Garry’s involvement with football stemmed from his son playing for Northbridge Football Club as an Under 7 player in 1979. Northbridge Football club was formed in the early 1950’s competing in the Northern Suburbs Soccer Association before joining the Ku-ring-gai and District Soccer Association (KDSA) in 1973 with 82 players and 6 teams. In 1979, Northbridge had 14 teams with 181 players. In a rapidly growing Club, Garry held many positions including Team Manager, Coach, Canteen Coordinator, Ground Dresser, Club Secretary, Club Treasurer, Club Registrar and Club Recorder.
Garry started volunteering for the KDSA in an official capacity in 1987 as the Junior Vice President of the Association a role he continued until 1991. In July 1991, Garry also became Senior Vice President of the Association on the resignation of Peter Mason. Garry held the role of Senior Vice President from until the end of 1992. During Garry’s time as Junior Vice President and Senior Vice President, he was known for his organisation of Gala Day. In the 1987 Annual Report, Rod Woods states “The work put into the organisation of this day by Garry O’Neill was outstanding.” Garry also provided tremendous help in the organisation of Coaching Clinics. As Senior Vice President, he was responsible for chairing the Appeals Board which reviews decisions made by PD&DC and other Sub-Committees.
In 1993 Garry became the Secretary of the Association, a role he held until 1997. The 1993 Annual Report Phil Rees, President at the time, states “As Secretary, Garry O’Neill displayed a practical, realistic and tough approach to all aspects of the association management affairs. His underlying temperament to do the job in the correct, professional manner often ruffled the feathers of others who suffered from inability, incompetence and ineptitude”. Garry was known for developing internal and external processes to reflect the requirements of running a rapidly growing Association. He was decisive, definitive and positive in the discharge of his duties. In 1995, Garry was also responsible for ground hiring; utilising his business and computer skills, Garry developing financial data bases and spreadsheets for the Association. Garry did not stand again for any Management Committee positions in 1998 due to re-assessing and re-prioritising his lifestyle after open heart surgery.
During Garry’s time of involvement with the Association, the KDSA attained new standards of excellence in administration and achievements in competition, coaching clinics/courses and Women’s football. In 1998, the Association employed Michael Vandervelde as a full time Administrator making Garry our last volunteer secretary of the Association.
Garry was made a Life Member of the Association in 1995. We thank Garry for his significant contribution to football and the administration in our Association.