Highlands Park F.C.

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Highlands Park FC
logo
Full nameHighlands Park Football Club
Nickname(s)The Lions of the North
FoundedNovember 1959
DissolvedFebruary 1983
(bought by Jomo Cosmos)
GroundBalfour Park Stadium,
Highlands North, Johannesburg
Ground Capacity13,500
LeagueNational Premier Soccer League
1982 season4
 
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Highlands Park FC
logo
Full nameHighlands Park Football Club
Nickname(s)The Lions of the North
FoundedNovember 1959
DissolvedFebruary 1983
(bought by Jomo Cosmos)
GroundBalfour Park Stadium,
Highlands North, Johannesburg
Ground Capacity13,500
LeagueNational Premier Soccer League
1982 season4
Highlands Park FC (1990)
Full nameHighlands Park Football Club
Nickname(s)The Lions of the North
FoundedJanuary 1990
DissolvedDecember 1992
(bought by Welkom Eagles)
GroundBalfour Park Stadium,
Highlands North, Johannesburg
Ground Capacity13,500
LeagueNational Soccer League
1992 season18
Highlands Park FC (2003)
logo
Full nameHighlands Park Football Club
Nickname(s)The Lions of the North
FoundedJune 2003
GroundModderfontein Sports Club
Ground CapacityN/A
OwnerLarry Brookstone,
Brad Kaftel,
Hadley Laserow
ChairmanLarry Brookstone
CoachSteve Haupt
LeagueABC Motsepe League
2013–14 season1

Highlands Park F.C. was an association football club in Johannesburg (South Africa), that existed from November 1959 to February 1983. In 1971, Highlands Park FC merged with Powerlines FC from Nigel -a city located 61 km southeast of Highlands North in Johannesburg, and also playing in the top flight NFL.[1] But after playing only two seasons with the name Highlands Power FC in 1971-72, the club decided to change back its name to the more well-known Highlands Park FC in 1973.[2] Ahead of the 1979 season, the club signed a five year sponsor deal with Dion,[3] that soon introduced a lot of changes to the club. Beside of changing the players outfit to orange, the club also made an effort to maximize publicity of their new sponsor, by renaming the club to Dion Highlands FC in 1979. As the media however continued referring to the club simply as "Highlands", the club made the radical decision in February 1980, to skip the long lasting historical part of their name, with the official name being changed to Dion FC.[4] Apparently this change however only lasted for a very short while in 1980, as the newspapers continued referring to the club as "Dion Highlands FC", in the subsequent years from 1981 to February 1983.

The club played its last official professional match at 12 February 1983, where the club lost the final of the special NPSL cup competition known as BP Top Eight Cup, with the score 0-2 to Orlando Pirates.[5] Ahead of the 1983-season, the club's league franchise for NPSL, was purchased by South African international football player Jomo Sono. The professional remainder of the club was continued under the new club name Dion Cosmos, which ahead of the 1984-season was renamed to Jomo Cosmos.[6]

The amateur and youth department of the club, however continued to exist as an independent club, with the name "Balfour Park juniors" and the amateur seniors playing with the name "Highlands Park"; and they managed to re-establish the grand old amateur club as a new top-level professional phoenix club, when they got promoted to play in National Soccer League for the 1991-season. After the 1991-season, the club had played well enough to avoid relegation, and was then bought by the relegated NSL club Port Elizabeth Blackpool, as part of a merger deal, where the new team continued to play in Johannesburg and continued to compete with the name "Highlands Park FC".[7] When this merged club, once again had managed to avoid relegation after the 1992-season, this at the same time meant, that they ceased to exist. The professional side of the club and its NSL license, were bought by the new club Welkom Eagles, with a relocation of the team for the 1993-season, now to play 267 km away from Highlands North, in the city known as Welkom.[8]

A second phoenix club with the name "Highlands Park FC", was established with some more long lasting success in 2003. This club started out to play in the fourth tier of the South African Football league, known as SAFA Regional League; and then got promoted in 2007 to compete at the third tier, known as Vodacom League.[9]

History[edit]

