Why was'nt Port Melbourne in the original VFL, and not the VFA?

Brett5150

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I've always wondered why Port Melbourne was'nt in the original VFL, and not the VFA. From what i've read, it is the oldest Melbourne club and always had a big following. Did they decide the VFL had enough clubs back then? i just reckon it could've been a bigger and better club than it is.
 

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Son of Skeletor

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I've always wondered why Port Melbourne was'nt in the original VFL, and not the VFA. From what i've read, it is the oldest Melbourne club and always had a big following. Did they decide the VFL had enough clubs back then? i just reckon it could've been a bigger and better club than it is.
The original 'VFL six' were Collingwood, Essendon, Fitzroy, Geelong, Melbourne and South Melbourne- they invited Carlton and St Kilda to join them in the inaugural VFL competition.

When they expanded in 1908, they invited Richmond (good decision), and University (perhaps not so wise).

The VFA still had some prestige in those days- clubs like Port and Williamstown could compete financially for players.. I don't know if that had anything to do with the reason.

In 1925 Footscray (reigning VFA premiers, western suburbs), North and Hawthorn (eastern suburbs) joined. From memory the VFL were in two minds about giving Hawthorn the 12th membership, I can't remember who the alternative VFA candidates were.
 

radiojake

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In 1925 Footscray (reigning VFA premiers, western suburbs), North and Hawthorn (eastern suburbs) joined. From memory the VFL were in two minds about giving Hawthorn the 12th membership, I can't remember who the alternative VFA candidates were.
I remember reading Prahran were close to being promoted to VFL?

Also, didn't St Kilda only get invited because of the superior playing surface at Junction Oval?
 

CAS79

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There are a couple of other reasons. One of which was that they were competing for zone placings with South Melbourne, who up until the breakaway of the VFL had been the dominate of the two clubs. There are also lots of reports - weather rightly or wrongly about Port supporters and administration having a strong representation of undesirables linked to corruption and extortion on the wharves, quite likely unfounded but the stories didn't help.
 

livnixon9

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South Melbourne took their spot I believe. Had that area and catchment to those 2 clubs.

Would have won more flags in the VFL/AFL and stayed in their location unlike the Swans.
 

Son of Skeletor

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I remember reading Prahran were close to being promoted to VFL?

Also, didn't St Kilda only get invited because of the superior playing surface at Junction Oval?
Yeah I think it might have been Prahran that went close in 1925- Hawthorn got the nod because the eastern suburbs were expanding and relatively untapped. As posters have noted above, Port Melbourne had a limited catchment area, and would have nominally been competing with South Melbourne for support.

I think you might be right (not 100% certain) re. the Junction Oval and St Kilda- they really struggled in the early years of the VFL. It's actually interesting to compare Fitzroy and South Melbourne records against St Kilda's in the early-era VFL (1897-1945). Fitzroy (8 flags) and South (3 flags) were actually relatively successful in that era, while St Kilda played only one grand final and earned heaps of wooden spoons.

What St Kilda did have though was a geographical advantage.. lying just south-east of South Melbourne, they could tap into all the bayside suburbs for support, essentially hemming South's supporter catchment area into a small zone. Fitzroy suffered a similar fate in the northern suburbs.
 

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You have to remember that for a long while pre first World War 1 the VFA was on a par with the VFL, the big change occurred when the Hawks, Roos and Dogs joined the VFL in 1925. Port Melbourne probably should've joined as they were one of the last of the inner Melbourne suburbs to remain in the VFA. The VFA catered mostly for outer Melbourne suburbs in the days when Oakleigh and Box Hill were considered out in the sticks!
South Melbourne were already in and they were situated just down the road, the VFL already had the congestion of Collingwood, Fitzroy and Carlton all being walking distance to one another with Fitzroy being the strongest of the lot until the 1920's. So, the real surprise for me was Williamstown not joining the VFL, formed in 1864 and well away from the Melbourne inner suburbs, they were so rich that they lured Ron Todd away from Collingwood at his peak for ten times the money. I loved the old VFA.

