A Tribute to Jim Edmundson

A Tribute to Jim Edmondson

By Keith Marsden

In the 1980’s we were frequently short of referees and so Jim, who was the League’s Referees Secretary, would often call on me to fill in at my club Bedians. The phone would go on Saturday morning, my daughter would answer it and then shout “It’s for you, Dad. It’s that man with the laugh” and I knew it was Jim. A very appropriate description of a lovely man.

His work as Referees Secretary was nothing short of amazing as there was no software to help him, no Internet, no email. He and his wife Margaret used to spend lots of hours on a Sunday assigning referees to matches and then handwriting postcards to all the referees and clubs informing them of the next Saturday’s appointments. His phone line was extremely busy too but there was never anything other than a cheerful answer, no matter what problem he was confronted with. Jim also kept huge ledgers recording the details of all the appointments and the marks awarded to referees for every game. These are now stored with the League’s historical records in Stockport Heritage Library.

Jim was my predecessor as League Chairman and once told me that he would be glad when I took over as he regarded himself as a “backroom boy”. That is a complete understatement and Stoconians know only too well of his immense contribution over so many years. His pots of tea at Hillcrest Road were legendary and he was a regular attendee at the Annual Dinner well into his nineties.  “The man with the laugh” will be sorely missed by all who knew him.

Well known by all the current league committee and many club officials, Jim was an outstanding, dedicated servant to both club and league, and his legacy are the many successors following him to keep this wonderful game thriving.

Stoconians Announcement

We have posted this announcement this evening. The details have been made public in the Stockport Express today.

Jim Edmondson – R.I.P.

Stoconians FC are sad to announce the death of our Life President Jim Edmondson who passed away peacefully on 27th September 2020 aged 97.

Jim, affectionally known as “Mr Stoconian” has been involved with the club as a player, Secretary, Chairman, President and our first ever Life President. Jim is renowned for his famous after match cup of tea until his “retirement” at 90 years young.

Jim was involved with the L&C Committee as League President 1975-76, Vice Chairman 1990-95, Chairman 1995-97 and served around 20 seasons as Referee’s Secretary.

Jim’s funeral will be held at St Paul’s Church, Heaton Moor at 2.00pm on 12th October 2020 and is by invitation only. The family have asked for donations in Jim’s memory to The Alzheimer’s Society via https://www.memorygiving.com/jamesedmondson

The club wish to express our condolences to the family.

Rest In Peace Jim

Mark Cavanagh, Chairman, Stoconians FC

A fond look back at a great football venue

THE L&C is now in its 111th season – sadly interrupted – but it gives a chance to look back at some of the highlights etc in its glorious history.

One of the league’s top playing venues for well over 50 years was The Christie Playing Fields in Chorlton on the edge of Princess Road and Barlow Moor Road.

It had, due to superb underlying natural drainage, magnificent pitches probably the best pitches in the league.

Among the clubs from our league who enjoyed playing there for many years from the 1930s to the 1980s were South Manchester, West Didsbury, Rusholme, Mantact and Wythenshawe Amateurs, who all had their own club changing rooms.

West Didsbury stayed there until the 1990s before the fields were taken over to build a business park and residential homes on the beloved soccer site.

West Didsbury moved to their current occupation of Brookburn Road, Chorltonville in 1997 taking over from another historic L&C club East Chorlton who had played there since 1966 and they eventually changed their name to West Didsbury and Chorlton AFC.

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At Brookburn Road the ground was part of the development of Chorltonville in the early 1900s.

The estate, now subject to a conservation order, was to be built for the poor of Hulme with sporting facilities but the finished article did not end up the way the developers intended.

The housing was built in the Arts and Crafts style of William Morris and all properties have distinctive ‘motifs’ on the front gables.

It is the setting of the houses, with grass verges and tree-lined roads which gives Chorltonville its special garden village character.

Isolated from traffic noise it is a quiet area as the roads do not provide an easy through route and it has a resident’s association that was formed to maintain the roads, paths, verges and trees.

However the sports side was provided with tennis courts and the rest of the area occupied by the football pitch which was originally the home of Old Bedians Rugby Club before they moved to Underbank Farm in East Didsbury.

It is great to see that the sporting intention of the original developers has been carried on to this day by the provision of football utilised by the younger generations of the current occupiers of the housing and other people in the area.

