Football Association, Regional

The Football Association (F.A.) was formed in 1863 and this was followed by the formation of County Associations such as the Cambridgeshire F.A. the same year.

As late as 1884 there was no regional F.A. covering Bedfordshire which highlights the infancy of the game in the area.  The Luton Reporter of 6th December 1884 announced that a change was in the offing;

“Proposed Football Association for the Midland Counties.  An influentially attended meeting of representatives of clubs in the four counties undermentioned was held at Kettering on Friday afternoon to consider the desirability of forming one united association.  The Rev. G Thureton occupied the chair, and called upon Mr Pretty to explain the object of the meeting.  That gentleman showed that such an association as that suggested must must accomplish great good in stimulating interest, proficiency, and good feeling in the game.  If thought desirable a Cup Competition could be instituted.  Mr Scott of Luton Excelsior, proposed, and Mr Brown, of the same club, seconded a resolution for the formation of the East Midlands Counties Football Association, to include the counties of Northampton, Bedford, Huntingdon and Rutland.  The proposition, after full discussion, was unanimously carried, and it was decided that the new organisation should be affiliated with the Football Association.  Mr Alfred Pretty of Wellingborough was appointed honorary secretary of the Association pro tem, and was instructed to send a copy of the above resolutions to every known club playing Association rules in the four counties, and to call a general meeting to be held at Wellingborough on Wednesday December 10th, for the purpose of electing officers, and for the transaction of other important business.  The Rev. Mr Thureton was thanked for taking the chair, as was also Mr Pretty for his efforts towards the formation of the East Midlands Counties Association”.

The cup competition must have been good news for the clubs in the town.  We know from our story that Newport Pagnell held the Wellingborough and District Cup in 1883 and  that the Northampton area also held a cup competition.  The Berks and Bucks F.A. was formed in 1878 and began a Cup competition the same year.

The East Midlands Counties Football Association (E.M.C.F.A) held their first meeting just before Christmas 1884.

“A general meeting of clubs associated with the newly formed East Midland Counties Football Association was held at the Hind Hotel, Wellingborough, on Wednesday afternoon, when a large number of representatives from the counties interested were present.  After a little discussion Mr George, of Northampton, was chosen as Chairman of the meeting, and the following gentlemen were elected officers of the Association.  Mr H.E. Plait, head master of the Wellingborough Grammar School, was unanimously elected President of the Association, and the following were elected vice-presidents, one for each county:- Mr J.C. Lomax (Luton Wanderers) for Beds; Mr E.G. Thurston (Kettering) for Northants: Mr M.E. Mail (Uppingham) for Hunts; and Mr P.H. Fernandes (Oakham) for Rutland.  Mr Alfred Pretty of Wellingborough Grammar School, was appointed Hon. Sec. and Mr G.H. Thompson (Wellinborough Revellers) as hon. treasurer.  These gentlemen for a committee with one member from each club in the Association.  The meeting decided that a trial match should be played on Boxing Day, December 26th or Saturday December 27th at Kettering or Luton, one team to be selected from Bedfordshire and Huntingdon, to play against a team drawn from Northants and Rutland.  The chairman having been thanked for presiding.  It was decided that the next committee meeting be held in Luton sometime next week, when the final arrangements for the trial match will be made”.

It is remarkable that twenty year old J.C. Lomax represented Bedfordshire at the E.M.C.F.A.

The E.M.C.F.A. wasted no time in playing the representative games to promote the game throughout the region.  Christmas 1884 saw the representative games organised by the East Midlands Counties Football Association (E.M.C.F.A.) go ahead as planned.  The counties of Northants and Rutland drew one all with Beds and Herts.  The game was played at Kettering on Boxing Day and four Excelsior players and four Wanderers were in the Beds and Herts team.  From Excelsior, T. Brown was in goal, J.T. Hunt (captain) was a back, G. Small was at half back and Wilkinson was on the right wing.  For Wanderers, D.A.N. Lomax was a back, E.H. Lomax was half back, George Deacon and J.C. Lomax (left wing) made up the team.  Playing alongside the Luton men were three from St. Neots, J. Jackson, A.K. Bower and P.H. Bower.  Northants were a very strong team as they had the best team in the E.M.C.F.A. region, Wellingborough Grammar School.

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On 26th January 1885 the East Midlands Counties Football Association E.M.C.F.A had a committee meeting in Luton.

