In 1941 the name Cumberland appeared for the first time. It followed an organisation called the OTIOSE (pronounced OSHIRES) Youth Club in 1931 which involved junior teams many of whose players had begun at Unley High School. Early games were played at Hollywood Estate, now Cumberland Park. Senior games did not begin until 1943 and the first official colours were white shirts, black shorts and black socks with a white top.
Various grounds in the local area were used until a major move took place in 1951 to Bailey Reserve. President Alf Sillitoe and Secretary H Thompson worked very hard with Mitcham Council and received great support from Councilor Bailey and Mr. Frank Walsh MP to achieve the move. Improvements to facilities have been taking place ever since, the most recent being the outstanding work done by Mitcham Council and the Club to improve the playing surface and drainage of the main pitch. Colours too have changed. Chocolate and gold colours were adopted in 1946 and a huge Annual General Meeting in 1990 approved a change to green and gold. The colours chosen coincide with those of Mitcham Council the district to which Cumberland belongs.
Since its inception Cumberland has competed in various tournaments and competitions and has won numerous trophies but probably none more significant as in 1978 when the club won the State League Championship and the Federation Cup in the same year.
The significance of the win can be measured more clearly if you take into account that up to 1978 only ten (10) clubs had ever achieved the League and Cup double since 1903 and some very illustrious clubs had never won the League Title, clubs such as Croatia, Azzurri, Beograd, Victoria, Elizabeth, Para Hills and Campbelltown.
Players and officials involved with the squad that year were:
Robert Parks *, Barry Leane, Alan Portlock, Mike Ball (Captain), Laurie Peterson, Daryl (Harpo) Evans, Gary Reeves, Brian Welsh, Dave Mahony, David Leane, Steve Parks, Martin Charman, Dave Mexsom, Tim Dobney, John Mason, John Penman, Julian Stuart, Brian Harvey, Gary Pankhurst-Kevin Johnson, Perry Nash, Kevin Megeney.
Denis Harlow -Manager/Coach
Dennis Grant - Senior Coach
John Garside - Assistant Coach
Don Jackson* - Physiotherapist
Team Manager - Dave Mathieson
The Club has had fluctuating fortunes in terms of maintaining strength in the top league. Most recently it won promotion to the Premier League in 1997 by being State League Champions and followed this success by winning the Premier League in 1999. In the same year Team Captain Les Matiscsak won the Serge Melta Medal, (with two other players) as Player of the Year, a feat only achieved by one other Cumberland player, Tom Caton, who won the same award (which at the time was the West End medal) in 1973.
In 2009 Cumberland again won a League and Cup double but as the League was the 2nd Division it is not recognized as an official League and Cup double.
Over the years Cumberland has had a reputation for being an extremely consistent team and no matter how good the opposition, the result was never a forgone conclusion. In fact during the period from its beginning in 1943 until l981 (39 years), the club had only been in the 2nd Division on four occasions and never for more than one year at a time (1953, 1967, 1969, 1976).
The Club has participated in many varied competitions over the years, both in South Australia and interstate
(SA) Whyalla, Port Pirie, Naracoorte, Mt Gambier, Berri, Barmera
(Vic) Prahran, Springvale, Moorlands
Cumberland achieved a significant win in the Barmera Carnival in 1967, when it got through to the Final and beat Polonia 2-0 to take the trophy.
Biggest Victory League 11 – 0 V South Adelaide 1943
Biggest Victory Cup 14 – 0 V Elizabeth “B” 1960
Biggest Defeat 0 - 8 V Port Thistle 1954
Most Goals in a game 7 – M.Dunbar * V South Adelaide 1943
Most Goals in a season 40 – M.Dunbar * State Record 1944
In 1980 Cumberland fielded a Women's team for the first time which was coached by Daryl (Harpo) Evans and assisted by Garry Reeves. The team was called Cumberland Vixens, the formation of this team was initiated by Mrs Rita Pidgeon and Carol Sissons and made up of various player's wives and friends who wanted to play soccer.
The team started in Division 2 and became Champions in their first year and consequently promoted to Division 1. The Vixens fielded two teams in 1981, one in Division 1 and the other in Division 2. The coaching staff changed with Eddie Chilarski taking over the 1" Division side and Simon Murdoch helping with the Division 2 side. In 1981 the first team came second in Division 1 and won the cup in the same year while the second team came second in Division 2. This was quite an achievement for a team which had been in existence for only 2 years.
Over the following years the Vixens had various coaches but eventually moved their operations to the Marion club in approximately 1987.
Junior Football at CUFC has gone from strength to strength for both males and females. The Club established a more focused junior program in 1990 which has continued to grow since then, with 32 teams currently playing at A.A Bailey Reserve in 2013. Many of the present senior players both at our club and at other clubs in SA began their Club Football at Cumberland. This has been one of the key objectives of the program now coming to fruition.
Cumberland United has remained true to its origins as a District Club. While its colours may have changed, its name and composition, unlike most of the other teams playing in 1943, has remained true to its foundation.