Playing long balls into empty space since 2012.

Tuesday, 2 August 2022

Formation of Footscray Soccer Clubs

The first Footscray British Football Club (FFC) was founded in 1912. It survived for two years until the emergence of two new (and legendary) clubs: Footscray Thistle (FT) and Northumberland and Durham United (N&D). The connections are between the two new clubs and the now defunct FFC remain to be discovered. Also, to what extent did FT dilute the player pool at Melbourne Thistle (MT)? My hypothesis is that N&D (by virtue of their inclusion as a 1st Division team in 1914) was something of a continuation of FFC and that FT (as a 2nd division team) represented something of an A team for MT. I'll need to check the team lists. Let's see how that works out.

The following is from the Independent (Footscray), Saturday 13 April 1912, page 2.

A few things to note: the very first team selection, with names and a little about MT Owens. Owens seems a guiding spirit and is secretary and centre-forward. He is the player who moved to Bendigo in 1913 to promote the game there.


A meeting was held last Wednesday evening at Shanahan's Plough Hotel, Barkly-street, for the purpose of forming a British Football Club for Footscray. There was a good attendance present at the meeting. In opening the meeting the chairman, Mr Liverage, said that it was desired to form a club for Footscray. The chairman went on to say that Mr M. T. Owens had put the club into the Victorian Amateurs' British Football Association. Mr M. T. Owens was elect ed secretary and treasurer, and Mr H. Derbyshire assistant secretary, while five non-players were elected for the committee; It was decided not to elect the captain or vice-captain until after the practice matches. A practice match will be held on April 13th prior to the league match. The first League match is against Williamstown, away, April 20th. The secretary states that he has vacan cies for one or two players. 

Team against Birmingham, Victoria: Goal, A. Liverage; backs, T. Loams and A. Matthews; half-backs, T. Gilmour, W. M. Lurgg and H. Darbyshire; forwards, H. Western, V. Foulds, M. T. Owens, A. Knight and J. Taylor; at Middle Park, kick off 3.30, Saturday April 13th. 

The Club has secured the services of an ex-professional trainer, and has given him the power of taking the players and putting them under special training.

A bit more on Owens and the visit of the Footscray team to Bendigo in the Bendigo Independent, Friday 23 August 1912, page 3


A reporter yesterday came across one of the Footscray soccer footballers who is going to play in our midst for the purpose of forming a soccer football club for Bendigo next season. His idea is that the Bendigo team is a pretty good team providing they have training. The player in question is thc centre forward of the Footscray club, also the leading goal scorer of the club. He states that the Bendigo public are the best sporting people he has come across. He played soccer in England, Italy, Gibraltar, America, and Australia, and he finds the Bendigonians the best sports he has yet met. When they arranged for the tour to Bendigo they simply meant to go to Bendigo and play the match for the Watson fund. Instead of that they were met at the station by the Bendigo representatives, driven to the club rooms of the Bendigo City Football Club and entertained by the officers of tlic club. The following day, Wednesday, they were again entertained by the Bendigo City Club. At 11 o'clock the players were received by the Mayor (Cr. Ross). Lunch was served out at the Court House Hotel by the officers of the Bendigo Miners Association. At 2 o'clock the players were driven in cabs round the city. All the  players of the club were pleased at the way that Cr. Little, of Eaglehawk, has worked for thc Footscray players during their stay in Bendigo. The Footscray player, Owens, who is staying in Bendigo, hopes to have a good team next season in Bendigo, as he will play for Bendigo and will enter the club for the Dougherty Challenge Cup in the Victorian Amateur Association, and hopes to beat his old club (Footscray), when they meet again next season in the Upper Reserve. 

Advertiser (Footscray), Saturday 18 April 1914, page 3


Northumberland and Durham United play their first match today when they meet A Birmingham (Victoria) on the local ground. A strong team will take the field and it is hoped a win for the locals will re sult. Owing to certain difficulties N. and D. are somewhat behind with their training but after this week things will run more smoothly. The reserves are to meet Spotswood at Spotswood. Players are still needed and are earnestly asked to communicate with the secretary, R. Martin, 214 Nicholson street, Footscray. 

Independent (Footscray), Saturday 31 January 1914, page 2

... According to the secretary, the Footscray Thistle Football Club is made up of "young Scotchmen" who are anxious to excel in the British Association game, and to secure a sphere of operations on the reclaimed area recently acquired by the Council on the other side of the river. It was resolved that the request for ground be acceded to, and that the Surveyor define the area to be granted. There is, it is said, room for plenty more in the same reservation.

Winner (Melbourne), Wednesday 10 February 1915, page 6



The annual report of the Northumberland and Durham United (British Association) Football Club, just presented to the members in annual meeting assembled, is most encouraging.

New players for next season were announced as follow: — Jos. Grieves, C. Grieves, G. Armstrong, E. Soames, Jas. Ford, W. Kiltie, . R. J. Hall and ^ Wrighton. A vote of condolence was passed to l« Mr G. Swinburne, the club's president, on his recent bereavement off- k ing to the death of his brother. In the course of the evening a presentation was made to Mr Darbyshire, the late secretary, who has been connected with the club since its formation. Mr Darbyshire was the recipient of a fountain pen and handsome pipe. Mr Darbyshire suitably replied, wishing the club success in the future. Officers for season 1915. were elected as follow: — President, Mr G. B Swinburne; chairman of committee, Mr Samuel Hartley; secretary, Mr David Jeffrey; treasurer, Mr John Thompson; assistant secretary, Mr Urban Armstrong; committee, Messrs J. Maskell, R. Meakin, J. Elcoat, T. Easton, and .J. Ketchell; : captain, Mr Ben Stevens; vice-captain, Mr John Robison. Thanks were accorded 'The Winner' for its articles on the game last season.


The Preston (soccer) F.C. have decided to give a complimentary benefit, in the form of a picture night, to Mr Matt Lynch, their trainer. Mr Lynch was formerly a Rugby player, and hails from St. Helens, Lancashire, England. 

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