An evolving editorial and pictorial history of the club since its formation in 1930
Acknowledgements: Paul E Carter, Derek West
[All contributions from the press and former players and supporters are welcome]
Please be patient with the development of this section as everybody at Bromley Green FC works for the love of the game and sometimes we run out of hours in the day!
Introduction by The Honorary Patron of Bromley Green FC
(First written in 2010)
It was my intention some time ago to put together a mixture of facts, anecdotes and pictures with a view to publishing a book celebrating the life and fluctuating fortunes of our club; which has for decades proudly carried the mantle of the leading amateur football organisation in the borough. This does not of course mean that we always top every league – but rather that tradition, a fascinating history, our ethos and ‘social conscience’ sets us apart from the rest. Whilst I have not had the time to prepare such a tome for print, the milestone of 80 years since formation should not be allowed to pass without some attempt to recall and rejoice at the many achievements and diverse characters that have shaped our club during those eight decades. The ‘story’ will be updated and added to regularly. Bromley Green Football Club is a family club built on loyalty and stability, epitomised by the fact that it has only ever had two Patrons. It has been my honour to be at the head of this club for many years now following the death of my predecessor Bill Mickelborough. Many local household names (Stafford, Mummery, Kelly, Holloway, Stanley, Brenchley, Donald, and more recently Mackett, Cook, Kingwell, Perk, McQuillan, Milton to name but a few and I apologise for those omitted) are synonymous with Bromley Green. But it is a man who suffered with a bad heart, who insisted on travelling to all our games and, even as an elderly man, on joining us abroad on tours, that I begin with. A man who liked a fag, who taught me that the grass is not greener elsewhere and that what we have is worth fighting to preserve. At the beginning of the 1970s this club was on its knees and one man saved it. By 1985 we had became the only club in the area ever to win the senior section of the Kent Cup … a record that stands to this day. If football really wants to apply the word ‘respect’, then let’s recognise those that have earned the accolade. Bill Mickelborough is one of those. He is the reason we have a club to this day and he symbolises the underlying sense of duty to our heritage that explains why I will never leave Bromley Green. Current trends suggest few agree with me but I believe that whilst people will come and go, a club is for life. It is only fitting therefore that this story begins with Bill who, over prodigious amounts of tea brewed by his wife Kath, instilled within me a love of a club that for many of us has been an important factor throughout our lives. I hope you enjoy the journey and any former players, officers or supporters who have pictures, stories or facts to share – please get in touch with myself or Derek West. Thank you. Dave Homewood.
(First written in 2010)
Four decades ago Bromley Green had served notice to quit the Ashford & District Saturday Football League through lack of proper changing facilities and, more pertinently, a dearth of players. But Bill would not give in and, with the encouragement of the then League Secretary, Arthur Buzzell, set about keeping the club alive. Bill worked at the REME and I am sure they realised they were major ‘sponsors’ of much of the material that led to us erecting our own clubhouse. In those days Bob Mummery, John Kelly, Roger Sim, Tommy Stafford and Don Fraser were prominent in the groundwork, with Tony Marshall playing and managing [he used to drive all over Kent to get players – true!] Tony also had this ‘arrangement’ with Ashford Town that whoever they left out he would pick them up at Essella Park and they would come and play for the Green to keep sharp. We had a variety of decent lads – but goodness knows where they were from or what their names were! I can’t remember all the names of our local players but in addition to the aforementioned there was Jimmy Luck, Johnny Earl, Dave Lockyer, Paul King, Vic Stanley, Mick Wilson, Bernie Brazil; and Jack Stafford filled in occasionally by this time – I think Bill Knell had joined Ashford Town by now to go on their committee … I’ll add to this list as they come to mind. But we survived and in a couple of years we had a very committed manager, Peter Maynard, who organised things and that really was the start of the surge to continuous success. Joining us later were Chris Dorsett (then Chris Bull), Andy Cloke, Peter Millen, Kerry King, Mick Leonard, Dicky Holtum; plus Gary Holloway and Mark Stanley were coming onto the scene. Una and Peter Knott were about to become part of the Green ‘family’. Richard Beaugie, of Manor Farm where we also played (along with Sugar Loaf and a field in the middle of nowhere between Kingsnorth and Bromley Green Road, owned I think by Mr Greenstreet…his son played from what I can recall … (Ed: see Peter Stanley’s added comment below), and local businessman Peter Stutchbury were senior officers of the club at the time and supported us off the field through some lean times. Roger’s wife Gay used to collect the 100 Club money on the milk round [they owned the Three Greens Dairy along