Northcote City FC
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|Full name||Northcote City Football Club|
|Ground||John Cain Memorial Reserve|
|League||NPL Victoria 2 West|
|2017||1st (Promoted from NPL Victoria 2)|
Northcote City Football Club is a soccer club based in the suburb of Thornbury, Victoria, Australia. Formed in 1960 by local Greek Australians, the club currently competes in the National Premier Leagues Victoria 2. This club was known as Princes Park Hercules during the 1960s and 1970s.
In 2011, Northcote won the inaugural Mirabella Cup, their first Victorian top-level silverware. In season 2013, Northcote City won their first Victorian Premier League Championship, defeating Bentleigh Greens 3–2 after extra time at AAMI Park.
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Foundation & Early Years
Northcote City FC was formed in 1960 by a group of Greek migrants new to Australia with a passion for sport and a need to form friendships in a new country, with soccer being the major connection. Northcote City FC is the third oldest Greek club in Victoria behind South Melbourne FC and Heidelberg United FC and in its formative years the club fielded teams not only in soccer but also in Volleyball, Basketball and Table Tennis. The club has enjoyed varied success since its formation and has the Dockerty Cup and Hellenic Cup to its list of achievements as well as reaching the Victorian Premier League (the highest League in Victorian soccer). A milestone in the club’s history was moving to John Cain Memorial Park in 1979, which even today is considered one of the state’s best soccer venues. In its formative years, the club was known as Hercules before adopting the Princes Park Hercules name given that it was playing at Princes Park, before changing venues to Fairfield Park in 1977 and adopting Collingwood City as the club’s new name. The new name was to only last a short time however and in 1980 the club clinched a significant breakthrough by negotiating with the Northcote City Council a move to John Cain Memorial park and another name change for the club with Northcote City SC the new identity. To this very day it is still the club’s home and name. The club first gained promotion into the Victorian Soccer Federation leagues in 1964 after competing in the amateur competitions in its formative years. In 1965 it achieved its first ever championship winning the Metropolitan League Division 4, suffering only one loss for the year. In a somewhat golden era for the club, consistent finishes in the upper reaches of the ladder, saw the club achieve a second championship in the 60’s with the Metropolitan League Division 3 title won in 1969. The early to mid 70’s saw the club struggling to make an impression on Metropolitan League Division 2 until a wonderful 1977 campaign saw the club finish second to Doveton and thus gain promotion to Metropolitan League Division 1 for the first time in its history. Another top 4 finish in 1980 saw the club achieve the ultimate and win promotion to the Victorian State League, which would later become the Victorian Premier League. The 1980s were not kind to the club and many bottom half of the table finishes ultimately saw the club relegated in 1991 back to the State League Division 1 competition.
The 1990s were not much kinder when a Victorian Soccer Federation restructure in 1999 saw the club relegated to State League Division 2 despite finishing 5 places form the bottom of the ladder. If the 1980 and 90’s were not kind to the club, then the first decade of the new millennium is arguably the greatest in the club’s rich history. An undefeated Championship success in 2002 in State League 2 North West saw it regain its standing in State League Division 1, a feat that lasted only until 2006. However the undoubted turning point came in 2007 when Peter Tsolakis was appointed coach of the club and after a mediocre first year at the helm, back-to-back championships in State League Division 2 South-East in 2008 and State League Division 1 in 2009 saw the club regain its status to the Victorian Premier league in 2010, coinciding with its 50-year anniversary. In their first year back in the Victorian Premier League Northcote City finished 5th on 31 points, qualifying for the Elimination Final which they lost 3–1 to Heidelberg United. In 2011 Northcote finished 6th on 39 points, which meant they missed out on the finals by 1 point, finishing behind Heidelberg who ended the season on 40 points. Despite failing to reach the Victorian Premier league finals, they did manage to end the season with some silverware, defeating Melbourne Knights 2–0 at AAMI Park to lift the Mirabella Cup. Despite losing key players such as Trent Rixon and the Trifiro brothers, Northcote enjoyed one its most successful seasons in its history, finishing 5th and making it all the way to the semi final of the Victorian Premier League, losing to Green Gully 3–1.
