Last time I was talking about renegade football teams which originated in the High School. Even before the change to rugby in 1914-1915, we have at least one photograph in the School Archives of what appears to be an unidentified team with an unidentified member of staff. It may well be that in an era when the High School played football officially, there were still those who wanted to be renegades, playing under a false name at the bottom end of League Division Three.:
Once football disappeared at the end of December 1914, that was it. No going back. School sport was crushed under the weight of a thick layer of gravel and tarmac called “Rugby Union”. But before long, thistles started to grow through. After January 1915, the High School might not allow any boy to play football in a school context, other than kickabouts in the school yard, but there were always at least eleven rebels, totally dedicated to football, willing to dig an escape tunnel to the nearest football pitch. This may well be the first mystery photograph of a football team from the early part of rugby years:
Here is number two in the series of renegade High School teams. It dates from the years immediately after the Second World War. Here is the team photograph:
It looks like they are kitted out in white shirts, black shirts and, probably, red socks. Here is their badge, Photoshopped quite a bit:
And now a little bit more:
When I started I thought that the badge was an “N” and a “U” entwined but now I’m not so sure. Does anybody have any ideas about it? Any information about this team or indeed, any of the others, would be welcome in the Comments section.
Back to the original photograph. Who is the man behind the team, as it were? I don’t recognise him as a member of staff. Perhaps he was the father of one of the players:
The photograph is captioned on the back:
“An unofficial football team. The Headmaster, Mr Reynolds, didn’t approve of soccer and wouldn’t allow an official team. A group of 6th formers formed this team as “Nottingham United” and played behind the West Bridgford Tennis Club on Wilford Lane”.
A final act of rebellion came in the late 195os according to JA Dixon (1951-1960) who has written:
” While in Lower 5G, I was also playing with a rebel soccer team, Kingswood Methodists of Wollaton with a whole host of School ‘rebels’, including Dick Lovell, Rob Spray, Graham Machin, Mick Hutson. Charlie Graham, Rob Wilson, Keith Richardson, Alan Scott, many of whom ended up being School Prefects!”
There is one final photograph that I have come across, although I do not really think that it is a renegade football team so much as a question, perhaps, of misidentification. We have a Junior School section of the High School, known years ago as the “Preparatory School” or quite simply the “Prep”. It has always educated boys below the age of eleven. A friend of mine who used to work there, Mr Eddie Jones, sent me a photograph he had taken of an old photograph that they had. It had always thought that the photograph showed a cup-winning team from some long ago forgotten competition in the City of Nottingham, but I am not so sure. Here it is:
There are quite lot of problems. The football is marked “1898-1899” whereas the current understanding is that the Prep School did not come into being until September 1905 when it was:
“…set up in a house at 11, Waverley Mount where Dr Dixon had lived so many years before. There were thirty two pupils, making up a senior form taught initially by Mr R.Dark and then soon afterwards by Mr H.A.Leggett. Two ladies taught the other form, one of whom “lived in”, acting as a housekeeper as well as a teacher.”
The two members of staff on the photograph, Messrs JA Jones and D Stephenson are not on any staff list we currently use, and none of the named players are on the School Register, as far as I can see. The boys’ names are:
(back row) L Jones, F Palmer and W Harwood. On the front row are G Bramwell, T Rees, L Kirk, SJ Shaw, JF Bamforth, E Wright (Captain), N Dass, F Bramley and D Richards.
I do wonder who this team may be. In the late Victorian era, the High School did not ever play in stripes of this Notts County type, but wore all black kit with white sleeves. I wonder if the mystery team are anything to do with Notts County?
Nowadays, of course, football is open to any boy in the Sixth Form with no restrictions whatsoever. What happy times we had:
“What larks, Pip! What larks!”