Williamstown Football Club
|Full name||Williamstown Football Club|
|Nickname(s)||The Seagulls, 'Town|
|Colours||Blue and Gold|
|Competition||Victorian Football League|
|Premierships||13 (1907, 1921, 1939, 1945, 1949, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1958, 1959, 1986, 1990, 2003)|
|Ground(s)||Williamstown Cricket Ground (capacity: 15,000)|
The Williamstown Football Club was formed in 1864, making it one of the oldest football clubs in Australia. The club was initially considered a junior club, before being granted senior status in 1884. Starting in 1884, the club competed in the Victorian Football Association. Williamstown's original colours were black and yellow.
When it joined the VFA, the Williamstown Football Club sought to play its matches at the Williamstown Cricket Ground, but was not granted permission owing to a dispute with the Williamstown Cricket Club, and instead used the unfenced Gardens Reserve as its home ground. In 1886, players wishing to play on the cricket ground ultimately established a rival senior club, the South Williamstown Football Club, which also contested the VFA for two seasons. In 1888, the dispute was settled and two football clubs amalgamated; and, through an organisational affiliation with the cricket club the Williamstown Cricket Ground was established as the football club's permanent home ground. The Williamstown and South Williamstown clubs were off-field rivals, but they never played a match against each other.
The suburb of Williamstown was named after King William IV in 1837 and was often referred to as "the village" or "the fishing village" in 19th century Melbourne; the club was thus known by the nickname "the Villagers" in its early years. In the late 1930s, Larry Floyd and Bill Dooley decided to adopt a more modern nickname, and the club became formally known as "the Seagulls". Throughout its history, the club has also been colloquially known by the abbreviated name 'Town.
Williamstown won its first VFA premiership in 1907, and its second in 1921. Its third flag came in 1939, and it followed one of the worst periods in the club's history: the club had finished last or near last each season from 1933 until 1938, including finishing in last place in 1938; but, its form in 1939 improved significantly, helped by the recruitment of Harry Vallence, a star goal-kicker from the Victorian Football League. Williamstown continued its recruiting raid on the VFL, recruiting star players Ron Todd and Des Fothergill, and won the first post-war premiership in 1945.
The teams of the 1950s were skillful and were coached by Wally Carter and Gerry Callahan. The club won five premierships in six seasons during the 1950s: in 1954, 1955, 1956, 1958 and 1959.
Williamstown's form slumped in the 1960s and 1970s, and it finished last in Division 1 in 1967, resulting in relegation to Division 2. It won the Division 2 premiership in 1969 under captain-coach Max Papley to return to Division 1. The club was relegated again in 1975, won the Division 2 premiership in 1976 under the coaching of Mal Allen, but was relegated again after 1977 and remained in Division 2 for a few years thereafter.
Despite playing in the lower division, the club remained one of the best-supported and most viable clubs in the VFA; and in 1982, when the divisional structure was modified such that the top division was selected primarily on off-field merits, Williamstown returned to Division 1 despite having finished only seventh out of ten teams the previous year. Terry Wheeler was appointed captain-coach in 1984, and by 1986 the club had gathered a group of players including Barry Round and Tony Pastore to make Williamstown one of the strongest clubs in the late 1980s. The club won the 1986 premiership under Wheeler; then, after losing consecutive Grand Finals against Coburg in 1988 and 1989, Williamstown defeated Springvale to win the 1990 premiership, under captain-coach Barry Round.
During the middle 1990s Williamstown slipped, and at its nadir in 1995, the club failed to win a game in either the firsts or seconds, and off-field the club was on the brink of folding – a fate which had already befallen many VFA clubs during the late 1980s and early 1990s – but it managed to keep operating.
In 2001, Williamstown entered into an affiliaton with the Australian Football League's Collingwood Football Club, under which Collingwood's reserves players were permitted to play in Williamstown's senior team when they were not selected in AFL matches. Williamstown and Collingwood were affiliated from 2001 until 2007, during which time the club won one premiership, in 2003. The partnership with Collingwood ended after 2007, and a new affiliation was established with the Western Bulldogs, which lasted from 2008 until 2013; during this time, Williamstown won the inaugural Foxtel Cup competition.
Williamstown and the Western Bulldogs ended their affiliation after the 2013 season. From 2014, Williamstown will compete as a stand-alone senior club in the VFL, with no AFL affiliation.
- Division One (13): 1907, 1921, 1939, 1945, 1949, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1958, 1959, 1986, 1990, 2003
- Division Two (2): 1969, 1976
- Foxtel Cup (1): 2011
V.F.A. best and fairest
- Recorder Cup: Charlie Stanbridge (1933), Neville Huggins (1937), Arthur Cutting (1938), Des Fothergill (1941)
- V.F.A. Medal: Charlie Stanbridge (1933), Fred Brooks (1935), Neville Huggins (1936, 1937), Arthur Cutting (1938, 1939), Des Fothergill (1941)
- J. J. Liston Trophy: John Martin (1956), Barry Round (1987), Brett McTaggart (1988), Saade Ghazi (1989), Paul Dooley (1996)
Norm Goss Medalists
- Julian Shanks (1992), Paul Dooley (1996), Jackson Barling (2005)
Gerry Callahan Medalists
- Most Games: Troy West 208
- Most Goals: Ron Todd 672
Team Of The Century
|Back||Eric Beitzel||Max Munday||John Ramsay|
|Half Back||Brett McTaggart||Gerry Callahan||Colin Wilcox|
|Centre||Jim Caldwell||Max Papley||John Martin|
|Half Forward||Ray Smith||Ron Todd||Ian Rickman|
|Forward||Harry Simpson||Mark Fotheringham||Saade Ghazi|
|Ruck||Barry Round||Eric Glass||Alby Linton|
|Interchange||Reg Harley||Bob Jones||Len Kent|
|Kim Kershaw||Tony Pastore||Tom Russell|
The Williamstown Football Club's guernsey consists of a blue background with a diagonal yellow sash.
- "The Football Season". The Argus (Melbourne, VIC). 30 April 1886. p. 6.
- "Football – the amalgamation of the Williamstown and South Williamstown clubs". The Argus (Melbourne, VIC). 10 February 1888. p. 5.
- Chris de Kretser (28 August 1967). "Burns was the "villain" of match". The Sun News-Pictorial (Melbourne, VIC). p. 60.
- Mike Smith (15 September 1969). "Seagulls back in top Div". The Age (Melbourne, VIC). p. 21.
- Ken Piesse (25 August 1975). "Port's Holt ruffles Roosters". The Age (Melbourne, VIC). p. 31.
- Marc Fiddian (6 September 1976). "Port has too many big guns". The Age (Melbourne, VIC). p. 33.
- Marc Fiddian (29 August 1977). "Brunswick's first final in 21 years". The Age (Melbourne, VIC). p. 25.
- Marc Fiddian (12 September 1980). "New VFA may save 'doomed'". The Age (Melbourne, VIC). p. 26.
- Marc Fiddian (8 September 1981). "Oakleigh potential fails to sway VFA". The Age (Melbourne, VIC). p. 45.
- d'Anello, Luke (21 September 2012). "Seagulls and Bulldogs cut ties". Leader. Retrieved 22 September 2012.
- See here