Badsey football has a long and distinguished history. Below is a short extract written by Terry Sparrow from A Brief History of Badsey and Aldington.
1890 saw the birth of the Badsey Rangers Football Club, which was to go on to enjoy tremendous success in subsequent years and which still functions after 112 years, a record unequaled by any other amateur team in Worcestershire. Much of the credit for starting a football club goes to William Stanford; others who took an active part in the early days included J. Barnard, W. Harwood, W. Collett, Gus Dore, J. Keyte and E. Warner (secretary). Warner was a grandson of William Barnard, the parish clerk. The footballers did not have to wait long for something to celebrate; by the end of the 1895-96 season they were champions of the North Cotswold and Vale of Evesham League. Continuing to prosper, the Rangers reached the final of the Worcestershire Junior Cup, the most important amateur competition in the county, in five consecutive seasons 1909-14. They also became the first winners of the Evesham Hospital Cup, a trophy donated by H.R.H. le Duc d'Orleans of Wood Norton, in order to raise funds for Evesham Cottage Hospital (at Briar Close, now replaced by houses). In that first final, on 27th April 1912, Astwood Bank were defeated by a single goal scored by Theodore Hall; according to the Evesham Journal report it was greeted with "cheers like thunder". A crowd in excess of 2000 watched the game. Another football club, Badsey Star, which was formed to provide a game for some of the younger and less experienced players, functioned for just one season, when they were runners-up in the second division of the Bidford League. Three seasons later, in 1911-12, Badsey United appeared on the scene; they too enjoyed moderate success.
Badsey "Rec" and Elsewhere Park
The provision of a recreation ground for the village was first debated in 1900, when approaches were made regarding the purchase of 5¾ acres of land at The Stockey (part of which is now the school playing field) but the asking price of £600 was thought to be excessive and the project was not pursued. The present Recreation Ground, in Sands Lane, was acquired in 1912, but because of delays due to the war it was not formally opened until 15th May 1920, when the ceremony was performed by Captain Cecil Hunt, son of the former vicar. The total cost was £900, including purchase of the land, levelling, seeding, fencing and the planting of ornamental trees and shrubs. Among those responsible for this important addition to the village amenities were Julius Sladden (chairman of the committee), Miss Ethel Sladden (secretary), Messrs. Jim Addis Barnard, J.E. Knight, W.W. Blake and W. Stanford. Following the opening ceremony the Evesham Territorial Band played for dancing in the evening and the proceedings concluded with a torchlight procession round the field.
The new ground immediately became the home of Badsey Rangers, who had previously played for many years in a farm field at Aldington, and they celebrated the move by making the 1920-21 season the most successful in the club's history. Details of that season and of many other successes (and failures); of journeys to Cambridge, Leeds and Wisbech; of a "football special" train to Oxford on a wet New Year's Day in 1921 and of 2500 spectators at a home match may be found in the club's centenary booklet, published in 1989. Yet another football club was formed in 1926, known as Badsey Arrowvale (or Arravale). When they applied to the Recreation Ground Committee for permission to play at Sands Lane they were told that the ground had already been let to the Rangers and that they must therefore look elsewhere. When they did find an alternative pitch in Arthur Jones' field off Badsey Lane they named it Elsewhere Park. Opinions differ as to the originator of the name, although it seems likely that the credit goes to Tommy "Diddymus" Knight, a bustling little man who was full of energy and enthusiasm in everything he did.
Click on photos to enlarge.
Badsey United FC
Robert Hall kindly lent us these three team pictures of Badsey United. We have very little information on them. Can anyone help?
See also -
- Badsey Rangers Football Club: 100 Years by T C Sparrow, John Knight & Son, 1989. This booklet is out of print but there is a copy in the Badsey Society archive.
- Wickhamford Albion.