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∙ community   ∙ development   ∙ football for all


“As with any topic, when doing research memories of the principals can be blurred.
Indeed, some of the principals are no longer with us.
One thing you can be certain of, is that all those involved in the formation of Albany United had a common goal, which was to enhance the game of football, soccer called back then, on the North Shore”

                  "                                   "                                    "

 Our History

In 1977 Albany-Wairau Soccer Club was spawned by a group of people that were from Glenfield Rovers, whom decided that they would form their own club. The ‘defectors’ were Bert Ford and Len Snelling and along with a group of players, they soon recruited the likes of Eric Hodge and Dave Weir to assist them.
A ‘home’ ground was secured at the Albany Domain.

The reason for the 'defectors' are a bit blurred but commonality from the memories were one teams promotion over another when both were achieving.

In that first season the 'defectors' only expected to have a couple of teams but ended up fielding 15 in total. The first team’s inaugural coach was Fred Ullness and they played in what was then the Northern 4th Division.

Though this period can be summarised in a few paragraphs, the work that was put in by Ford and Snelling should not be underestimated. Fundraising, getting sponsors, negotiations with council, constitutional matters and gear all needed to be in place before the season started.

In fact, Albany’s first strip was nothing more than an orange tee shirt with black shorts, and the ‘showers’ were the local stream that meandered past the grounds. The toilet block was built by Ford in his spare time as was the infamous ‘Shed’. The shed has since been demolished but Bert’s toilets are still in existence.

We’re told the floodlights were installed ‘for a slab’ but nobody was prepared to offer any more information on this matter!!

Throughout the eighties Albany’s success at senior level was limited. Though the formation of the league is different to what it is now we never managed to be higher than 2nd division. There was one season, under coach Brian Lamb, that we lost only one game - the last game at that, which secured promotion, but relegation followed the following season.

Albany United’s 1977
16th Grade Boys Team

BACK ROW: Anthony Carle, Grant Reid, Len Snelling, Mark Snelling, Shane Feder, Graham Johns

FRONT ROW: Greg Forester, Trevor Pyle, Stephen Wilson, Gary Watson, Chris Thrasyvoulou

ABSENT: Ian Tinsley, David Blaymires, Stephen Hinton, John Bryant

In fact, on the two occasions we gained promotion to the second division, both times we were followed by relegation.

During the nineties the Clubs future was jeopardised due to the massive development in Albany, including the North Harbour Stadium complex. A new road was constructed through part of the grounds, which meant Albany United could not stay at the Domain.

During this period there are differing views on what options were open to the club. Some say there was a missed opportunity to become part of the North Harbour Complex, while others say it was not an option due to the financial investment required, and some say it was not an option regardless. The only certainty was that Albany had to find a new venue for their home ground.

During this same period of the mid nineties, another local club was suffering from expansion problems. Rangitoto, like many other clubs, was formed by a breakaway group - this time from East Coast Bays in 1982. The club was totally dedicated to junior football, had no clubrooms, and for most of it’s existence had no senior teams. In fact, any senior teams tended to be older kids who wanted to maintain contact with the club.

    Albany United’s 1st Team in 1981

     This team featured Jimmy Brown, Graham Reive and Stefan Billing

Once again the name Eric Hodges is to the fore, and the story goes that he and his wife Margaret, with friend Mike Shadbolt, were watching the sun set over Rangitoto on a glorious summer evening, and the decision was made that the name of the new club would be Rangitoto and their playing colours would be red.

Originally their home ground was Freyberg Park, which was subsequently given to Rugby League. Rangitoto moved to Deep Creek Reserve for their base, while their midgets played at Sunnynook Park.

Council development at Deep Creek did not materialise, and as the ground was not adequate for their requirements the club needed to move.

With Albany and Rangitoto both looking for new grounds and clubrooms, and both operating in the similar catchment areas, a marriage of the two seemed sensible. Negotiations followed and in 1997 it was decided to combine Rangitoto and Albany’s midget leagues and play all games at Rosedale Park with the likes of Kristen school also joining the league.

This worked very well, so the following year the knot was tied and it was decided that the grounds and clubrooms would be at Rosedale Park.

Hockey would be moved to Rosedale Park South. North Harbour Softball would remain at Rosedale Park and share all facilities, including the clubrooms, with the new Albany United Soccer Club Incorporated.

From the origins of the Club all the principals have either moved on or are no longer with us.

Len Snelling passed away in 1996 and Eric Hodge passed away in 1994. Margaret Hodge remained a patron of the Club following the passing of Eric.

Bert Ford retired to Raglan where he continued his involvement in the sport until he passed away in 2005. In fact, the only active member still with the club from those early days is Bill Pittman, who joined as a midget coach for his son’s team.

During Bill’s 40 odd years association with the Club he held various positions such as Club Captain and 1st team Manager, and assisted the Club whenever help was required. In 2000 he was belatedly made a life member where he was still actively assisting the club in various roles up to the late 2000s. Honoured with a stand named after him, one can still see Bill at all the first team games and often down at their trainings offering support or advise to the coaching staff.

Bill & Shirley Pittman

September 2018 Senior Club Awards night



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