Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Two become one at Cobram

Cobram and Cobram Victory soccer clubs will become one big happy family after members voted in favour of them merging.

MATTHEW GALEA July 25, 2014 3:05am

Cobram and Cobram Victory will no longer be arch-rivals on the pitch after members of the clubs voted to merge on Wednesday.

After 16 years and at the third attempt, the Cobram soccer family has finally reunited as one.

Financial and life members of Cobram and Cobram Victory soccer clubs came together on Wednesday night at an extraordinary meeting and voted to merge the two clubs in to a new, united entity.

The formation of the new club will now fall to a steering committee, which will feature 11 members — four from Cobram, four from Victory and three independent, local business people — which will form a constitution, find a home and install a permanent committee.

Cobram president John Ventre was positive about the decision, but said there were no guarantees the new club would be playing in the Goulburn North East Football Association competition next year.

‘‘We’ll be open to anything,’’ Ventre said.

‘‘At this stage we’ll stay with GNEFA, but anything is possible. We wouldn’t mind if GNEFA could try and attract a few more teams to the league.’’

Ventre said the merger signalled the beginning of a new chapter in Cobram’s soccer history.

‘‘I think we can be a fairly formidable unit up here,’’ Ventre said.

‘‘Rather than pinch players off one another we can work together and that’s what is best for the soccer community as a whole.’’

Cobram Victory committee member Michael Startari, son of president Tony, said the mood at the meeting was positive and the result of the two clubs’ respective votes was emphatic.

‘‘I’ve been to a couple of these meetings before that have fallen over and it was a lot different this time,’’ Startari said.

‘‘This is the third time we’ve done it and the mood was pretty good.

‘‘We held separate meetings in separate rooms (at the Cobram Italian Club). We did a secret ballot and the vote in favour was over 90 per cent, and they did a show of hands vote and I think their’s was 100 per cent.

‘‘After the vote everyone went into the same room for a chat and a drink.’’

After failed attempts in 2004 and 2008, Startari said there was no denying circumstances demanded the merger go ahead.

‘‘Just numbers wise, both clubs used to have good numbers, but they’re slacking off now,’’ Startari said.

‘‘Financially, it’s hard to get sponsorship for two clubs out of a small town, so it was a no-brainer really.

‘‘Even the people not involved in soccer are rapt. It gets everyone back together and on the same page. There’s no more rivalry.’’

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