A new tenant for Victoria Park

On February 12th, 1892 a meeting was held at the Collingwood Town Hall for citizens to discuss the possibility of creating a football team to play in the Victorian Football Association (VFA) competition that year.  Popular politician William D. Beazley chaired the meeting in front of a packed out Town Hall with several people scaling the walls get a view through the windows.  It was never really in doubt, the Collingwood Football Club had to happen. 

Victoria Park was proclaimed the place to play. 

W. D. Beazley in his first role as club president secured a loan of 600 from the Collingwood Council to level and top dress the surface and erect a picket fence around the ground.  The VFA approved the club's admission for the 1892 season and the first game was scheduled to be played at Princes Park in less than three months time against fellow working class club Carlton on May 7th.

A new grand stand was also quickly drawn up to be built which would provide offices and facilities for the players but this would not be opened until mid-June and in the mean time the players used the Yarra Hotel in Johnston Street to change before the games.  They would run up Rich Street to the ground.

1887 - From the Collingwood Town Hall you can see in the distance the Victoria Park oval.

Carlton, as a magnanimous gesture of good will for the newly formed Collingwood team, offered to move the first game from Princes Park to Victoria Park.  This helped get some much needed cash into the bank for The Club.  16,000 people were reputed to have attended the game, upwards of 7,000 from outside the municipality and many of them women.  Even though Carlton won on the day, Collingwood had definitely made its mark and many were left saying that bigger things were just around the corner.  The level of business generated on game days along Johnston Street and the surrounding area gave a significant boost to local moral and more importantly cash flow during very bleak economic times which always hit the Collingwood Flat harder than most areas of Melbourne.

1892 Season ticket

The Magpies did not need to wait long to taste success.  After a thumping in round 3 to St Kilda at the Junction Oval the Pies travelled down to Gellibrand Oval in round 4 and narrowly beat Williamstown 4 goals to 3.  The Club was on the board at last but would unfortunately end the season on the bottom of the ladder with just 3 wins from 17 games.  The Pies did finish the season on a high beating Carlton in the final round.  The wait would not be long to savior the sweet taste of the ultimate success though....

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