the main road] and virtually all of the local community made their small contribution. Anyway, Bill masterminded the saving of Bromley Green FC with his beg, steal and borrow policies (well, we had little money!) and he rarely missed a game until ill-health slowed him down a little. All trophies (including the in-vogue wooden fruit bowls) were hand-crafted out of wood with a little help from a lathe – rustic, yes, and their material cost was zilch – but they were made and donated with passion and their inherent value was immeasurable. Like so many memories from our experiences in football, indeed life, it is these simple, symbolic contributions that, when we reflect back, still mean so much. I can still see Bill now shovelling sand into the penalty areas out of a wheelbarrow at Carters Field to ensure games went ahead [the pitch surrounded by ploughed furrows by the way … later to become notorious as a sheep grazing field!] Bill was a character: sometimes laconic and critical of lazy buggers, he liked to roll his own fags, despite having more than one heart attack; drove an old Morris with those orangy-coloured indicators that jerk out of the side of the vehicle and always believed in doing a job properly first time round. Bill instilled in all of us a sense of loyalty and it is no exaggeration to claim that his influence permeates the club ethos to this day. In his latter years, he came on trips abroad and joined in the fun; he loved the twinning arrangement with Alfons Giere and SV Munster and he lived long enough to just see the good times taking shape. Bill Mickelborough passed away suddenly early in November 1984 and all Green teams obeyed a minutes silence in his honour. He left a wife Kath and son Stephen and it is hoped they will be able to attend the 80th Anniversary Dinner to present the Clubman of the Year Award named after Bill. I am sure many of you reading this have memories of Bill – please do get in touch.
Formed in 1930, the Green still hold the distinction of being the only club in the area to win the coveted senior section of the Kent Junior Cup (in 1985). Another proud achievement is that the club were the last ever winners of the old Kent Amateur League before reorganisation when they became a founder member of the Kent County League. At the end of the 2011-2012 season we were crowned as Premier Division champions of the Kent County League. In addition, the club has also twice reached the final of the Kent Sunday Premier Cup, the only major honour that has so far proved elusive; while on the youth front, the club has represented England on a number of occasions at home and abroad and actually won the Under 14 International Youth Tournament in what was then West Germany.
The club has known both good and bad times; during the war years having links with Leyton Orient and Arsenal, while being on the brink of extinction in 1970. In fact, notice to withdraw our only team had been submitted to the local Ashford Saturday League with a lack of players, half a kit and no money! However, ‘out of the ashes’ as they say, and the rest is history as a thriving youth policy laid the foundations not solely for unprecedented success at the club’s spiritual home, Carters Field, but also the confidence to overcome many obstacles, including planning/finance, to stabilise and attempt to recapture former glories at our present Waterside venue.
As partners in the Waterside Project with Sure Start, the Salvation Army and the SWAN Community Hall group, the club’s Executive had no choice but to change direction and adopt a more community approach. The stark fact is that development of Waterside to meet our long-held aspirations of Kent League football will not happen for many reasons. Ground sharing is not really the answer although we had discussions with Folkestone Invicta and indeed enjoyed a season at Homelands. However, we have not given up on a new ground to complement our work in South Willesborough and Newtown; plus we have widened participation, now fielding ten youth teams, in addition to senior football, and four teams in the Kent Disability Football League (Bromley Green Valiants). The club will bounce back in senior football, preferring to build from within. Until recently, we had a thriving Girls squad and went on to win the Kent Cup, reaching the final two years in succession … but sadly they drifted apart. Hopefully, we will be able to start up another Girls side in the near future … as with most clubs these days, it is finding someone suitable to run them. [Ed: updated December 2015]
FROM OUR FRIENDS DOWN UNDER [Posted in 2010]
As the club enters its 80th year Irene Stafford, assistant secretary of Bromley Green FC in the 1950s, sends her memories and best wishes from Sydney, Australia
The mothers had to wash the gear … this was a working class area … I would like to congratulate the club for going from strength to strength and hope it will continue
To Bromley Green Soccer Club, past memories
Listed is a tribute to the enthusiasm of the inhabitants of Bromley Green in 1952 when it was decided to reform the football club, which had lapsed during the war.
Ted Mills asked Mr Mann (of the brewery fame) who owned Manor Farm if we could use a field of his. He agreed and rented the field to us for 1 Pound per year. The original dressing shed was located and moved to the ground opposite the Post Office along the Ashford Road.
