The first move to introduce professional football to the Highlands North area was made in November 1959. The Balfour Park club - a leading force in Transvaal amateur football, made it clear that they could not enter a team in the newly-formed National Football League - stressing however that they were not opposed to the formation of a NEW club with whom they could share facilities.
Highlands Park Football Club (Pty) Ltd was thus formed, and floated with R2 shares. The original capital was R30,000 but this was subsequently increased to R50,000. The articles of the club prevented any one indivdiual from getting a controlling interest in the club. The first manager was Gordon Frew and he and Lucke Matus began the business of assembling the playing staff.
In came Gillie Peterson, Neville Scott, Leon Banducci, Johnny Wernick, Basil Hauser and Pip Hughes - whilst Aubrey Tyrrel became the first goalkeeper at the new club. Highlands Park beat Ramblers 4-1 under the Rand Stadium floodlights in their first ever game and their first away game was against Durban City at the Kings Park Rugby ground. (The result was 3-3).
The early teams set the standard for later teams, winning the NFL Championship in 1960 and 1962 while the Castle Cup was won in 1961. 1961 also saw the arrival of Eddie Wiggil, Malcolm Rufus (an amateur with Durban City), Stan Jacobitz, Vasco Pegado, Mike Carrol, Raymond Broad and David Klopper. The early teams did not play in the traditional red and white strip, but in a blue one.
Subsequent recruits included Peter Firmani, Ross Hill, Peter Hammer, Graham Bales, Archer Wilson and Alan Burrows.1961 also saw the arrival of the now-legendary Jimmy Williams as first team coach on an inital contract of three months. Following his departure back to the UK, the Highlands scout Wally Barnes recommended Les Courtier to the club. In 1963 a record home-attendance was set for the match against Durban City - 13,500 crammed into the ground to watch Highlands win 3 -0.
The Mid Sixties
1964 saw the arrival of several excellent Scottish players - Charlie Gough, Joe Frickleton, Sean Connor, Bobby and Ronny Hume as well as Willie McIntosh and John Stewart. Joining too were Frank Bunce and Israeli international Rafi Levi. This group of players formed the basis of the incomparable mid-sixties team - joined by Fiery Freddie Kalk, Walter Da Silva and Santoro. The team won the Castle Cup on 3 successive occasions, the double twice and were narrowly pipped to the 1967 Championship by Port Elizabeth City.
The Mid Sixties team left an indelible mark on footballing history in this country and nobody who saw them was likely to forget them. The combination of Brazilian magic, Scottish wizardry and South African grit moulded itself effortlessly into one of the most remarkable footballing teams ever seen in this country. The bar had been raised neither the club or the country would ever be the same again.
Alex Forbes joined up with Wally Barnes in 1968 as Highlands regained the NFL championship. Durban City defeated Highlands 3-0 that year to clinch the Castle Cup. New faces that year included the Port Elizabeth City pair of Roger Hugo and Matt Gray, Eric Whittington, and Ken Knox. Developing quietly in the youth ranks were players who would soon have a major impact on the senior team: Brian Hogan, Julie Kaplan, Martin Cohen, Ricky Flynn, Des Backos and Larry De Freitas. Legendary captain Malcolm Rufus retired at the end of this campaign.
Peter Hauser took over as Manager and Gary Brown joined from Durban City - at the same time we lost Stan Jacobitz and George Ryder as the mid sixties squad began to break up.
In 1971, Highlands Park purchased the struggling Nigel outfit - Powelines FC and for the next two seasons were known as Highlands Power FC. Highlands were reunited with old faces such as Walter Da Silva, Santoro, Ronnie Hume and John Stewart whilst at the same time introducing exciting new players such as Jingles Pereira, Ivan, and Manny Pinheiro. Further signings over the course of the next two seasons included Tony Macedo, Bevin Williams, Charlie Dorfel, Dave Hilley, Joe Gilroy, Wilson Hepplewhite, George Luke and Hennie Joubert. In 1973 Highlands reverted to their original name of Highlands Park.
The Mid Seventies.
Mario Tuani took over the reins of the club in 1973 and signings included Nicky Howe, Craig Watson and Hylton Grainger. Highlands finished second in the league and won the Castle Cup - defeating Florida Albion on a rainy Monday Night. That night a proud Charlie Gough hoisted the trophy aloft as club captain in his last ever appearance for Highlands. The goal was scored by Freddie Kalk in what proved to be his last goal for Highlands Park. Stewart Lilley was signed from Florida Albion.
Following a dissapointing start to the 1974 campaign, Mario Tuani was replaced by Joe Frickleton. Several exciting UK players joined that season : Chris Chilton, Eddie Lodyen, Alan Gilzean, Barry Bridges and Albert McCann. Highlands once again reached the Castle Cup final but this time were defeated 2-0 by Arcadia Shepherds. By 1975 however, the imports had gelled into a unit, and supplemented with talented SA youngsters such as Hennie Joubert, Martin Cohen and Stewart Lilley, the jigsaw puzzle was almost complete. Veteran goalkeeper Trevor Gething was an inspired The final piece was Bobby Viljoen. Purchased at the start of the 1975 season, he ignited the team and the famous Mean Machine was born.
Following a trophyless season in 1976, Highlands became the last side to win the NFL Championship - in 1977 under the astute and inspiring managership of Chris Chilton. Following the dissolution of the NFL, they opted to play their football in the NPSL league from 1978 where they enjoyed considerable success until 1982/1983 when the club was purchased by Jomo Sono.