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AWFA -

The History of our association

At the beginning of 1973, there were two soccer clubs operating in the Albury-Wodonga area, Albury United and the Wodonga Falcons. Both clubs had senior men's and under 16 boys' teams playing in the North Eastern Victoria Soccer League which was based in a region surrounding the town of Shepparton.

In late February of 1973 at the AGM of Albury United, Bill Luders, who had only just moved to Albury, was disappointed to discover that there was only one junior soccer team in the whole of Albury. After this meeting, he was approached by Hans Laramee and Mike Smith about starting a local soccer competition. Both men were aware of some discontent among players due to the travel involved in the north eastern league, and there was also great interest in expanding junior soccer in Albury. They decided to organise a steering committee to look at the possibility of forming a soccer competition to be located in Albury-Wodonga.

The committee included;
Mike Smith as chairman
Ian Barker as secretary
Jimmy McKinven as treasurer
Hans Laramee as senior players' co-ordinator
Bill Luders as junior players' co-ordinator 
Frank Bannister Snr as referees and judiciary co-ordinator.

The group met at Hans Laramee's home each Wednesday night for six weeks and eventually a constitution was written and the group was ready to call a public meeting to launch a new soccer association early in June, 1973. The association was later to become known as the Albury-Wodonga Soccer Association (AWSA).

In late May 1973, an advertisement was placed in the Border Morning Mail calling on all children interested in playing soccer to gather at Melrose Park, Lavington.

It was a pleasant surprise for everyone when 36 children presented at Melrose Park. It was decided to develop a zoning system to form teams and distribute the players evenly across Albury. Children residing in Lavington were to be called Melrose Park Rangers with Hans Laramee in charge. The players residing around North Albury were organised by Frank Bartazzo and attached to his Lavington Soccer Club which was based at Glen Park. Children living south of North Street were to be looked after by Tony Ratcliffe and Bill Luders and were later to become known as Albury Hotspurs.

Ian Barker, a well known Dean Street pharmacist and generous benefactor of many sports in the Albury area, purchased three sets of t-shirts from a local store which were used as playing strips for the new soccer teams. The only colours available in that quantity of t-shirt were purple, green and orange. The purple shirts were given to the Melrose Park Rangers' players explaining the origin of that club's current colours . Green shirts were allocated to the Lavington players and Hotspurs used the orange shirts but changed from orange to their current gold colour later in that year.

With the success of the junior soccer games each Saturday morning at Melrose Park, there was now the move to start a senior competition. The idea was to develop the senior teams on the junior club structure which was now operating at Melrose Park.

A meeting of members of the south team met at Jim McKinven's house during June 1973. They decided to adopt the name Albury Hotspurs Soccer Club and to wear gold because it was a colour that was visually very strong and was recognised as the colour of success. Ian Barker seconded a number of players from Albury City Hockey Club to help form the first Hotspurs senior men's soccer team. Other senior teams formed at this time included Melrose Park Rangers (purple) Lavington (red), Twin City Wanderers (sky blue/maroon) and Albury Rovers (red/black).

In early June 1973, a meeting was held at the Boomerang Hotel and the AWSA was formed with Albury Hotspurs having a significant presence on the new association through Ian Barker (secretary) Jim McKinven (treasurer) and Bill Luders and Tony Ratcliffe as vice-presidents. The AWSA was to affiliate with New South Wales Amateur Soccer Association later in 1973.

The first senior games in the newly formed AWSA were played on Sunday, 1 July 1973.The competition consisted of the five teams previously named plus a sixth team known as the Presidents Xl formed by players unattached to an existing club. This eliminated a bye for the competition. Most games were played at Melrose Park with some games played at Jelbart Park and also at Aloysius Park later in the year.

The year ended with the AWSA having 64 registered senior players and 35 junior players. The association was to grow extensively in the next few years.

The inaugural winners of AWSC competitions held in its first year in 1973 included:

  • Minor premiers: Albury Rovers
  • Grand final winner: Lavington SC
  • Grand final runners up: Melrose Park Rangers
  • Runner up: Melrose Park Rangers
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Albury Wodonga Football Association {2015}

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