We had a ground and shed but little else. Bob Stafford volunteered to visit a dozen or so fans each Sunday during the summer to collect half a shilling from each one for the equipment needed. He had little time to himself as he worked in London during the week arriving home on Saturday mornings. Everyone whom he collected from wanted to chat so it took most of Sunday.
The committee was W Doidge (chairman), Bert Hebott (treasurer), Ted Mills, Mr Young, Ern Cryer, Bob Stafford (secretary and captain), Irene Stafford (assistant secretary). I apologise if I have left anyone out, it was a long time ago.
Fees for 5 shillings to belong to the club (yearly) and 1 shilling to play.
Since Manor Farm was a working farm the cows wandered over the ground during the week, you can image the state of the players after the game. At one time to save money I made the corner flags, only to see the cattle happily chewing them during a match.
The only refreshments the teams had was a cup of tea I made in a room of the Post Office after the game.
It was hard work with hardly any transport and not many telephones either. Bob’s money that he collected over a period of four months paid off and obviously helped place the club in a firm footing.
And lastly to mention that the mothers had to wash their gear without the help of washing machines. This was a working class area, and bicycles being the main transport.
I would like to congratulate the club for going from strength to strength and hope it will continue.
THE CARTERS FIELD TROPHY
The Carters Field 5-a-side Trophy was for many years a major fixture in the summer months for teams from all over the place to come and enjoy and compete. Mostly the sides were from around Kent, but one year we had our twin club SV Munster over from what was then West Germany. The competition originally started out as a midweek bit of fun involving the Green and local sides in the evenings as it was more productive than training for pre-season – with of course a beer afterwards! But it grew into a two-day event with the youth sections playing on a Sunday after the seniors tournament the previous day. At its height it drew large crowds with presentation ceremonies, a marquee and a group at Carters Field in the evening. It piddled down one year … but I can still see Bill Mickelborough standing at the gate, drenched through in his famous mac, collecting the £2 off each car as the evening contingent arrived to join the party [they were queuing down Bromley Green Road in torrential rain to come into a sheep field – an amazing sight]. Everybody had a great time despite the weather. I can’t recall who actually won the trophy that year but in a way it didn’t really matter as all sides stayed and made a night of it. To be honest, some years, especially when it was hot, things could get a bit tasty late on the Saturday and a few would be the worse for wear due to a little too much amber nectar!
Many people worked hard over the years to keep the tournament going after we left the spiritual home; but with the best will in the world, it just wasn’t the same at the Stour Centre or Swinford Manor. Looking back, the club was fortunate to have such people as Trevor Carter and Mick Lindsey (who organised the referees) to help put on such a show. There are many photos related to The Carters Field Trophy and in time the intention is to upload them. For now, what about this one below … note the referees were ‘normal’ in those days … none of this tea lark at the break … a McEwans does the trick. Who can you recognise?
Carters Field Trophy tickets
From Derek [11.2.2010] Can we put this on the website I know the records will change.
I am still after history especially league tables can anyone help with info please?
Bromley Green Records
This is what I have found so far but anyone can tell me different.
Season 1974/75 Bromley Green 26 Willesborough Wanderers 3
Bromley Green 0 Hamstreet 12
Kennington 12 Bromley Green 0
Bromley Green 0 New Romney 12
Les Farrant 57
Les scored 7 once and 6 twice this season.
I have not researched half of the history yet!
Contribution from Jack Stafford [Dec 2011] with memorabilia from Alan Daly
Alan Daly played for Bromley Green FC in the 1950s. Alan’s mother was first cousin to Fulham centre forward Arthur Stevens’s wife. Fulham were the first division winners [today’s equivalent of the Premiership] and Arthur played alongside such greats as England skipper Johnny Haynes, the indefatigable Jimmy Hill and future World Cup winner George Cohen. Amongst memorabilia provided by Alan is the programme for Fulham v Manchester United in an FA Cup semi final replay at Highbury.
Arthur was a guest at Bromley Green’s first annual dinner dance on Saturday 12 May 1956. I was in Cyprus at the time doing National Service with the 16 Independent Parachute Brigade.
Below is variety of bits and pieces that Alan and Jack wish to share with readers … anyone who remembers Alan, or has their own memories, please do come and visit us or at least get in touchx x A long time ago … do you recognise the stars of yesteryear? x x x x
From Manor Farm 11 May 1969: Kingsnorth YC v Ashford Town
x … please be patient … going as quick as I can!
Press cutting December 2015