Hornsby Football Club only existed for 5 seasons but enjoyed extraordinary success in that time in Men’s All Age Division One.
After the 1971 season a group of players from Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Police Boys Club’s All Age teams reached agreement with Claude Fay’s hotel (Hornsby Inn) to sponsor a new team. They wanted to play as Claude Fay’s Football Club but the KDSA Management Committee would not approve that name. Hence, Hornsby Football Club was born.
At the core of this group was 7 or 8 players who had started at Bradfield Britannia in 1962. Bradfield Britannia was a club made up of British immigrants living at the migrant camp in West Lindfield. Part of the camp sat on what is now Queen Elizabeth II park.
In 1969 they left Britannia and moved to Bannockburn Rovers. In 1970 and 1971 they played with Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Police Boys club, finishing third to Wahroonga FC in 1971. That premiership was the fourth title in successive years for the foundation club.
In the early 70s and indeed into the late eighties most clubs in the Hornsby area gathered after their matches at Claude Fay’s at Hornsby. They were invariably joined by the away teams from outside the Hornsby shire. In 1972 the deal was struck between the publican and the players from Police Boys and the newly formed Hornsby Football Club took the spot in Division One vacated by Police Boys.
At that time there were many British immigrants in the building trade who played for Hornsby based clubs and therefore drank at Claude Fay’s on Saturday afternoons. This network allowed the core group to recruit some very good players to the new club. They even had enough players to form a second team to play in Division Two.
The club wore a maroon and gold strip and played their home matches at Asquith Oval (lead picture). In 1972 the first division team finished second to West Pymble and the Division Two team were equal-fourth. The club also reached the KDSA Cup Final but were beaten by Hornsby RSL. However, 1973 was the year that their domination of Men’s football would begin.
In 1973 KDSA merged with the Northern Suburbs Soccer Association which led to Division One expanding from 10 to 12 teams. Hornsby FC entered teams in Division One and Division Three and both won its respective competition undefeated. The club also won its first KDSA Cup final.
In 1974 a Reserve Grade competition was introduced. Hornsby’s winning team from Division Three moved to Reserve Grade and the club won both grades of Division One. First grade was much closer in 1974 with only 2 points separating the top 3 teams. Unfortunately, they failed to win the KDSA Cup with Wahroonga prevailing over Mt Colah in the final.
The following two seasons cemented the legend of Hornsby FC. They became the first club to do the “treble” in Men’s All Age (First Grade, Reserve Grade and KDSA Cup) in the same season in 1975 and repeated that feat the following year. Victory in first grade tied the record of four consecutive premierships held by Wahroonga. This record stood for 30 years until surpassed by Asquith SC in 2006 won their fifth in a row.
In 1977 the club moved to Gladesville Hornsby. After 2 seasons and 1 Grand Final victory the club disbanded with many players returning to KDSA, mostly at Pymble United.
No club has dominated Men’s All Age football over a 5-year period as Hornsby FC managed from 1972-1976. In that time the club won 77% of its premiership matches, 4 first grade premierships and 3 reserve grade premierships plus a Division 3 title. They played in 4 KDSA Cup finals, winning three. The Annual Report of 1973 lists the winner of the Cup as Hornsby FC but it is believed this may have been the Division 3 team. This was a brief but memorable moment in time which is unlikely to be equalled as football and society in general is now very different from the early ‘70s.
Many thanks to Life Member Lionel Morris who made contact with the organiser of the club Brian who still lives in the Hornsby area. Brian and Lionel’s memories provided great context to the raw statistics.
Written by Damian Miles – NSFA Competitions Manager.