|Chorlton Albion, 1925|
It started yesterday with my new friend Ann asking about Chorlton Albion which had been active in the mid 1920s.
Her dad played for them and just to prove they existed she sent me some team pictures, lists of fixtures and a set of postcards inviting the players to away matches.
This was pretty much at the extent of my knowledge so I asked Lawrence who as ever came back straight away with
"The early years of 20th Century saw the appearance of several football clubs in the suburbs, some short-lived. Chorlton Albion (1925), whose home pitch was on the corner of Hardy Lane and Barlow Moor Road, near where the Co-op is now"*
And added “details about defunct football clubs at this level are patchy at best. It throws up questions of where there were any changing facilities, what fixtures did they play and in what colours?”
|Away match postcard|
Sadly Chorlton Albion didn’t stay the course.
Their ground was on Hardy Lane and they may have shared the pavilion and ground with the local cricket club. Or on a stretch of open ground just a little to the east along Hardy Lane, where by 1934 there were tennis courts and another pavilion.
Which ever site it was in the way history repeats itself just a few years ago I was there watching one of my lads in a football competition.
I wish I had known about Albion then because there might have been something in the club house.
As it is there is one clue in that away match postcard for Stalybridge Celtic. They were in the Cheshire League which had been formed in 1919 and which Celtic joined in 1923 replacing their reserve team who had been members from the start.
Given that Albion regularly played them I suppose there might me a possibility that our team was also in the Cheshire League, but so far I can find no record of their membership.
|Site of their ground, from the OS map 1907|
That said Ann’s collection is a wonderful start and opens up a fascinating glimpse into such football teams.
The away postcards are couched in a style of writing we have long lost with the Secretary “inviting” her father to play and “being “obliged if you will take part.”
And like our brass band I am intrigued to know how the team got to Stalybridge.
Now my guess would be a train from Chorlton to Stockport and then out to Stalybridge, but I imagine some train buff will put me right on that journey and I am sure someone else will pour down information on the Albion.
Let’s hope so.
Pictures; from the collection of Ann Love.
* from Looking Back series in the South Manchester Reporter 19th August 2010 - Amateurs Had It All by Graham Phythian, a notable football historian.