it’s come off really great.

“It was too and fro for a lot of meetings getting the colours right and the designs right, which we did in the end.

“They look magnificent and the committee saw them only last Thursday and everyone was unanimous in saying they look fantastic.

“It’s a new era with new colours and new emblem and at least we’ll look good to start off with.  Hopefully, everyone likes what they see.

“It’s going to be different and it may take a while [to achieve success], but it’s a long-term plan and not a short-term plan and you’ll see a lot of youth development through David [Smith] this year.

“The club expects to have four or five hundred players this coming season and we’ve got to start to do things differently for the future.

“We’ve got to look at how this ground and these facilities will be ten years down the track for the people of the Eastern Shore.

“Different times ahead, but I think they’ll be very enjoyable.

“The development of this ground will make the Eastern Shore something special.  We’re looking at something good for the future.”

Photo:  David Smith is the coach of the new club [PlessPix]

New coach David Smith said he was excited by the merger and he was looking forward to the coming season.

He said some Zebras players had moved on to other clubs or interstate and overseas and he was looking at Clarence players who might be good enough for the new senior side.

“We’ll have a couple of open sessions in the next few weeks, starting tonight, and we’ve invited 40 or 50 players and we’ll see what we end up with,” Smith said.

“We’ve got to front three senior teams and an under-18s and so we’ll see how we go.

“If you want to play for us, you’ve got to play for the right reasons because there’s no money, really.

“We’ll try and look after a few people but at the end of the day we’re all in the same boat here, with a little bit of training money and expenses, but we’re not a cashed-up club.”

Photo:  Players, committee members and sponsors of the new club at yesterday's official launch [PlessPix]

Smith said the club could not compete financially with the likes of Olympia Warriors or Glenorchy Knights in terms of paying players.

The key for the new club was to appoint the right coaches and administrators and to follow the right principles to take the club forward.

“You’ve got to set the bar as high as you can,” Smith said.

“We want it to be young, aggressive and dynamic and we’ve got to take a few risks and we’ll learn a lot of hard lessons during the year doing it.”

Smith said he was looking to bring youth through.

He said the club had three or four young goalkeepers and the oldest would be only 18 or 19.

“They’re the sort of challenges we’ll have moving forward but the long-term aim is to produce our own players because that’s what it’s about.

“We’ve got to be self sufficient and we can’t continue to bring in outside players every year.

“We’ve got to build them and get them to stay here and a youth programme is more important than anything else.”


Anonymous said...

All I see is Clarence Clarence Clarence. Hard for me to say this but Zebras got done big time.
Such a shame.

Riposi in Pace Juve.

The Phoenix said...

Um yeah ok. Listen mate Clarence had nothing that would have allowed them clout in negotiations. It's a merger for crying out loud. Both clubs lose but both win as well.

Like all things time will tell.

Anonymous said...

Fair play to Zebras. Thought this would play out as a takeover of Clarence. Looks like both clubs have been equally represented in the branding of the new club. It's only early days, but let's hope this continues well into the future in all facets of the new union.

Anonymous said...

Just the start of a complete Zebras takeover, in the coming years. The first step in acquiring new club rooms, playing and training facilities on a full time basis.
Clarence have just sold the farm.

Anonymous said...

Squad will be interesting?? Who's left from zebras??

Dontbeafraid said...

Haha, your all just afraid of this New Immaculate Looking Young Club, be afraid , bevery afraid ��

Anonymous said...

zebras to be the worst placed southern team this year.

Anonymous said...

Hahaha your funny

Leroy said...

I find this disappointing for two stand alone teams to feel as though this is their only viable option for the future.

Especially, Juve have now lost a tremendous history in Tasmanian soccer.

Co-presidents will not work either. It's a recipe for disaster. Who is really in charge?

Anonymous said...

When you combine mediocre (Zebras) with the worst (Clarence U) you can only get the worst brand of mediocre. So big chance worst Southern club in the final NPL standings September 2020.

Anonymous said...

