THE STORY OF DIAMONDS
On February 22, 1893 a meeting was held at the Tinakori Road hall in Thorndon by members of the Diamond rugby club. At it they took the courageous (and most sensible) decision to switch codes to the Association game. After a couple of seasons as a junior club they joined the senior ranks and quickly established themselves as one of the leading clubs in Wellington winning the Venus Shield five times, Charity Cup seven times and the Challenge Shield three times over the next nine seasons. While competing at the top level, the next Venus Shield didn't come until 1963, but then they won three in a row. They also won the Central Region competition in 1965 a forerunner to the Central League.
At the end of 1967 they were approached by Zealandia (by then known as Wellington United) and agreed to a merger and Wellington Diamond United were born.
In the late 1950's, Dutch Settlers who came to NZ to join in the building and plastering "boom" and formed a club called "Zealandia" and eventually changed their name to Wellington United. The "Dutchies" as they are more commonly known were just as fanatical about their football then as they are today and realised if the club was to survive they would have to join forces with another club and Diamonds was the obvious neighbourly one to join with. It happened, and the all powerful Wellington Diamond United combine was formed and for almost two decades W.D.U. were a major force in NZ soccer winning Central League and National League titles.
The Hungarian uprising of 1956 saw 200 000+ Hungarians flee their country and several found their way to New Zealand. Many of the young men had grown up playing football in the shadow of the Golden Team - The Hungarian national team who famously beat England 6-3 at Wembley in 1953. Players such as brothers Andras & Laci Polyanszky, Julius Beck, Stefan Nemet, Imre Kiss were some of the finest footballers to ever play in New Zealand. Formed in 1962, within five years they had won the Venus Shield and in 1970 were an inaugural member of the National League. After one season in the National League they joined with Miramar Rangers and formed Wellington City. Wellington City was a team for the National League, while Hungaria and Miramar Rangers retained their own identity. Wellington City stayed in the National League until 1976. After being relegated, Miramar withdrew from the arrangement and in 1979 Hungaria formally merged with Wellington City
Wellington City were formed in 1971 by Hungaria and Miramar Rangers to compete in the National League. An umbrella club while both Hungaria & Miramar kept their identities and acted as feeder clubs. They almost had a trophy in their first season when they reached the final of the Chatham Cup going down to Western Suburbs 3-2 at an incredibly windy Basin Reserve.
They were relegated from the National League in 1975 (Ironically replaced by WDU) which lead to Miramar withdrawing from the agreement. Despite only having six players turn up to the first training in 1976, Bobby Minshull got a team together that finished third in the Central League. In 1979 they formally merged with Hungaria and then in 1985 joined WDU to form today's Wellington United.
WELLINGTON DIAMOND UNITED (WDU)
WDU formed in 1968 and were members of the original Central League. They won this in 1972 and with it promotion to the National League. They stayed in the top league until 1974 when despite setting a league record score of 8-0 over Eastern Suburbs and reaching the Chatham Cup final (a 2-0 loss to Christchurch United) they were relegated. 1975 saw them bounce back straight away winning the Central League and in 1976 they won their first National League title. 1981 saw them bag their next title with a team that included the likes of future Oceania Player of the Century, Wynton Rufer, and a young Billy Harris. In 1985 they were champions again this time Barrie Truman did with a team of all homegrown (ie Kiwis) players, with an average of just 23 (which for the time was pretty young). At the end of the season they were looking for a new home as Cricket was extending into the football season so the Basin Reserve wasn't a viable option. They were approached by Wellington City who were based at Newtown Park and they formed Wellington United.
Originally named Wellington City Diamond United, the name was shortened to Wellington United. They stayed in the National League until that was canned by the national body in 1992 in favour of a "superclub" competition. They reached another Chatham Cup final in 1991 but again went down to Christchurch United, 2-1 this time. When the national body realised their "superclub" had been a mistake they created a summer national league and United were at the forefront of this reaching the semi finals in the first season. Unfortunately spiralling costs meant that they withdrew from the league in 1998 (the summer league only lasted another season after that).
Since then Wellington United have spent spells playing in either the Central League or Capital Premier (where they currently are). In 2014 they entered a partnership agreement with professional club Wellington Phoenix which saw many talented youngsters such as Sapreet Singh, Joe Bell & James McGarry play for the club. This partnership ended in 2018.
Over our history our member clubs have had women's teams, the most significant was Hungaria who formed a women's team in 1973, the first in New Zealand since the 1920s. They were instrumental in setting up the women's league in Wellington (of which they were the first winners). The other clubs had women's teams that while very competitive played in the lower grades.
In the early 2002 some of the wives and girlfriends of the Courtney Arms team went to see the movie Bend it like Beckham and came out of it thinking they could give football ago so Women's football was back at Wellington United.
A significant change occurred in 2011 when the club contracted Guillermo Schiltenwolf to coach the women's 1st team, after starting with a 12-2 and 15-2 loss he was ready to walk out, but convinced by chair at the time, Ants Mumby, and given support to create a long-term plan Guille stayed. The club won the Central League in 2016. The central league was disbanded in 2017 and the Diamonds have played in the W-League since then winning it the last four seasons in a row.
They have also seen players come through the club and go on to represent New Zealand at Full and age group level including the likes of Maggie Jenkins, Michaela Robertson & Charlotte Wilford Carroll
The following are some of the people who have given an incredible amount of service and been awarded with life membership as a result
1900 - Harry Power - the first life member, awarded when he left Wellington, returned in 1907 and formed a junior club called Miramar Rangers (little did he know they would become our biggest rivals!)
1911 - Fred Anderson
1913 - JW Black
1945 - Alf Williams (played in original Diamonds team in 1893)
1960 - Mrs AH Barnett, J Ewing, M Bryson, G Metclaf, A Aspen, LT Heath, B Hooker, R Hooker, L Anderson, F O'Connell
1960 - Morrie "the voice" Fox - the clubs original historian
1966 - Doug Alexander, M Goldstein, R Hinde Snr, Peter Osten, A Wilson
Dates unknown, but well deserved
Ian Johnston (RIP)
Danny & Shelia will be attending their 51st AGM this year (2022)
Max Brorens (RIP)
Peter Klyne (RIP)
G Rutten (RIP)
Leo Zonneveld (RIP)
Atliia Varga (RIP)
Mrs L Hilton (RIP)
John Shanks (RIP)
Bobby Minshull (RIP)
Mrs M Skachill
J Kruikemeijer (RIP)
Ulf Ackeus (RIP)