North Shore Licensed Club

1974 North Shore Licensed Club smallNorth Shore obtained a liquor licence from the court on 13 August 1973.  The club was opened on 18 December, Just in time for Christmas.

The whole exercise though had been a long and costly journey with a number of the club’s officials putting their hand in their pocket to make it all happen.  Former club president, Jim Tuton, wrote in April of 1973 that  “the licensed club project has proved to be a long and drawn out affair and in this vital time needs the maximum of support.”

The entire saga took 20 months and a great deal of time, effort, commitment and money.  The club were not granted a licence in the conventional manner.  Polonia-Northside Soccer Club had licensed premises at 92 Arthur Street North Sydney and went broke.

Polonia were a soccer club which participated in the NSW State League.

It is alleged that in those days what we could term as ‘shady characters’ funded some innocent and somewhat gullible sporting clubs in NSW in order for them to get a license but their involvement didn’t end there.  Somehow these people organised a major share in their involvement written into the agreement with the club and when the license was eventually granted, moved in to conduct the affairs of the business.  The particular club and the people who had the members received next to nothing from the enterprise while those who funded the project cleaned up, mainly from the proceeds of the poker machines of the day which were very loosely policed and not taxed.  There was a fair chance that such a club was Polonia Northside.

At least one Australian football club in Sydney was approached by this or a similar group at the time but the venture never got off the ground.

Those running North Shore at the time got to hear of the plight of the soccer club (the licensed club was a complete separate entity from their onfield ‘kicking’ club) and made inquiries about a takeover.

The matter ended up in the Equity Court where Mr Justice Street gave final and absolute approval for the North Shore organisers’ scheme to ‘reconstruct a club which was in liquidation.’

It was through the foresight and effort of people like Fred Mackay, Bill Bairstow, Phillip Loiterton and Jim Tuton who spearheaded the operation which was not only supported by members of the North Shore Club but also members of other Australian football clubs in Sydney.

The whole project would not have been possible without the wonderful financial support of the Western Suburbs Australian Football Club Ltd and the personal support of the president of the NSW Football League, Bill Hart and his board of management.

Also the executive of the Australian National Football Council were very empathetic in their stand.

The North Shore (licensed) club obtained a loan from the Australian Football Council through the NSW Football League for $10,000 which mortgaged their offices at 64 Regent Street, Chippendale as guarantee.  This was further guaranteed by the Western Suburbs Club.

The club in North Sydney functioned for about six years or so but eventually failed.  There were a number of reasons put forward for this, none the less was the need for more professional administration.

Another was the location, right opposite the Warringah Expressway.  The club needed to capitalise on the lunchtime crowd in North Sydney because weekends, for the most part, were dead.  The area had moved away from residential housing to that of a commercial hub.

Such a shame for North Shore and football.

The other club which gained their license in the same year as North Shore was the Riverina Australian Football Club at Wagga.  It too has had its ups and downs but now appears to have stabilised.