Since its foundation in 1947 and affiliation with the Victorian Soccer Federation (now Football Federation Victoria) in 1959, the Preston Lions Football Club has grown to become one of the most recognised and popular sporting clubs in Australia.
Based in the suburb of Preston, Victoria, the Makedonia Soccer Club was originally created as a focal point for the newly immigrated Macedonian community to gather and socialise, and to provide the then Macedonian Australian youth with the opportunity to learn and play this ‘world game’ that was so popular back in their homeland of Macedonia.
In 1959 the club established itself from an amateur club to a semi-professional club, and a change of name to the Preston Makedonia Soccer Club with promotion to the Victorian Division Two (South Competition). Preston Makedonia moved forward in leaps and bounds to become champions of the Victorian Metropolitan League Division One in 1966, and as a result, was promoted to the state’s top competition, the Victorian State League in 1967.
The club first experienced championship success at the state’s top level in 1975 and again in 1980. As Victorian champions, Preston competed in a play-off against other state champions and in 1981 they were promoted to the then National Soccer League (NSL) competition.
During this significant period of growth the need for much larger facilities became apparent and the club consequently moved from its home base of T.A. Cochrane Reserve in Collier Street, Preston, to its current home ground at B. T. Connor Reserve in nearby Reservoir. The Preston Makedonia Social Club was also established around the same time and is located directly opposite the ground.
Preston continued to compete successfully in the NSL for the next 13 years, achieving their best finish in 1987 as runner-up in the Southern Division Championship. In 1992 Preston took out the prestigious Dockerty Cup in a thrilling penalty shootout against arch rivals South Melbourne. However financial difficulties led to poor performances and in 1993 Preston played their last match in the NSL.
Relegated back to the Victorian Premier League, Preston were once again crowned Victorian champions in 1994. Around this time, Soccer Australia forced VPL clubs to abolish any ethnicity associated with their club names and the Preston Makedonia Soccer Club was renamed the Preston Lions Soccer Club, however maintained its heritage. The club has since adopted the title of the Preston Lions Football Club, following the lead set by the sports’ governing body and keeping in line with how the game is known in the UK and countries where people don't speak English – as “football”. Preston would once again become Victorian Premier League champions in both 2002 and 2007, adding to its already impressive collection of titles.
With more than 5,000 loyal supporters, the Preston Lions Football Club boasts the largest following in the Victorian Premier League competition. In fact, during blockbuster games they can attract crowds in excess of 8,000 which is significant for any state competitive sporting event.
Although the club is based in the northern suburbs of Melbourne and is named after the northern suburb "Preston", the Preston Lions Football Club is considered the "Collingwood" of the AFL with the largest following in the state, and the ability of the club to draw support from all corners of the state. The club also enjoys significant support from country Victoria, namely Geelong and Sheparton, as well as other cities around Australia that include Sydney, Perth, Wollongong and Adelaide. The support from interstate is contributed to the club from 1981 to 1994 competing in the national competition of Australia, the National Soccer League.
As the club will celebrate its 50th Anniversary in 2009, the club is preparing a strategic plan to move the club forward in the future. Recently the Preston Lions Football Club has implemented a system of promoting its own junior and under 21 players into the senior sqaud. In 2008 seven players from the clubs juniors and under 21's structure were promoted into the senior lineup.
The club is proud of its womens team, also competing in the highest competition in the state, the Womens Premier League (WPL). The womens team in 2009 and beyond will look to strengthen its senior sqaud to battle for the WPL title, as well as establish junior girls teams.
With both the senior mens and womens teams competing in their premier competitions, combined with strong teams in the junior ranks, the Preston Lions Football Club with undoubtedly the largest supporter base in Australia out of all state league clubs, the club will continue with its mission to be the best state league club in Australia, to produce players for its senior teams (mens and womens), the national competition (A-League) and for the Australian National Team (Socceroos).
Australian Representatives - Youth Team
Victorian State Representatives - Senior Level
Gold Medal Winners
Note: These statistics include Victorian Premier League matches and finals played for Preston Lions between 1991 and 2005.