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CLUB HISTORY

1871 Essendon Football Club formed as a junior body.
1872 Senior Club formed at meeting held at "Ailsa", Kent St, Ascot Vale. At this stage uniform was of black and red stripes.
1873 First game played. Players wore black guernsey with red sash.
1878 First club to play on a full sized ground at Flemington Hill.
1879 Played Melbourne in one of the earliest night matches when ball was painted white. First team to score ten goals in one match of senior status.
1880 First visit to Geelong by metropolitan club on first "football special" train.
1881 Essendon moves to share East Melbourne Cricket Ground at Jolimont from Flemington.
1886 Player Charles Pearson introduces "overhead marking " and named "Champion of the Colony". White flags first used in VFL in an Essendon match to signal scores.


Players in training at the Jolimont Oval in the 1890's

1893 Won third premiership in a row, went through year undefeated. First club to wear white shorts in a game.
1894 Won fourth consecutive Premiership losing only three of previous 66 games.
1897 VFL formed. Player E. Croft registers first goal ever in VFL. Mr Alex McCracken elected first President of the VFL. Club registers lowest VFL winning score of 1.8 v Melbourne as well as the first VFL premiership.
1899 Player Albert Thurgood kicks 107 yds, 2ft long kick at East Melbourne Ground, Club scores first 100 points tally vs St Kilda.
1900 Essendon first team to use white shorts in a finals match.


Three quarter time in the 1901 Grand Final at the South Melbourne Cricket Ground

1901 Essendon Premiership
1902 By scoring total 1174 points in season, Essendon becomes first VFL Club to pass 1000.


The 1910 team pose for their portrait in "Boater hats"

1911 Essendon players first to wear numbers on back in VFL match. J. Worrall appointed first Club coach. Team scores first 20 goal score v Collingwood
1912 Essendon win second consecutive Premiership. 54,000 at Grand Final - Australian sporting record to this stage.
1916 Did not play due to World War 1.
1917 Did not play due to World War 1.
1921 Last season Club played at East Melbourne prior to Government taking over to establish Jolimont rail yards.
1922 Club moved to play matches at Essendon Recreation Oval. The name "Bombers" & "The Dons" start to be used in addition to " The Same Old" as Club name.
1923 Essendon's "Mosquito Fleet" had six players at 5 feet 6 inches or under. Player Greg Stockdale scores record number of goals in a season - 68.
1924 Club wins second successive Premiership in VFL awarded under new system.


Captain Frank Maher (holding football) with the team in Hobart 1926

1926 Player R. James shares first award of Charles Gardiner Medal as Seconds Best and Fairest.
1933 Emergence of club's most famous player, R.S Reynolds playing on the wing.
1934 Essendon scores its highest ever tally in VFL. 29.16 v North Melbourne. Brownlow Medal awarded to 19 year old R.S. Reynolds.
1935 Full forward E. Freyer creates new opening match record of 12 goals. Player Keith Forbes runner - up in Brownlow medal.
1939 Start of R.S Reynolds career as coach, which lasted to 1960.
1940 Club back into finals for the first time since 1926.
1942 Club wins seventh VFL Premiership.
1943 Essendon win VFL Lightning Premiership.
1946 Essendon dominate competition and win Grand Final with record score 22.18 (150)
1947 Player Alan Dale wins first Morrish Medal of VFL Thirds competition


The 1949 Essendon Football team take a bus trip to Queensland

1949 Emergence of brilliant forward John Coleman - scored 12 goals in opening match v Hawthorn. 100 goals for season and greatly assisted Essendon in winning its ninth VFL Premiership from fourth place on the ladder.
1950 Club went through season only losing three matches - seniors 1, seconds 2 and under 19's 0 for Essendon Seniors third duo of premierships.
1951 Club wins first VFL Aggregate Trophy - McClelland award. Club failed in Grand Final after forward J.Coleman suspended on striking charge. Dick Reynolds played Club record 320th game as 19th man in Grand Final.
1953 Player Bill Hutchison wins Club's fourth Brownlow Medal after twice finishing third and once second in previous years.