After leaving the league in the new millennium, to join the North West Counties FL under the guidance of West legend Rob Turley, who was the L&C President in 2003-4, the club have developed a superb football complex involving the adjoining playing fields on Chorlton Meadows catering for all levels of football, for men, juniors and ladies.

Many of the original committee from the L&C days are still involved in running a very successful and friendly club and have kept up their connections by hosting several cup finals in recent seasons and will continue to do so.

Inter League team set for action

Tonight sees the Inter League team take the field to do battle with Liverpool FA. Other updates for the week are posted below.

  1. The fixture schedule is released until the end of the season. Cup fixtures that can be, have been scheduled, a reminder that after 90 minutes it is straight to penalties and referee fees are shared. Further changes will be necessary, so please check regularly. For all fixture matters contact Malcolm Kershaw fixtures@landc.org.uk.
  2. 3/4G bookings – for the best prices please book pitches direct with the facility, ie the pitch provider, not via a third party such as ‘Total Football’. More information about 3G pitches, discussed at the EGM will be issued in the next day or two.
  3. The Respect Handshake has been suspended in this league until further notice, see messages issued 29th Feb.
  4. The L&C Inter League team are playing away at at Liverpool FA, Walton Hall Park, Walton Hall Avenue, Liverpool, L4 9XP on the 3G pitch, Tuesday 10th March 2020, 8.00m kick off
  5. South Manchester’s secretary Tony Brogan is away 9th – 22nd March, please contact Frank Forster (0161 432 4532) or Jim Donohue 07768180780 in his absence.
  6. Trophy winners from last season, who did not return trophies to the meeting please contact Mike Yates 07968162588 to return.

Moston Brook at 50: playing opportunities ‘from cradle to the grave’

L&C AFL caught up with Mike Melia, Chairman of Moston Brook, after the club celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Originally formed in Newton Heath as an old boy’s club, Moston Brook has a rich history of giving game time to people of all ages.

Because of the origins, teams were made up of teachers, former pupils, older pupils, and those of school age who eventually advanced from youth teams to those competing in the L&C.

Though the old school which was responsible for the conveyor belt of players was demolished two decades ago, the burgeoning and vibrant youth setup, comprising of 10 youth teams and a training group, provide ample opportunities for players to go on and compete for one of the four adult teams.

Moston Brook reached its half century in September 2019 and celebrated the occasion a month later with a party that was attended by almost 150 current and former members of the adult teams.

Mike reflected on the enduring legacy of the club. Although its first team is in a relegation battle in Division One this season, Moston Brook has a storied history of success.

The first team is competing in Division One for the third successive season, having finished a respectable sixth last season and as high as fifth in the 2013-14 campaign.

The club tasted championship success in that division in 2008, a golden year for Moston Brook which saw one of the other sides finish top of Division B.

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Moston Brook has also won the Whitehead Cup on two occasions and successfully defended the Hellawell Shield.

But despite this roll-call of honours, Mike’s pride is in the club’s longevity, and the preparation of a production line that means people “could play for life for Moston Brook.”

He said: “From a personal point of view, I am not too bothered about that (honours) and club members might not like me saying it, but it’s a question of keeping people playing football.

“The pleasing aspect really is the longevity of the club and what pleases me most is I go down to training sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday. To see the pitch full of kids running around – loads of activity, loads of children and coaches – that pleases me because there are kids enjoying themselves and we are responsible for it.”

Arguably, given the challenges currently facing the amateur game in terms of participation, this is a greater achievement than any honour.

Just this season, the L&C has seen seven teams drop out of its various competitions – some of which have a longer history than Moston Brook.

It highlights how precarious the situation can be.

But Moston Brook cater for players of all ages; sides exist at under-7, under-8, under-9, under-10, under-11, under-12, under-13, and under-14 level, as well as the training group.

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There have been football teams for girls and women, walking football teams, meaning there is an attraction to play, no matter what level you’re at.

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Another innovation that widens the net of talent is the use of one of the four senior teams as a veteran’s team, for players of over 35 years of age, as well as three between the ages of 30-35.

Mike said: “That has attracted players back. Some who played in our first team 12 years ago play for the third team – probably the most successful this season.”

Indeed, the third team have a real chance of putting the icing on the celebration cake by securing a promotion.

