History of the A-League Men

Introduction of the A-League

A-League logo evolution
Left: the first A-League logo Middle: logo used from 2017-2021 Right: the current A-League Men logo

The A-League was established in 2004 as a successor to the recently disbanded National Soccer League, with eight initial teams announced as the inaugural competitors of the competition - the majority of them being new clubs. 

On 26 August 2005 the first ball was kicked in the Hyundai A-League, 16 months after the last ball was kicked in the NSL. Sydney FC was the inaugural Grand Final winner, with Adelaide United securing the first Premiership as table-toppers at the end of the season. 

The initial season was made up of:
- Adelaide United (SA)
- Central Coast Mariners (NSW)
- Melbourne Victory (VIC)
- Newcastle Jets (NSW)
- New Zealand Knights (NZ)
- Queensland Roar (QLD - now Brisbane Roar)
- Perth Glory (WA)
- Sydney FC (NSW)

The launch of the A-League in 2005

The launch of the A-League in 2005

The Knights took part in the first two seasons of the competition, before Wellington Phoenix took over their licence ahead of the 2007/08 season. 

The league expanded in 2009 with two new teams - Gold Coast United (QLD) and North Queensland Fury (QLD) - with Melbourne Heart (now Melbourne City) joining in 2010. However, Gold Coast and North Queensland lasted three and two seasons respectively. 

A second team in Sydney was announced in 2012, with Western Sydney Wanderers joining the competition for the 2012-13 season, winning the Premiership in their first season and the AFC Champions League in 2014.

In December 2018 the A-League - which had 10 clubs at the time - announced that two new clubs would be added to the competition across the next two seasons, with Western United (VIC) and Macarthur FC (NSW) joining in 2019/20 and 2020/21 respectively. 

On 31 December 2020, the A-League officially became independent of Football Australia, coming under the new entity called the 'Australian Professional Leagues' (APL). 

Sydney FC is the most successful team in the history of the A-League Men competition, winning four Premierships and five Championships. 

In September 2021, the A-League became the A-League Men, with the APL revealing its new identity, with the men’s, women’s and youth leagues brought together under a unified “A-Leagues” banner.

Sydney FC A-League

Sydney FC lift the A-League Men Championship trophy, nicknamed the 'Toilet Seat'.