Souvenir Program of a 6 day visit to Broken Hill in 1953

1954 Player John Coleman wrenches his knee and is forced to retire having kicked club record of 14 goals in Round 7 v Fitzroy. Agg. goal total of 537 in 98 games with the club.
1959 Club Committee enlisted services for the first time by a league club of a specialist fitness adviser - Mr A. Willie of Melbourne University.
1961 Start of seven year coaching career of John Coleman.


Centre half back, Ian "Bluey" Shelton was a member of the 1962 and 1965 Premiership sides

1962 Club won 16 of 18 home and away matches and subsequently won the Premiership.


1964 Mobil Footy cards featuring Jack Clarke and Ken Fraser

1965 Club wins twelfth VFL premiership after taking honours in only 12 out of 18 home and away games - from fourth place.
1969 Mr Allan Hird appointed as President, the club only attain sixth position.
1970 Twenty-one year lease on ground obtained. Barry Davis new captain of the club.
1971 Former player John Birt appointed coach but club fails as a total of 12 first year players used. Mr. H. Okey retires from committee. Highest score of 30.20.200 ever against Essendon recorded by Collingwood. Player Barry Davis runner - up in Brownlow medal.


A 45RPM recording of an interview of Barry Davis by Tony Charlton made around 1967

1972 Club's centenary year. Des Tuddenham takes over as coach. Team take part in first ever finals match played at VFL park. Player Geoff Blethyn kicks 107 goals in season. Club secretary Mr.W. Cookson retires after 50 years.
1973 Social Club formed and new Allan T. Hird stand was built, former player- coach John Coleman passed away. New former WA player G. Moss runner- up Brownlow medal. Club records highest ever points tally of 2443 for season.
1974 A.T Hird resigns as Club President at the end of the season. Player G. Moss wins second consecutive EFC Club Best and Fairest award.
1975 Record crowd of 77,770 at Anzac Day Park match. Essendon v Carlton, won by Essendon.
1976 Mr Colin Stubbs appointed Club President. G. Moss wins Brownlow Medal. Former Fitzroy player - Bill Stephan appointed coach.
1978 Former player Barry Davis takes over as coach. Veteran captain Ken Fletcher wins his first Best and Fairest award for the Club.
1979 Club finish in final five. Eliminated in opening finals match against Fitzroy, after having won nine consecutive matches mid-season. Player Simon Madden wins second club Best and Fairest award.
1980 Club had disappointing season to finish only seventh on the ladder. Reserve player W.Valli wins Gardiner Medal and under 19's player P. Lane wins Morrish Medal as best in the competition in VFL.
1981 Colin Stubbs and Roy McConnell step down as President and General Manager. Their successors were former players Greg Sewell (173 games) and Barry Capuano (118 games). Barry Davis retired from coaching and former Richmond player Kevin Sheedy (254 games) appointed coach. Club wins Escort Cup defeating Carlton by 24 points - our first.
1982 Club won 16 matches to finish 4th before losing the Elimination Final - our fifth loss in as many appearances. Captain Neale Daniher was unable to play due to injury, replaced in the side by Ron Andrews. Former great, Bill Hutchison passed away after a short illness. Terry Daniher wins the Best and Fairest award. The Danihers, Terry and Neale became the only brothers to win the award. The Club kicked a record score against Footscray, 32.16 to beat our previous highest score against North Melbourne in 1934.
1983 Essendon reaches its first Grand Final since 1968, but is beaten by Hawthorn. This is the club's third successive year in the finals. Simon Madden finished third in the Brownlow and also won the Best and Fairest for the third time. Reserve Grade won the Army Reserve Cup, defeating Collingwood by 29 points. Club history recorded in "Flying Higher" written by Michael Maplestone.
1984 The club wins its 13th VFL Premiership beating Hawthorn. First pennant since '65. We finished on top of the ladder, first time since '68. Club wins second Night premiership, the only club to win a Day and Night premiership in the one season. Simon Madden takes fourth Best and Fairest award. Full forward Paul Salmon hailed as the new John Coleman after kicking 63 goals in 13 matches before sidelined due to a serious knee injury.
1985 Back to back premierships for the Bombers again beating Hawthorn after a record last quarter of 11 goals. 19 wins in home and away is the club's best ever season, 15 consecutive wins 1984-85 at Windy Hill equalling the club's record. Record number of 12 consecutive wins against Melbourne; Tim Watson takes his second Best and Fairest award, Simon Madden named Norm Smith Medal winner, club wins special 150th anniversary match to receive the Premier's Cup after beating Hawthorn. Frank Zoccali won the Morrish Medal in 1985.
1986 Club reached finals for sixth successive year equalling the era of the late 1940's, but lost Elimination Final. Testimonials for Simon Madden and Gary Foulds. Support for the concept of National League by admission of Queensland and Western Australian teams; members asked to approve the reduction in size of Committee from 15-8. General Manager given full voting rights in the new Board of nine members, Glen Hawker wins the Best and Fairest Award.
1987 A disappointing ninth in an expanded 14 team competition. Mark Thompson narrowly wins the club's Best and Fairest award. Club fails to win support for reduction of Committee from 15 to 8 members. A planning sub-committee formed to investigate the long term viability of the club continuing to play at Essendon. The club farewelled Dick Reynolds.


