The North London Lions are an Aussie Rules football club, based north of the River Thames in London.
Founded in 1990, today we field 4 teams regularly in AFL London competitions (3 mens teams plus a women's team). We are a Club that prides itself on being competitive and social in equal measures. On the field we take our sport seriously and play to win, while off the field we make the most (and then some) of every social opportunity. Our community today, and including hundreds of ex-Lions covers London, the UK, Australia and most other parts of the globe, including all of Europe, North and South America, Asia and more.
Our year starts early in January with pre-season training, and continues all year with games, social events, international trips and more. The season proper here in London runs from May - August, with finals played in late July and early August.
The North London Lions were established in early 1990, and enjoyed a successful first Season, narrowly missing the finals despite being very competitive. The Club played out of Enfield, in North London, and off the field quickly built a reputation as a very social Club (including a Club band playing gigs, under the name North London Trash). In setting up the Club, rather than copying the set up of an existing AFL club, the founding members decided to do something unique and so deliberately chose a jumper design from one Club, a song from another, and an emblem from yet another. Hence the Club was known as the Lions, took the field in a red and black jumper similar to Essendon, and sung a version of the Melbourne club song.
The 90's was a period of growth and consolidation for the Lions. Despite never quite making it to win a Grand Final, the Lions were consistently competitive on the field. Home games were played at Hendon Rugby Club initially, before a move to Mill Hill Rugby Club in 1994. The Club grew slowly but steadily across this decade. In 1997 another founding Club the Lea Valley Saints folded, however a number of their players chose to join the North London Lions. 1998 saw the Club training for the first time in Regents Park (as well as playing home games at Turnpike Lane), and the Lions have been a feature at Regents Park ever since.
The arrival of a new century saw a significant turn of fortune for the Lions also. As well as training in Regents Park, the Lions were able to secure a playing ground in Regents Park also. Player numbers continued to grow, and 2001 was a big year for the Club as 1st grade finally made the Grand Final versus Wimbledon. While things looked bad early on, and the Lions hadn't scored a goal by half time, a huge turnaround in the second half saw the Lions storm home to the win. In 2002 the Lions decided to enter a 2nd team in the newly formed Conference competition. The Regents Park Lions were an instant hit, and having gone through the Season undefeated were unlucky to lose the Grand Final by 2 points. However the Lions went back to back in the Premiership, as a very strong North London side was never troubled and ran out winners by 66 points over the West London Wildcats.
2005 saw the Lions playing home games at a new ground in East Ham, while 2007 saw another new home ground as the Lions arrived at their current long-term home ground at Bounds Green. 2008 also saw the introduction of a 3rd Lions team, the Bounds Green Lions in the AFL London Social competition.
After a decade-long wait for more Premiership success, the Lions finally took home the AFL London Premiership flag again in 2012. Despite being huge underdogs on the day, the Lions took the lead and held on to a 1 point margin for the final 6 minutes of the game! The Lions Conference team were on the wrong side of a close margin, going down by 2 points despite having kicked more goals than the opposition. There are still a couple of articles from the 2012 season and the Australia Times available online- check them out via the links below (just click on the photos) to hear more about the Season:
Season 2012 also signalled the start of a very successful period for the Club, and in 2013 the Premiership team aimed to go back to back. After a strong season the Premiership team once again made the Grand Final however lost by 9 points.
Season 2014 saw a competitive Lions Club with all teams making the finals, but none quite able to reach the Grand Final.
Season 2015 saw a huge turnaround as the Lions Premiership team made the Grand Final and then led for the entire game, holding off the favourites, the Wildcats, to win (again) by a single point in a tense and exciting grand final. With the creation of an AFL London Women's competition in 2015, the Lions were one of 4 founding teams. Our mighty Lionesses have added a brilliant new dimension to the club both on and off the field, and while they haven't taken home a flag as yet they are firmly established as one of the strongest teams in London.
Season 2016 saw the Lions mens teams play finals but knocked out in the Semi Finals. The Lionesses however showed huge improvement in only their 2nd year of footy, and made it all the way to the Grand Final before going down to a strong Hawks team.
Season 2017 saw a huge influx of new players to the Club, with numbers across all teams far improved. This showed in our Social Division, Coached by club veteran Micky Fiend, making the Grand Final or the first time ever. While not able to get over the line they put up a great show. Our Premiership team also made the Grand Final, under the Coaching of Jake McIntosh. After a tussle with the Demons in which neither side could break away, it was a narrow 3 point loss to the Lions in the end.
The Lions have been regular participants in finals football at all 4 levels in AFL London in recent years. However the emphasis on fun as well as competitive footy remains and our community here and abroad continues to grow.
Today the Lions continue with the Club traditions that started back in 1990. We continue to grow and promote the sport of Aussie Rules football, without being tied to a particular AFL club. We field 4 teams (3 mens and 1 ladies) and all play in unique Lions kit that isn't used anywhere else in the world. In fact all 4 teams took to the field last year in a brand new kit.
Footy as always is taken seriously on the field and we've got high expectations of building on results in 2018, while socialising and life off the field in London is equally serious.
In 2019 the Lions will train at Regents Park for the 22nd year in succession, and play home games at Albert Road Rec in Bounds Green for the 12th year running.
The Club has strong ties with regional clubs around the UK, particularly the Birmingham Uni Lions and the Cambridge Lions. We also now play an annual 'Lions' tournament each year versus other Lions teams around Europe (the NLL won the Lions Cup in 2017, defeating Lyon, Rhineland and Odense).
We attract and welcome players of all standards, ability and nationality plus now also both genders with our very successful women team. If you love footy or just enjoying keeping fit. And if you'd love to meet a crowd of new friends and make the most of London. Then please contact us and come and check the club out.