Reminder of the day the famous Red Devils came to play

A banner presented to Honiton by Manchester United Football Club

A banner presented to Honiton by Manchester United Football Club - Credit: Honiton Museum

For  many years, local people asked why we didn’t have the town's Manchester United banner on display.

I know  we weren’t believed when we said it was because the museum didn’t have it. Eventually the banner was discovered in an attic in 2017. It was  donated to the museum collection and promptly put on display.

The banner commemorates probably the most notable and  memorable event in the history of Honiton Football Club. During the 1985 season Honiton were  doing well  and ranked high in the Devon Premier League, but on March 29th they were to play Manchester United reserves.
The match was sponsored by Miller & Lilley and one of their directors Phil Brown made all the arrangements. Because Honiton could not accommodate the game it was held  at Taunton Town Football Club's ground in Wordworth Drive, Taunton. 

The Honiton squad consisted of  Phil Brown, Captain, Graham ‘Wiggy’ Charleton, Ray Clapp, Barry Dunn, Paul Edwards, John ‘Jock’ McGrath,  Dave Palfrey, Jeff Raynor,  Martin Spence, Craig Trivett, Kevin Turner and  Terry Witt.

A mixture of 2,800 excited United and Honiton supporters travelled to Taunton and paid £1 for entry and a match programme. Kick off was at 7.30pm and everyone endured the  evening in  freezing rain. The final score was Man Utd  - 9 Honiton – 0, but it could have been worse. Demspey missed a penalty  in the second half, so the result could have been 10 – 0.

After the game a reception was held for the players at Taunton, then many of the players from both teams returned to the Pit Club, before the Man Utd  team spent the rest of the night at the Deer Park Country House Hotel. The money raised by the event was put towards building the clubhouse at Mountbatten Park.

Another momentous event occurred during a football match held in Honiton in December 1950.

At around 4pm,  supporters and players witnessed  what was thought be a flying saucer. The phenomenon was seen flashing at incredible speed across the sky from the direction of Awliscombe. It was described as silvery, with a tapering tail which seemed to burst into a ball and immediately disintegrated mid-air. Similar sightings were  reported  all over Devon. The final score of the football match is not known. 

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