Early predictions

This year will be tight in the NPL

Knights and Olympia to be the strongest in the south with some good new inclusions and money to spend

Kingbourgh to stay average and Sth hbt and Clarence to be youth and building

In the north Devenport to drop off with some big outs from last year, City to improve and Riverside to stay around the same.

ladder to look like

Sth Hbt

Sth Championship with the new npl inclusion - so many thoughts and questions re how the npl clubs will cope fielding 3 senior men teams. Depth a massive issue across the board.

Will this mean the u18 comp will be pulled apart to push players into the champ 1 comp

Will the div 2 comp fall apart for the same reason

once npl clubs are doing poorly will they stack their champ team ?

predictions for the championship

Hobart Utd
Sth Hbt
Sth East

Anonymous said...

Laun City
Clarence Zebs

Oh really said...

Lol; you gotta love these 4 month out predictions for 2020, considering Nobody knows the final squads at Any club i reckon your playing with your willies . Good luck to all the teams next season , get out thete and do your clubs and parents proud , hope its a lot closer than these predictions everyone

Anonymous said...

I love it how the people in charge of their clubs and allowed their clubs to become history, are still on the board of this conjoined club.
How can you expect this club to grow and be competitive when the inmates are still running the asylum?
Don’t expect nick to contribute funds until he has full control of the club.
I don’t think the honeymoon will last to long.

Observer said...

Just out of curiosity I took a peak at the Clarence Zebras boys training early this evening at the Domain and I tell you what although they have just started there seems to be a real good mix of talented youngsters and impressively fit looking seniors in the squad , I could hear David Smith from quite a fair distance away and he is really hitting them hard , I’m tipping if what I’ve seen continues to improve with an added good team bond and self belief these guys are not going to do as badly as most people think in the first season

Anonymous said...

David Smith will have an excellent year this coming season. He pretty much got his squad handed to him last year. He soon found out they were good on paper but that didn't translate to results. He will have kept the players he wants and brought in young recruits that can play and have the right attitude. That might not win them a title in 2020, but it's a step in the right direction for future years.

As for people writing off Devonport, pretty sure the same argument was made last year when they lost Mann, Holden and Blizzard. 'Lost too much quality'. Didn't stop them last year. They still have their miserly back 4, Pitchy, Hingston, Stone, Barnard. All are multiple trophy winners and aren't in a hurry to give it up. Only a few positions to replace really. Fitzgerald and Bidwell are out but they are replaceable. People keep picking the squads that have been bought when history shows only one bought squad has won the NPL title since it started.

Anonymous said...

Interesting comments 11.41 as i have been there too lately and i can't see too many NPL standard players there, I see Hey, Sunday, Pace, Burt, Walsh and not many more, so to be competitive they'll need a squad of 15 odd NPL players ,seems to me they have a long way to go, but i wish them all the best.

Anonymous said...

Not sure which session you watched last night - but a saw 19 players out of them - Hey, Pace, Walsh the only real NPL players (sorry I dot rate any of last years clarence players) and the rest a mix of 18s from last year.
I hope numbers across the board are stronger as we get closer. 4 teams are advertised as training which means you need 50+.

I went and watched Clarence, Knights and Sth last night

Knights and Sth looked strong although sth are definately light re experience.

but it is pre season -- time will tell

Anonymous said...

For all you Olympia people putting your team 1st keep dreaming.Tipping Olympia to implode by mid season. Zebras will be ok this year. Will finish above lions and Knights.

Anonymous said...

LOL Olympia people on here could be or could not be what does it matter? A prediction is a prediction. Just people making predictions 5 months before season starts. A bit ridiculous for any club to be thinking title in November 10 months out.

Anonymous said...

Boy oh boy , this is great stuff , Seriously , I can’t imagine anybody being that curious they would go to watch 3 pre season training sessions in 1 night ? PLEASE ! How long did you watch to come up with this ridiculous argument? 10 minutes including your helicopter flight to each venue ? Come on now just say Go Olympia And go to bed , dear me :)

The Phoenix said...

A thumbs up from me.

Anonymous said...

Knights have signed 4-5 new players that should all walk into the senior team. Other than Brown who has left, which players are going to lose their spot?