Looking back over the 140 year history of the North Melbourne Football Club I identified 6 pivotal moments that I thought most influenced its ongoing viability and shaped the special culture and spirit of the Club. Of course this list is subjective and others might identify different moments, but here are mine...
1. After two unsuccessful attempts to join the VFL over a 29 year period, North finally succeeded in 1925, when they along with Hawthorn and Footscray entered the then elite competition, increasing the number of participating teams to 12.
2. In 1964 the then club administration believed North Melbourne would not be around in 10 years time unless they got control of the Arden Street ground by securing a long term lease at a favourable rental rate. The Melbourne City Council denied them their wish, so the club moved to Coburg, which in itself was an absolute disaster but laid the foundation for North's return to Arden Street the following year on more favourable terms.
3. Under the new arrangements applicable to Arden Street, North not only gained ‘ground management' rights but was able to build a Social Club which opened in 1969 and ultimately became an essential income earner for the Club throughout the 70's. At the time its disco was considered to be the ‘hottest' in Melbourne.
4. Three years later in 1972 the League introduced the ‘ten year rule' permitting players to transfer to another club after ten years service. Realising the opportunity instantly North signed champions Barry Davis, Doug Wade and John Rantall before the rest of the competition understood the significance of this new rule. This along with the recruitment of Ron Barassi to coach them laid the foundation the Club's first premiership in 1975.
5. After the incredible success of the 70's which included two Premierships, a decade of rebuilding followed, which through necessity had to be debt funded. To liquidate accumulated debt the Club issued three million one dollar shares and listed on the then Hobart Stock Exchange in 1987. This enabled it to retire $2.5 million of debt and bank the remaining $500,000. underwriting the Club's immediate future.
6. Twenty years on in 2007 the Club's Board courageously rejected an AFL's invitation to relocate to the Gold Coast vowing to preserve the 140 year heritage of North Melbourne and in doing so return to their ancestral home at Arden St. This necessitated a massive rebuilding programme that will equal or surpass the best facilities available to any club in the competition. With a large Gymnasium, comfortable Player Change Rooms, Conference Facilities, a modern and efficient Administrative Centre plus a ‘Community Youth Learning Facility' the new Arden Street structure will be the foundation for renewal and ongoing success for the North Melbourne Football Club.