The Balfour Park Sports club was founded by the Jewish Norman Lourie.[10] During the years, the club facilitated amateur teams within the sports disciplines Lawn Bowling, Cricket and Football. The club was located at Balfour Park in Highlands North, which is one of the northern suburbs of Johannesburg. In 1935, Lucke Matus (also known as Louis Matus) became a Foundation Member of Balfour Park, and when he ended his playing career as a footballer, he became the chairman of "Balfour Park football section" from 1937 until 1951, and also worked as a member of the Southern Transvaal Football Association Executive Committee from 1947 until 1959. Despite only being involved with amateur football in his previous career, he had the vision to found Highlands Park FC, as a new professional football club in November 1959. The new professional club would coexist and share the same facilities, with the amateur side of the club, known as "Balfour Park Sports club".[11]

Achievements[edit]

Phoenix Clubs[edit]

Highlands Park FC (1990)[edit]

After the professional club had been sold, and ceased to exist in February 1983, the amateur side of the team and the "Balfour Park Juniors" continued to exist as independent teams, still playing at the Balfour Park Stadium. Some years later, the junior team merged with North City F.C., and the base of the club moved 4 km south from the previous Balfour Park Stadium, now to be located at Gemmel Park in Linksfield. The name of the merged junior club, however continued to be "Balfour Park juniors".[14] In 1990 a newly formed professional team with the name Highlands Park FC, was created at the top of the amateur club. This new phoenix club, straight away managed to get promoted to play in the 1991 National Soccer League, where the club finished at a respectable 9th place. Fellow National Soccer League team Port Elizabeth Blackpool then opted to purchase the franchise and perform a merger with the club, after their own relegation in the same season.[7] The name of the new merged club continued to be "Highlands Park FC", and the home matches of the club also continued to be played in Johannesburg.[15] After the club also in the next season, had managed to play well enough to avoid relegation, the team however ceased to exist, as the clubs sponsor Sharp Electronics did not want to prolong their sponsorship.[4] Hence the club was forced to shut down, and sell their league license to new owners. The new owners created a new club Welkom Eagles, to play in Welkom and replace "Highlands Park FC" in the National Soccer League 1993.[8] As the city Welkom is located 267 kilometers southwest of Highlands North in Johannesburg, the new owners only had interest to buy the clubs league license and professional players, while the junior teams and senior amateur teams were not a part of the deal, and remained to exist as an independent amateur club for the following years, with matches still to be played at the Balfour Park Stadium.

Highlands Park FC (2003)[edit]

Larry Brookstone got involved as the new owner of the Highlands Park amateur and junior club, already in 1996. When he subsequently in 2000, also opted to purchase a 50% ownership of the football club Silver Stars, he decided together with the other owner of Silver Stars, to create a fruitful collaboration between the two clubs.[14] This ment, that the professional Silver Stars top club, became renamed to "HP Silver Stars", while the Highlands Park junior team for a couple of years worked as the nursery team for the club.[16] As HP Silver Stars played their matches at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane, 309 km northeast of Highlands North, it was however soon decided also to create a Silver Stars junior team in Polokwane. The collaboration between the two clubs now slowly ceased to exist, and after a few years "HP Silver Stars" decided to shorten their name to just "Silver Stars". Larry Brookstone however continued to work as the managing director of Silver Stars right until May 2007, where he sold his majority of shares to Royal Bafokeng Nation, who moved the playing ground from Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane to Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Phokeng, and also renamed the club to Platinum Stars.[14]

After the short term affiliation with Silver Stars, the Highlands Park amateur club had also continued to develop on its own. In 2003 the club had managed to create a second semi-professional Phoenix Club with the name Highlands Park FC. During the first four seasons, the reborn "Highlands Park FC" competed in the fourth tier of the South African football league, known as SAFA Regional League. When the club had gained promotion in May 2007 to Vodacom League, Larry Brookstone at the same time made the decision to dedicate all his energy and further investments to Highlands Park FC, where he today work as the CEO. The new long term official goal for the club was accordingly set, to become a re-established club in the top flight Premier Soccer League.[9]

In the next three seasons, at the Gauteng division in Vodacom League, Highlands Park FC competed consistently at the top level, with a 3rd place, 8th place,[9] and 6th place.[17] At the subsequent 2010-11 season, the club even managed to win the Gauteng division. Thereby they qualified to the playoff stage, to be held by the end of May 2011, between the nine divisional winners -divided into two round rubin groups. The two group winners of the playoff stage, will both gain promotion for the National First Division.[17] The team was promoted to the National First Division after winning the ABC Motsepe League Group B Play-Offs by beating Natal United 2-0.[18]

