All Stretton Football Club

This history was written by John Evans during the years before 2012 (it is produced as written) a former General Secretary of the Club and the documents were kindly loaned to the Society by Elizabeth Evans.

The Football Club Honours

  • 1979/80 – Consolation Cup Runners Up
  • 1981/82 – Consolation Cup Runners Up
  • 1981/82 – 1st Division Runners Up
  • 1990/91 – 1st Division Runners Up
  • 1993/94 – Shropshire FA Sunday Cup Runners Up
  • 1994/95 – Challenge Cup Winners
  • 1995/96 – Management Cup Runners Up

Seasons 1968 to 1984

The Club was formed in the 1968/9 season partly due to Sunday football being legalised, which encouraged the teenagers and young men of the village to think of organising a football club. The Chairman was the late John Comins with his wife Jean as Secretary/Treasurer.

John Evans senior started as the Fixtures Secretary and then became the General Secretary; the President was – and still is – Reg Heiron; John Evans junior was the first team captain. Our headquarters were at the Yew Tree Inn where Mr and Mrs Reg Deakin were of great help in many ways as the club started. Later Hubert Gwilliam became Chairman and still holds this position; his son, Douglas, also joined us playing in the team and serving as a committeeman for many years. The Gwilliam twins John and Peter, also played for the club in more recent years.

Among other village boys who have played for the club are John and Brian Evans, Christopher and Andrew Richards, Anthony Evans, Phillip Shuker, Jim Jarrett, Steve Butler, Martin Heiron, Edward Lewis, Rio White and Harold Sankey.

The early years were spent playing café, pub and works teams in various parts of Shropshire and Herefordshire. We also entered Seven-a-side tournaments at Wistanstow and Purslow Shows., the latter Show being a high-light of the sporting year when the Hon. Secretary often played and rode in the motor-cycle grass track races – one year Douglas, Edward Lewis and myself took part in the foot races!

Though we were non-League the club was able to organise games for most weekends. We joined the Shropshire F A in 1972; we applied to the Shrewsbury Sunday League and after having been turned down twice we were admitted in 1973, for the 1973/4 season. The first season was hard-going, the club having to apply for re-election, but over the years we progressed through the divisions and going into Division One on a “paper-promotion” were promptly relegated. Since then, we have gained promotion to the Premier Division finishing 4th from the top in the 1983/84 season.

In latter years we have used the system of Player/Manager or Manager. First was Robert Allwood from All Stretton, who now lives in New Zealand; followed by Dennis Tye and Eric Farrar, both from Church Stretton. This system allows the Manager discretion to pick the best players for any one game, and its success is reflected in the team’s participation in three Consolation Cup Finals. All Stretton won this Cup Final in 1983, but Peter Gwilliam broke his leg in a harmless tackle just after the start of the game which marred our victory celebrations.

Although the club has tried to keep the local identity at the moment there are five players from outside the village: John Gwilliam, Graham Tolley, Michael Price, Dave Hatton and Ron Harris. Any aspiring young footballers in All Stretton are requested to come forward.

The clubs need approximately £ 400 a year: outgoings are players and public liability insurance, pavilion rent to South Shropshire District Council, laundry, replacement kit, medical equipment, registration fees to the Shropshire F A and Sunday League. Our income comes by way of rummage sales, bingo evenings, male voice and brass band concerts, discos and country and western evenings and the 5th November bonfires and firework displays. We also started a lottery in 1983 which has been a good money-raiser and is organised by Steve Butler. The club would like to express its appreciation to the village for the support it has given over the years to these fund-raising events.

Officials for the 1983/84 season:

President:                   Reg Heiron

Vice-Presidents           W Ridgewell

                                    S Lloyd

                                    R Gee

                                    R Tipton

                                    P Tarbuck

                                    T Townsend

Hon Treasurer             Pym Williamson

Chairman                    H Gwilliam

Vice-Chairman            E Farrar

General Secretary       J R Evans senior

Fixtures Secretary       J R Evans junior

Social Secretary          C Richards

Lottery Secretary        D Butler

Manager                     E Farrar

Asst Player Manager   T Williams

Committee                  K Hartley

                                    B Evans

                                    S Handley

                                    D Butler

                                    A Williams

An earlier All Stretton Football Club

Readers may be interested to know that there was a football club in the village in 1907. The Hon Secretary has seen a framed photograph of the team in Herbert Woolley’s house in Cardington – Sadly, this photograph has gone astray. One member of this team was Miss Arden’s father, and the manager was foreman at the old brickworks opposite Dudgeley Mill. The club would be interested to hear from anyone who has information about this early football team. The Shropshire F A are being contacted in this respect. Many of the players could have taken part in the First World War and some would have been killed in action and others moved away from the village.

Seasons 1985 to 1997

The club continued playing in the Shrewsbury Sunday League, each year finishing well in the league tables.

Hubert Gwilliam remained as the Club Chairman right though to 1997.

The Club had a nucleus of committed workers who were players in 1968, stayed the course and were still giving time and effort to keep the Club going in he mid-1990’s: Brian Evans, John Evans junior, John Gwilliam, Peter Gwilliam, Steve Handley, Ken Hartley, Martyn Morris, Chris Richards, Tony Williams, Kevin Wright.

We should also acknowledge the support of Mr Pym Williamson, Club Treasurer for over 20 years, whose expert advice ensured the Club’s finances were kept in good order.

The Club also played a big part in the organisation of Church Stretton’s first Fun Day in 1986 along with the 2ndLongmynd Scouts. Subsequent Fun Days raised funds for both organisations and provided enjoyable days for the community.

Other Club fund raising events were bingo held at the Club, Essex Road.

All Stretton Village Hall was the venue for the rummage sales, whist drives, mixed voice and male voice choirs, brass bands, barber shop harmony groups. AS well as raising money to meet Club expenses donations were made to many local charities. The support of the village at all these events was tremendous and crucial in keeping the Club running.

The annual dinners were a high-light of the year and celebrity guests were invited to speak and present awards, e.g. In 1992 the guest of honour was Richard Pratley, former Shrewsbury Town defender, who retired from the game with a serious knee injury and became youth coach.

At a joint event with Church Stretton Football Club on 28th June 1986 the awards were presented by Ron Yeats of Liverpool and Scotland and later chief scout.

Over the years Pat and Rod Taylor owners of the Denehurst Hotel welcomed the Club to hold its social events with them in a great atmosphere.

In September 1997 Ken Hartley, then manager, had to resign due to work commitments. The Club was experiencing a shortage of players and when the first League game of the season was postponed it was not possible to field a side for the next game. Sadly, the Club had to resign from the League.

Although it was hoped there would be a resurgence of interest this did not happen, and the Club was discontinued after playing to a high standard and achieving considerable success for the 23 years in the Shrewsbury and District Sunday League.

J R Evans

April 2012

Purslow Show 1969
Purslow 1969