Present were;

J.C. Lomax – Luton Wanderers – Vice President (of the Association)

W.G. Thomson – Wellingborough Revellers – Hon Treasurer

A. Pretty – Wellingborough Grammar School – Hon Secretary

G.W. Spencer – Kettering

F. Scott – Luton Excelsior

Brook Knowles – Luton Town

J. Williamson – Earls Barton

W. Hobbs – Burton Latimer

F. Ingram Wellingborough Revellers

It was decided to arrange matches for the season with Cambridgeshire and West End Associations to be played at Cambridge and Luton.  A trial match to select the team to represent the E.M.C.F.A. was arranged for February 21st at Wellingborough.

The second weekend in February 1885 saw a trial match was announced in the Luton press.

“The East Midlands Counties Football Association – a trial match under the auspices of the above association will be played at Wellingborough to-morrow (Saturday), when the following players will represent Luton: G. Deacon, J.C. Lomax, E.H. Lomax, A. Martin and T. Veale (Luton Town) and G.H. Small (Luton Excelsior).  By communicating with the secretary, Mr G.H. Spratley, persons who may wish to witness the game may obtain railway excursion tickets”.  

The third weekend in February 1885 saw 

“the E.M.C.F.A. trial match took place between teams captained by J.C. Lomax and Mr A. Pretty.  Several hundred people attended and saw the latter’s team win by five goals to two.  The team to play the first match was selected.”  

The Secretary of the E.M.C.F.A. Alfred Pretty wrote to the Luton Times to advertise the intentions of the Association and asked the Luton public to support the games arranged.  The letter appeared in the 6th March 1885 edition;

The beginning of March 1885 saw some very attractive representative E.M.C.F.A. matches which drew big crowds.  The first game saw the London Association (2nd team) come to Luton;

“played on the Luton Excelsior Meadow, Dallow-lane on Saturday afternoon.  There was a very large attendance of spectators, including many visitors from London and the surrounding district.  Soon after the start, it became apparent that both teams had been well selected, and were thoroughly representative.  It will be remembered that the team to represent the East Midlands Counties was selected after a trial match at Wellingborough, and though the selected team of the Association was chosen exclusively from Beds and Northamptonshire, yet a better eleven could scarcely have been chosen.  The London team, too, had evidently been carefully picked, including players from the Old Etonians, the Old Westminster, and the Clapton Clubs.  During the first half, it was evident that the teams were well matched, for each side scored two goals.  On both sides the men played well together, though the London goal keeper might, perhaps, have saved the second goal kicked by the Midlands men had he exerted himself a little more strenuously.  The ball was not kicked at all hard, and rolled through the posts very slowly, amid the laughter of the spectators.  On the Midlands side the play of the brothers Lomax and Taylor (of Bedford) was particularly brilliant.  The passing and dribbling of the brothers Lomax  was very fine, while the kicking of J.C. Lomax was magnificent.  For all round play, however, the palm must be given to Taylor, who scarcely missed a shot, and worked hard all through.  The London men also played well together, the Clapton representatives with the Old Etonian men showing conspicuously brilliant play.  After the teams changed ends, the play was scarcely so satisfactory, for although the Midland men worked very hard they were unable to score, while the London association added two more points.  The home team, however, had very hard luck, for the ball was kicked clean over the bar by Midland men three times, while on a fourth occasion it was “tipped” over by the goal-keeper.  Of course, three shots did not count, and, although the play was in the London quarters during almost all of the second period, the Midlanders failed to improve their position.  It may be mentioned that each side kicked a disputed goal, which the umpires decided should not be scored.  The arrangements were successfully carried out by members of the Excelsior and Luton Town Clubs, and the match was, in every respect, a great success.  The following are the teams: London Association: Goal – F.G. Wall (Rangers), Backs – H. Denny (Dulwich) and J. Barbour (Clapton).  Half backs – R.H. Clarke (Clapton) and C.L. Bird (St. Bartholomews).  Forwards – J.E. Paul (Old Westminster), F.D. Darbishire (Old Etonians), R. Hales (Vulcans), F. Kransslach (Hanover), J. Morris (Dulwich) and S.G. Pailthorpe (Acton).  East Midlands Counties Eleven: Goal – H. Eddlestone (Northampton).  Backs – A.W. Platt (Wellingborough Grammar School) captain and J. Owen (Wellingborough Revellers).  Half backs – E.H. Lomax (Luton Town) and A. Taylor (Bedford).  Forwards – J.C. Lomax and G. Deacon (Luton Town) left wing, W.H. Garne ((Wellingborough Grammar School), A.R. Bower (St. Neots) centres, J.B. Challen (Wellingborough Grammar School) and J. Deitoa (Wellingborough Revellers) right wing.  The E.M.C.F.A. umpire was F. Scott of Excelsior who was a member of the committee.  The referee was N.L. Jackson, the editor of “Pastime.”  

