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Life Members

  • Norm Johnson (Deceased 1984)
  • Norm Tennant
  • Elsie Haakmeester
  • Yvonne Dickinson
  • Murray Ralfs
  • Vern Harkerss

History - 1970's

It is appropriate to pay tribute to the ardent football supporters who laid the foundations of the Burwood Association Football Club. Two local people Norm Tennant and the late Gerald Huisman saw a notice in the local paper from the Burwood Residents Association offering financial support for the establishment of local sporting groups. Norm, Gerald and Tony Gulland canvassed the area by door knocking to drum up support and in the 1970 season the Burwood club was born. In that first season the club had teams from 8th to 12th grade and were deemed by the CJFA to be a feeder club for New Brighton and Christchurch United. Eventually the club after much effort persuaded the CFA that unless we were to remain a club heading in no particular direction, it was imperative that we be admitted to Senior grades. This came about in 1980 and our Senior men’s team rapidly rose through the CFA divisions. This move to Seniors helped stem the outflow of Juniors to other clubs and so gave us a much greater sense of club identity. The first club colours were based on the local Burwood area colour of maroon - black shorts, maroon and grey shirts. In 1974 this was changed to orange and black and has now turned full circle back to maroon.

The clubs headquarters were at Clare Park where we had 2 senior fields (in those days 8th grade and up all played 11 a-aside on a full sized pitch). The clubrooms consisted of an old dilapidated hen house where we stored our empty beer bottles for fundraising – this was the staple method of most clubs fundraising during the 1970’s. Later this building was demolished and the Waimairi District Council permitted us to use an old house which stood fronting onto Burwood Rd by the roundabout (which didn’t exist then). This was always referred to as the “White House”. Eventually this too was demolished and by then fundraising was in place for our own Clubrooms – raffles, bottle drives and buy a brick scheme. Shirley Rugby club also had a ground at Clare Park (roughly where the QEII motorway is now). With a grant from the Waimairi District Council along with Burwood and Shirley Rugby providing a deposit each of $1500.00, the bottom storey of the Clubrooms (showers and changing rooms) was erected.

In this period too, money was raised for the training floodlights. Committee meetings were held at various committee members’ houses and the members often became firm friends. Burwood Balls were legend and always well supported by a band of dedicated football people from the area. The 1970’s were a successful time for the club which became quite a focal point in the district and the club at one stage boasted about 350 members.

History - 1980's

As the 1970’s come to a close, it was important for the club to establish a Senior team so that Burwood Juniors who now formed one of the biggest Junior clubs in Christchurch had some form of club continuity. In 1980 this came to fruition with 1 Senior team and 1 Youth grade team (although we had a youth team in 1978). The CFA rules deemed that any new club must comprise solely of players who had not previously played Senior football in the Christchurch area, which was a daunting task. The task of recruiting new players fell onto the shoulders of Mike Robinson who ended up in that first year as coach, player, manager and mentor rolled into one. In 1981 we had 2 Senior men’s teams and the ball was rolling. Many consider Senior football within our club came of age in 1983. That year we had Derick Johnson as our first “proper coach” and also in 1983 our first Women’s team was started. Gradually both genders firmly establishing themselves in their respective competitions. We were fortunate to have the services of Derick Johnson for a period of 4 years (1983 – 1987). The highlight of this time was the 1st Men’s team winning the CFA Division 2 League and Cup double in 1985.

In 1982-1983 plans and fundraising were started for the building of the new clubrooms on the 2nd storey of the existing changing sheds. Gary Parker the Club Treasurer got the project rolling. Construction began in 1984 and was in the main completed during the 1984-1985 summer to the point of being usable at the start of the 1985 season. The vast majority of construction was completed by club members on a voluntary basis. It would not have been possible without the consistent work done on nearly every Sunday morning by Rick Lees, Steve Petch, Murray Ralfs, Chris Johnson, Gary Cambus, Dave Cambus. Numerous other willing club members and supporters also contributed to the project.

The Junior section had of course carried on its merry way. Their numbers were consistently high (usually near 200). Competition winners becoming more frequent, as were the number of Juniors gaining Canterbury representative honours.

