Reservoir Football Club first participated in local Melbourne football in 1923. The Club played in the Bourke and Evelyn Football League for a few seasons, the last recorded as 1930. From 1946 Reservoir’s history is more clearly traceable. The club played in the Diamond Valley Football League (DVFL), winning the Premiership in 1946 and ’47. Don Atkinson was captain-coach of the 1947 team; he would later serve as mayor of the City of Preston. Atkinson was also at the helm in 1948 when the Club were runners-up. Reservoir wore brown jumpers with a gold vee up until 1949 when they switched to a red and white jumper, similar to that of Preston Football Club. This was a demonstration of the close alliance the two clubs would form, as Reservoir became a feeder club for Preston. That year also marked a switch to the Metropolitan Football League.
In the early 1950s Reservoir used J.E. Moore Park near Edwardes Lake Park as a home ground. The Club sought permission from the Preston City Council to erect a shelter for their players but were denied. Soon after this denial, the Club would again approach the council, this time seeking leave to play at nearby Crispe Park. In March of 1952 the Council resolved to discontinue the playing of football and cricket at Edwardes Lake Park. The sporting facilities at the Park have been primarily for Athletics since this time. Meanwhile, Reservoir have played at Crispe Park ever since.
In 1959 Reservoir captured their only Premiership at senior level in the Metropolitan Football League. The club was led by Alan Chandler, who coached the side as well as being runner up in the Best and Fairest award. The Chandler family have been great servants of the Reservoir Football Club. Bob, Alan, Frank and Ken Chandler played for and served the Club in a variety of administrative roles including president, coach, secretary and treasurer. Bob, Alan and Ken are life members of the Club.
Reservoir switched to the Panton Hill Football League in 1971 after 22 seasons in the MFL. This move was an immediate success as Reservoir finished runners-up in their debut season then captured premierships for both seniors and reserves in 1972. This feat was matched in 1975 and the senior side made it back-to-back premierships in 1976. The Club spent ten seasons in the PHFL, all of which ended in finals appearances. In 1981 Reservoir returned to the Diamond Valley Football League after 31 years, in which time the DVFL had become arguably the strongest of all Melbourne’s suburban football leagues. In 1982 Reservoir amalgamated with the Reservoir Y.C.W. Football Club. It was during the 1980s that the Club changed its jumper to design featuring vertical stripes of royal blue and light blue. The Club still wears these colours today.
The 1984 season was a special one for the Reservoir Football Club. The senior team, playing in Division 2 of A grade in the DVFL, won the premiership after a 10 point win over Northcote Park. This saw the Club promoted to Division 1 for the first time. That alone was a great achievement, but Reservoir’s seconds, thirds and Under 11 junior team also won premierships in ’84 to cap a spectacular season. Unfortunately the senior side lasted only one season in Division 1 as they were relegated after finishing last in 1985. They have not managed promotion since, losing out in three Division 2 grand finals, most recently in 2004.
An old Reservoir Football Club theme song, sung to the tune of “Bless ‘em all”, features the following lyrics:
There is a fair suburb 10 miles north of town,
Reservoir’s township by name.
They have a great football team of red and white.
The premiership can be forseen.
They play at Crispe Park as opponents well know.
They never do envy the match.
When they start a ‘bashing’,
We give them a thrashing,
And send them away for dispatch.
Thrash ‘em all, kick a score,
We’ve never been out of the four,
Foes chances are thinner
We’d eat them for dinner
They can’t beat the old Reservoir
Edwardes Lake: a gift well received. (2002). Epping: WorkPlacement.
“Reservoir Football Club” [Online], WWW Resource, Accessed 23/8/2006, Available at: http://www.footypedia.com/00001928.htm
Further information courtesy of Robert Harris, Life Member, Reservoir Football Club