It seems that the officials of Wanderers and Excelsior could still work together for the greater good despite the animosity caused by the former’s name change to “Luton Town.”  Both sides played the out of date 2-2-6 formation.

The same week, Bedfordshire went down 4 1 to Huntingdonshire. This game was played at neutral Hitchin and the Bedfordshire goal was scored by George Deacon.

The following week in March 1885 – the East Midland Counties played West End of London.

“This match was played in a meadow in Dallow-lane, on Saturday afternoon last, when there was a very large number of spectators, many of whom had come in from the neighbour-hood.  Throughout the afternoon a high wind was blowing, and this, of course, served to render play uncertain.  The London team undoubtedly had the worst of the wind in the first half, but their play did not seem to improve to any appreciable extent after the change of ends.  They did not seem to play together nearly so well as the home team, though it must be admitted that at times very fine play was witnessed, the “passing” of some of the men being particularly fine.  The fact that the Londoners were greatly overmatched soon became apparent, but this appearance may in some measure, be attributed to the splendid play of the home team who worked together all through.  The brothers Lomax, with Deacon and Challen “passed” magnificently, and so successful were their tactics that several times the ball was within measurable “shooting” distance of the goal of the visitors, though unlucky “shots” at the goal rendered their most arduous efforts abortive.  The centre forwards – Garne and Bower – played well, while Taylor again specially distinguished himself by his brilliant exertions.  Platt (the captain), was a articulately fine back, but Hunt did not prove to be such a success.  The play of the London team did not seem to be so good as it might have been, but Ward and Houghton showed very fine form, the latter kicking magnificently, and saving many dangerous shots by his fine play.  The result was a victory for the home team by 5 goals to 1.  The following are the teams:- West End Association: Goal – Evans (Grove House).  Backs – T. Houghton (Prairie Rangers) captain and W. Lamicraft (Cavendish).  Half backs – T. Manby (Grove House), A. Humphreys (Grove House) and W. Ward (Prairie Rangers.  Forwards – W. Juckes (Grove House) and Lowes (Waterloo) left wing; J. Reddall (Grove House) centre; J. Black (Grove House) and E. Collard (Unity) right wing; W.H. Morrison (Clarence) umpire.  East Midland Counties Association- Goal – T. Brown (Luton Excelsior).  Backs – A.W. Platt (Wellingborough Grammar School), captain and J.G. Hunt (Luton Excelsior).  Half backs – A. Taylor (Bedford), and E. Lomax (Luton Town).  Forwards – J.C. Lomax (Luton Town) and G. Deacon (Luton Town) left wing; G.W. Garne (W.G.S.) and P.H. Bower (St. Neots) centres; J.B. Challen (W.G.S.) and J. Denton (Wellingborough Revellers) right wing; J. Fernie, (Wellingborough Grammar School) umpire.”  

The 2-2-6 formation beat the 2-3-5 formation.

Many players turned out again the following Wednesday when a Beds and Hunts team played Northants and Rutland.  A. Martin replaced J.G. Hunt in this game.  Again, the Wellingborough Grammar School players proved their superiority in a 4 3 victory for Northants and Rutland.

These games would have been invaluable by demonstrating the game to a public new to football.  Henfrey and Challen, from Wellingborough Grammar School would play for England and Wales respectively, so were probably the star players in the E.M.C.F.A.  They would have lifted the standard of football and no doubt inspired youngsters to take up the game.  The large crowds that turned out to watch the representative games shows that there was an appetite for football in the town.

The last weekend in March 1885 Finally the E.M.C.F.A. lost 2 1 to Cambridgeshire at Kettering.

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In the Summer of 1885 a general meeting of the East Midlands Counties Football Association held at Bedford;

“it was decided to establish a challenge cup competition.  All clubs wishing to compete in the same are desired to join the association at once, so there can be no delay in drawing the ties”.

