The 1960 season opened with a disappointing lost to JUST in the pre-season Sun Cup final, and a lacklustre league start had them placed in mid table after round six. Van Hoboken introduced a number of new signings, including Dick van Alpen, an ex-Ajax midfielder who went on to be capped ten times for Australia. Unfortunately Wilhelmina failed to show the same consistency as in ’59, and finished the season in fourth place. ’61 saw more new player signings, but although the club were still mathematically in the race for the title coming into the last round they drew 0-0 with eventual champions Polonia and had to settle for third place behind George Cross.
1962 began an exciting new era for Wilhelmina. Following up on information of a new sporting complex under development in Ringwood, van Hoboken approached the Ringwood Council chambers and submitted an application for a new soccer facility. Although soccer was low on the council’s agenda at that time, Hoboken’s proposal to fund the development himself found no objections, and Jubilee Park preparations began, with the club’s name changing from Wilhelmina D.S.C to Ringwood City Wilhelmina. The new era began promisingly with Wilhelmina winning the Ampol Cup under lights at Albert Park, with a 3-2 win over George Cross, thanks to some heroics in goal by Rudi van Altena and the scoring inspiration of second half substitute Henny van de Linde.
Jubilee Park was finally unveiled on 31st March 1962 in an elaborate ceremony involving marching girls and band music. However, the new facility was rarely used for fixtures for some time, mainly because the club was so often billed in the “match of the week” which was played at Olympic Park. Despite fairly consistent form, Wilhelmina finished the ’62 season in third place, just missing out on second because of goal difference.
Ampol Cup winners 1962: Dick van Alphen, Leo Janssen, Sjel de Bruijkere, Leo Beerendonk, Tjibbe Keuken, Jo van Linden, Jan Bons, Neville Loyt, Cor Mathyssen, Rudi Autent, Huub Vleugels, Puck Storimans.
The beginning of the 1963 season saw Wilhelmina entered in the Australian Cup, which pitted the top four teams from Victoria and New South Wales against each other in a knock-out style format. Wilhelmina made the final against Adamstown, and despite the game being played away in Newcastle, clinched the title with a gutsy 2-1 win.
However, ’63 saw the demise of van Hoboken’s importing of Dutch players. FIFA had imposed more regulations to stop players travelling so widely, and with the advent of a fully professional league in Holland players had little or no reason to consider emigrating. Van Hoboken began instead to recruit his players from Britain, a move which changed the face of the Wilhelmina club forever. The club finished the season fifth amidst some disappointment.
After more ups and downs Wilhelmina finished the 1964 season in a previously unthinkable eight position. Though worse was to come, with the club finishing ninth in 1965. Van Hoboken kept faith with beleaguered coach Geraerds, despite a rival bid by reserve coach Paddy Sloan, a former Irish international who had spent time playing in the Serie A in Italy with both AC Milan and Udinese. Eventually though the poor results could not be overlooked and Geraerds was replaced by the returning de Bruyckere. But the ’66 season proved to be little better than the last. Despite the inspired signing of defender Peter Aldis to shore up Ringwood’s leaky defence, the club was relegated into the Metropolitan League First Division.
A team from the late 60’s: Note the nearly new Jubilee Park stadium in the background.
Relegation meant that not only did a number of players move on, including Aldis, but Jan Bens was installed as a new head coach, following the departure of the axed de Bruyckere. His appointment, along with the signing of 20 year old English striker Steve Atkins proved the tonic Ringwood was looking for and they finished the season as champions of the First Division. Atkins finished with 20 goals from just ten games.
Although the start of the ‘68 season was marred by a scorching Melbourne summer that left Jubilee Park officially “unplayable”, the temporary move of the club to Middle Park counted for little as Ringwood regrouped, signing several new players. In the end the season finish of seventh was seen as a pleasing result and a stepping stone to greater things. In fact, had it not been for a wayward patch at the end of the ’69 season, Ringwood would have indeed clinched the State League championship once again, but eventually had to settle for third, a result which some considered a major disaster. Some pride was salvaged though with the reserves winning the post season Armstrong Cup.