Carlton S.C. began its life in the NSL in the 1997/98 season finishing second on the ladder in its inaugural season.

A magnificent feat. The second season was not as successful as they finished 11th, but the team rallied and finished 3rd in its third and final full season in the top flight.

Less than 4 years after it was created and after only 8 games into the 2000/2001 season, the club folded with massive debts. Debts owed to players who tried to keep the club going by playing without being paid, well beyond the call of duty.

The PFA had valiantly tried to keep the club going, assisting with player payments and trying to advance talks with potential new owners. It simply wasn’t to be.

The Club went into administration on 17 December 2000, leaving 24 players with no employment and little prospect of finding a new club so early in the season. This spelt the end of a football career for a number of the Carlton players. Many distinguished names played at Carlton in its brief history including: Daniel Allsopp, Simon Colosimo, LuboLapsansky, John Markovski, Andrew Vlahos, Archie Thompson, Craig Deans, Steve Horvat, Joshua Kennedy, Andy Packer and Andrew Marth.

It took nearly six years for the administration to be finalised, the player’s finally receiving only a % of what they were owed. During those six years the player’s endured terrible hardships and many broken promises as they strived to resurrect themselves from the wreckage. Many waiting and relying on receiving their outstanding entitlements to meet their own personal debts, such as the mortgage on the family home. True to character, and with much resilience, many players soon learnt to get on with their lives.

The only reason that there was a distribution made to the players was due to the fortune and extraordinary talent of previous players. Now famous Socceroos, Marco Bresciano and Vince Grella, moved from Carlton to the Italian club Empoli with a sell on clause. This entitled Carlton to a generous payment on any future sell on. Empoli rocketed up the Italian leagues from Serie C to Serie A and both Bresciano and Grella were sold on. But the story is not that simple. The Administrators were forced to commence legal proceedings in Italy against Empoli in order to receive the payment, they eventually succeeded. Suddenly, creditors of Carlton S.C. were popping out of shadows like it was going out of fashion, everyone wanted a piece. Meanwhile, Carlton’s 2000/01 playing squad waited.

The Administrators had to resolve numerous claims from many creditors over the years. This further delayed any distribution being made as it was impossible to ascertain the amount owed to all creditors. In the end, there was simply not enough money to cover all the player entitlements. Understandably, many players had simply given up hope.

The PFA would like to thank all the ex-Carlton players for their co-operation through many frustrating and trying years. It is a testament to their fortitude that they were all able to put this saga behind. Many still possess a passion for the beautiful game, some are still playing and some have taken on coaching roles. Some have returned overseas and some are still playing overseas. Let’s hope that this never happens again.