Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Sydney Swans are an Australian Football League (AFL) club based in Sydney. They play most home games at the Sydney Cricket Ground, with 'blockbuster' games played at Telstra Stadium (the former Olympic Stadium at Homebush).
The club formed in 1874 as the South Melbourne Football Club (nicknamed "The Bloods"). It played in the Victorian Football Association until 1896 when it joined the Victorian Football League. The club was based at Lake Oval and won its three VFL premierships in 1909, 1918 and 1933, and always struggled for money, players and fans until it reached the point in the early 1980s where it was set to disappear.
The Swans moved to Sydney in 1981 as part of the VFL's attempts to broaden its appeal which culminated in the national competition of the AFL. In 1985 the VFL created one of the messiest deals ever associated with football and almost brought an end to the Sydney Swans.
On 31 July 1985, for what was thought to be $6.3 million, Dr Geoffrey Edelsten "bought" the Swans. In reality it was $2.9 million in cash with funding and other payments spread over five years. Edelsten resigned as chairman in less than twelve months. By 1988 the licence was sold back to the VFL for ten million dollars. Losses were in the millions. A group of financial backers including Mike Willessee, Basil Sellers, Peter Weinert and Craig Kimberley purchased the licence and bankrolled the club until 1993, when the AFL stepped in.
With substantial monetary and management support from the AFL, the club survived, and with player draft concessions in the early 1990s, has fielded a competitive team throughout the past decade and attracted reasonable crowds - mediocre by Melbourne standards but larger on average than Sydney's native sporting code, rugby league.
Brownlow Medal winners:
- Herbie Matthews (1940)
- Ron Clegg (1949)
- Fred Goldsmith (1955)
- Bob Skilton (1959, 1963 & 1968)
- Peter Bedford (1970)
- Graham Teasdale (1977)
- Barry Round (1981) (co-winner)
- Greg Williams (1986) (co-winner)
- Gerald Healy (1988)
- Paul Kelly (1995)
- Adam Goodes (2003) (co-winner)
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