Auckland City FC celebrates 20th birthday

Words: ACFC Media

Saturday 3 February 2024

Picture: Phototek

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC will celebrate the milestone of the club's 20th anniversary in 2024.

2024 will see the build-up to this special occasion begin, with that landmark being followed afterwards by the 20th anniversary of our first ever competitive match played on 15 October 2004.

Auckland City FC are determined to celebrate the landmark with work already well-underway to make it a season and a year to remember for our members and supporters in Auckland and around the world.

The club have gone on to become one of the most familiar at regional and international level in world football with many followers worldwide. Despite its international adventures in Oceania and around the world, the club’s roots in the local community remain as strong as ever.

The club was founded by Ivan Vuksich and a team of dedicated board members who had a dream to start a football team to compete in the New Zealand Football Championship for its inaugural 2004-05 season.

The first match was a competitive match away to Napier City at Bluewater Stadium on 15 October 2004 resulting in a 3-1 win for the fledgling Navy Blues.

The line-up that day for City was: 1. Ross Nicholson (GK), 2. Shane Pascoe, 3. Paul Seaman, 4. Jonathon Perry, 5. Liam Mulrooney, 6. Grant Young, 7. Neil Sykes (c), 8. Prince Quansah, 9. Paul Vodanovich, 10. Greg Uhlmann, 11. Heath McCormack.

Coach Allan Jones and his assistant Craig Alexander brought on substitutes Jonathan Smith, Riki Van Steeden and Paul Urlovic. The unused substitutes that day were Chad Coombes and goalkeeper James Bannatyne.

David Gearey opened the scoring for Napier City on 20 minutes only for City to bounce back with goals for Perry (36'), skipper Neil Sykes (56') and McCormack from the spot (66').

The club has a deep history in Sandringham and the surrounding community and has had a big impact throughout the community as a result of its exploits at home and abroad.

Forever proud of our origins, it was important the club crest features the Sky Tower and an anchor symbolic to the city itself and of the club's values.

The checkerboard design was added to the crest in 2021 at the end of the New Zealand Football Championship at a time when the future of the club looked uncertain. It was in part influenced by the decorative crest from it's sister club Central United FC, the host club at Kiwitea Street and started in 1962. The design was meant to identify both football clubs cultural origins.

In the summer of 2012, the club launched an evolution of our social media identity and coined the "Navy Blues" phrase reflective of the club's dark blue colours. "Strength In Unity" has always had significant meaning in the club’s history. For the anniversary, "We Are Navy Blue" will be the message that unites everything we do as a club to celebrate 20 incredible years – and fittingly, Auckland City FC enter this milestone year as Champions of Oceania for a record 11th time.

The anniversary will form a year-long celebration as the club looks towards its participation at the FIFA Club World Cup USA 2025 in June-July next year.

Auckland City FC Chairman, Ivan Vuksich, commented: “Auckland City FC are today delighted to unveil our 20th anniversary celebrations – the first major milestone as we count down to the celebrations of being the first Oceania club to reach the new expanded FIFA Club World Cup in the USA next year.

“Our club members, volunteers, sponsors, community partners, coaches and players are at the heart of everything we do at Auckland City FC, and that will be no different as we mark our 20th year.

“The backing we have had from our members over the past 20 years has been phenomenal. It is just wonderful to see that loyalty rewarded over the years with success on the park and returning value to the local community in general.”

Gordon Watson, Auckland City FC's General Manager added: “Today marks the beginning of the build-up to our historic 20th-anniversary celebrations and a very busy calendar on the field of play for all of our coaches, players and teams.

“Everyone at Auckland City FC understands the significance of this landmark moment, as we reach this special milestone.

“We are looking forward to another busy 2024 with football, futsal, youth football, Academy and Holiday Programmes all set for a big year."

Ends

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