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FOOTBALL: Tulips' centenary plans kicked out




Spalding United's plans on how to celebrate the club’s centenary in three years have been firmly kicked into touch, writes RAY TUCKER.

For some while now, spasmodic conversations have taken place on how best to mark 100 years of activity.

Current documentation shows the club being formed in 1921 - but recent findings and subsequent painstaking research via the files of the Lincolnshire Free Press clearly show that the Tulips have missed the boat by quite a few years.

A chance sighting of an early team photograph on social media prompted some investigation and evidence gained shows that the club was formed way back in 1905. Story lines gathered from the micro files published in the local press at the time substantiate this.

An editorial column in the Free Press in August 1905 reads: “A meeting of the recently amalgamated Fulney Institute and Victoria clubs was held at the Black Bull on Saturday evening when it was decided that the name should be Spalding United and Mr J Bowditch was chosen as captain and Mr W Bourne vice-captain. Mr F Parker was appointed secretary with Mr A Measures assistant and Mr GR Barker elected as treasurer.

“A non-playing committee was chosen on which the following were asked to serve: Messrs HL Enderby JP, JW Gleed, WB Crampton, Stephenson, George, G Barker, JH Measures, J Bright and W Warby. The Low Grounds ground has been secured and the colours will be black shirts with red sashes.

Spalding United 1905-06
Spalding United 1905-06

“It was proposed to run three teams, if possible, on Saturdays – a first XI, a second XI and boys’ or juniors’ XI - while an attempt is also to be made to run a Thursday XI.

“The new club should prove to be a strong combination and will doubtless be able to place a good XI in the field.”

The new club opened their fixtures in September 1905 by playing Stamford Town away and the reserve team entertaining Boston Villa at the Low Roads Ground.

The first team had also been entered for the Lincolnshire Shield and the Boston League.

The first team game at Stamford resulted in a 3-1 defeat.

The listed team was: G Green (goal), J Bowditch, A Gibson (full-backs), J Wilson, W Rowlinson, E Allen (half backs), W Hardy, T Chapman, A Hardy, C Hasnip, W Bourne (forwards).

Lincolnshire Free Press
Lincolnshire Free Press
Boston League
Boston League

Matches were being played on pitches down Love Lane, Fulney and (Low Roads) Clay Lake, all of which over the years have been covered by housing. But at this time references were made of games being played on Pinchbeck Road (Black Swan field), which we now know as the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field.

In addition to the ‘United’ other local teams were Spalding Town, Spalding Institute United, Spalding United Methodists and Spalding Thursday.

This postcard was sent to Mrs Rocher at the Red Lion Hotel, Alford, dated February 23, 2010, with the message: 'Dear mother, just sending you a postcard of Spalding United, what do you think of it? Not half bad. Will you send my cuffs on etc when you have time. Goodbye to all, best love Bert.' Note the different colour of playing strip from black with red sash to all white.
This postcard was sent to Mrs Rocher at the Red Lion Hotel, Alford, dated February 23, 2010, with the message: 'Dear mother, just sending you a postcard of Spalding United, what do you think of it? Not half bad. Will you send my cuffs on etc when you have time. Goodbye to all, best love Bert.' Note the different colour of playing strip from black with red sash to all white.

Fast forward to January 1921, editions of the Spalding and Boston Free Press show Spalding United to be running two teams - A and B (obviously first team and reserves).

In March 1921, editorial inches in the Lincolnshire Free Press read: "Spalding United A are well up in the various football leagues and competitions they have entered and will be lucky to carry off several trophies. An end of season event was held at the Black Swan Hotel and mentioned was that the club had won two trophies and lost one cup final. Trophies won were the Peterborough Junior Cup and the Victory Cup. The cup defeat was in the Lincolnshire FA competition away to Boston, a game watched by more than 4,000 people."

Also mentioned was that the club was purchasing a second hand building which they intended to use for a multiple of uses, including changing facilities.

The 1920-21 team with the Peterborough Junior Trophy and The Victory Cup. The photograph was taken in front of the original grandstand at the Black Swan (Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field) by renowned Spalding photographer Gyde whose studio was situated in Gore Lane.
The 1920-21 team with the Peterborough Junior Trophy and The Victory Cup. The photograph was taken in front of the original grandstand at the Black Swan (Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field) by renowned Spalding photographer Gyde whose studio was situated in Gore Lane.
Those were the days - a jam-packed stand at the Black Swan Field.
Those were the days - a jam-packed stand at the Black Swan Field.


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