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I Love This Club—Brooklyn Northern United

[Welcome to ‘I Love This Club’, a series of posts on exploring what makes grassroots New Zealand football people tick, through sharing their stories about why they love their clubs. If you would like to contribute to this series by writing about your special club, please send an e-mail to casagiordani at orcon dot net dot nz. Read previous episodes in the series.]

Brooklyn Northern United (BNU)

Compiled by Phil Clayton from the contributions of those attending BNU’s centenary.

On the occasion of Brooklyn Northern United’s centenary, I took the opportunity of asking those at the celebrations on Saturday 28 May 2016 why they loved this Wellington-based club.

The comments were generally made anonymously on paper, and some themes shone through more than others:

  • camaraderie
  • like belonging to a family
  • friends for life
  • acceptance.

“club who accept everyone”

“because they let me through the door”

“good mates that have lasted a lifetime”

“Beer—Friends—Football, not always in that order”

“because we’re a family!”

“BNU is family. You’d live and die for this club.”

“how everyone is good mates that have lasted a lifetime”

“After having a 2-year break and coming to watch the odd game, I missed all the people I had met and now call friends through football”

“because without BNU we’d be back in the UK”

“I love BNU because it’s been my family for 20 years and they still ♥ me”

“I really enjoy the welcoming atmosphere! My first year for the team; can’t imagine playing with anyone else.”

These themes were also present in the short speeches given on the night:

  • ‘I’ve made friends for life’ was central to Sandy Aitchison’s speech.
  • ‘A culture approaching anarchy, edgy, loose’. ‘Fresher year after year’. ‘Owned the “underdog” label’. Those were central themes to Alex Smith’s speech.

The centenary celebrations centred on a night in BNU’s new (2016) clubrooms upstairs at the Island Bay Tennis and Squash Club, which is adjacent to the southern end of Wakefield Park. The windows have a view out to the southern end of Wakefield 3 and 4.

In the way that most at BNU like it, the evening was short on formality (just a couple of short speeches, and a host of red/black decorations and lighting) and large on socialising.

The club has had a long tradition of association with ska bands, such as Skapa, often playing at the BNU clubrooms when they were in Bell Road around 25 to 30 years ago. The night was finished off with dancing to some classic ska and punk tunes.

“Cool DJ”

“I ♥ the new clubrooms.”

There were also a couple of squads’ worth of replies; one set saying how wonderful the first team are, and another lot praising the Masters 1 team manager Keith Allan.

“Gee those 1st team lads are really hot, that’s why I ♥ BNU”

“Amazing fun dinners @ Keith and Sue Allan’s.”

And, thank-you to the respondent who answered “because of Phil”.

I haven’t recounted the 100-year history of BNU; that’s been done a lot better by someone else on the BNU website.

There were also one or two honest responses about why they loved BNU:

“I was sold at age 5 by the free popsicle after prizegiving”

“Because my husband goes out for the afternoon and early evening.”

[To play for, get involved with, or find out more about BNU, e-mail brooklynnorthernunited at gmail dot com, visit the BNU website, follow @BNUAFC1916 on twitter, or like the BNU page on facebook.]

♫She wheels her wheelbarrow through streets broad and narrow singing: thump clap thump thump clap thump thump clap clap Brooklyn!♫

Categories: I Love This Club

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Phil Clayton

Phil Clayton's feet are registered with Brooklyn Northern United but—despite having moved back to Wellington from Christchurch in 2011—his heart is still bonded with Coastal Spirit FC.

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