Luton Town F.C. were formed on 11th April 1885 and their committee resolved that the club should join the East Midlands Counties Football Association (E.M.C.F.A.).

The 24th October 1885 saw the following report.

“East Midlands Counties Association.  A trial match in connection with this Association was played at Rushden, Northamptonshire on Saturday last on the ground of the Rushden Cricket Club.  It had been announced as a match between the counties of Northampton and Rutland v Beds. and Hunts., but the players in the latter team were all from Beds., nine out of the eleven being Luton men.  Very complete arrangements had been made by the gentleman who arranged the match – Mr Claridge, of Rushden, taking a prominent part – and on arriving at Wellingborough the Luton men, who had been joined by the remaining two players at Bedford, were conveyed with their opponents in a brake to Rushden.  Here a large assembly room was kindly reserved for dressing, and the players were conveyed to the field by the brake.  Rain had been falling heavily during the whole of the journey from Wellingborough to Rushden, and this continued all through the match.  It may be readily imagined that the ground was rendered unpleasantly slippery, and many were the falls during the afternoon; in fact the whole of the players were in a more or less bespattered condition at the close.  The Beds. men had to play uphill during the first half, and their opponents consequently scored rapidly.  Soon after the start a goal was kicked, and the home team followed up the success by adding four more points to their score during the first half.  With the ground in the favour it was thought the visitors would make a better show, but this did not prove to be the case, for the Northants and Rutland men scored four more goals, while the Beds. men were unable to obtain a single point.  The game thus ended in a victory for the home team by nine goals to nil.  The Rutland and Northants. team played capitally, their men being well together, while their passing was admirable.  Some of their “shots” at goal were really cleverly managed.  A.G. Henfrey (Wellingborough Grammar School) especially distinguished himself in this respect.  It is, perhaps somewhat unfair to single out any individual player when all played so well, but a special word of praise is due to A. Panter (of Finedon) for his admirable play among the half-backs.  The play of the Beds. team was sadly disappointing; they did not seem “on the ball” – to use a technical phrase – nor did they play at all in concert.  Several good chances of scoring were missed in this way.  The backs were exceedingly weak, and almost the whole of the work was done by the forwards, E. Buckley, W. Eling and the two Ellinghams working hard all through.  Mr Fisher, of Bedford acted as umpire for the Beds. team, and Mr Platt, of Wellingborough Grammar School, for their opponents, while Mr Pretty (Hon. Sec of the E.M.C.F.A.) acted as referee.  The following were the teams; Beds and Hunts,- Goal – G. Long – Luton;  backs J. Bird (Luton) and T. Read (Luton);  Half backs – T. Brook Knowles (Luton) and F. Turvey (Bedford);  Forwards – H. Ellingham (Luton) and H.G. Spratley (Luton Wanderers) centre, W. Eling (Luton) and E. Ellingham (Luton) right wing, G.H. Taylor (Bedford) and E. Buckley (Luton) left wing. Northants and Rutland – Goal, G. Mason (Wellingborough Revellers); backs, G. Mackness (Rushden Wanderers) and J. Tunnicliffe (Kettering); half-backs, L.C.R. Thring (Wellingborough Grammar School), and A. Panter (Finedon); forwards, A.G. Henfrey (Wellingborough Grammar School) and F. Coles (Wellingborough Revellers) centre, T.H. Parker (Higham Ferrers) and A. Dayton (Earl’s Barton) right wing, C. Denton (Rushden Wanderers) and A. Smith (Northampton) left wing.  After the match a committee meeting of the Association was held at the Coffee-tavern, Rushden, when the chair was taken by Mr Claridge, Rushden Wanderers , and there were also present: Messrs A. Pretty, hon sec., W.C. Thompson, hon treasurer, F. Pitkin, Luton Town, F.W. Hill, Luton Wanderers, W.H. McNamara, Dunstable Town, Fisher, Bedford, Dayton, Earl’s Barton, Parker, Higham Ferrers, Bailey, Finedon, Smith, Northampton, Platt, Wellingborough Grammar School, and R. Coles Wellingborough Revellers.  The Dunstable, Rothwell, Thrapston and Geddington teams having been elected to the Association, the election of a team to represent the Association against the London Association  on the following Saturday (to-morrow) was proceeded with.  The following team was ultimately fixed upon : Goal, Spence, Kettering; backs, Platt and Pretty of Wellingborough Grammar School; half-backs, Panter, Finedon and Cox, Rushden; forwards, Garne and Bower, St. Neots, centre; Challen and Wagstaffe right; Henfrey, Wellingborough Grammar School and Buckley, Luton, left.  A reserve team having been nominated, Mr Platt was selected to captain the team, while Mr Scott of Luton was appointed umpire.  It was It was decided on the motion of Mr Thompson, seconded by Mr Fisher that the third class railway fare of travelling expenses of all players in trial matches be paid by the E.M.C.F.A..  It was resolved that a match between the Association and Berks. and Bucks. should be played at Wellingborough in February next, and that a committee meeting be held at Luton on December 7th.  The hon. sec., Mr Pretty, explained with reference to the proposed challenge cup that only eight clubs had intimated their intention of entering for the competition and that the scheme would therefore fall through.  A vote of thanks having been passed to the gentlemen who had drawn up the code of rules fro the proposed competition, a similar compliment to the Chairman concluded the proceedings.  The next match in connection with the Association will be played with Cambridgeshire at Kettering on November 28th, while it was suggested that a trial match shall be played at Luton on Boxing-day.”