Reason why Port melbourne did not join the VFL, bare in mind this was probably the toughest and most notorious suburb in Melbourne at the time.
The Borough joined the Victorian Football Association (VFA) in 1886 and has played in every season since then. In the late 1890s, Port Melbourne was touted to join the breakaway VFL competition, but was denied membership. In their place, the St Kilda Football Club joined the VFL, an event still talked about to this day. The reason given was the Borough's reputation for poor behaviour by both its players and supporters.
 

manicmagpie

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I've always wondered why Port Melbourne was'nt in the original VFL, and not the VFA. From what i've read, it is the oldest Melbourne club and always had a big following. Did they decide the VFL had enough clubs back then? i just reckon it could've been a bigger and better club than it is.
Melbourne, Carlton, North, St Kilda, Essendon, Geelong are all older, and South Melbourne started the same year.

But yes, they would have been a good fit for the VFL back in the day. Would have to have been bigger than Footscray or North and can't have been any less successful than St Kilda or the Dogs.
 

Matthew2708

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"In 1896, Markwell the football writer for The Age noted that the VFA had not moved to try and stop the downfall of the game. He suggested that many of the rules would have to be changed and that boundary umpires should be introduced to help field umpires control on-field discipline. "Reform is urgently called for," he wrote. "Otherwise respectable young fellows will retire from the sport and leave it entirely in the hands of blackguards."[1]
This unruliness amongst the players of certain teams and, more particularly, the thuggery of the supporters of some clubs, had been noted for a number of years and was certainly another reason that some clubs saw a break-away from the VFA as the only solution. Another contemporary writer called the Collingwood v North Melbourne game in July 1896: "the greatest disgrace of all time in Australian football". The game itself was a cleanly played affair, which was narrowly won by Collingwood. However, at half-time spectators attacked Umpire Roberts and did so again after the game. During the second attack, the players of both sides tried to protect the umpire only to have the crowd turn on them. Female spectators slashed away with long hat pins and one male supporter even produced an iron bar, which he used. Players McDougall (North Melbourne) and Bill Proudfoot (Collingwood) were knocked unconscious and most of their teammates suffered some injuries, albeit some minor. It is often claimed that this incident led to North Melbourne not being invited to join the VFL when it was formed later that year."

That would be my reason.
 

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fabulousphil

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"In 1896, Markwell the football writer for The Age noted that the VFA had not moved to try and stop the downfall of the game. He suggested that many of the rules would have to be changed and that boundary umpires should be introduced to help field umpires control on-field discipline. "Reform is urgently called for," he wrote. "Otherwise respectable young fellows will retire from the sport and leave it entirely in the hands of blackguards."[1]
This unruliness amongst the players of certain teams and, more particularly, the thuggery of the supporters of some clubs, had been noted for a number of years and was certainly another reason that some clubs saw a break-away from the VFA as the only solution. Another contemporary writer called the Collingwood v North Melbourne game in July 1896: "the greatest disgrace of all time in Australian football". The game itself was a cleanly played affair, which was narrowly won by Collingwood. However, at half-time spectators attacked Umpire Roberts and did so again after the game. During the second attack, the players of both sides tried to protect the umpire only to have the crowd turn on them. Female spectators slashed away with long hat pins and one male supporter even produced an iron bar, which he used. Players McDougall (North Melbourne) and Bill Proudfoot (Collingwood) were knocked unconscious and most of their teammates suffered some injuries, albeit some minor. It is often claimed that this incident led to North Melbourne not being invited to join the VFL when it was formed later that year."

That would be my reason.
You forgot to mention the Crutchy Push, which was a North Gang, whose members all were part crippled, missing limbs and were involved in turning up at North Games in butcher type uniforms and causing fights.

These boys were as bad as they get, they were involved in numerous murders, extortion, bashings etc around North Melbourne.

