Short History of East Coast Bays

East Coast Bays was founded following a public meeting held at the Progessive Hall (since demolished and replaced by the Bays Club) in October 1958. The committee formed from this meeting entered four junior teams for the start of the 1959 season. As some of the committee members were supporters of Glasgow Rangers, the colours of Royal Blue shirts, white shorts and  and royal Blue sox were adopted. The white shorts were changes in later years to royal blue when that colour became available.

East Coast Bays had become a borough just four years earlier, so Mayor Greville and Bill Christie, Head of Parks, took the committee to look at possible sites for a ground. The Maxwell Farm occupied that part of Mairangi Bay now known as Maxwelton and both Mr Maxwell and the Council were very proactive resulting in a ground being formed running north to south. The old Progress Hall on the site was adapted to serve as clubrooms. The ground was very wet and mud around the goals could become 15 cm deep.

A senior side was entered the next season and with the opening of the harbour bridge, the area boomed and the club grew in size to more than 1000 juniors in the late seventies and early eighties. Senior sides also grew in numbers and the first team slowly made its way through the leagues, and in 1975 when the Northern League was formed they were invited to compete in the first division.

Under coach Alan Yates, the club won promotion to the National League in 1981 but were relegated the following year as there was a three up - threee down system meaning a quarter of the league was relegated every year.

Player numbers continued too grow and Mairangi Bay simply couldn't cope with the numbers and an additional ground at Windsor Park helped a little. The breakaway of a faction to form the Rangitoto club saw a temporary decline in the number of junior teams.

Successive administrations spent a lot of time lobbying the East Coast Bays Council for more grounds and when Windsor Park was sold by Dominion Brewereie and went exclusively to rugby the situation bcame critical.

At the same time new ground criteria for clubs playing in the Northern League Premier Divison meant Mairangi Park was no longer suitable for playing top football so the club spent a couple of seasons using the new ground developed behind Rangitoto College and used by athletics, but the athletic club was unhappy with this arrangement and made life difficult.

Land off Anderson's Road originaly designated but no longer required for a school was acquired by the Council and it was finally agreed that the club would move there once facilities were built and grounds developed. Council was also under pressure from the tennis and bowls clubs who adjoined Mairangi Park for additional space for their rapidly growing memberships.

Skilled negotiation from Graham Taylor-Edwards persuaded the Council to buy the facilities at Mairangi Park for the Arts Centre, and finally in 1991 the club moved to its new headquarters at the newly named Bays City Park.

Since then clubroom facilities have been developed to rank amongst the best in the country, further grounds have been obtained at Ashley Reserve, debt has been retired and the club is progressing. Under the direction of Willy Gerdsen, coaching pathways have been developed and the club has embraced the Whole of Football plan developed by New Zealand Football.

We have around 900 juniors, some very talented youth sides, an evergrowing ladies section, six teams playing in competitve leagues other than the Premiers and another six teams playing either Over 35 or Over 40 football. The club has become the first in New Zealand to be issued a Quality Mark by New Zealand Football.


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