|What is this archive?
The Victorian Football Club archive aims to collate the finishing league positions for every club that has competed in Victorian Association Football since league competition began in 1909. For the avoidance of doubt and in relation to the current league structure which exists in Victoria, this involves clubs that compete in the two tiers of the National Premier Leagues Victoria (NPLV) and the five tiers of the Metropolitan State League (MSL). In all, there are 518 individual club entries in this archive, almost 200 of which are active clubs currently participating in competition.
How do I navigate the archive?
Active clubs can be navigated via hyperlinks in the Active Clubs index, while inactive clubs can be similarly navigated via the Club Catalogue. Clubs are alphabetically grouped by page, with header icons allowing you to jump to certain pages, and an additional hyperlinked menu available to jump to any page in the archive. It must be noted that while some clubs may still be competing in other competitions (i.e. Metropolitan League, Bayside Football or VicSoccer), unless they are currently active in the NPLV or MSL, their historical records will be found in the Inactive Club section of the archive.
What's new in Version 2.0?
The precursor to the archive – the Australian Club Database
I embarked on a mission to catalogue club football in Australia at the turn of the century, releasing the Australian Club Database in late 2003. This was an 18-month project which brought together a mountain of information I had gathered from various sources. Gradual updates were released throughout the course of 2004 and 2005 but I reached an impasse when much of the information prior to World War II was simply too difficult to find. Oddly enough, it was my executive role with Football Federation Victoria which eventually saw me put the project on hold for an indefinite period as I focused on a more productive work-life balance.
Paul Mavroudis picked up the baton for a period of time in 2007 and 2008, adding additional historical information for Victorian entries as well as expanding the archive to include clubs form Northern NSW and the A-League. Updates continued through to 2011, but for the most part, the archive has remained idle since then, serving as a point of reference for football fans, researchers and former players keen to relive their glory years.
Rediscovering the golden age – an archive is born
Early in 2017, I rediscovered my passion for football history and more to the point, statistics. I dusted off the Excel spreadsheets and set about finishing a project I had my eye on completing for almost two decades. Come October, Aussie Footballers was born. A more focused and refined version of the Australian Player Database released some 15 years earlier, Aussie Footballers brought together every man and woman who had played a single match in the A-League, W-League, NSL and W-NSL. After releasing an update in June 2018, I needed to fill the void with a smaller project to keep me busy before the inevitable player update in mid-2019.
I had encountered the Melbourne Soccer blog on numerous occasions in my player research. Mark Boric had assembled quite the collection of odds and ends, but it was his own Victorian Football Statistical History which resulted in the definitive light bulb moment. It became apparent that Mark had compiled a number of those lost records I was missing in 2003 - for the first time ever, what could be constituted as a complete set of divisional records dating back to the very first competition in 1909, was now available.
Thus, the seed was planted, the next project was confirmed - take the Victorian parts of the Australian Club Database, update them, then create a Victorian club archive encompassing all 107 seasons of league competition. Two months later and the Victorian Football Club archive was born.
Tell me more about the archive
For active clubs, I have included the club’s foundation date (confirmed dates are in gold), their current playing venue with associated Google Map reference and any amalgamations or name changes which have transpired in the club’s history. Depending on the number of mergers or takeovers that a club has been involved in, the records for some entries can be quite convoluted and comprehensive.
For inactive clubs, I have included the club’s foundation date. In many cases, these are unknown, so the year they first appear in senior competition is included. Name changes are included in italics beside the club name, and where more detail is known about amalgamations, further information may be included in that club’s entry.
There is a divisional historical record for each club. This includes the year of competition, competition tier, competition name, finishing position, games played, games won, games drawn, games lost, goals for, goals against and competition points. There is also a notes field which may include details on whether a club won a championship, were granted automatic promotion or were relegated.
The competition tier relates to the position in the Victorian football pyramid for the specified competition. The names of Victorian competitions have changed so much since 1909 that the tier gives you a clear indication of the level of competition a club was involved in during a given season. The number of tiers has changed in that time too. At one point, in 1981, the Victorian football pyramid had 13 tiers, from the Victorian State League at the top to the Amateur League Division Two at the bottom. At present, as of 2018, there are 7 tiers, which certainly makes it easier for those aspiring clubs wanting to climb the rungs of the Victorian football ladder.
Note: National Soccer League and A-League performances for Victorian clubs are categorised as ‘N’ for ‘National League’. ‘D’ indicates that a club did not compete in a given year, in some cases this may be due to the non-competition years during WWI or clubs folding during WWII. There was also a number of regional clubs affected by the VSF’s decision to move regional teams back to their home leagues in the 1960’s.
Where are the Women’s League records?
Anyone who has followed my work knows the attempts I have gone to ensure that Women’s football is documented as thoroughly as the Men’s game. Aussie Footballers incorporates both genders in a way which embraces all players, first and foremost, as footballers, regardless of the competition they play in. However, there are two reasons why Women’s league results have yet to be included in the Victorian Football Club archive.
Firstly, determining the relationship between Women’s clubs and their Men’s counterparts can be a difficult proposition. Although clubs may share the same names, they may indeed be separate incorporated entities administered from entirely different venues by purposely appointed committees. There are references to some clubs in this archive (Box Hill and Brighton) who were kept afloat by their Women’s division while their Men’s teams were busy folding or amalgamating with other entities. Determining the full spectrum of active Women’s clubs and the part they play in any club’s history is a small project in itself, one I intend to tackle in the future.
Secondly, the divisional records of the Women’s game prior to the amalgamation with the Victorian Soccer Federation are difficult to come by. Paul Mavroudis managed to source some records from Betty Hoare, but the gaps are just too great to provide a genuine snapshot of the early years of Women’s football in Victoria. Any help in uncovering some of these records is genuinely welcomed.
Referencing the information in this archive
If you want to use any of the information in this archive to complement your own research or add detail to your club's website, please acknowledge the author and OzFootball and provide a link to the relevant URL. If you follow the link to your desired club from the Club Catalogue, the URL will include an anchor in the address which will link directly to the club on the relevant page:
i.e. http://www.ozfootball.net/ark/Clubs/VIC/Vic_Inactive_S.html#Slavia will go directly to Slavia's entry on that page.
Contacting the author
The envelope icon on the header of every page automatically links to my e-mail address. I do my best to respond to most queries, but as you can imagine, this is a volunteer endeavour and if I don't reply immediately, give it some time, I will eventually get to you. If you can provide any assistance with information regarding club amalgamations or name changes that have not been documented, please feel free to offer any corrections citing relevant references. I have done my best to ensure this information is true and accurate, but would gladly welcome feedback on any glaring errors or omissions.
There are several individuals I wish to thank…
Paul Mavroudis, for keeping the Australian Club Database ticking over a little longer and providing some worthwhile leads on his South of the Border blog.
Roy Hay, for his immense work in uncovering the history of clubs in the Geelong region along with several pieces on defunct clubs which contributed so much during their time in the game.
Mark Boric, who continues to delve deeper into the archives to uncover the detail which appeared lost. Without his work, this archive would not have been possible. His Melbourne Soccer blog is a must for any Victorian soccer fan.
Particular gratitude goes to John Punshon, whose work, in many respects, is unparalleled in this area. If you are interested in the history of association football in Victoria and have not visited the OzFootball Victorian League Archive, then you are doing yourself a disservice. In my opinion, it is the most comprehensive singular piece of statistical research undertaken by anyone in Australian football and the main reason why I decided to contribute to OzSoccer as it was then known. Much of John’s work lives in these pages and the vicfootball archive which was released in 2019.
Tony Persoglia, Victorian Football Club Archive