[FM24] Australia Alternate Reality - Fantasy, New Clubs, Divisions, Cups etc

Logos [FM24] Australia Alternate Reality - Fantasy, New Clubs, Divisions, Cups etc 2023-12-19

What if, in 1858, when searching for a football game to keep cricketers fit in winter, Tom Wills adopted the Cambridge Rules, and in turn in 1863 the Victorian Football Association adopted the Football Association laws, rather than creating their own rules? Association Football takes off in the Australian colonies, never to look back....

This is the story (& database) of an Australian Football alternate history.

Association Football quickly gains a stronghold in Victoria and spreads around the rest of the continent, it becomes the primary football code in every colony. Rugby is played in the limited upper classes, especially NSW & Queensland, however football is the game of the common man - and as a result Rugby League never hits Australia with any meaningful cut through.

By 1901 there had been many inter-colonial matches but nothing consistently organised - that all changes with Federation and the introduction of the Federation Cup to crown the Champions of Australia - this becomes the primary national competition, albeit a cup, through to 1961 with clubs confined to league football in their own states.

In 1961 a national league is finally formed (Australian Premier League), a second division added in 1999 (National League 1) and a third in 2016 (National League 2). The Federation Cup continues to run as the primary nation-wide cup tournament with the semi finals and final played on consecutive weekends at the start of December to end the club season; and each state continues to run their own State Championships (Feb-Mar) prior to the National league seasons beginning (Apr-Nov).

So, who are the teams currently in the national leagues, and what are their stories?

Victoria
The Melbourne Football Club was founded in the weeks after the cricketers started playing football in 1858, and over the next two decades the Geelong(1859), Bendigo(1861), Warrnambool(1861), Carlton(1864), St Kilda(1873), South Melbourne(1874), Port Melbourne(1874), Hotham(1877) & Footscray(1877) clubs were formed. This was followed by North Ballarat in 1882, and Collingwood in 1892.

These clubs remained at the forefront of Victorian football through to the end of WW2 with very little change - aside from Hotham changing their name to Hotham Thistle in 1908 to acknowledge the Scottish influence in their playing ranks.

The aftermath of WW2 changed things quite dramatically with a huge influx of migrants from Europe - all who loved football and quickly adopted the local clubs as their own. The Italians in the northern suburbs found Carlton & Collingwood (with the later adding Juventus to their name when the Italian community bailed them out of financial difficulties in the 80’s), the Greeks found South Melbourne (adding Hellas to their name in homage), the Czeckoslovakians found Port Melbourne (adding Slavia) and the Serbians found Footscray (adding JUST).

In addition - the Croatians formed their own club in Sunshine - Sunshine Croatia; and the Hungarians founded Melbourne Hungaria who moved all over the city before settling in Wyndham in 2010 and becoming West Melbourne Hungaria. Like Hungaria, St Kilda struggled to maintain a stable home ground and in 2003 moved to a new facility in Casey, & stadium in Dandenong, to become the South East Saints.

New South Wales
The Sydney “Original Big 3” were all founded in the 1880’s. Wanderers in Parramatta in 1880, Pyrmont Rangers in 1884 & Caledonians in Moore Park in 1885. Separately two clubs - Newcastle Rosebud (1889) & Wallsend (1887) - were formed in the Newcastle area. These 5 clubs dominated NSW football before & through the World Wars. Canterbury-Bankstown (1886), St George (1920) and Sutherland (1936) were all founded during this period also.

Like Victoria, the aftermath of WW2 dramatically changed the landscape - however NSW saw migrants mainly create their own clubs rather than supporting the incumbents (the exception being the Hungarian community & St George) - Hakoah Sydney (Jewish - 1939), Sydney United (Croatian - 1956), Sydney Olympic (Greek - 1958) and Marconi (Italian - 1960) are the examples of this.

In 1966, Canterbury-Bankstown moved to Penrith and became the West Sydney Berries, and, after years of being nomadic, the Pyrmont Rangers became simply Rangers AFC and moved to Campbelltown in 1983. Sydney Olympic capitalised on the actual Olympics in 2000 and moved to the Olympic Stadium in 2001 - immediately doubling their attendances. Other clubs include Wollongong Wolves (1980) and Central Coast United (2017).

Queensland
Football in Queensland took off in both Brisbane & Ipswich. In Brisbane the Queen’s Park team was formed in 1884, and the Pineapple Rovers in 1888; whilst in Ipswich the Coalstars were formed in 1888. These three clubs dominated through to the World Wars until Brisbane Azzuri (1952) and Brisbane Hollandia (1957) were founded.

In recent years, national league teams on the Gold Coast (2009), Sunshine Coast (2008), in Townsville (2009) and in Cairns (2017) have been founded.

South Australia
Organised football in South Australia was slower off the mark with the first state championship not held until 1903 - Port Adelaide (1870) and Hindmarsh (1904) dominated, winning every championship until 1944. Adelaide City were formed by the Italian community in 1946 and have developed to be seen in stature alongside Port and Hindmarsh. Other clubs are the Polish-backed Polonia Adelaide (1950), the Greek-backed West Adelaide (1962) and the Britannia Football Club which was formed in 1956 by the influx of British immigrants in the Northern Suburbs on the 10-pound-pom program.

Western Australia
There was no dominant team in early WA football with a lot of teams now being defunct. Fremantle Corinthians were formed in 1900 and are the earliest team still in existence. This changed in 1912 with the formation of Northern Casuals and 1926 with the formation of Victoria Park - these two clubs now have one of the fiercest rivalries in the country and are at the forefront of WA football. Other clubs include Subiaco AFC (1909), Floreat Athena (1951) and East Fremantle Tricoloure (1953).

Tasmania
Tasmania has two clubs in the national leagues - the Cricketers Football Club founded in 1874 who have won 62 state championships, and their great rivals South Hobart (1910). Cricketers have won 3 Federation Cups, with their most recent in 1947.

ACT & NT
The territories have two teams in national competitions - neither have won anything of note. The Darwin Cubs that were founded in 1995, and Canberra United who were founded in 1977.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________
League Summary
Australian Premier League - 18 teams (3 relegated)
Australian National League 1 - 18 teams (2 auto promoted, 3-6 into playoff/3 relegated)
Australian National League 2 - 18 teams (2 auto promoted, 3-6 into playoff/4 relegated)
Regional Premier Leagues (4 leagues - NSW/ACT, VIC/TAS, QLD/NT, WA/SA) (1 promoted from each, 2 relegated from each)

Federation Cup - approx 450 teams, knock out tournament

Victorian State Championship - 20 teams, 4 groups of 5 into 8 team knockout
NSW State Championship - 30 teams, 6 groups of 5 into 8 team knockout
Queensland State Championship - 20 teams, 4 groups of 5 into 8 team knockout
SA State Championship - 12 teams, 2 groups of 6 into 4 team knockout
WA State Championship - 12 teams, 2 groups of 6 into 4 team knockout
Tasmania State Championship - 8 teams, 2 groups of 4 into 2 team knockout
Territories Cup (ACT/NT) - 8 teams, 2 groups of 4 into 2 team knockout

Use "Early 2023 Pre-Season" as your start date to ensure you get to play full state championship in first season.

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I hope you enjoy, it's been really fun to make. I have updated a lot of players histories and attempted to remove all reference to current A-League clubs and histories however so remnants remain - I hope you can look past this
:)
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