1954 – 63

As Remembered By : Colin Russell in 2020


Before Fradley Football Club was formed the village boys arranged an occasional friendly match often away from home as there were no facilities to play in Fradley.

There was no football kit so the players wore any coloured shirt.

Some of the players had the opportunity of playing for other local clubs giving them league football experience.

Several were asked to join Alrewas football club. I played several times before being called up to start my National Service in 1952.

Shortly after completing my National Service in April 1954, a gathering of friends meeting in the roadway in front of The Poplars discussed the possibility of forming our own football club. My father ( Reg Russell) was brought into the conversation to give advice on how we should get started. On his suggestion  Mr. Alf Jillings  ( Manager of The Bulls Head Public House) was asked if it was possible to hold a meeting in one of the rooms at the Pub.

He willingly agreed and the First General Meeting to form Fradley Football Club was held  on the evening of  Monday 5th. July 1954 in the Smoke Room.


The information with regard to meetings has been prepared from minutes taken at the time by either myself or my Father  ( Reg Russell)

Fourteen people attended the meeting  :-

Mr. Alf Jillings, Mr. Joe Shaw,  Mr. George Arblaster, Mr. Arthur Hardy,

Mr. Norman Watson, Mr Watty Walker, Mr. John Watson, Mr. Frank Watson,

Mr. Peter Watson, Mr. Terry Finn, Mr. Gerald Harcombe,Mr. John Rock, Mr. Reg Russell and Colin Russell.

Only seven of those were considered to be regular players.

It was proposed and agreed unanimously to form Fradley Football Club.

Mr. Reg Russell was asked to take the Chair for this meeting until a Chairman and committee were elected.

It was unanimously agreed that I should carry out the duties of Secretary

and John Watson the duties of Treasurer.

The Club Headquarters was to be at The Post Office, Fradley.

A general discussion took place on the most essential items necessary to be able to start the season :-

As there was so little time before the start of the 1954-55 Season it was necessary to immediately request  an application form for entrance into the Burton on Trent & District Football  Association League.

A Second General Meeting was held at the Bulls Head Public House on Monday 12th. July.

Twenty four people attended including five ladies.

Officers and  committee were elected ;-

President :   Mr. Alan Stott

Chairman ;  Mr. Arthur Hardy

Vice Chairman :Mr. George Arblaster

Secretary : Colin Russell

Treasurer : John Watson

General Committee :  Mr. Norman Watson, Mr. Jack Finn, Mr. Terry Finn, Mr. Reg Russell

Mr. Charley Woolley, Mr. Alf Jillings and Mr. H. Randall.

Auditor:  Mr. R.T. Bromwich

News Reporter :Mrs. Smith

Ladies Entertainment Committee : The names of 13 ladies were nominated for the Entertainment Committee who would help with the running of any fund raising whist drives  or dances.

Mrs. Harwood, Mrs.Betty Hardy, Mrs Mabel Watson, Mrs. Grace Jones, Mrs.Florence Finn,

Mrs.Dolly Harcombe,  Mrs.Florence Russell, Mrs.Margaret Sayers, Miss Betty Jones,

Mrs. Daisy Harcombe, Mrs. Florence Hallam, Mrs. Peggy Jillings, Mrs. Hetty Dollin.

It was decided that an approach to approximately 30 local business men for a minimum subscription of half a guinea (52.5 p) donation to become a Vice President of the club.

Confirmation had been received  from the Secretary of the Burton on Trent and District Football League that Fradley Football club had been accepted and that a team would play during the coming season in Division 3.

Finance was required to purchase all of the necessary equipment to start the season :-

Goal posts and nets, shirts, shorts socks and footballs so it was agreed that funds should be raised by holding dances in the Village Hall and arrangements went ahead for the first dance to be held on  Wednesday  28th. July 1954.

The Bell Inn was invited to run the bar and refreshments organised by the ladies..

