Our Proud Past

The present club was established in 1959 mainly through the efforts of Ken Hastings, who mustered a few senior players together and practised on the Papatoetoe Recreation Reserve on Sunday mornings.

Papatoetoe AFC today is one of the top soccer clubs in the country.  It became this because of the collective wisdom, passion and commitment of its members and supporters.

We have attempted to condense part of our club’s 50 year history into a few web pages below by providing ’snippets’ of events, however please be aware that it really does not do our proud past justice.  We therefore highly recommend obtaining a copy of the Club’s Silver Jubilee Magazine which is a more complete record of our first 25 years.


The First 15 Years 1959-1974

1959 – The Papatoetoe Association Football Club was conceived when local boy, Ken Hastings, decided there had to be a way of being able to play the sport he loved than having to travel and play for an Auckland team and in his case, cycle to Avondale.  He discovered four other Papatoetoe boys keen to form a home team and the seeds were sown.

1960 – Local Schools were contacted and our junior teams were started, initially two, supported by enthusiastic parents washing playing shirts in family coppers.  Our first Junior Committee was formed to help with the growing Junior/Midgets Division.  Other South Auckland clubs were also being formed and with them we became part of the Franklin and Districts competition.  From nothing to a very competitive club in a very short time - a big step – but as we were to discover, the years ahead were to be just as hectic as Papatoetoe AFC grew into one of New Zealand’s Premier Clubs.

1961-1964 – Meetings moved from hairdressing shops to members homes.  A Works Committee is formed to negotiate a new home ground, possibly at Milan Road, but many different offers were made over the next year before Papatoetoe East allowed us use of their school fields.  With a count of 156 boys in our Junior/ Midget division the need for a home ground was became increasingly demanding.  At this stage the club had two teams in the FDFA 1st Division.

Finance was tight.  The added cost of equipping the increased number of teams was high and the fees, low.  Fundraising was necessary to keep going. A building fund was started but slow progress was made.

We moved to Milan Road and at last we had a permanent home but a lot of work was needed to get it into a fit, playable condition.  A garage was borrowed to use as a changing shed (which had to be reassembled three days later after been blown down by gale winds) and it still stands behind the clubroom today.

1965 – A supporters club was established.  The old RSA Bowling Club hall was purchased for 50 pounds and moved to Milan Road as temporary changing rooms and accommodation and a future development plan was drawn up.

1965-1967 – A club badge was designed and the lease of Murdoch Park was finally accepted and signed.  A senior team was entered in the Northern League Reserve Division and two in Franklin.  The club investment in junior football was beginning to pay off.  Seven young players including Billy De Graff were included in the Franklin U23 squad.  We now had 18 junior teams and many badges and cups were won.  Further developments were made to the changing rooms and hot showers were installed.  A canteen was established and by the end of the season the Junior Committee was quite financial and made a 120 pound donation to the building fund.

1968-1969 With major exodus of players to Auckland teams, further inducements were included e.g.; Travel allowance $4 per car, Meal allowance 50c per player. Clubroom plans were accepted and preparations were made to start stage one of construction.  Though only ten years old, Papatoetoe AFC was fast becoming one of the largest clubs in New Zealand.

1970-1971 Again this was a year of hard work to keep the building campaign progressing but both junior and senior sections applied themselves off and on the field.  The senior team won promotion to the Northern League Premier Division.  A recommendation was made that future coaches of the premier team be non players.

George Davie, who had been involved in the sport of soccer for the past 25 years, stepped down from role as president but continued his involvement in other positions.  When George passed away this club lost a great stalwart.

1972-1974 Fundraising for the building an development programs became the club priority, so much so, it appeared to be at the expense of playing as we were reminded not to forget that we needed to take a more professional approach to our senior team and coach.

Three of our juniors were selected as North island representatives; E Saints, A Revell and R Herbert.  Our U18 reached the final of the Junior National Cup.

1975 – 1989

1975 – An U18 team was entered in the Senior Competition and proved successful in winning its league.  The increasing ability at all ages of our junior players was very heartening and augured well for the future.  The innovation of a windup Sports Day proved worthy of repeat.  Plans of an extension to the existing clubrooms were submitted.

1976-1978 – 1976 was a problem year for the club when the commitment of all members would be tested.  Our Senior 1 team was relegation to the Northern League 2nd Division. Our Executive and SMC also lost valuable experienced members.  Floodlighting was also a problem and the clubrooms were proving inadequate for the needs of the club.  Despite these setbacks we still fielded 40 teams and 12 of our junior teams won their FDFA championships.  The JMC organised two successful fundraising events, a Gala Day and a Walkathon with funds going toward our clubroom extension. In 1978 a new games room and canteen were completed and we were successful in securing a liquor license which meant our bar sales improved dramatically.

