Bellambi club president Bruce Cunningham has boldly declared they are "here to stay", despite rumours swirling that the Rosellas have been on the brink of folding.
There have been concerns expressed about the Rosellas' future within the Illawarra football community following a nightmare on-field campaign across all three Premier League grades.
Bellambi collected the wooden spoon across all three grades in the 2023 IPL senior competitions. Combined, their first grade, second grade and youth grade sides claimed just one win and two draws from 66 games and also conceded more than 550 goals.
Cunningham acknowledged that it had been a difficult season for his club, but was quick to reassure that the Rosellas aren't going anywhere soon. However, the president added that Bellambi had applied to be relegated to the District League in 2024.
The Rosellas have been up in the Illawarra's top-flight since gaining promotion after securing the 2019 District League premiership double.
Bellambi were poised to be relegated ahead of the 2023 season, however, they stayed in the IPL when Woonona withdrew from the men's premiership last December.
"People seem to pick on one particular club, and as a result of that, rumours run amok," Cunningham told the Mercury.
"But we're in pretty good shape. All of our coaches have been signed for next year, with Steven Dimitrievski coaching first grade next year. We'll have to rebuild, but that's part of the process - every club goes through a rebuilding phase. I've been involved with football now for 45 years and that never changes. We'll do the same and we'll improve.
"It was a very difficult season given that we received a late application that we were going to be in Premier League. But through adversity, you grow character, and character grows football. And that's what we're about. We're giving young coaches and players opportunities to move forward.
"Some of those players got opportunities in Premier League that they may or may not have been ready for. But they've learned a lot along the way and they'll learn going forward."
Despite their difficult season, the Rosellas did walk away with one major award at Football South Coast's Men's Gala Presentation Night last Friday. Bellambi received the IPL's Fair Play Awards, which takes into the account the number of yellow and red cards that teams receive during the year.
The Rosellas boasted the cleanest card record in the Premier League. When collecting the award, Cunningham told the crowd that "we're here to stay".
On Thursday, he added that the club also remained in good shape off the field.
"We've got an AGM coming up towards the end of the month and all of our positions are filled and ready to go. I'll fulfil this role again, should I be elected," he said.
"But we've got a full complement here, we're all good."
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