Stadium[edit]

In November 1959, at the same time when the Balfour Park amateur club decided to create the professional club Highlands Park FC, the club also started to construct Balfour Park Stadium.[11] The first home match for the team in 1960 was however played at the nearby Rand Stadium, located 12 km south from Balfour Park Stadium, presumably because the construction work of the clubs new stadium had not finished yet. In subsequent years, the club normally played all their home matches at Balfour Park Stadium, except for some of the bigger international club matches, where they instead opted to play at the nearby Rand Stadium, with a higher capacity. The record home-attendance at Balfour Park Stadium, was set for the match against Durban City in 1963, where 13,500 spectators watched a 3-0 victory for Highlands.[19]

The new phoenix club, moved to play their matches at Gemmel Park, being located at Gemmelstreet in Linksfield, approximately 4 km south from the previous Balfour Park Stadium.[9] With the reason behind the move, that the previous stadium suddenly was rebuild, to become today's Balfour Park Shopping Mall. Because of the rebuild, the memorial gates from Balfour Park was given away to the Jewish Guild club in Rivonia, being located 12 km north from the previous Balfour Park Stadium.[20] Even though the Balfour Park Stadium no longer exist, there are still a couple of training grounds left next to the mall, where the junior clubs "Maccabi Team" and "Balfour Alexandra F.C." -also known as "Balfour Park F.C.", now are located.[21] These junior clubs are however, in no way associated with the Highlands Park F.C. phoenix club.

When Highlands Park FC won promotion for Vodacom League in 2007, the professional side of the club moved their training and home venue, 10 km northeast of Gemmel Park, now to be located at the Modderfontein Sports Club. This bigger facility was until 2009, also being used as the training ground of the football club Platinum Stars, with whom the owner of Highlands Park, Larry Brookstone, continued to hold some personal shares until November 2008. But except from sharing the training facility for a couple of years, there was no revival of the former collaboaration between the two clubs, which took place in 2000-2003.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "South Africa 1970 NFL". RSSSF. Retrieved 5 December 2010. 
  2. ^ "South Africa 1973 NFL". RSSSF. Retrieved 5 December 2010. 
  3. ^ "Dion climbs Highlands to the top of the 1980 log". Highlands Park FC. Retrieved 6 December 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "The End of Highlands Park Football Club". Highlands Park FC. Retrieved 21 May 2009. 
  5. ^ "Pirates bury "Lions of the North"". Highlands Park FC. Retrieved 6 December 2010. 
  6. ^ "South Africa 1983 NPSL". RSSSF. Retrieved 5 December 2010. 
  7. ^ a b "South Africa 1991 NSL". RSSSF. Retrieved 5 December 2010. 
  8. ^ a b "South Africa 1993 NSL". RSSSF. Retrieved 5 December 2010. 
  9. ^ a b c d "Highlands Park Football Club". hpfc.co.za. 
  10. ^ "American Jewish Year Book 1980". American Jewish Committee, Vol.80, p.281. 
  11. ^ a b "Lucke Matus -The founder of Highlands Park FC". Highlands Park FC. Retrieved 6 December 2010. 
  12. ^ a b "South Africa Champions". RSSSF. Retrieved 5 December 2010.  (Runners-up 1961, 1963, 1967, 1973 and 1976)
  13. ^ "South Africa Cup Winners". RSSSF. Retrieved 5 December 2010. 
  14. ^ a b c "Highlands Park reborn". Highlands Park FC. Retrieved 7 December 2010. 
  15. ^ "Highlands Park are born again -Blackpool adopt name of glamour club of the 60s". Highlands Park FC. Retrieved 6 December 2010. 
  16. ^ Daily News (2006-10-20). "All that glitters is actually Silver". 
  17. ^ a b "SAFA Official Website -database with results of Vodacom League]". 
  18. ^ http://www.soccerladuma.co.za/news/articles/categories/south-africa/highlands-park-promoted-to-nfd/170650
  19. ^ "The History of Highlands Park Football Club". Highlands Park FC. Retrieved 21 May 2009. 
  20. ^ "Community Buzz". SA Jewish Report (page 7). Retrieved 18 July 2008. 
  21. ^ "Balfour Alexandra F.C.". Retrieved 2010-12-10. 

External links[edit]