Waitemata FC History

The birth of Waitemata FC started in Ranui. A club called Western United was formed headed by Tommy Russell, Reg Matthews and Frank Lowe. The Ranui community is steeped in rugby but the new club was formed in 1959 with junior teams followed by senior teams the next year. In 1960, the senior club came to life with a gala held at Cooks Paddock, in Swanson Road. Floats were made and travelled along Swanson Road from Redwood Park to the new grounds at Cooks Paddock. In the same year a float was entered in the Auckland anniversary show at western Springs and a stall was set up with table football on offer. the people and events that made up the history of the club is as follows: In 1961, our club president was Assid Corban and Patron was Sir Edmund Hillary. Western United's first senior games were played at Cooks Paddock with both the first and reserve teams playing. The reserves drew 2-2. The first team took on Eden, whose captain commented "I don't know where Western are from, but we'll show them how to play". Unfortunately for him, Western gave Eden a 5-0 drubbing!

In the early to mid 60's, Western United earned promotion to the 2nd division. In 1962 and again in 1967, Western United won the Dacre Cup. In 1964 Western United reached the semi-finals of the Chatham Cup Northern section, losing 3-2 to Mt Wellington in extra time. Ken Armstrong, the legendary Mt Wellington coach reported in the NZ Hearld that the support and singing from Western fans was akin to English football fans. 

In the early years, a large number of players were in the NZ Air Force based in Whenuapai, British and Dutch immigrants....and the odd Kiwi! The club was lucky to have some outstanding players and administrators. Players included Gary Eccles, Harry Precious (Auckland rep player), Ken Conway & John Summers. Goalkeepers were well to the fore in this listand included Denis Wells, Ron Wheaton, Derel Rowlinson, Gerry Keyning & Nick Bakker. Youngsters Bernie Hunter, Howard Bough & Eddie Verbieson maintained a high standard and kept the reputation of the club at a high level. Behind the scenes, John & Elaine Sheehan, Sam Oldfield, Yvonne Johns, John Mochan, John Krynen & Reg Keeling kept the wheels of administration turning along.

The success of football in the Ranui area was a significant acheivement in the early 60's. Young Frankie Krynen took a football to Ranui primary school and was told "not to bring a round ball to school". A few years later more football was being played than rugby.  In 1968 the club moved and renamed from Western United to Henderson AFC. This was short lived as in the 1970's they were once more on the move to their current home of McLeod Park. This began the clubs 50+ year history with the ground. As a provision for their new home grounds, Waitemata County Council, requested they change their name to Waitemata Football Club (WFC).

In the 60's when West Auckland was less developed, McLeod Park was nothing more than a field of gorse leading to marshland on the shores of the Whau River. Current member Nick Marsh recalls his father and uncles clearing the gorse, a job that would have been no small task given the size of the area. Upon WFC securing the rights to McLeod Park in the 70's, the council kindly donated bricks for the construction of the clubhouse and carpark. It was a much smaller building than you see today. It was basically one level with a small room with a small set of showers and a toilet. Life member Barbara Smith. fondly recalls after match functions in the original clubhouse, which then housed two pool tables! She described how everyone would spend the evening leaning side to side on their seats to avoid receiving a pool cue to the eye!!

The clubrooms were eventually redeveloped. The redevelopment involved securing funding, planning, finding contractors, the support of local businesses and a great deal of passion and effort from club members. Over the years, the club has enjoyed league and cup success at both youth and senior level. The men's 1st team secured back to back promotion into the Norther League and the women's team won all but one of their games in 2019! The much coveted Battle of the Bridge trophy is up for grabs every time a waitemata FC and Te Atatu FC senior team plays each other.

The love of the game can be best demonstrated by the remarkable record of Peter Van Der Sluis. Peter played continuously for 49 years and was the oldest player to play for the men's 1st team at the ripe old age of 47! A great example of how age is only a number and that love of football conquors all! A special debt is owed to the founders of the club whose efforts have developed the game in the region.

In their history, Waitemata FC is proud to have had a few All Whites/Football Ferns play part of their careers or early development at the club. These include, Gary Eccles (1962), Darren McClennan (1986-97), Roger Gray (1989-97), Karl Jorgenson (All Whites 1980's/90's), Yvonne Vale (Ferns 80's), Paul Urlovic (All Whites 90's/2000's), Tony Laus (1992), Neil Harlock (1995-97), Kenny Harlock (1997). 

Special thanks to Frank Krynen and 'Tales of Te Atatu' for providing this information (2019).

1959 - Western United

1968 - Henderson AFC

1970 - Waitemata City AFC

2014 - Waitemata FC

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