Collingwood Football Club | Magpies

Collingwood Football Club | Magpies

The Collingwood Football Club is the biggest and most famous sporting club in Australia having won 15 premierships and contested more Grand Finals than any other club.

COLLINGWOOD Football Club has a tradition of performance that is unparallelled in league history. The Magpies were the youngest of the clubs that formed the Victorian Football League in 1897, but have made a huge impact on the competition and the game in general.

For the best part of the history of League football, Collingwood has been the most consistently performed of all clubs, having appeared in 72 final series out of a possible 103 to the end of 1999. That is 10 instances more than the next best side - arch rival Carlton.

Collingwood was generally considered to be the child of the Brittania Football club- a local junior team that played on Victoria Park as early as 1882.

Brittania actually had early links with nearby Fitzroy. The desire to have a team representing the community was fuelled by the sight of the adjoining Fitzroy team performing so well in the VFA.

There was a push to have a Collingwood team included in the VFA in 1889, but that move foundered. At this stage there was no Collingwood team as such, but the locals pushed hard to be part of the VFA and in 1891 were given the go-ahead to play in the 1892 season if they could bring Victoria Park up to the standard required for top flight competition.

Because Brittania's colors of blue and white with a scarlet sash were similar to Footscray's, the new Collingwood team had to change and they opted for black and white vertical stripes on the suggestion of William Crawley, a member who had been impressed by the then black and white colors of the SA inter-colonial team. He also suggested the ``Magpies'' nickname which has become synonymous with the club from its very first game.

Collingwood played its first game as a full-fledged member of the VFA on May 7, 1892 against Carlton and lost by two goals to three. It was the beginning of one of Australian sport's longest running, and strongest, rivalries.

Collingwood was not an overnight success in its first two seasons, but by 1894 lifted to eighth position on the ladder and under the wise guidance of skipper Bill Strickland began to loom as an emerging force.

The ex-Carlton man was a stickler for teamwork and discipline and the Magpies advanced to fourth spot in 1895. Already the side had a fearsome reputation for being close to unbeatable on its own turf and in 1896 showed how far it had come in the brief span of four years.

At that stage the team that topped the ladder was considered the premiers, but with Collingwood and the established power South Melbourne tied on the same amount of wins there was a need for a Grand Final.

In blistering October heat on the East Melbourne Cricket Ground the Magpies triumphed in scoring six goals to South's five.

On the eve of the Grand Final, Collingwood had been one of the clubs which had met to form a breakaway competition. the football world was turned on its head when the Victorian Football League was created.

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