Roy Norton and his Band was asked to provide the music

200 tickets would be printed and sold at five shillings  (25p.) each. A raffle was organised with tickets sold at 3d. Each or 5 for a shilling (5p.)

24 posters were printed and displayed around the area.

The first dance to be held in the Village Hall was a success. After outgoing expenses were paid,  £35 was put into the club funds.

A second dance was held in October 1954 when several players from West Bromwich Albion attended including Ronnie Allen and Johnie Nichols,Peter Broadbent from Wolverhampton Wanderers and Nigel Simms the Aston Villa goalkeeper. They brought the FA Cup with them after beating Preston North End  3-2 at Wembley in May.


Holding the Trophy : Mr.Arthur Hardy (Chairman) and Mr. Jack Finn (Committee Memb.
Also in the picture : Johnie Nichols (West Brom. Albion), Nigel Simms (Wolves)
Behind Mr. Finn : John Watson, Terry Finn & John Hardy.
On the right : Mr. Norman Watson, Mr. Reg Russell & Mr.W. Butler ( Burton FA Referee)

From Left to Right :-

John Hardy, Frank Watson, Gerald Dollin (Holding Trophy), Dot Watson, Unknown Man at rear. Pat Dunning, Peter Watson, John Watson (Holding Trophy) Terry Finn.

At the First Committee Meeting it was agreed that as Robirch Football Club had advertised the fact that they had football gear to sell an approach should be made to them and the purchase was made of second hand kit, including two sets of shirts, one red and blue quartered and one purple and yellow quartered plus two goalkeepers jerseys, two sets of shorts and a set of red and white socks, all for £8.

Two sets of goalposts, nets and four corner flags for £5
Wooden sockets were made in order that the goalposts could be removed after each match.

It was decided that a new set of socks should be purchased and each player would be asked to pay for their own.

Three footballs at a cost of £4-4shillings (£4 . 20p) were purchased from Messrs. Cliffs of Walsall.

The lines on the football pitch were marked with a white lime mix by a machine borrowed from Mr. Alf Jillings until a marking machine was donated to the club by Mr. Albert Hitchings.

Although there had never been any objection to local boys having unauthorised games in the either croft or the field, a formal request to use the field as a football pitch for league games was made to Mr. John Watson Senior at The Poplars by me as Secretary on behalf of the Football Club. He gave his permission with the understanding that villagers should be given the opportunity to play before any player from elsewhere.

It was agreed that villagers should be selected to play for the team when ever possible , otherwise an outsider could be considered.
Each player would be required to complete a league registration form and pay a subscription of 5 shillings(25p) to the club.

An insurance policy to cover injuries to players or spectators and fatal accidents was purchased at an annual premium of £14 – 4 shillings (£14 . 20p.) from A. Cree & Co.

A current account was opened at Lloyds Bank in Lichfield and cheques were to be signed by the Treasurer and either the Chairman or Secretary.

Committee meetings were held regularly during the formation of the club and additional people were added to the General Committee , namely Mr Charles Woolley, Mr. Len Hallam, Mr. Alf Jillings and Mr. H. Randall.

When the fixture list was received from the Burton League secretary it was essential that arrangements were made for the players to change into football kit.

Mr. Hardy cleared an area in one of his store sheds at the shop for the players of the away teams to change and with a water supply to use for washing afterwards.

The Fradley team came to the ground already stripped and ready to play.

Contact was made with Tavernors Coaches of Alrewas to arrange transport of players and supporters from Fradley to away matches.

A toilet for the players and male supporters was built with bails of straw at the end of the pitch. Lady supporters were given the opportunity of using a toilet at Reg Russell’s house.

Drinks for half time was made by my mother (Florence Russell) and carried across to the pitch by one of the committee members.
A raffle was organised at each home match with tickets sold to supporters.

Selection of the team for matches was made by a committee elected by the General Committee. The first selection committee was Mr Norman Watson, Mr. Jack Finn and Mr Reg Russell. The Chairman and the Team Captain would also be invited to attend.