Club record games holder, Simon Madden

1988 Ron Evans elected President succeeding Greg Sewell. Seniors finished sixth; Simon Madden played his 300th game, also finished equal second in the Brownlow Medal. Tim Watson won his third Best and Fairest for the club; the club achieves 1000th win in the VFL.
1989 Seniors finished third; EFC wins McClelland Trophy. Simon Madden breaks Dick Reynolds club record and captains Victorian team. Tim Watson wins his fourth best and fairest.
1990 Club reaches Grand Final after finishing top of the ladder after home and away season, Mark Thompson wins second best and fairest award, Paul Van Der Haar reaches 200 games. The club wins the summer series Premiership Cup, the third under Kevin Sheedy.
1991 Club again reaches the AFL finals but was eliminated in the first final. Anthony Daniher reaches 200 games, his brother Terry reaches 300 games. Mark Thompson appointed Vice-Captain. The club decides to play all home games at the MCG from 1992 onwards. The social club plans major development to prepare for the introduction of electronic gaming machines. Club works with the City of Essendon to redevelop Windy Hill. Kevin Sheedy re-appointed as coach for a further three years. Alan Ezard wins the best and fairest award.
1992 Simon Madden completes record 379 games. Home games shifted to MCG in 30 year agreement with the AFL. Electronic gaming machines launched at Social Club in August. Demolition of buildings to begin in December for swimming pool and recreation centre at Windy Hill. State League side (formerly Reserves) win premiership. Mark Harvey wins Best player award. Gavin Wanganeen named in the Australian side. Ron Evans steps down as President, succeeded by David Shaw.
1993 A remarkable year, club wins 15th League Premiership Foster's Cup night series, Gavin Wanganeen wins Brownlow Medal and Michael Tuck Medal. Michael Long wins Norm Smith Medal. Gary O'Donnell wins the Best and Fairest award. Gavin Wanganeen and Mark Harvey are named in the All Australian side. Kevin Sheedy named All Australian Coach. Essendon Football Club and Social Club merge to form the Essendon Football and Community Sporting Club. Club wins McClelland Trophy for the 6th time
1994 The competition expanded to final eight but club misses the finals finishing 10th in an even competition. James Hird wins Best Player award; History of the club "Flying Higher" written by Michael Maplestone published in August. Tim Watson retires.
1996 James Hird wins the Brownlow Medal. The club misses out on the Grand Final by one point, Kevin Sheedy re-appointed as coach.
1998 Kevin Sheedy breaks Dick Reynolds 416 game record against Richmond in Round 16 this year.
1999 Essendon Football Club play 2000th VFL/AFL Game in Round 2 against Kangaroos. The Club misses out on the Grand Final by 1 point. Reserves win the Grand Final. Essendon win the McClelland trophy. Mark Mercuri runner -up in the Brownlow Medal.