Allied to these opportunities is a ferocious work ethic from senior team managers to recruit, youth teams that recruit on the basis of willingness to play the beautiful game, and the “excellent job” of the Treasurer, Charlie MacMillan.

Lifelong friends, Mike and Charlie have played integral roles at Moston Brook since its second year of existence; both are legendary figures at the club for their contributions at all levels of the organisation – a legacy that will endure.

Mike added: “Having four teams isn’t easy, but if I’m looking at why we exist more than others, it’s the fact Charlie does an excellent job and makes life fairly comfortable, with a modest £6 weekly fee for training and the game. “

This ethic, commitment, and openness of adhering to the Moston Brook playing principle of “from the cradle to the grave,” is why its history is enshrined into 50 years, with many chapters yet to write. 

More teams drop out of league

This season has seen more teams drop out of the L&C AFL. So far, seven teams have pulled out of participating and as such, we’re looking for collaboration from league secretaries about the best ways of increasing commitment. More details are confirmed in this week’s update.

  1. The fixture schedule is released up to 25th January. Over the month, delayed Cup fixtures have been scheduled, a reminder that after 90 minutes it is straight to penalties and referee fees are shared. For all fixture matters contact Malcolm Kershaw fixtures@landc.org.uk.
  2. This season we have lost Old Ashtonians, Unicorn, Didsbury, Swinton, Barr Hill, and one team from each from Chorltonians and Spurley Hey. All have been for the same reason, lack of player commitment. If any clubs have found ways of increasing the commitment, please let us know and we’ll share best practice to try to avoid any more casualties.
  3. For Irlam Tiger please contact Mike Cartwright on 07810517492 instead of Kenneth Cartwright until further notice.
  4. For Hooley Bridge Celtic contact Alec Gill on 07887367160.
  5. A reminder that there are a number of fines outstanding, the clubs have been notified by Phil Faulkner. Unpaid fines will be doubled unless you pay or contact the treasurer.

Two teams drop out of L&C AFL

Sad news to report this week, as it’s been confirmed that two of our sides have folded and will no longer participate in the league. For more on this, and further information, please check this week’s update.

  1. All the postponed and delayed fixtures have been re-organised into a new 2nd half of the season fixture schedule starting on the 4th Jan, and released up to 11th January. For all fixture matters contact Malcolm Kershaw fixtures@landc.org.uk.
  2. Unfortunately Swinton and Barr Hill have folded, and their results expunged from the division tables.
  3. For Irlam Tiger please contact Mike Cartwright on 07810517492 instead of Kenneth Cartwright until further notice.
  4. For Hooley Bridge Celtic contact Alec Gill on 07887367160.
  5. The L & C Inter League team played the Lancashire Amateur League on Saturday 21st Dec, 2PM at Hyde United FC, winning 4-3. A report of the 99th meeting of the two leagues has been published and is available at landc.org.uk
  6. I wish all players, club officials, referees and committee members a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Inter-League Football – 21.12.2019 John Howard Shield

L and C win thriller against old rivals

Hyde United were great hosts for the 91st annual match between old friends and rivals the Lancashire and Cheshire AFL and the Lancashire Amateur FL.

The fixture has been played for since 1920, and in the last nine years for the John Howard Shield, and once more it was a great advert for the quality of football and commitment provided by both of these historic and prestigious true grass roots football leagues.

The excellent 3G surface at Ewen Fields was ideal for some fine team and individual skills to be displayed and in the first two minutes the LAL set the sparks flying as they took the lead with a stunning 20-yard strike from Terry Qualters (Failsworth Dynamos).

The L and C kept their nerve and played some great possession football which gained its reward on 21 minutes with a clinical equaliser despatched by Claudio Campos (Manchester Polonia).

Just eight minutes later Campos tapped in his second to give the L and C the lead.

The thrills and spills continued as a brace, one from the penalty spot, from David Warburton (Old Boltonians) swung the game back in favour of the LAL.

What was probably the defining moment came on 55 minutes when a professional foul on the edge of the box by the LAL saw the player dismissed and a superb free kick from Paul Arrowsmith (Radclyffe) arrowed into the top corner to level the scores.

The drama continued apace as a touchline incident saw both teams lose a player to red cards.

The one-man advantage eventually paid off for the L and C as MOM Sam Wrigley (Waterloo) capped a great display in midfield with a cool lob for the eventual winner on 80 minutes and his team defended their advantage with few problems in the remaining minutes.

