The year 1883 was a significant one for the young Melbourne suburb of Footscray.  

The newly reformed Victorian Junior Football Association (the 'junior' referring to the competition's status as opposed to the age of the players) admitted the Footscray Football Club into its ranks, setting the club on a path to being the top-tier AFL club that today plays under the name the Western Bulldogs. 

Footscray also issued its first membership tickets in 1883, initiating a connection between fans and players that is now, 140 years later, as strong as it's ever been. 

Three years later, in 1886, the club took two more significant steps. 

First, it moved its home ground and headquarters from 'Lower Footscray' (near the Maribyrnong River), via a stint at the Market Reserve (also known as Northern reserve) to the Western Reserve – now known as Whitten Oval – in Barkly Street, 'Upper Footscray'. 

Second, the club joined the Victorian Football Association, then the premier football competition in the state, if not country. 

Within a dozen years, Footscray became a VFA powerhouse, winning a hat-trick premierships in 1898-1900, and further flags in 1908, 1913, 1919-20 and 1923-24. 

The last of those was followed by a 'Championship of Victoria' win over the 1924 VFL premiers Essendon, and the following year the Bulldogs joined the VFL, by now recognised as the elite competition of the land. 

Footscray first qualified for the VFL finals in 1938, and reached the post-season six more times during the 40s and 50s, until it claimed a memorable maiden premiership in 1954. 

Another Grand Final followed in 1961, which ended in defeat at the hands of Hawthorn.  

It would be 62 years from the Bulldogs’ first premiership to their second, a fairytale run in 2016 which captured the imagination of the football world. 

In between, the Club was almost forced into a merger with Fitzroy in 1989, but the power of the people instituted the ‘Fightback Campaign’, and the Bulldogs lived to see another day.  

Pioneers of women’s football, in 2017 the Western Bulldogs became a foundation Club in the AFLW competition.  A year later, they claimed their first premiership in the elite women’s league. 

The Western Bulldogs today are a strong club in the nation's strongest league, a testament to the 140 years of hard work and support of many thousands of loyal players, administrators and fans since the Footscray Football Club joined the Victorian Junior Football Association in 1883. 

Throughout the year the Bulldogs will celebrate their 140-year anniversary year through a variety of digital and fan activation opportunities, with the Round 13 clash v Port Adelaide at Marvel Stadium to coincide with the anniversary.