Moreland City traces its roots to 1916 when it was established under the name Coburg. It is today the oldest serving club in Football Victoria.
Over the course of more than 100 hundred years Moreland City has changed significantly. In 1934, the Coburg Soccer Club merged with a breakaway group from the then Brunswick Soccer Club to become Moreland. It adopted the alternate names Moreland Victoria and Moreland Thistle between 1965 and 1970. After the 1985 season Moreland City merged with Park Rangers to form Moreland Park Rangers. In 1990, Moreland Park Rangers merged with the new Coburg football club to form the club as it is known today – Moreland City
The 1934 Dockerty Cup was an important turning point in Moreland City’s history.
Coburg (who subsequently merged with Moreland) was bundled out of the cup by St Kilda in a 2-1 defeat in the first Round. However, Moreland progressed to the second round defeating Brown Coal Mine United 3-2.
In round two, Moreland played Preston on 5 separate occasions before proceeding to the third round in controversial circumstances. The scores were as follows:
• Round Two: 16 June, at Coburg Oval, Moreland 3 Preston 3.
• Round Two Replay #1: 23 June, Bell Street Reserve, Preston 1 Moreland 1.
• Round Two Replay #2: 30 June, Olympic Park, Melbourne, Moreland 3 Preston 6. Replay ordered after Moreland successfully protested that J Lyons (Preston) was a suspended player
• Round Two Replay #3: 21 July, Olympic Park, Melbourne, Moreland 4, Preston 4
• Round Two Replay #4: 4 August, Middle Park, Moreland 5 Preston 3.
• Round Two Replay #4: 4 August, Middle Park, Moreland 5 Preston 3.
Moreland then won their third round match against Footscray Thistle 2-1, but were knocked out in the Semi-Finals by Royal Caledonians 2-0 who went onto win the cup.
Moreland went onto a successful 1935 season, losing only one game and winning a league on superior goal difference ahead of Navy. The following season, 1936, Moreland won the first of its Victorian Division 1 championship titles. Moreland topped the eight-team league finishing the season with 20 points, one ahead of Royal Caledonians.
In 1937, Moreland won its third consecutive title and second top-tier trophy in a row finishing with 21 points, one ahead of Prahran.
The club also won the Dockerty Cup on four occasions, three times as Moreland (1941, 1950 and 1957 and once, in 1945, as Moreland-Hakoah.
As mentioned above, the Dockerty Cup victory of 1945 came under the name of Moreland Hakoah. During World War II, there was a temporary merger between Moreland and Hakoah, a club who had a predominantly Jewish supporter base.
Some clubs had difficulty fielding teams during the war years while others were forced to close down because many players had left and enlisted for the armed services. By 1946, the merger between Moreland and Hakoah came to an end with clubs again participating as separate teams.
RELEGATION, PROMOTIONS, AND CONSOLIDATION
In 1950, Moreland finished in the last place and was relegated to Division 2. They did, however, record their third Dockerty Cup triumph, beating Box Hill 2-0 in the final.
1952 brought the first Division 2 title, the team winning 17 of its 18 games and scoring 110 league goals. They hit double figures in four games and defeated George Cross 12-0 and 10-0.
Back in the top flight, the team consolidated its position finishing fourth in 1953, sixth in 1954, seventh in 1955 and eighth in 1956.
Two Moreland players, midfielder Frank Loughran and forward Ted Smith were included in Australia’s 20-man soccer squad for the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne. It was the very first Olympic football tournament for Australia.
Before the opening games with Japan, the squad trained at Moreland’s ground. Australia also played Great Britain and Yugoslavia in warm-up matches at Moreland, losing 3-1 and 5-1.
In their first ever Olympic soccer match, a 2-0 win over Japan, Loughran scored the second goal.
THE DIFFICULT PERIOD
During the 1950s and 1960s, the face of Victorian soccer started to change with the ethnic clubs becoming stronger on and off the pitch.
Such clubs began to offer players, for the first time, a wage. Presidents of the powerful ethnic clubs travelled around Melbourne buying up the best players.
Moreland was a favourite target for rival clubs as they tried to poach players. However, Moreland managed to hold their young team together (Moreland had 5 Players – 21years or under, David Oxton, Norm Hobson, Don Hodgson, Ron McCall & Ted Smith in that team) on their way to winning the 1957 Dockerty Cup, for the fourth and last time.
By 1959 a number of notable players had moved from Moreland to other clubs including Don Hodgson who went to George Cross with Norm Hobson the following year, Ted Smith to South Melbourne Hellas in 1961 and David Oxton to Juventus in 1963.
In 1962 Moreland had a written guarantee that the great Stanley Matthews would play eight games with the club. However, this deal fell through because of a FIFA ban on foreign players coming to Australia. Eric Heath said his team had correspondence with Mathews and he “really wanted to come”.
“He remembered Frank Loughran, his old sparring partner, from the Blackpool tour in 1958. You see Tommy Trinder and Harry Hopman were both patrons of the Moreland Soccer club” said Heath.
Moreland finished in second place in the league in 1957 winning promotion to the new Victorian State League for the 1958 season.
At the end of the 1962 season, the team’s fifth in the State League, Moreland finished bottom, winning just one game and losing 2-1.
In 1968 – now known as Moreland Thistle – the team was relegated from Metropolitan League Division One to the Victorian Metropolitan League Division Two – now the 3rd tier in the state – until 1978 when they finished 2nd and were re-promoted.
Moreland Thistle finished bottom of Division One in 1981, but were not relegated. They finished bottom again and were relegated in 1985, the final year of their existence.
The club returned to operation after a merger with Park Rangers in 1986 in Division Two, now known as the Moreland Park Rangers
2010 TO PRESENT
In 2010, under the leadership of former player and coach Maurice Bisetto, Moreland City began a mini-resurgence after being relegated to State League 3 North-West in 2008 and re-promotion the following year.
Now Moreland City, they saw an influx of Welsh and English players join the club to top up its rich multi-cultural list and promotion to State League Division 1 again became a possibility.
In 2010, Moreland City finished 3rd with 12 wins, 2 draws and 8 losses on 38 points. The young team tapered off towards the end of the season, but the performance was exceptional after Moreland were written off by my most as relegation candidates. In that season, Kam Simsek won the League Golden boot award.
In 2011, Moreland City had a similar record 12-2-8 (38 Points) finishing an agonising 4th despite some outstanding performances throughout the season. Welsh pocket-rocket Sam Wade won the League Best & Fairest and fellow Welshman Darren Griffiths took out the League Golden Boot.
In 2012, however, City took another step forward finishing 2nd with the 13-5-4 record and 43 points but subsequently lost to Box Hill United in the promotion playoff. Yet another Welshman Adam Orme won the League Golden Boot award.
The hard work and persistence paid off for Moreland City in 2013 when they took out the State League Division 2 North-West League Championship.
OLD BOYS REUNION – ‘FRANK LAUGHRAN MEDAL DAY’
The final home fixture of each season is known as the Old Boys Reunion or ‘Frank Laughran medal Day’ with an active club effort to gather past players, members and supporters for a memorable day. The on-field competition is always thrilling and off-field get-togethers fantastic. It isn’t possible without the help of ALL at Moreland City so please get the grape-vine working and pass info on to any one from Moreland – Coburg – Park Rangers that you have contact with.
It is always a great day in honour of a great little champion where the Moreland City Best On Ground is awarded the Frank Laughran Medal. From 2013, onwards this event takes place on the first or second home game of the season.