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/9512626?searchTerm=crutchy push football&searchLimits=


Crutchy Push and so on, and so forth.
 

Copernicus

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South Melbourne took their spot I believe. Had that area and catchment to those 2 clubs.

Would have won more flags in the VFL/AFL and stayed in their location unlike the Swans.
South at the time were the most successful team in the VFA. So it made sense at the time. No one could have foreseen how far downhill they would go.
 

Hearts to hearts

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"In 1896, Markwell the football writer for The Age noted that the VFA had not moved to try and stop the downfall of the game. He suggested that many of the rules would have to be changed and that boundary umpires should be introduced to help field umpires control on-field discipline. "Reform is urgently called for," he wrote. "Otherwise respectable young fellows will retire from the sport and leave it entirely in the hands of blackguards."[1]
This unruliness amongst the players of certain teams and, more particularly, the thuggery of the supporters of some clubs, had been noted for a number of years and was certainly another reason that some clubs saw a break-away from the VFA as the only solution. Another contemporary writer called the Collingwood v North Melbourne game in July 1896: "the greatest disgrace of all time in Australian football". The game itself was a cleanly played affair, which was narrowly won by Collingwood. However, at half-time spectators attacked Umpire Roberts and did so again after the game. During the second attack, the players of both sides tried to protect the umpire only to have the crowd turn on them. Female spectators slashed away with long hat pins and one male supporter even produced an iron bar, which he used. Players McDougall (North Melbourne) and Bill Proudfoot (Collingwood) were knocked unconscious and most of their teammates suffered some injuries, albeit some minor. It is often claimed that this incident led to North Melbourne not being invited to join the VFL when it was formed later that year."

That would be my reason.
Off topic, but this is another interesting read about hooligan supporters.

http://www.nickmaxwell.com.au/2011/08/16/larrikins-a-shouting/

I think protecting the member clubs was more important than crowd quality control - all the inner city clubs had their pushes - and I recall issues like ground ownership being important criteria for who got into the original VFL.
 

Hard_to_Beat

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Port were a weak club for a long time.

It took them 36 years to win their first VFA premiership, then another 18 years to win the next one.

"In 1896, Markwell the football writer for The Age noted that the VFA had not moved to try and stop the downfall of the game. He suggested that many of the rules would have to be changed and that boundary umpires should be introduced to help field umpires control on-field discipline. "Reform is urgently called for," he wrote. "Otherwise respectable young fellows will retire from the sport and leave it entirely in the hands of blackguards."[1]
This unruliness amongst the players of certain teams and, more particularly, the thuggery of the supporters of some clubs, had been noted for a number of years and was certainly another reason that some clubs saw a break-away from the VFA as the only solution. Another contemporary writer called the Collingwood v North Melbourne game in July 1896: "the greatest disgrace of all time in Australian football". The game itself was a cleanly played affair, which was narrowly won by Collingwood. However, at half-time spectators attacked Umpire Roberts and did so again after the game. During the second attack, the players of both sides tried to protect the umpire only to have the crowd turn on them. Female spectators slashed away with long hat pins and one male supporter even produced an iron bar, which he used. Players McDougall (North Melbourne) and Bill Proudfoot (Collingwood) were knocked unconscious and most of their teammates suffered some injuries, albeit some minor. It is often claimed that this incident led to North Melbourne not being invited to join the VFL when it was formed later that year."

That would be my reason.

It could be hypothesized that his event effectively sparked the creation of the VFL.

You forgot to mention the Crutchy Push, which was a North Gang, whose members all were part crippled, missing limbs and were involved in turning up at North Games in butcher type uniforms and causing fights.

These boys were as bad as they get, they were involved in numerous murders, extortion, bashings etc around North Melbourne.

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/9512626?searchTerm=crutchy push football&searchLimits=


Crutchy Push and so on, and so forth.

There was also the infamous "Coffin Push" from around the North Melbourne/West Melbourne area.
 

