In 1858, a loosely organized side played as Melbourne on many occasions. The next year, on May 14, 1859, the club was formally established. It is the world's oldest professional football club of any code. The club has never been disbanded and is now based in Melbourne, Victoria.
They are also one of the most successful football clubs in history, having won the FA Cup five times, the first national soccer championship in Australia in 1895, and more recently in 2003, 2012 and 2013. The club has also won the A-League eight times (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012).
With a total of 11 international caps, John McGraw is the most decorated player in Melbourne FC history. The United States national team manager, who guided his country to a perfect 10-0 record, called him the "Prince of Punchers". In 2000, he was awarded the FIFA Order of Merit in recognition of his services to football. He died at the age of 86 in 1973 after winning several major championships with New York City FC.
McGraw's teammate James McDonald became the first Australian to be given a full international cap when he played for Australia against England in 1896. He earned three more caps between 1896 and 1899.
In the winter and spring of 1858, Wills commanded a loosely organized Melbourne team that played against other football fans. The Melbourne Football Club was founded the next year, on May 14, becoming one of the world's oldest football clubs. Wills is believed to have been the first person to kick a ball in Australia.
Melbourne Football Club began playing annual matches against other Victorian football clubs in 1859. In 1863, the club's first match under its present name took place between Melbourne University FC and Melbourne Cricket Club. The students won this match 2 goals to 0. In 1865, Melbourne Football Club joined with five other Victorian teams to form the VFA. The league lasted only one season before falling apart, but it did give rise to what is now known as soccer/football in Australia.
After these initial years of informal play, Victoria's governor, Sir William Robinson, KG, KNZM, ordered that a national championship be established. The first VFA season ran from 1870-71 until 1973 when it was cancelled due to financial difficulties. Since then, several different amateur leagues have operated throughout Victoria while the professional A-League has been played each year since 1995.
The most notable player from Melbourne Football Club's early days was Charles W. Alcock, who scored many goals during his time with the club.
Melbourne Melbourne and Geelong football clubs were founded in 1858 and 1859, respectively, and are two of the world's oldest football clubs. The committee's regulations, agreed upon on May 17, 1859, were a compromise between those of numerous English public schools, most notably Winchester, Harrow, and Rugby. These rules were adopted by the members of the public school community who could not agree on their own set of rules.
The first official game of Australian rules football was played on March 24, 1877, with Melbourne playing Richmond at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Melbourne won that game 3 goals to 2 in front of an audience that may have been as high as 10,000 people. In 1879, William Alexander Smith wrote a book called Football: Its Laws and Rules, which is considered the first sporting magazine in Australia. He also organized several early season matches between Victorian teams, some of which are regarded as the first official Australian rules games.
In 1881, the first VFL (now AFL) season started. Melbourne and Geelong again competed against each other for the Premiership. Melbourne won its second consecutive Victoria Championship after finishing the season with a 12-6-2 record. This article by published in The Australasian newspaper on January 1, 1882, lists the captains and teams of the first VFL season.
Football regulations were formalized in Victorian times in 1858. The first Australian rules football clubs, which are still active in the present Australian Football League, were established in 1858. Australian rules were originally played in 1859 in Australia. Soccer began being played in Australia by the 1870s, with Sydney serving as the game's early headquarters. It is possible that both sports may have been played together before then, but no evidence of this has been found yet.
Australian rules is believed to be older than soccer because it was originally called "football" and had many of the same rules as other ball games such as lacrosse and rugby. These games evolved from practices between British soldiers stationed in Australia. The name "soccer" became popular in England during the 1850s and now dominates the sport there.
Aussie Rules is the only major sport that is not named after a religion. The original names for the sport were "Australian Football" and "Victorian Football". These names came about because the rules of the game were different in different states/colonies at first. In fact, until 1918, there was no official rule book for the sport; each club made its own rules based on how they wanted to play the game.