History - 1990's

The 1990’s was a successful era for the club in many ways. Junior numbers had been consistent, usually about 17 teams (180 – 190 players). The high number of Burwood Junior players who achieved Canterbury representative status is a credit to the club. On the field results support the quality players being produced at Burwood. In 1994 Burwood won the CJFA trophy for the highest average team results, with several teams winning their respective grades and all of the others finishing in the top three. In 1991 a Burwood Midgets league was introduced for the under 6-7 years old. This concept has been very successful and still continues today (now called First Kicks). In 1992 a decision was made to replace the old orange and black strip with a modified version of the clubs original maroon and white strip. One of the few problems over this era has been the lack of people willing to help on Committee. A feature of the 1990’s has been the small loyal group of people running the club at Committee level.

From a Senior perspective this era has been very successful on the field. In 1992 the 1st Men’s team won the inaugural CFA Districts league and with it promotion in to the Southern League Qualifying league. The Senior committee (led by Steve Allen) embarked on an ambitious plan to remain in this league. Unfortunately, the good work done at Committee level proved harder to emulate on the field and the club was relegated back to the Districts league. The 1st Women’s team has been very successful in the 1990’s. They have progressed from winning CWFA Division 2 in 1989 and the Division 1 in 1994, to gain promotion into the CWFA Premier division in 1995. They avoided relegation from this tough league in their first year. A new concept was introduced at Burwood in 1994 when the club entered a Masters team. This has proved very successful with the Masters team winning CFA Masters Division 2 in their first year. Unfortunately 1999 was the last year of Senior football at Burwood. A number of the Senior stalwarts (both men and women) from the 1980’s gradually left the playing ranks and the old drive was soon gone. This was indeed a sad day for Burwood football.

History - 2000's

The 2000’s is a successful era for the club from the Junior perspective. Junior numbers increased every year, in 2004 the club had 300 junior player and 70 midget players. Unfortunately the Senior section is in recession over this period. In 2006, Clare Park has 2 Junior pitches and 1 Senior pitch. Clare Park is a very busy place on Saturday mornings with the change to small sided games and portable plastic goals for the 7th and 8th grade.

In 2007, the club website www.burwoodafc.co.nz was started. In 2008 Murray Ralfs the club President was recognised by Mainland Football when he won the Father O’Mahoney Trophy, the Junior Personality Award for long and outstanding service to Junior football. He also won a Presidents Award, for service to club football. 2009 was a very successful year for the club with 4 teams winning their respective sections.  Burwood has achieved the ClubMark Bronze award recognising the processes and systems that are in place to run the club successfully. This accreditation is performed by Sport Canterbury.

History - 2010's

The 2010 season was badly disrupted by the September earthquake and bad weather. The 13B and 14B teams won their respective leagues. And again the 2011 season was badly disrupted by the February earthquake and others throughout the year. As if that wasn’t enough to contend with we had some pretty bad weather as well. Unfortunately earthquakes have become a fact of life in Christchurch now with several causing major issues during the year. The Senior pitch and both Junior pitches are out of action for the whole 2011 season - two Junior pitches are put together in the same place as the old senior pitch.


Junior club numbers are again down in 2012. First Kicks (4-6 years) and Fun Football (7-8 years) are successful. For the first time since 2000 we had a Senior men’s team playing in the Player Development League. New Senior goalposts were purchased with the help of FIFA special funding.

2013 sees another drop in Junior club numbers, although First Kicks and Fun Football continue to grow. As well our Senior team started the year in the new Under 21 grade but the low number of teams made this competition untenable. Just after half way through the year they were placed in Division 4 for the remaining part of the year only. The Clubrooms are officially closed due to earthquake issues with the Council owned lower changing rooms/toilet facility. The club is working with the City Council, East Shirley Cricket and our insurance company to start the process of what will happen to the whole facility. With the help of Christchurch Earthquake Recovery Trust sponsorship funding we have been able to upgrade our training floodlights. In 2013 Club President Murray Ralfs is again recognised again by Mainland Football with a President’s Award for service to club football. And then he also won the Mainland Football Eileen Langridge Trophy for Administrator of the Year.


2014 sees Junior numbers consistent in the 7th to 12th grades, but struggling in 13th grade and up. The Senior section grows with two Senior teams both in Division 6. The Senior A team easily winning Division 6 unbeaten. The highlight of the year was our Senior A teams Chatham Cup game at Clare Park against holders Cashmere Technical. This was after beating Waimak United a Division 1 team. The Clubrooms are still officially closed due to earthquake issues to the lower changing rooms. In 2015 Junior numbers are consistent in the 7th to 11th grades, but no teams in 12th grade and up. The Senior section grows with three Senior teams (Division 5, Division 6 and Player Development League). The Senior A team easily winning Division 5 unbeaten and the Cup final. The Clubrooms are officially open after remediation work by the CCC on the lower changing rooms.