Wanderers Sports club was formed in 1964 by recusant Hamilton Wanderers members who believed the club erred in abandoning its historic name when amalgamating with Technical Old Boys as Hamilton AFC.
When the very first football club in Hamilton was formed in 1901 members chose "Wanderers" as the club's name and it had been known as such for more than 60 years.
Effecting the 1964 amalgamation would obviously have required some concession by the parties, the club name being one of the issues. In its wisdom the Hamilton Wanderers executive accepted the name Hamilton AFC and teams took part in Waikato Football Association competitions as such.
Meanwhile dissidents began action to start up another club with the Wanderers name and this culminated in an application to the Waikato Football Association for affiliation.
After hearing a report from the Hamilton AFC in regards to their position with the name, the application was approved under the generic name of Wanderers AFC. This condition was imposed to make it clear that the new entity was not a revival of the old Hamilton Wanderers club which had become part of Hamilton AFC.
Entry into Waikato Football Association Competition
With championship play in 1964 having been concluded by the end of June, the new club was offered a place in the Waitemata Cup competition, a subsidiary event for Division Two clubs. Wanderers finished fifth in this six-team competition with a record of one win, a draw and three losses.
The club had its first full season with Waikato F in 1965, competing in Division Two. Then, from 1969-1970 the first team competed at Division One level.
A loss of players led to a decision to drop down a grade in 1971 but the club was back in Division One the following year.
Entry into Northern League Competition
With the endorsement of Waikato F.A., Wanderers sought and was granted entry into the Norther League in 1973 competing that year in Division Four and earning promotion to Division Three for the 1974 season.
Wanderers continued at that level for six years, culminating in a second place finish in 1979 and promotion to Division Two.
Ups and Downs 1980-1985
The step up to Division Two was challenging and Wanderers were relegated at the end of the season Two years later the club was back where it started in Northern League Division Four and after another two years back to local football at WFA level.
The two years (1986-1987) at local level allowed the club to rebuild strength to the point where a return to Northern League football was a viable option and in 1988 Wanderers returned to that level.
The Golden Years (1989-1991)
With championship success three years in a row Wanderers moved from Division Four to Division One under the coaching of Dave Hall.
In 1996, as a result of League restructure, Wanderers were elevated to what was a Premier Division in name but, in effect was something less in standard, due to the creation relegation followed after a return to regional football by clubs competing previously in the national SuperClub competition.
Success again, Wanderers winning Division One to earn Premier status again for the ensuing season.
23 season of primarily Premier Division football apart from five seasons at Division One level from 2002-2006. Mark Cossey coached for 14 of these years. Highest finish was third in 2014.
Did You Know
- Wanderers played their first ever competitive match on 27 July 1964 against Claudelands Rovers third eleven in a Wakato FA second division subsidiary competition for the Waitemata Cup.
- When Wanderers won the Northern League Division 4 title in 1989 they were undefeated in 20 League games. The only defeat incurred that season came in a Chatham Cup home fixture (played surprisingly at Muir Park rather than Porritt Stadium on Anzac Day when West Auckland (then playing in the Premier Division of the Northern League) won by a single goal. Wanderers had a chance to tie the score late in the game when awarded a penalty but Jason Strangwick's kick was easily saved by the West Auckland keeper. This was also the only game in which Wanderers failed to score that season.
- Traditionally Porritt Stadium has been Wanderers home ground but in 2013 the club hosted three matches at Beetham Park, the home ground of the Hamilton Old Boys Rugby Club.