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The Essendon Football Club, nicknamed the Bombers, is a professional Australian rules football club. The club plays in the Australian Football League (AFL), the game's premier competition. The club was formed by the McCracken family in their Ascot Vale home "Alisa", and while the exact date is unknown, it is generally accepted to have been in 1872. The club's first recorded game took place on 7 June 1873 against a Carlton Second 20. From 1878 until 1896, the club played in the Victorian Football Association, then joined seven other clubs in October 1896 to form the breakaway Victorian Football League (later changed to AFL in 1990). Headquartered at the Essendon Recreation Ground, known as Windy Hill, from 1922 to 2013, the club moved to The Hangar in near Tullamarine in late 2013 on land owned by the Melbourne Airport. The club currently plays its home games at either Docklands Stadium or the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Zach Merrett is the current club captain.
|Essendon Football Club|
|Full name||Essendon Football Club|
|Nickname(s)||Bombers, Dons, Same Olds|
|Motto||Suaviter in Modo, Fortiter in Re|
"Gently in manner, resolutely in execution"
|Leading goalkicker||Peter Wright (53 goals)|
|Founded||1872; 151 years ago (1872)|
|Competition||AFL: Senior men|
AFLW: Senior women
VFL: Reserves men
VFLW: Reserves women
|Coach||AFL: Brad Scott|
AFLW: Natalie Wood
VFL: Leigh Tudor
VFLW: Travis Cloke
|Captain(s)||AFL: Zach Merrett|
AFLW: Stephanie Cain/Bonnie Toogood
VFL: Daniel Younan
VFLW: Mia-Rae Clifford/Georgia Nanscawen
VWFL: Louis Rowe
|Ground(s)||AFL: Docklands Stadium (56,347), Melbourne Cricket Ground (100,024)|
AFLW: Windy Hill (10,000)
VFL/VFLW: Windy Hill (10,000), The Hangar (3,500)
VWFL: Boroondara Sports Complex
|Former ground(s)||East Melbourne Cricket Ground (1897–1921)|
|Windy Hill (1922–91)|
|Training ground(s)||The Hangar (2013–)|
Essendon is one of Australia's best-known and most successful football clubs. It has won 16 VFL/AFL premierships, which, along with Carlton, is the most of any club in the competition. The club won four consecutive VFA premierships between 1891 and 1894, a feat unmatched in that competition's history. Essendon also hold the distinction of being the only club to win a premiership in their inaugural season (1897). However, Essendon has struggled to remain competitive in the 21st century, having won its last premiership in 2000 and not winning a final since 2004.
During the early-to-mid 2010s, the team was the focus of an investigation by the AFL and independent regulatory bodies into their alleged use of illegal substances during the 2012 season, which led to 34 two-year suspensions, a $2 million fine, and disqualification from the 2013 finals series (among other penalties).