The Lynn-Avon United club came about in time for the 1996 season, following the merger of the Lynndale and Avondale United clubs, which were formed in 1947 and 1969 respectively.
Both clubs played a part in developing women’s soccer in the Auckland area during the 1970s and 1980s, Lynndale more so than Avondale. Indeed, Lynndale’s efforts were rewarded with success in the Second Division championship in both 1987 and 1990.
It was the establishment of a Premier team at Avondale United in 1993, however, which saw the seeds of the club’s success in the women’s game being sown. Under a handful of high calibre coaches, they have been a highly prominent combination in the Northern Premier Women’s League and Auckland Knockout Shield, twice winning the Auckland Champion-of-Champions trophy as a result of winning the league and knockout ‘double’.
Their form in the Women’s Knockout Cup was less noteworthy for a number of years, although their initial success in the competition, achieved when battering Petone 4-1 in the 1996 final in Napier, brought with it the honour of being the first Auckland club to clinch northern women’s soccer’s “Grand Slam” - all three senior regional honours and the Women’s Knockout Cup in the same season.
Since that success, they have joined their arch-rivals of years gone by, Three Kings United, in winning the cup three times.
Their record since 1993 is summarised below:
In 2000, Lynn-Avon went from strength to strength under the guidance of Gary Jenkins. Convincing Bluebird Northern Premier League championship winners - they had clinched the title with three games still to play, United overcame their nemesis, Three Kings United, in the Women’s Knockout Cup semi-final, and went on to defeat Wairarapa United by a record margin of victory - 6-0 - in the final.
Their hopes of completing the “Grand Slam” for a second time had already been dashed, however, as just three days prior to the WSANZ Knockout Cup Final, Three Kings turned the tables on Lynn-Avon in the Auckland Premier Women’s Knockout Shield Final, recording the first-ever penalty shoot-out win at this stage of the competition in what was the fifth consecutive clash between these clubs in the Auckland Knockout final.
A core group of players have been at the heart of Lynn-Avon’s Premier Women’s team since its inception in 1993, with the majority of the side having played together over the first six seasons.
Captain (and club secretary) Terry McCahill (pictured) finally stepped down from first-team duties in 2009, having been a part of every Lynn-Avon campaign since day one. Jill Corner, Lyn Pedruco, Angela Vujnovich, Patrice Bourke, Dana Heiford and Alisse Robertson are other players from the Ken Maunder Park club who toiled hard for the cause in those early years and, particularly in Jill's case, beyond.
Their efforts in wearing the red of Lynn-Avon with pride have been complemented by a group of players who either joined or came through the grades within the club in the latter years of the 20th Century, namely Jennifer Carlisle, Amanda Crawford, Julie Houghton, Rebecca Parkinson, Melissa Reber, Melissa Wileman and Yvonne Vale.
In 2001, a crop of highly promising youngsters were introduced to the fray, and the likes of Amber Hearn, Hayley Moorwood, Rachel Doody, Melissa Ray and Kirsty Yallop swiftly became the dynamic heartbeat of the club throughout the first decade of the 21st Century, their efforts supplemented by the arrival of talented English immigrant Ria Percival.
Lynn-Avon's grip on the Uncle Toby's Women's Knockout Cup was prised loose at the end of the season by Ellerslie, who inflicted upon the 2001 Northern League champions a 1-0 defeat in the country's showpiece women's fixture at club level - the first time the final had featured two teams from Auckland, the traditional power base of New Zealand women's soccer.
The pair clashed again in the 2002 final, with Lynn-Avon prevailing on penalties at the conclusion of an epic scoreless draw. A few weeks later, United completed the double by winning the league once again - the second time in the team's ten-year history they have won the championship three years running.
The efforts of coach Bob Limb were recognised by his receipt of a Bank of New Zealand Badge of Gold Award, an award which recognises the people behind our champions, those who provide what it takes for others to achieve sporting success.
Under Dave Parkinson, Lynn-Avon repeated their 2002 feats a year later, emphatically winning the Uncle Toby's Knockout Cup in the process, swamping Ellerslie 4-1. And in 2004, Jill Gilmore oversaw United's fifth consecutive league title triumph, and an Uncle Toby's "three-peat", as they downed arch-rivals Three Kings United 1-0 in the final. One year on, there was no change to the patient - another league and cup double was the reward for an unbeaten season, one in which Eastern Suburbs were downed 2-0 in the Uncle Toby's Cup Final.
2006 saw the end of an era, as Lynn-Avon failed in their quest to score a record seventh consecutive Northern Premier Women's League championship triumph. The SWANZ Cup was adequate compensation, however, a 3-0 romp over Western Springs in the final clinching a fifth successive victory in that competition.
Their grip on the cup was finally relinquished in 2007, an injury-hit campaign which saw both Melissa Ray and Kirsty Yallop suffer season-ending knee injuries before the end of April, and Hayley Moorwood struggle to overcome a knee injury throughout the season.
Little wonder that, for the first time in nine years, the cupboard was bare at the end of the campaign, one which also featured a change of coach mid-way through it, Jill Gilmore's assistant coaching duties with the national team curtailing her involvement at club level.
Husband Dene took the reins in 2008, and after being edged out by Western Springs in a season-long battle for league supremacy, the return of the National Women's Knockout Cup (formerly the SWANZ Cup) to Lynn-Avon's trophy cabinet after a 6-2 thrashing of Western in the final was cause for celebration aplenty.
The lengthy - by Lynn-Avon's standards - absence of the league title was put to rights in a challenging 2009 campaign, which saw five players - Amber Hearn, Emma Kete, Hayley Moorwood, Ria Percival and Kirsty Yallop - departing throughout May to play in the North American W-League competition.
All were expected to be playing again during the later stages of the campaign, but only Hearn and Percival managed to slip through the international transfer window in time to help United end their four-year wait for championship glory, and reach their tenth cup final, which saw them thump Claudelands Rovers 5-1 to record a record ninth triumph.
2010 proved to be a transitional year for Lynn-Avon, and at one stage it was touch and go whether they would even enter the league at all. They copped a record home defeat early in the campaign, but with Terry McCahill at the coaching helm, a combination of familiar faces and new names eventually came within twenty seconds of clinching a top-four finish in the revamped Premier League format.
Ultimately, it wasn't to be, but there was some consolation in taking out the Premier Plate competition at the end of the season, thus ensuring that the trophy cabinet wouldn't be barren over the summer months.
The following two seasons saw a continuation of the transitional phase Lynn-Avon are going through, with the 2012 campaign seeing a number of youngsters blossoming nicely, to the extent that a realistic tilt at the title in 2013 is well on the cards.
That was until another club appeared on the scene and attracted both the coach and the cream of the playing crop away from Ken Maunder Park. Cue another rebuilding job, this time centred largely on a crop of 14- and 15-year-olds who ended the season just one game shy of securing some silverware, in the form of the Northern Premier Women's League Plate - had they avoided defeat in their final game of the campaign, they'd have won the trophy.
The following three seasons again saw Lynn-Avon doing their level best to cobble together a team to compete in the league, but the last of those years, 2016, proved to be a bridge too far for a club which ended its twenty-four year tenure in the Premier League by being relegated at the end of the season.