1979 – New senior coaches Derek Lunt (formally Courier Ranges) and Ian Hastie (former NZ International) attracted a few experienced players including Peter Lapper, Bob McConnell and Dave Hutchinson, all of whom had Rothmans League experience.  This combined with rising stars like Bruce Graham and John Johnston to name a few, lead to our team becoming runners up in the 2nd Division ad thus again first Division stakes in 1980.  At junior level we fielded 26 teams.  Club spirit continued at a high level, displayed with a fashion show and a Miss Papatoetoe contest. 

1980 – Our club’s 21st year was a highlight in our history. We fielded seven senior (including Northern League and U19), 26 junior teams and two women’s teams, one of which was to play in Papatoetoe’s first international against California Sunshine Girl’s team.  Junior football was again performing well with 40 boys gaining Franklin representative honours.  Our senior team sought to establish its presence again in First Division and Kevin Curtain (former NZ Goal Keeper) was signed up.  We were to finish 6th place, however notice had been served that Papatoetoe had arrived.  The 21st celebrations were held over a June weekend proved an unqualified success.

1981-1983 – Our Northern league finished 4th in First Division and were runners up in the Country Foods Knockout Cup.  We fielded a reduced number of teams, 31 in all.  In 1982 NZ soccer realised its ambition to play in the World Cup Finals- Espania ’82.  It was also the year Papatoetoe’s dreams were realised when it no t only gained entry into the Rothmans Soccer League but also became the first team to win the double of the Country Foods Northern League First Division and the Country Foods Knockout Cup.  We fielded 47 teams – 9 senior, 35 junior and 3 women’s.  Fundraising also gained more attention and further Club building development was approved.

1984 – The Silver Jubilee year was to produce an ambitious fundraising project when some 300 club members, supporters and friends engaged in a catering project at ‘Sweetwaters 84’ This project not only provided publicity but earned a phenomenal $47,000.  The Rothmans Soccer League was to be delayed due to NZ’s Olympic involvement with four Papatoetoe players proudly representing us; F Van Hattum, B McClure, C Tuaa and A Metzger.

New Zealand Caps during this period:

D Huff
I Masson
B McClure
F Van Hattum, M Felton
C Tuaa, A Metzger
T Mason
N Barkley
G Scholfield

1990 to 2002

1990 started off in dramatic style.  The First Team was relegated to the Country Foods 1st Division and six weeks prior to the season starting, the Senior Coach was dismissed and Peter Kelly was appointed to the position.  Unfortunately there wasn’t a team either, however after some frantic organising and man nights of discussions we fielded a team for the first game with some old hands like Rexy Fletcher and Alby Bowcott.

After six games they played 6, lost 6, 5 goals for, 23 against.  It was going to be a long, hard season but with true Papatoetoe pride and determination and the signing of Prevan Jeram, Buzzer Mckay and John Richardson from England, we turned the corner by drawing our 7th game 1-1.  We were on a roll and with everyone associated with the team doing their piece, we starved off relegation, contrary to the news media’s belief, by winning the last 5 games.  Grateful thanks to Manukau who did not pick up a single point over that time which allowed us through.  To add to the tension the last game against Ellerslie was called off by the referee after 51 minutes due to heavy rain.  We were 1-nil down but won the reply the following week – nerve racking stuff.

1991 was probably the highlight of the decade in which the 1st Team won the league, top 5 play-off and the promotion series against Olympic from Wellington on away goals merit after we locked up at 4-4 and extra time to regain National League status again, the first and only club in NZ to be relegated and ten to win their way back again.

Also in this year the club won the Counties 1st and 2nd Division Championships, the over 30’s won the Auckland title, the Counties Manukau Cup and our ladies were runners up in their division.

Throughout the decade our membership has fluctuated slightly.  In 1990 we fielded 6 senior teams and 14 junior teams while in 2002 we fielded 9 seniors and 10 juniors.  All players and members alike have been worthy ambassadors of our club in winning numerous championships and representative honours of which we are very proud of and with our friendly family atmosphere it has kept us at the forefront over the years as the top cub in Counties Manukau- Lets keep it that way. COME ON REDS!

NZ Caps during this period;

M Ridenton
M Atkinson, M Elrick

Special mention must be given to our Club patrons;

Ross Robertson MP
Steve Williamson
Vice Patron
Phil Greenbank - Papatoetoe Counciller, JP
Vice Patron
Neville Culpitt


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