Welcome to the official site of Northern AFC. Northern was established in 1888 making it the oldest continually operating football club in the Southern Hemisphere, and is based at The Gardens Ground in North Dunedin, New Zealand. After amalgamating with Maori Hill in 1972, the club was briefly known as Dunedin North End (1972–1974) and then as North End United, a name we used until 1990. We have twice won the Chatham Cup, in 1959 and 1961, and have been finalists on eight other occasions.
Early Association Football in Dunedin
From the daily papers in 1875 and 1876, we see the game was played for at least two years. The Union Club, on the North Ground, and Dunedin, on the Oval, played alternate Saturdays rugby and soccer, while later on they tried half-time to each code. On May 25 papers state that 11 of the Football Club met 15 of the High School under Association Rules.
The next important step was a special meeting of followers of Association Football in 1887, when about 20 attended. Meetings were held, and in 1888, clubs called Northern and Southern started. The former was started slightly earlier than Southern, and commenced the game in Brown's paddock at North-East Valley. The other Club continued on Tahuna, where Dunedin played, and later this Southern Club played at the Kensington end of the Caledonian Ground.
Otago Daily Times , Issue 8156, p2, 13 April 1888 - Otago Daily Times excerpt
Other clubs were formed namely, Roslyn, Thistle from Sawyers Bay, Queens Park Rangers, Mornington and later Zealandia, Kaitangata and Wakari.
Early Northern Days
Notes supplied by Peter Young (goalkeeper), Patron early 60's, who commenced playing in 1893 (from 1963 Jubilee booklet)
Owing to the young men shifting to the North Island and the closing of the shops on the Wednesday afternoons and various other reasons, the 1894 season found us with only one senior player left to carry on. That man was Andrew Sharp, so he got us 16 year olds together to make up the senior side.
We kept going, although we were beaten every Saturday by a large number of goals. In about 1898, the Rangers Club, which had been established by the Hanover Baptist Church, disbanded and several members joined the Northern, which helped to strengthen the Club.
In the 1899 season, we were doing very well, the Roslyn team at that time being the best team in the grade, but in about July we played them on the Gardens Ground, and gave them a good game of it. I heard their captain say to a spectator, "We should put on 10 goals today," but they did not, we won 2 goals to 1. I reckon that this match was the start of the Northern Club's success in getting to the top. At the time, the two top teams in the second half of the competition played off for the Banner. So we played off with Roslyn on the Kaikorai football ground and it was a great match in which we were beaten by 5 goals to 4. The Northern Club never looked back after that and has usually been knocking at the door for first place.