Sunday, 8 August 2010

Northern AFC (New Zealand)

Northern claim to be the oldest continually existing club in New Zealand, having been formed in 1888. In fact, that establishment date also makes them older than any club in Australia too, which would make them the most aged team for many thousand miles in any direction. They are based in the city of Dunedin, situated right near the bottom of South Island, making them the most southerly of all the clubs who play in black and white stripes.

They are currently members of the Football South Premier League, the highest level of football on South Island, and effectively one level below the franchised New Zealand Football Championship, where they play alongside another seven clubs from the city - although their Garden Grounds stadium is based in the North East Valley suburb, a fair way from the centre of town.

And they've got some history behind them too. In 1962, the tobacco company Rothmans sponsored the first national inter-club series, featuring a kind of champion's league affair where the regional champions of the main urban districts played each other to decide the first true national champions. Northern made the final and beat Eastern Suburbs 3-2 in a two-leg final. This made them the very first national champions of New Zealand. They've also got good history in the Chatham Cup, the nation's premier knockout tournament, which they won in both 1959 and 1961 - although they've also been runners up on a massive six occasions. 

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