Over the game both teams produced plenty of chances and a combination of good goalkeeping, great defending and many near misses provided an exciting spectacle in a game well controlled by referee Joe Morrell and his team.

In the after-match presentation Land C officials Tim Roebuck and Mike Yates paid due tributes to the players from both sides and gave out league medals to the L and C players and also thanked Hyde United for the use of their excellent facilities.

John Howard provided a fitting finish to a great day for amateur football by outlining his inspirational time and nostalgic experiences in the league since 1947 before handing over his trophy to L and C Captain Jordan Ware (Waterloo).

Old Stretfordians Proud Defeat

No football team likes to get hammered 12-1 but a defeat of this size is one of the proudest in the 91-year history of Lancashire and Cheshire League stalwarts Old Stretfordians.

The defeat for Old Stretfordians came in 1966 as part of the World Cup preparations for a very useful Bulgaria team.

David Williams set up the game at Manchester University Playing Fields as a practice match for the Bulgarian team against his Old Stretfordians team prior to their opening World Cup fixture against Brazil, who had a certain player called Pele in their ranks.

The undoubted highlight for Old Stretfordians was a stunning goal on three minutes from Frank Hough with a screaming 25-yarder leaving the Bulgarian keeper totally helpless.

But that was the end of the Old Stretfordians glory as Bulgaria went on to score six goals in each half but it is a game that lived for ever in the memory of the fourteen Old Stretfordians players involved in the game and a great feature of the club’s long history in amateur soccer.

Photo – Newspaper cuttings about the match

Great memorabilia for Old Stretfordians

Old Stretfordians – one of L&C AFL’s oldest clubs – have unearthed a piece of club memorabilia belonging to one of English football’s most celebrated and tragic figures: the great Duncan Edwards.

The Flixton Fields-based club, who turned 90 years old this year, have discovered a pair of raffle tickets bought in 1957 to raise money for the club by none other than Edwards.

Edwards was the last of the Busby Babes to perish in the Munich air disaster; the precociously talented 21-year-old’s death is one of the greatest tragedies of English football. Sir Bobby Charlton described the Dudley-born left half as the player who he felt inferior to, such was his footballing ability.

In Busby, the documentary film biopic, Manchester United’s legendary manager said of the Babes, that himself and the coaching team always looked for weaknesses for them to work on, but with Edwards, they could find none.

Because of his untimely death, Edwards has become a mythical figure of English football, an England captain-in-waiting, sadly destined never to be. But this most famous name of the game on these shores is now inextricably linked to Old Strets after club chairman and secretary Malc Kershaw received an unexpected email, resulting in the memorabilia being framed and donated to the club by Martin Haigham of Allegiance Sports Memorabilia Ltd.

It now has pride of place in the Old Strets clubroom.

The raffle tickets were in Duncan’s wallet when he lost his life after the Munich Air Disaster in February 1958, and have been returned to the club by Mrs Gail McCormack, daughter of Duncan’s then-fiancee, Miss Molly Leach.

Molly and Duncan had lived on Gorse Avenue, Stretford at the time, and Molly had brought these tickets with the rest of Duncan’s belongings back from Germany, and had kept them safe for 60 years.

It’s thought that Duncan bought these tickets from a close friend, an Old Strets player named Arthur Warrington.

Arthur and Duncan played tennis every Sunday afternoon, during the summer, at Longford Park.

Several friends from Old Strets would often watch them, including Alan Smith, to whom the club are grateful for the story behind these tickets.

He said: “The email received by Malc read ’My name is Gail McCormack and my Mum’s name was Molly Leach. She was engaged to Duncan Edwards who you will know very sadly died after the Munich Air Disaster in 1958.

“My Mum brought some of Duncan’s possessions back from Munich most of which are going to either Man Utd or are personal and we are keeping. However also amongst the items was his wallet and within that we found five raffle tickets for Old Stretfordians AFC November 1957 Handicap Raffle. They are all in pristine condition and my sister and
myself wondered if you would like them for the club to either auction for funds or keep for prosperity?’”

Malc said: “Since I received the email the club committee and former members decided to set up the memorabilia and we have had great support from so many people in doing this.”

Colin Neeson who wrote the words in the memorabilia concluded: “So with this little piece of our Club’s history we can take heart in knowing, as today we worship and support the greatest players in the world, there was a time when one of the very greatest supported us!”