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The Welney Website

Welney (United) Football Club - a short history

page created 30th November 2008; text revised Friday, 08 October 2010

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Season Summaries
Photo Gallery
Player Records & Awards
Team Honours
Press cuttings
Golden Jubilee 1971
Diamond Jubilee 1981
Welney Croft Cricket Club
Welney Website contents page

The webmaster is indebted to Tony Smart for providing photos, records and other material for these football pages.

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Although organised football is no longer played in the village, it had been for almost the whole of the 20th century.

One ex-player, Tony Smart, has a photo sent by a cousin in Minnesota, USA, taken around 1900 said to show the Welney schoolmaster, Mr Bearcock, with a team of boys apparently known as 'Banner Juniors', and he recalls his grandfather Bertie Smart talking of playing for 'Welney Hotspurs' in the 1910s.

We know nothing of those early teams, but we do know that a club known simply as Welney Football Club was formed at a meeting in September 1920 at the Oddfellows Hall (later the Cherry Tree public house, now a private residence) in Main Street Welney. That meeting is recorded in the Club's rather sketchy minutes book covering the years 1920 to 1936 in the possession of ex-player and one-time manager Gerry James, whose father Reg was one of the Club's founders. Unfortunately it is not clear from those records when the first match was played, or whether any matches were played at all during the 1920-21 season, but for 1921-22 the records show a fixture list of 22 matches, the first being on September 10th at home against Parson Drove.

We have not been able to locate the Club's records from 1937 to 1957, but sometime between 1936 and the early 1950s, and for reasons that we have not been able to establish, the Club's name changed to Welney United FC. However the Club was frequently referred to by the earlier, shorter, name for many years afterwards.

During the 1920's the club played at Maywood Farm, on the field between Mr. Ray Wilson's cottage in Hern Drove and Wisbech Road; in the late 40's early 50's at High Fields farm opposite Welney House; and from the mid 50's through to 1971 at Mr. Joe Bedford's Grange Farm.

The Club's hey-days were probably the 1970's and early 80's when it had one of the best village sides in the Isle of Ely & District football league, and a number of momentous events tool place in that period.

1971 was marked by by two important events - the Club's 50th anniversary celebrations, held at the Parish Hall and attended by ten of the founding members as recorded in a press report; and a move of the home ground to then new Playing Field with its Pavilion providing for the first time modern facilities - electricity, water, changing rooms with showers, at the time something of a rarity in most local fenland villages. The new pitch was soon to be sought after as a venue for local football league finals. 1971 was also the year that Mr Bryan Turner retired after 14 years as Club secretary.

1979 was a particularly good year - the 1st XI won the Isle League Division 1, and the Reserves came top of Div. 2.

In 1981 the Club had a very successful Diamond Jubilee Dinner, also at the Parish Hall.

When the school Head Teacher, Bryan Turner, became Club Secretary in 1957 he carefully recorded all matches played from Sept 21st that year until his retirement from the club in 1971 in great detail - results, teams, scorers, venue and even referees with performance ratings. David Smart continued the meticulous record keeping for another 14 years until 1986 and Phil Singleterry did the same for 1986-87 season after which the club ceased playing. (The Reserves last season was 1983-84). Records of those 30 years are fortunately still available - see links on left.

After a couple of years the Club re-formed (1990?) sponsored by the landlord of the Lamb & Flag Inn. We know from another press cutting that they played in the Isle League in 1997/98 and 1998/99, after which the club moved to Hilgay because the newly laid cricket pitch at the Playing Field left the area for football a little narrow.

It is however just possible to squeeze a football pitch in between the north of the cricket pitch and the northern boundary of the field, but that option would have been permanently removed if Welney Parish Council had been granted permission to build a new Village Hall in the north-east corner of the field with a new access road and car park along the northern boundary. Luckily for future generations, the planning application submitted in March 2010 was refused on 4th May 2010.

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League membership 1957 to 1999
1957-58 Upwell Div 2
1958-61 Upwell Div 1
1961-85 Isle of Ely Div 1
1985-87 Isle of Ely Div 2
1987-90(?) disbanded
1990(?)-97 no details
1997-99 Isle League Div 1
1957-58 Butchers Shield
1958-63 Upwell Div 3
1963-71 Upwell Div 2
1971-73 Upwell Div ?
1973-74 Isle of Ely Div 2
1974-76 Isle of Ely Div 3
1976-77 Isle of Ely Div 2
1977-78 Isle of Ely Div 3
1978-84 Isle of Ely Div 2