John Watson was appointed Team Captain after a vote being taken by the players.

SEASON 1954 – 55

The first league match was played away from home at Trent Villa. Fradley won by 5 goals to 3. Peter Watson scored 3 of the goals, his brother and team Captain , John, scored one and Gerald Dollin the other. A very good start for a team new to the league.

The team was not so fortunate in the second league match losing 3 goals to 2 again away from home at Tutbury Juniors. Our team included five players from the Watson family.
John, Frank, Peter, their Dad Norman and cousin Michael. John and Frank were the scorers of our goals. What a record for Watson family !

Although our team was not expected to win many matches in our first season, we had a very successful start to league football, winning the league Division 3.
Our record was 23 matches played of which we won 18, drew 3 and lost only 2.
We scored 97 goals and had 35 scored against us, finishing with 39 points.
(In those days only 2 points were awarded for a win).

The team drew the penultimate home league match of the season 1 -1 in front of the Chairman and Secretary of the Burton and District FA Messrs F. Corbet and E.R. Elliot
who attended in order to present the winning trophy and replicas to the Fradley team.
It was unfortunate that they did not attend the final league match which the team won by ten goals to one.
The scorers were: Gerald Dollin 3, John Watson 2, Frank Watson 2, Norman Watson 1,
John Rock 1. There was also an own goal.
Another very good day for the Watson family.

We also played in two knock out trophy competitions where we reached the final in both.
We lost the final tie in the Junior Cup to Swadlincote but won the Division 3 Cup after
Drawing 5-5 with Pirelli after extra time and winning the replay 3-1 on a lovely pitch at Trumans Brewery.

A terrific first season, gaining promotion to Division 2.

The team played a total of 33 matches in the league and cups.
Ken Perkins, our goalkeeper played in every game.
John Watson played in 32 games and scored 22 goals.
John Rock played in 31 games and scored 22 goals.
Frank Watson played in 30 games and scored 11 goals.
Gerald Dollin played in 30 games and scored 42 goals.

The team after presentation of Division 3 Winners Trophy

Mr. J. Finn, Mr. W. Walker, Mr. A Hardy (Chairman), Mr. R. Russell

Mick Hallam, Alan Richards, Norman Watson, Ken Perkins, Colin Russell, Richard Jones, Andrew Watson, John Rock, John Watson (Capt.) Gerald Dollin, Frank Watson, Teddy Begley (Mascot)

Players replicas won during the first season playing in Division 3 of the Burton and District FA Winners of Div. 3 Cup, Winners of Div. 3 League , Finalists of The Junior Cup All sitting on the shirt (Red & Blue quarters) worn during the first season.

The Fradley Captain, John Watson, holding the Div. 3 Trophy, being carried by Colin Russell and Gerald Dollin. Other players in the picture : Terry Finn and Pont Bailey on left and John Rock, Norman Watson and Richard Jones on right.

The Watson Brothers – John & Frank with the Trophies

Myself receiving a plaque from Mr. Frank Corbett ( Chairman Burton & District FA ) This picture was included to show the interest shown by Fradley Villagers, including several ladies.

SEASON  1955 -56

1955-56  Proved to be another good season for the club, finishing 4th. in Division 2.

22  League matches were played,  11 won, 4 drawn and 7 lost.  Giving the team 26 points.  71 goals were scored with 50 against.

The team also got as far as the semi-final of the Challenge Cup but lost to a strong Co-Op

Employees team.

The first round match played at home versus Gresley Miners Welfare on 17th. December was abandoned after 69minutes when the score was 2goals each owing to a snow storm.

We won the replay by 3goals to 1 on 14th. January.

A few new players were used including Ned Smith who played 24  times in league and cup matches and scored 38 goals.

Dances were held almost monthly together with occasional whist drives to raise funds and a  Dinner and Dance was held in the Village Hall on Friday 22nd. July 1955.

72 people attended each paying 5shillings and 6pence each (27.5p).

