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 team).
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.
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.
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.
The Lions have been regular participants in finals football at all 3 levels in AFL London in recent years. Despite coming very close on repeated occasions, the Lions didn't feature in Grand Finals again until 2012, when the Premiership team finally took home the big prize again, with a 1-point win over the fast finishing Wandsworth Demons (in a nail biting finish, the Lions held onto a 1-point lead for the final 6 minutes of the game, despite the Demons attacking constantly). In the 2012 Conference Grand Final, the Lions were unlucky to go down by 2 points, having stormed back from a 5-goal deficit at the beginning of the final quarter. Other notable events in 2012 included hosting the preliminary and semi finals at our home ground in Bounds Green.
Season 2015 saw the Club go close to back-to-back premierships, only to lose by 9 points in the Grand Final. However the Lions made amends in Season 2015 when they once again took out the Grand Final. Huge underdogs versus the West London Wildcats, the Lions led all game before a tight finish once again saw the Club walk away with a 1 point premiership victory! 2015 also saw the first ever Lions women's team take the field in the brand new AFL London Women's comp.
Today the Lions continue with the Club traditions that started back in 1990. T he Club continues to grow and promote the sport of Aussie Rules football, without being tied to a particular AFL club. Today the 4 Lions (3 mens and 1 ladies) play in unique Lions kit that isn't used anywhere else in the world (various versions of red and black - with gold also now incorporated to avoid clashes with other London Clubs). Footy on the field is taken seriously, while socialising and life off the field in London is equally serious.
In 2017 the Lions will train at Regents Park for the 17th year in succession, and play home games at Albert Road Rec in Bounds Green for the 11th year running.
The Club has strong ties with regional clubs around the UK, particularly the Birmingham Uni Lions and the Cambridge Lions. We attract and welcome players of all standards, ability and nationality plus now also both genders with our very successful women team (who played off in a Grand Final in only their 2nd year!).
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.