Captain James Hird with the premiership cup

2000 Essendon Football Club win the Ansett Cup night series. Play the 1st game at Colonial Stadium. Darren Bewick Testimonial year. Matthew Lloyd wins John Coleman Memorial Medal and kicks his 100th goal for season in Qualifying Final against Kangaroos at MCG. Essendon win their 16th Premiership defeating Melbourne at the MCG on 2 Sept 2000. James Hird wins the Norm Smith Medal & Anzac Day Medal. Mark Mercuri wins Michael Tuck Medal. Dustin Fletcher wins the Crichton Medal. Kevin Sheedy named All-Australian Coach. Most wins by a Club in an AFL Season - 24.
2001 In season 2001 the Bombers went in search of back-to-back premierships for the first time since 1984/85. They were installed hot favorites to complete the task but from early in the season it was obvious Essendon had a fight on its hands. The first half of the season went to plan and the club won 14 of its first 16 but it was clear the challengers had made up ground on the reigning premiers. Injuries were also making life tough for Essendon with eight players missing significant time on the sidelines. Essendon made the finals and fought extremely hard to reach another Grand Final. However the effort had taken its toll and Essendon was soundly beaten by Brisbane. It was a brave effort from a team that literally staggered to the finish line.
2002 In season 2002, the Bombers were determined to go one step better than its 2001 grand final loss to the Brisbane Lions. The team put in a solid pre-season and the season looked promising with the progress of the 2000 draftees and also the inclusion of the 2001 draftees, particularly veteran Paul Salmon. Unfortunately Essendon suffered a horror run with long-term injuries in 2002, starting when 2000 premiership player Dean Solomon ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in a pre-season practice match.

The run of injuries continued throughout the season with James Hird, Matthew Lloyd, Joe Misiti, Steve Alessio, Aaron Henneman and Mark Mercuri all out for more than six week periods. A positive aspect of the injury situation at Windy Hill was the development and improvement of several players, namely Danny Jacobs and Mark Bolton. Both cemented spots in the senior line-up with their performances through the year. Young players were also given opportunities that they might not have otherwise got if it wasn't for the depleted list. Andrew Welsh played 15 games in his first season, Joel Reynolds played nine games and goal sneak Shane Harvey made seven appearances in the senior line-up.

With the obstacles faced in 2002, the team always remained positive and focussed on making the top four. To the team's credit it fought it's way into fifth position after the possibility of missing the finals with several weeks to go in the home and away season. The Bombers played West Coast in the first Elimination Final at Colonial Stadium and overran a determined Eagles unit in the final quarter to win by 33-points. However, in the process lost star full-forward Matthew Lloyd to injury and All Australian full-back Dustin Fletcher at the AFL tribunal. The following week, Essendon travelled to Adelaide to face minor premiers Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium in the first Semi Final. The Bombers put in a creditable performance and against the odds had opportunities to win the match, however in the end Port Adelaide were too strong - winning by 24-points and ending the Bombers season.

2002 was Michael Long's Testimonial year and Kevin Sheedy coached his 500th game in Round 3 against the Brisbane Lions. Mark Johnson won the Crichton Medal.

2003 2003 was a season of two halves. At the half-way point of the season, Essendon had just five wins on the board and appeared in jeopardy of missing the finals. However, a second half of the season rival, in which the team won eight of its final 10 matches, resulted in Essendon finishing in eighth position.

The Bombers traveled to Perth in the first week of the finals to take on Fremantle in a cut-throat final. Essendon put its poor interstate record behind them and recorded a 44-point victory and advanced to the second week of the finals. It was a case of deja vu when Essendon faced Port Adelaide in the first semi-final. Unfortunately for the Bombers the result went the same way as the previous year and Port ended Essendon's finals campaign for the second consecutive year.

A lot of positives came out of the 2003 season. The Essendon stars were in fine form - James Hird won the best and fairest award for the fourth time in his career and shared the accolade with Scott Lucas. Matthew Lloyd was outstanding up forward, finishing with 93 goals and becoming Essendon's all time greatest goal kicker in the process. New recruits Adam McPhee and Damian Cupido slotted straight into the side and proved they will be regular senior players for years to come. David Hille started to become a force in the ruck division and was awarded the Most Improved player for the season.

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