CHESTERFIELD TOWN FOOTBALL CLUB.
By George Oram.
Colours: Green and white striped shirts, dark-blue knickers.
THE Chesterfield Club, known chiefly as the "Team of the Crooked Spire." and by many clubs as the "Team of surprises" is undoubtedly one of the oldest clubs still in existence at the present day.
Founded as long ago as 1866, the original members played friendly matches; but in the season 1871-2 a meeting of those interested in football was called, and rules were drawn up, adopted, and printed. And through the kindness of Mr. T. H. Wardle, auctioneer, of Chesterfield, who is the proud possessor of a framed copy of the original rules, I am enabled to give a copy of the same for the edification of present-day football players and enthusiasts. They were as follows :
CHESTERFIELD FOOTBALL CLUB.
President : J. Cutts, Esq.
Committee : MR. Marriott, Mr. Stanton, Mr. Symes, Mr. Mugliston, Mr. Nall, Mr. Toplis, Mr. Thompson, Mr. Whomersley.
Hon. Secretary and Treasurer: Mr. C. W. Rollinson.
Bye-Laws, Rules, and Regulations, Season 1871-2:
l. That this Club be called the Chesterfield Football Club.
2. That a Committee of Management be annually appointed, to consist of a President, eight other Members, and a Secretary, who shall also act a Treasurer; both President and Secretary to be considered as ex-officio members of the Committee.
3. That an Election of Officers take place at the Annual Meeting of the Club, to be held the second week in September.
4. That the Committee shall meet at least once a month during the season, and that four form a quorum.
6. That the season commence in October, and end in March, and that practice days be Wednesday and Saturday.
6. That the subscription be two shillings each year, due at the commencement of each season, but the committee be empowered to make such further call as shall be necessary.
7. That the Secretary have the sole management of the matches and the selection of teams subject to the approval of the Committee.
8. That prior to the commencement of each season the Secretary shall render an account of all moneys received and paid by him on behalf of the Club, which, account shall be audited by two members of the Committee and verified by their signatures and then submitted to the Club.
9. That. if it should appear by the account, that there is a balance in the hands of the Secretary, the amount shall be carried to the club funds of the ensuing year.
10. That any member, feeling himself aggrieved by any other member, or members, may bring his complaint before the Committee for their decision, and that the Committee have the power either to fine or expel such members complained of, and that such fine shall not exceed five shillings.
The majority of the promoters of the club in its early days are now dead, but Mr. John Marriott, a past mayor of the local borough, can often be seen sitting as a magistrate at the police court, and also as a spectator at the " Town " football matches on Saturday.
Mr. John Marriott, Mr. John Cutts - at that time a well-known solicitor acting as Town Clerk, but now deceased -with Mr. C. W. Rollinson, who is still alive and who acted as secretary and treasurer, were the moving spirits in the enterprise.
Sheffield Wednesday, Nottingham Forest, Nottingham County, Sheffield Garrick, Sheffield Gentlemen, Rotherham and other clubs were met in those days, and one match was won by the stupendous score of 22 goals to 1.
All the matches in this early period were friendlies, and no competition was entered into until the year 1891. In that year Chesterfield entered the Barnes competition, the winner holding a cup presented by the late Alfred Barnes, Esq., who was a large colliery proprietor in the district and member of Parliament for the Chesterfield division until defeated by the present sitting member, Thos. Bayley, Esq. The club succeeded in winning this competition, and became the holders of the cup. In 1892 Chesterfield managed to win the Sheffield Cup and the Derbyshire Minor Cup, and also won the Barnes Cup for the second time.
During that season they created a tremendous surprise, beating Sheffield United by three clear goals, the losing team playing such well-known players as Ernest Needham, Bob Cain, Harry and Will Lilley, Scott and Watson.