RogersResults

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It could be hypothesized that (t)his event effectively sparked the creation of the VFL.
The 1896 July match between Collingwood and Nth Melbourne ("the greatest disgrace of all time in Australian football".) may have influenced Collingwood's decision to leave the Association. Discussions about reforming the competition had been going on since 1893 and reforming the VFA (creating separate divisions for example) instead of forming a new League was Collingwood's position until towards the end of 1896.
The main reason for forming a new competition was revenue. The stronger clubs were finding that fixtures against weaker teams were costing them too much to play.

The under-performing St Kilda was invited in because of their access to the well placed St Kilda Cricket Ground at St Kilda Junction. The equally poorly performing Carlton got in because they promised to provide the competition with a new enclosed oval in Princes Park although it was nor ready for use until midway through the League's inaugural season.

As for Port Melbourne being a bit 'unruly'. Below are a few samples.

DISGRACEFUL FOOTBALL AT PORT MELBOURNE. IN PORT MELBOURNE-ESSENDON MATCH. ESSENDON PLAYER HIT WITH UMBRELLA AND PUNCHED. UMPIRE GUARDED BY POLICE AND TROOPERS.
PORT MELBOURNE FOOTBALL. POLICE COURT SEQUEL.
ATTACKS ON UMPIRES. PORT MELBOURNE INCIDENT. What is the Duty of the Police?
FOOTBALL CROWD RIOTS AT PORT MELBOURNE. POLICE RESCUE UMPIRE.
FOOTBALL INCIDENTS. TROUBLE AT PORT MELBOURNE. Police Draw Batons.

Umpire Kicked In Shins POLICE, 600 BRAWL AT MATCH
 

NagoyaDog

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It would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall in those meetings deciding who was "in" and who was "out". Often thought a television movie on the the topic, a la Howzat! Packer's War, would be great viewing. Interestingly, the VFL ladder for 1896, the year before the formation of the VFL, had Geelong (11th) and Carlton (12th) while North Melbourne (6th), Port Melbourne (7th), Williamstown (8th) and Footscray (10) were not admitted . The wealthier clubs had the final say. Also, Ports rivals were Footscray and Williamstown, with many games being violent, often splilling over into the crowd.
 

mianfei

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Also, Ports rivals were Footscray and Williamstown, with many games being violent, often splilling over into the crowd.
Is this rivalry why Footscray, who were much more favourably located than St. Kilda for critical industrial corporate backing, were never invited to join the VFL in 1896 or 1907, and also why the Tricolours (as they were then known) never as far as I know even considered applying to join the VFL either when it formed or when it wanted to expand after the 1907 season??
 

Snake_Baker

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"In 1896, Markwell the football writer for The Age noted that the VFA had not moved to try and stop the downfall of the game. He suggested that many of the rules would have to be changed and that boundary umpires should be introduced to help field umpires control on-field discipline. "Reform is urgently called for," he wrote. "Otherwise respectable young fellows will retire from the sport and leave it entirely in the hands of blackguards."[1]
This unruliness amongst the players of certain teams and, more particularly, the thuggery of the supporters of some clubs, had been noted for a number of years and was certainly another reason that some clubs saw a break-away from the VFA as the only solution. Another contemporary writer called the Collingwood v North Melbourne game in July 1896: "the greatest disgrace of all time in Australian football". The game itself was a cleanly played affair, which was narrowly won by Collingwood. However, at half-time spectators attacked Umpire Roberts and did so again after the game. During the second attack, the players of both sides tried to protect the umpire only to have the crowd turn on them. Female spectators slashed away with long hat pins and one male supporter even produced an iron bar, which he used. Players McDougall (North Melbourne) and Bill Proudfoot (Collingwood) were knocked unconscious and most of their teammates suffered some injuries, albeit some minor. It is often claimed that this incident led to North Melbourne not being invited to join the VFL when it was formed later that year."

That would be my reason.

This is correct.

The VFL was started because Collingwood didn't want to be beaten up by North Melbourne any more.
 
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