Breck breaks 48-year habit
By TANIA PHILLIPS
THIS weekend's Tweed District Soccer grand final between Tweed Heads and Tumbulgum will be a bittersweet affair for Brian Breckenridge.
The final, played on Brian Breckenridge Park, Tumbulgum, marks the end of the 48th and final season of the Tweed District Soccer competition - and Breckenridge has seen every one.
Next year Tweed District amalgamates with the Lismore-based Far North Coast Association as part of the current restructure of Australian soccer.
There will still be a competition in the Valley with predominately Tweed teams playing in it but it will no longer be the Tweed District Competition.
It will be the end of an era for Breckenridge, whose long tenure as Tweed District president will end with the amalgamation.
Breckenridge played in the first Tweed-based team as a 16-year-old back in 1958 and has an unbeaten connection with local soccer ever since.
"It (the amalagamation) will be a good thing in the long-run," he said.
"But it is a bit hard to let go."
And so it should be - the competition has been a big part of his life for a very long time.
"The first team was called the Murwillumbah Rangers and they played in the Lismore competition in 1958," he said. "There was no ground in Murwillumbah so the following year the team moved and changed its name to Tumbulgum Rangers."
The team, and Breckenridge, have been their ever since.
That first full Tweed competition in '59 involved the Tumbulgum Rangers, Murwillumbah Spartans (later United and now Murwillumbah Services), Mullumimby and Twin Towns.
There have been plenty of highlights for Breckenridge over those ensueing years.
A talented goalkeeper genes that have obviously been passed to his son and current Murwillumbah Services goalkeeper Michael Breckenridge - Breckenridge senior has played his fair share of representative soccer in his career playing Tweed District Soccer.
"I played on the field for three years and then the goalkeeper got hurt and I moved to goals - that was in '62," he said.
Breckenridge played from 1959 until 1981, was secretary from 1964 to 1974 and again from 1979 to 1981 and also in 1983. He was Tumbulgum treasurer for most of the time from the late 60s through to the early 2000s. He was named association president in 1991.
The association hosted the national under-13 titles in 1987 and Breckenridge was liason officer for the Northern Territory.
"The whole town (Tumbulgum) got behind that Northern Territory side," he said. "We billeted them out throughout the town."
Breckenridge is also the unofficial keeper of the competition's history. He has scrap books filled with old clippings and photos stretching back to the beginning.