It is known that football matches were played at Woodville as early as 1868, although whether these matches actually involved a Woodville Football Club is unclear. The first actual references to a club bearing the name of Woodville occur in 1869.
In 1877, Woodville was a founder member of the SAFA, and was expected to acquit itself well. However, against a backdrop of emerging internal dissension the club failed to impress, winning 5 losing 9 and drawing 2 of its matches for a semi-official final placing of fifth out of eight clubs. Two of the losses, against Port Adelaide and Adelaide, were forfeits incurred after the club proved unable to supply a full team. During the close season, Woodville disbanded, with several of its better players joining the newly formed Norwood club. Among these was J.R. Osborn, Norwood’s first captain, who led the club to the 1878-9-80 SAFA premierships. Another famous name associated with Woodville was George Giffen, who achieved even greater notoriety as a test cricket all-rounder. Like Osborn, Giffen moved to Norwood after Woodville’s demise where he had the satisfaction of kicking the Redlegs’ first ever goal in the SAFA.