Moreland City: Australian football's great survivors

Moreland City, the little football club from suburban Melbourne, dream of joining Australia's big guns in the FFA Cup as they mark their 100th anniversary.

moreland city

The Moreland players celebrate their 1957 Dockerty Cup win Source: Supplied

Moreland play in the second tier of Victorian football and will celebrate a truly remarkable milestone this month.

The club that have been playing at their home ground Campbell Reserve for 82 years have earned a reputation as great survivors.

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Moreland have merged three times in their history to survive the ramifications of World War II that reduced Victorian football to a mere seven clubs, the challenge of a mass European immigration that spawned the city's big and wealthy clubs and their demotion to the sixth tier of state football as recently as 20 years ago.

And today, as the club prepare for a new season, Moreland's officials say they would love nothing more than qualify for a crack at the national knockout competition.

"Playing in the FFA Cup would be a dream come true for our club," said vice-president Maurice Bisetto, who played for Moreland in the late 1990s.

"We need to finish in the top four of the Dockerty Cup to qualify for the following FFA Cup.

"It is probably an unrealistic target because we will be playing against teams from Victoria's top tier and we will most certainly be underdogs.

"But, hey, cup football provides a 'David and Goliath' scenario and I would not say it is impossible, certainly not."

Moreland are not new to cup exploits. They have won the Dockerty Cup, one of the oldest cup competitions in Australia, six times but their latest triumph came in 1957 when they had Australian internationals Frank Loughran and Ted Smith in their ranks.
The two had been in Australia's squad at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne.

"It would be the magical highlight of our 100 years to earn the right to play in the FFA Cup, absolutely," he said.

Football in Moreland kicked off in the suburb of Coburg in 1916 and the Moreland club came into being in 1934.

Moreland had to join forces with Jewish club Hakoah for two years during World War II to field a senior team.

Some clubs had difficulty fielding teams during the war years while others were forced to close down because many of their players had enlisted with the armed forces.

By 1946, the merger between Moreland and Hakoah came to an end and the two clubs again went their separate ways.

In 1985 Moreland merged again, this time with Park Rangers, before the two combined with Coburg to form the current Moreland City in 1990.

The club will organise a special function at Docklands on 12 February to mark the historic anniversary and announce the team of the century.

No doubt many tales will be told about this battling club that stood the test of time against all the odds.

Their loyal patrons will also allow themselves to indulge in a bit of dreaming ... like joining the big guns in the fourth FFA Cup.


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3 min read
Published 2 February 2016 at 12:36pm
By Philip Micallef