The chairman and Secretary of the Burton and District League were invited.

Owing to my evening commitments of attending classes at Walsall Technical College and compulsory Territorial Army  parades in Lichfield, I was finding it difficult to attend league meetings in Burton so I resigned my position of Secretary of the Club. My Father, Mr. Reg Russell, who was already attending meetings on my behalf, took over the duties of Secretary and continued in this position until the club closed down.

At a meeting in October 1955, Mr. John Watson advised the committee that a new Treasurer should be appointed as he would shortly be getting married and would be leaving Fradley.

Several members were approached without success, so I agreed to take on the Treasurers duties at least until the end of the season.

SEASON   1956 –57

It was decided that the store shed at the rear of the post office would no longer be used as a changing room for the visiting players.

The President ( Mr. Alan Stott) arranged for a wooden building at his company depot in Armitage, which was no longer in use, to be delivered to the football field.  It was erected , furnished and used as a changing room for the away team. A boiler, heated by Calor gas was set outside the changing room to give washing facilities for the players after matches.

Our players changed into their kit at home and arrived ready to play.

It was necessary to use 25 players during the season some of them playing only one match,

although six of us played over 20 matches. Richard Jones played 27matches and Peter Watson, Andrew Watson and myself played 26.

Peter was the top scorer with 26 goals.  In two consecutive home  matches  he scored 5 goals against Linton United Reserves and 4 goals against Hatton United.

The team finished 5th. In the league having played 24 matches, winning 9, drawing 7 and losing 8. There were 74 goals scored and 57 against.

We entered the Junior Cup,the Challenge Cup and the Lichfield Charity Cup without success.

SEASON    1957 – 58

At the AGM in August  Mr. Leslie Loveday was elected Chairman with Mr. George Arblaster Vice Chairman.

An electric fence was erected around the pitch to ensure that the cows couldn’t leave any cow-pats on the playing area.

Mr. Stan Bailey was thanked for bringing a tractor and gang-mower to mow the playing pitch before each home match.

Transport of the players, officials and supporters was to be carried out by Messrs Handfords.

A dance was held in the Village Hall to raise money to assist with the building repairs to St. Stephens Church.

A cheque for £21-5s   (£21.25p.) was handed to the Vicar.

For the second time, professional footballers from West Bromwich Albion accompanied by some from Aston Villa, who had won the trophy in May 1957, brought the FA Cup to a Dance in the Village Hall.

Unfortunately, there were no official photographs taken at this event.

The team had a more successful season finishing 2nd. In Division 2.  18 league matches were played,  12 won, 5 lost and 1 drawn.

Peter Watson was again on target throughout the season scoring 44 goals in total including 5 penalties

Gordon Alsopp and Malcolm Harcombe played 26 matches and seven players played over 20 matches .

Frank Watson played in 24 league and cup games, scoring 10 goals. Frank replaced Ken Perkins in goal on 3 occasions.

We won the Division 2 Knockout Cup, beating Bass Worthington  3goals to 2 in the final after extra time.

A new kit was purchased in 1958 . Red numbered shirts with white shorts and red and white stockings

Gordon Alsopp, Mal. Harcombe, Peter Watson, Frank Watson, Reg Gould, Ron Weightman

Gerald Dollin, John Watson, Colin Russell, Alf Arthur, Andrew Watson

SEASON     1958 –59.

At the AGM in Sept. 1958, Mr. Jack Jones was elected as Vice Chairman. Otherwise the officers remained the same.

Mr. Les Dollin was thanked for marking the lines on the pitch and selling raffle tickets on match days.

The team had another good season finishing 3rd. In Division 2.  27 league matches were played,  17 won, 8 lost and 2 drawn.

In addition to the league the team was entered into several knock-out trophy competitions.

The Division 2 Cup, beating Yoxall  5goals to 4 on aggregate over two legs.

The Lichfield Charity Cup, losing 8 goals to 1 to Tamworth at home in the first round.

