Website of the Laceby History Group

Laceby Football Club 1937 - 1968

The Laceby Football Club was formed in September 1937 and finally wound up 31 years later in June 1968.

The minute books survive intact and the first book details a model set of rules which remained in force throughout the club's existence, including the annual players subscription of 2/6d~

The original committee was:-

Chairman - Mr. R. Rowson

Secretary - Mr. G. Jacklin

Treasurer - Mr. C. Stinson

Trainer - Mr. M. Waterman

Team Captain - Mr. W. Donner

and - Mr. H. Lamb

Mr. Rowson remained Chairman for the whole of the 31 years and Bill Donner was still occasionally 'turning out' in the late 1960s.

A ground was obtained from Mr. Reg Isaac in Cooper Lane (The Stanford Centre stands on the ' top' goalmouth) at a rent of £4 per year (plus an ounce of tobacco) and the team entered Division 3C of the Grimsby and District Football League.

The original club colour was blue but in 1940 was changed to black and white stripes and remained so.

Some old trawl nets were obtained for goal nets in 1938. In September 1939 it was agreed to carry on on a 'friendly' basis, as the league had been cancelled due to the war. Indeed the ground was shared during the war with army personnel billetted in the village.

In 1940 Ron Blow, the then secretary was called up and Fred Broddle took his place. Thus began a spell of service as secretary by the Broddle brothers from 1940 to 1968 with Syd taking over in 1952 and their service was subsequently officially recognised by the Lincolnshire Football Association.

It is interesting to note the number of brothers involved with the club over the years:- Broddle, Brookes, Elsom, Marshall, Creese, Altoft, Horsewood, Eley, Sargeant, Kyme, Pearson, Fytche, Porter, Waterman and Anderson amongst others.

In wartime cup competitions in 1942 Laceby twice defeated YMCA at Blundell Park to win the Junior Bellamy Cup and the Junior Charity Cup. Bill Donner was captain and a photo shows a very youthful Dick Borril at left back. Dick was still playing with distinction for the club some 20 years later.

In 1944 Laceby were one of 9 teams to re-form the 1st Division of the Grimsby League and thus began the period of the club's greatest success over the next 14 years. At times the club fielded 3 teams each Saturday and until 1968 always had two teams in the Grimsby League. Success came in the Grimsby League Championships both Division 1 (on several occasions) and Division 111 and there were victories in the War Memorial Cup, the Telegraph Medals and the Senior Telegraph Cup, including a memorable win over British Legion Town Branch at Blundell Park in 1951.

Trophies were proudly displayed in 'Cyril's' shop in High Street. However the one trophy that eluded the club was the senior amateur competition in the County, the Lincolnshire Junior Cup. The club reached the final on no less than five occasions, in 1946, 1947, 1951, 1953 and 1958 but lost each time. Dick Borrill was the only player to appear in all 5 finals.

All was not plain sailing. In 1947 two players, dissatisfied with team selection, proposed a vote of no confidence in the committee but were heavily defeated. In 1948 long discussions took place on the benefits of entering the newly formed Lincolnshire League but eventually it was felt the cost of travelling would be prohibitive.

Also in 1948 the committee promised to try and stop a certain spectator shouting abuse at the players from the touchline: At that time a crowd of a hundred or more spectators was common.

The social side had a prominent part in the club apart from raising much needed finance. Whist drives were held each Christmas and club dinners, suppers, galas and six-a-side tournaments held regularly. A hard working ladies' committee had a hand in all the social functions. A minute of 1950 records:- 'Mr. Mawer gave permission for one or two members to catch rabbits on his land for the supper' .

A press cutting in 1945 records a social gathering attended by 70 players, officials and guests in the Church Hall. The MC for the dance was the club captain Arthur Buston and Jimmy Allison (entertainer) and Stan King (illusionist) gave 'pleasing interludes'.

At that time the local press congratulated Laceby FC on 'having gained a reputation of being excellent sportsmen both on and off the field' .

In the 1950s club dinners were held in the old school. Mr. Bill Cross became treasurer in 1950 and remained so until 1968.

Meticulous records compiled by the secretary in the 1950s and 1960s show an astonishing number of 'maximum' appearances by certain players every season - were they never injured? Tom Hill's name appears throughout the minutes. An outstanding and versatile player he was also an efficient Vice Chairman for many years.

In 1960 a pavilion was purchased from Clee Rovers Cricket Club at a cost of £60 so players no longer had to change under the hedge.

Two amusing incidents stand out in the writer's memory:- One of a league game at Laceby when an opposing forward ran through the home defence and calmly side footed the ball towards an empty net, only for a small boy (actually the son of the Laceby captain, but nobody let on) to run on the pitch and 'clear' the ball - the bemused referee could only give a 'dropped ball' :

The other, of a tense cup tie against YMCA with the scores level YMCA were awarded a penalty in the last minute. The penalty taker hit the ball with such force against the crossbar it rebounded to the halfway line, where the home centre forward promptly booted it 50 yds. over the opposing goalkeeper into the net to give Laceby an astonishing victory.

In 1967 the club lost the use of the Cooper Lane ground due to the construction of the new Stanford School and for a season played it's home games on the Bradley Fields but this was really the end of the village club . It was finally wound up at a meeting on 13th June 1965.

Three Trustees were appointed:- Mr. R. Rowson, Mr. W. Cross and Mr. S. Broddle, the three club officials and they distributed the total funds of £101.4.3!d between the Church, Chapel, Meals-on-Wheels Service and Youth Groups.

At that time there were 75 teams in total in 5 Divisions of the Grimsby and District League, with 1412 registered players.

So ended 31 years of local football. Other local teams have of course been formed over the years but Laceby FC provided healthy organised sport for hundreds of local youngsters (and not so young players!) for many years and we are very grateful to those who formed and ran the club.

Pat Anderson.