In 1896 Chesterfield joined the Midland League, and remained members of that body until they gained promotion to the Second Division of the English League in 1899. Amongst the honours they gained between 1891 and 1898 inclusive were the following: Barnes Cup, 1891-2-3; championship of the Sheffield and District League, 1892-3; Derbyshire Cup, 1892-3, 1898-9; championship of the Sheffield and Derbyshire League, 1896-7; championship of the Derbyshire Senior League, 1897-8.
In 1899 a meeting was called to consider the advisability of making application for admission to the Second Division of the English League, and it was decided to form the club into a limited liability company, with the late Mr. Edward Mitchell as president; Messrs. W. H. Eyre, W. H. Wagstaffe, and W. C. Brinson as vice-presidents, with nine directors; Mr. George Gillies (now secretary-manager of Leeds City FC., Ltd.) as club secretary, and Mr. A. E. Mitchell as secretary of the company. The capital was £1,000, in £1 shares.
Mr. AV. H. Eyre and Mr. G. Gillies attended the annual League meeting. and were successful in persuading the representatives present to accept the newly formed club as members of that body. The new company ~ generously took over all the old club's liabilities and paid them, even though they had a severe struggle to keep financially sound.
Chesterfield finished their first season very creditably. winning 16 matches. scoring 65 goals. and gaining 38 points, with seventh position on the Second League table. Meritorious victories have been secured at home, as numerous teams can testify, and the better the club pitted against Chesterfield the better their play, the team, with few exceptions, always rising to the occasion. After the season 1901-2, Chesterfield had to go, cap in hand, to seek re-election, but I am proud to be in a position to state that the whole of the thirty three clubs voted for their return, showing their appreciation of the fact that the Chesterfield Club, in spite of not being a rich organisation, had always honourably kept to their engagements and arrangements with the other clubs with which they had came into contact.
Chesterfield, as a first-class football club on a limited liability basis, has never been blessed with a superabundance of wealth, but, through all its troubles and trials - and there have been many - it has had the unswerving support of loyal directors, and. what is rarer still, loyal players. Colonel Allen, of Wingerworth Hall, the club's president, has stuck to the club in many a crisis, and, with all working for one common end, there is no reason why the season of 1905-6 should not be the most prosperous in the club's history. The club has never received the support it quite deserved front the " Town of the Crooked Spire," but there are signs of public awakening, and in the future more extraordinary things than the regular visit of First League clubs to Chesterfield may occur. Who knows ?
Here are the problems with this article.
Colours: I've seen no photo of the team in stripes at this time; the photo that accompanied this article is reproduced above and has them in white shirts. Contemporary reports suggest that the team used green and white striped shirts in a public practice match in 1906, but match reports continue to reference a white kit until a change to black and white striped shirts in 1907.
No contemporary match report can be found of our winning any game 22-1, or any mention of it, which seems distinctly unusual, if it happened. Bear in mind thet the Sheffield papers reported "unusual" results from as far afield as Lincolnshire and Leicestershire in the 1870s, yet no report of this stupendous visctory can be found.
Early cups: Chesterfield played a considerable number of competitive matches before 1891, having appeared in the Sheffield Association Cup as long ago as 1879. Oram's account of our Barnes Cup history is a little ambiguous, but we competed for it three times, the first time being in the 1889-90 season, a year before we first won it. Our Barnes Cup wins each came a year earlier than Oram says. CTFC won its notable local "treble" of Sheffield League, Derbyshire Minor Cup and Barnes Cup in 1891-2, not 1892-3 as Oram says.
Win over Sheffield United: we beat them by three goals to two, not by the "three clear goals" stated.
1866 formation: if this article is where this date originates from, I'd be worried about it, given the errors and apparent exaggeration that the rest of the article contains. See the “Four Clubs for Chesterfield” article elsewhere for clarification of the formation question.
This article was written by a Chesterfield Town FC director. A solicitor and estate agent by profession, George Oram was born in Leicestershire in 1871 and came to live in Chesterfield some time after the birth of his daughter in 1896. He therefore has no credibility as a witness to the events he describes. I am of the opinion that the article reflects a desire on Mr. Oram's part to show his club in the best possible light, and we can't blame the chap for that.