OUR HISTORY IN BRIEF
The formation of the Avondale Heights Football Club began in September 1965 by a small group of locals who met at St. James Church in Macey Avenue Avondale Heights, to discuss establishing a football club for the youth of Avondale Heights and the surrounding areas. With the area being one of the fastest growing areas in Melbourne at the time, there was a great need for a football club.
In 1966, under the first President, Bryan Bailey, the first side to represent the newly formed Avondale Heights Football Club in the Essendon District Football League was an Under 15 team. Jack Edwards and Wayne Harvey-Little coached the first team. The average age of the players was 11 years and there was great celebration after the sixth game, when the team scored their first score…..a behind. It was a battling time for the committee to get the players to away games. The transport used then to carry the juniors to away games was on the back of Wayne Harvey Little’s tray truck, legs daggling on the side and players loving every bit of it. The team managed five goals for the season.
In season 1967, the club fielded it’s first open age team with a “C’ grade side playing at Doyle Street Reserve. The club originally had no change rooms until a member who was building a new garage offered the old tin shed from his house, as long as someone pulled it down. Club members pulled the shed down and re-erected it. The only facilities being a cold water tap and a borrowed generator for lighting. After game functions were held in the garages and backyards of committee members and supporters. Frank Monk wrote the Avondale Heights Theme Song which is still used today.
The year 1968 saw our first premiership when the under 15 team were victorious. Permanent clubrooms were also constructed at Doyle Street Reserve that year. Over the next few years, as the area’s population continued to grow, the club continued to grow as well. By 1972, the number of junior teams had increased to provide for the youth of the area with the club having teams represented at under 9’s, 13’s, 15’s, 17’s as well as two senior teams.
In 1976, the senior teams moved from Doyle Street to our new ground and facility at Canning reserve. The season was to be our finest when our senior team, led by our on field leader captain-coach Andrew Tarczon, brought home the club’s first senior team premiership defeating Brunswick City, 17.13.115 to 15.14.94.
In 1977, our senior team was promoted to ‘A” grade competition. By this stage, the club was fielding three senior teams and nine junior teams to become one of the biggest clubs in the league.
The Avondale Heights junior teams had become a great junior force in the competition throughout the 1970’s, winning premierships with monotonous regularity. Under 13 (1) took off the flag in 1970, 74, 75 and 78, and our Under 15 (1) team in 1975, 76, 77 and 79. The Under 9 and Under 17 also won flags during this golden period. In years to follow, a lot of these junior players went on to become senior players with club.
Over the next few years, our senior team remained in the “A’ grade competition and by now was well established at this level. In 1980 and 1984, our “A3” senior team won the premiership. Our junior teams continued to be strong also winning numerous premierships but the ultimate aim was to win the most honored award in the entire competition, the A Grade pennant.
The most encouraging achievements to come out of season 1982 was the ever improving financial stability of our Club and the closer working relationship with the Cricket Section. It was decided that year, that every effort be made to extend our clubrooms to include a licensed social section. In February 1985, after a tremendous amount of time and effort was put in to amalgamate the football and cricket club sections, the Avondale Heights Sporting Club Incorporated.
We had high hopes in season 1985 that our recruiting drive would produce the right mix of players for our senior team but the club could not and would not match the financial inducements being offered by other clubs. The Club cleared a total of 25 players from the previous season. It took till round eight to record our first win for the season. The second last round of that season saw Avondale Heights play Tullamarine. With both teams at the bottom of the ladder with two wins each, it was our chance to avoid relegation the following season. The final score was Tullamarine 7.7.49 defeating Avondale Heights 5.15.45. The final round saw Avondale Heights play premiership favorites Glenroy at Canning Reserve. Could we do it- yes we could- and we did. The desire and determination of the team ensured that the club avoided relegation.
History was made in 1987 when Avondale Heights, led by captain-coach Milan Savic proved to be too much for Airport West at Windy Hill, winning 18.16.124 to 12.10.82. Great celebrations were had that night by players, supporters and their families.
The highlight of 1990 off the field was the official opening of the new social club, a foundation membership was struck and dress and behavioral codes established. That season also saw a young player being awarded the under 13’s league best and fairest. His name was Matthew Lloyd. As history tells us, Matthew went on to play for Essendon with player honours including Coleman Medal, Representing Victoria, Representing Australia in International rules, Club 2nd best and fairest, premiership player and club captain.
Throughout the 1990’s, the club continued to be a successful member of the Essendon District Football League. However in season 2001, our senior team had a very difficult year resulting in relegation to “B” grade. This was a stage of great rebuilding by the club on and off the field. Over the next couple of years, the senior team continued to improve and in 2004, under the coaching of Gavin Kerr and captained by Rohan Eastway, the senior team went through the season undefeated winning the “B” grade premiership and also being awarded “Champions” status by Football Victoria for going through the season undefeated.
In 2011, The Avondale Heights Sporting Club mainly lead by the Avondale Heights Football Club lobbied local council and negotiated a major upgrade to the Canning Reserve Pavilion. The player facilities are now considered the benchmark in the EDFL competition. The same year, The Avondale Heights Football Club was awarded GOLD level accreditation from AFL Victoria which is the highest awarded level and is in recognition of exceptional club administration. Our club, is one of only four clubs awarded gold level accreditation from the 1200 clubs in Victoria and the first and only gold accredited club in the EDFL.
Today, our football club is well established as a major sporting facility in our district. Teaching, motivating, encouraging and advising players on discipline, fitness and sportsmanship in the environment of a football team.
Our club also provides an environment for players and their families to socialize and communicate in a friendly atmosphere.