Colyton scores with the FA

Football’s governing body to present testimonial to 100-year-old club.

THE illustrious history of Colyton Football Club is to be formally recognised by the sport’s governing body.

The Football Association (FA) is to present the club with a testimonial at a centenary dinner, taking place at Exeter University in June.

Ken Clifford, a former player, manager and chairman at the 100-year-old club, has been sent the framed accolade ahead of the event.

It will be presented to the club by Devon FA officials and recognises the outstanding contribution club officers and players have made to the beautiful game over 10 decades.

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An exhibition of club memorabilia will be staged in Colyton Town Hall during a cheese and wine evening on May 13, 7pm to 10pm.

A former vicar in Colyton founded the club, originally Colyton Working Men’s Football Club.

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The Reverend G E F Molyneux staged the meeting at the parish’s former Sunday School and the team played its first league game on Saturday, September 3, 1910.

Colyton started out in the great institution that is the Perry Street League - and suffered a dire first season.

The team lost every game, scoring just six goals and conceding 116 - meaning it won no points.

At the time, Colyton’s football field was next to the parish’s former swimming pool.

The Chard and Ilminster News reported on November 5, 1910, how Colyton had been defeated by Ilminster - with practically every touch of the ball recorded in great detail.

After the First World War, the club was reformed by Victor Dunn, his brother and Oswald West. A new football field was obtained at Sheep Lights, at the top of Mounthill, and one of Colyton’s best-known characters, Billy Solway, was a regular player.

Glory was to follow in 1925 when Colyton won the coveted Morrison Bell Cup - a huge victory for the club. One that, to this day, burns brightly in the pages of the club’s history.

The team defeated Budleigh Salterton in a re-play held at Honiton. The score was 1-0.

Colyton was fortunate to have attracted top players, many of them teachers at the grammar school, including W Jarvis who was a Cambridge Blue in football and boxing.

“Staff at the grammar school played an important part in the club’s history during the period between 1920 and 1940,” said Mr Clifford.

“Colyton had some first class players.

“One well-known player, Bill Massan, went on to become headmaster of the school.”

Local derbys were a partisan affair - sometimes as entertaining off the pitch as on it.

During one cup match, a lady from Beer, waving a large umbrella, chased Colyton players around the field!

There was an upsurge in Colyton’s fortunes after the Second World War, when the club moved to a field at Chantry Bridge.

In 1951, Colyton Football Club left the Perry Street League and joined the Exeter and District League, fielding a formidable side. A youth team emerged at around the same time.

Between 1966 and 1978, the club’s fortunes waned and no medals were won. All that changed, however, in the 1978/79 season. Colyton regained its winning streak.

The club moved to the Peace Memorial Playing Field and enjoys fantastic support from people of all ages in the parish and beyond.

Top entertainment has been lined up for the centenary dinner.

Comedian Tank Sherman and band Carnaby Street will top the bill. Transport is being provided for those attending the event.

Mr Clifford said Colyton Football Club’s long history is all thanks to the people who have supported it - local residents.

“People get a feeling for the place where they live,” he said.

“As we can see from names of the players in that first team, their families still live in Colyton today.”

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