Premiership, Championship and Recent Years
Northcote City enjoyed the most successful season in its history in 2013, winning the minor premiership in the Victorian Premier League, followed by winning the VPL Grand Final against Bentligh Greens 3–2. Senior Coach Goran Lozanovski was awarded Victorian Premier League Coach of year and striker Milos Lujic won Top Goal scorer. The Under 21 team coached by Alex Gymnopolos won the Under 21 VPL, capping off a fantastic year for the Club.
The following season, Northcote finished 7th in the new National Premier Leagues Victoria competition, which replaced the old VPL. Northcote then finished 10th in 2015 and championship winning head coach Goran Lozanovski departed the club. Lozanovski had been at the club since 2011, starting as an assistant and assuming the head role at the beginning of 2012. Northcote were dealt another blow, as first choice 'keeper, captain and longest standing member of the first-team Chris Theodoridis departed for NPL rivals Heidelberg United FC.
Alex Gymnopoulos was announced as the new manager of Northcote City FC in September 2015. Gymnopoulos had previously held the position of u20 head coach at the club. After a disastrous start to season 2016, which saw Northcote manage just one point from seven NPL Victoria games and exit the 2016 FFA Cup to National Premier Leagues Victoria 2 side St Albans Saints SC, manager Alex Gymnopoulos was sacked as head coach of the club. On 18 April 2016, Northcote announced the return of former senior head coach, and VPL winner with Northcote City, Goran Lozanovski as Gymnopoulos' replacement. Lozanovski set about bringing the club out of its rut, and turned over many players in the mid-season transfer window, signing eleven players including former Newcastle Jets FC striker Braedyn Crowley, Moreland Zebras' James Papadimitrou and Bentleigh Greens' Danny Charalambous. "Lozza"'s return was marked by some upturn in form, including a 5–0 victory over Melbourne Knights, where Crowley scored all five goals, but also more heavy defeats, including 5–0 losses in successive weeks to Hume City FC and Bentleigh. Relegation to NPL2 was confirmed on the final matchday for Northcote, following a 3–0 loss to Oakleigh Cannons FC at John Cain. Just after the completion of the 2016 season, Lozanovski stepped down from his position.
In preparation of its first season outside of the top-flight since 2009, Northcote hired Zeljko Kuzman as its new manager for the 2017 season.
Below is the 2016 Northcote City Senior playing squad who currently play in the National Premier Leagues Victoria:
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
- National Premier Leagues Victoria 2 Champions 2017
- Mirabella Cup Champions 2011
- Victorian Premier League Champions 2013
- Victorian State League Division 1 Champions 2009
- Victorian State League Division 2 South East Champions 2008
- Victorian State League Division 2 North West Champions 2002
- Victorian Metropolitan League Division 1 Promotion 1980
- Victorian Metropolitan League Division 2 Runners Up 1977
- Victorian Metropolitan League Division 3 Champions 1969
- Victorian Metropolitan League Division 4 Champions 1965
- Hellenic Cup Champions 1985, 1986, 1999 Runners Up 1983, 2002
- Victorian Premier League U21 Participants 1991, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
- Victorian Premier League U21 Champions 2013
- Victorian State League Division 2 U21 South East Champions 2005
- Hellenic Cup Runners Up 2006
- http://www.fourfourtwo.com/au/news/northcote-defeat-bentleigh-win-vpl-crown, p. 1.
- "ANNOUNCEMENT: NORTHCOTE AND GYMNOPOULOS PART WAYS". Northcote City FC. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
- "ANNOUNCEMENT: LOZANOVSKI COMES HOME TO FULFIL HEAD COACH VACANCY". Northcote City FC. Retrieved 18 April 2016.
- "Northcote turn hopes to former A-League youth trio". The Corner Flag. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
- Caloutas, Ellie. "CROWLEY RUNS RIOT AS CITY SMASH KNIGHTS". Northcote City FC. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
- "ANNOUNCEMENT: LOZANOVSKI STEPS DOWN". Northcote City FC. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
- Kulas, Damir. "Kuzman to take reigns at Northcote". The Corner Flag. Retrieved 25 September 2016.