The Fazeley Charity Cup,  losing to Bermuda W.M.C. 5 goals to 3 away from home.

The Stanton Cup, winning 3 rounds but losing 4 goals to 3 in the semi final to Gresley M.W.

The Bass Charity Vase, losing in the 2nd. Round to Rowditch  6 goals to 1.

In three of those cup matches Peter Watson scored a hat trick.

In both league and cup matches, Peter played 26 matches and scored 50 goals.

21 different players were used over the season of league and cup matches, several of them playing in only one or two matches.

Malcolm Harcombe played in 38 matches and our goalkeeper, Ken Perkins in 37 matches

SEASON    1959 – 60

Several players who played in the first season (1954- 55) were no longer available.

New players were brought into the team including some  of whom were serving in the RAF at Fradley.

I played my final match for Fradley Football Club at Newhall at the beginning of the season

where we were beaten 5goals to nil, so it was obvious , being a defender, that it was time for me to retire.

I had not trained pre-season owing to marriage and moving away from Fradley village.

The team completed the season in Division 2 finishing in 7th. Position having played

24 matches, winning 8, losing 10 and drawing 6.

In addition the team played in three knock-out trophies.

The Lichfield Charity Cup, losing 8 goals to 1 at home in the first round to Chase Terrace Unite.

The Division 2 Cup, losing in the first round 3goals to 2 away from home at Yoxall.

The Challenge Cup, losing at home in the second round 4goals to 3 to Burton Albion ‘A’ team.

SEASON    1960 – 61

The selection committee had a difficult time throughout the season, finding it impossible to turn out a regular team.

As many as 33 different players were used to play 30 league matches in Division 2 winning 12 matches, losing 14 and drawing 4.

5 Cup matches were played.

Division 2 Cup – Lost in the Semi-final to Midway 2goals to 1.

Challenge Cup – lost in the second round away at Alrewas 3 goals to 1.

SEASON    1961 –  62

The team was withdrawn from the Burton and District League owing to the uncertainty of being able to field a full team each week.

SEASON     1962  –  63

The Club entered a team into Division 2 of the Burton and District League but the weather

proved to be a major problem with fog, snow and ice. Only one match was played between the 26th December 1962 and 2nd. March 1963.

The season started very well for  Fradley F.C.  The team won all 9 league matches with 47 goals scored and 18 against.

Owing to the number of matches cancelled due to bad weather, the league was split into three sections. .

The team played 6 matches in Section 1, winning 5 and drawing 1.

The winners of each section played each other  and unfortunately Fradley lost the match with Winsill F.C by 2 goals to nil and drew three goals each with Midway Juniors.

The team also entered four knockout trophies.

Division 2 Cup – Lost in the semi-final to Winsill F.C. 5 goals to 1

The Challenge Cup – Unfortunately lost again in the semi-final to the YMCA 2 goals to nil.

Lichfield Charity Cup – Drew 3goals each to St. Chads in the first round and also in the replay (after extra time). Won the second replay 3goals to 1.

Beat St. Matthews Burntwood 5goals to 1 in the  second round but lost to Brereton Social 9 goals to 2 in the third round.

The Stanton Cup – Lost in the first round to Castle Gresley Y. C.3 goals to 2.

Peter Watson scored a total of 24 goals in cup matches including 3 hat tricks.

Peter also scored 36 goals in league matches. A total of 60 goals in 33 league and cup matches.  WHAT A RECORD !



 Mick Hallam, Terry Finn, Ken Perkins, Norman Watson, John Rock, Richard Jones, Ned Smith, Gerald Dollin, John Watson, Frank Watson, Colin Russell

Officials : Mr. Ted Begley, Mr. Les Dollin, Mr. Jack Finn, Mr. Reg Russell

Team : Gordon Alsopp, Andrew Watson, Mal. Harcombe, Terry Finn, Richard Jones, Peter Watson, A. Elson, Frank Watson, Colin Russell, Gerald Dollin, Dennis Collingwood