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In 1948 Suburbs ‘piped’ North Shore United to take our clubs first title by becoming Auckland's Premier football champions. The title is notable for two reasons:
The 1948 championship winning team was primarily made up of youth players who had come through the Suburbs grades, only three players were bought into the team from outside clubs, and these ‘imports’ went onto become long term Suburbs players. The current Eastern Suburbs pathway strategy is a modern day reflection of this ‘youth development’ philosophy. Chris Ruffell (Eastern Suburbs Chairman) commented: “It is our clearly stated objective we want provide New Zealand’s best club coaching facilities and environment possible – this will in turn ensure Suburbs offers the best football pathway in New Zealand. To deliver to this graduation or pathway strategy we are heavily investing in professional quality coaching resources, engaging our members with an enjoyable and enriching football experience that will allow them to maximise their talents & ability. As part of our pathway strategy we have made the Suburbs National Youth League team the pinnacle of our youth development programme. I look forward to the proud day when we see a Suburbs lad who has worked his way through the grades pull on the Lilywhites National League shirt, or play for one of our national teams!”.
The 1948 Auckland title marked the start of a golden era in our clubs history and development. Over the next few years Suburbs became a powerhouse in New Zealand football, collecting numerous championships and titles, and providing players for national honours.
From 1948 the Club went from strength to strength and flourished at all levels. The graduation of Suburbs players through the grades and onto the premier team was a cornerstone of Suburbs strength & success. During the 1950’s the Lilywhites won four consecutive League titles and hoisted the Chatham Cup in 1951 and 1953.