We find a gap in the reports about the E.M.C.F.A. until the second weekend of February 1886 saw the Luton Reporter detailing a story under the headline “Football Accident”.  It continues

“On Saturday last the Town Football Club visited Bedford to play their return match with the Town Club.  The match was played in a meadow on the London-road, but after the teams had been playing about ten minutes an unfortunate accident occurred.  It appears that one of the Bedford right wing forwards named C. Lichfield ran at the ball when A. Martin, a Luton back, kicked at the same time, the Bedford man receiving the full force of the kick on his right leg.  He at once fell to the ground and complained that his leg was benumbed, but on removing his leg guard the players found that his leg was broken just below the knee.  The unfortunate man was removed to his home, and play was at once abandoned.  The occurrence is rendered additionally painful by the fact that the injured man is in somewhat poor circumstances, and has a wife and two children dependent on him.  We hear that a match has been arranged by the East Midlands Counties Association for the benefit of the injured man”.  

 

On the 13th March 1886 the East Midlands Counties played Lincolnshire at Grantham,.  They won 3 2 but there were no Luton players in the side.

Bedfordshire played Huntingdonshire on the last Wednesday of March 1886, The Luton Reporter says;

“A match between teams representing these counties was played under the auspices of the East Midlands Counties Association in the Town Club meadow, Dallow Lane, on Wednesday afternoon.  There was a fair attendance of spectators.  Three of the players selected to represent the home county were unable to fulfil their engagement, and the team was thus considerable weakened.  A boisterous wind was blowing, but despite this a capital game was witnessed.  After a hard fought struggle the visitors were left victors by three goals to two.  Another goal scored by the home team was disallowed on the grounds of off-side”.  Bedfordshire lined up; Goal A.J. Smith , Bedford.  Backs – A. Martin of Luton Town and E.G. Capon, Bedford.  Half backs – A.H. Taylor, Bedford, W. Barrett, Luton Town, and G. Haywood, Bedford.  Forwards – E.H. Lomax and G. Deacon of Luton Town (right), H.W. Oclee of Bedford (centre), J.R. Jones and G.H. Taylor both of Bedford (left).”  

The Luton Times version.

“A good number assembled in Dallow-lane to witness this match.  The day was slippery and the wind high.  The game opened with lively play, the wind slightly in favour of Beds.  A good number of shots were fruitlessly made for the goal for about twenty minutes, when a goal was obtained for Beds, the ball being well put through by E. Lomax.  Play continued in the visitor’s quarters and Beds scored another goal.  This, however, was disputed and yielded.  In a few minutes the ball was again put through by Hockley, making two allowed.  Half-time was called, and the wind now being in their favour the Hunts team soon scored their first goal, quickly followed by a second, making the game 2 goals to 2.  The next goal was well contested, and at last obtained by the visitors, the game standing Hunts 3 Beds 2.  The latter tried to obtain another goal, but had not scored when time was called.”  

The importance of the E.M.C.F.A. games in promoting the games in the region is highlighted in the Luton Reporter of 22nd May 1886 where we find a summary of the season published under the title;

“The late football season in Luton and District.

“Football has now come to an end, and the leather and goal-posts are packed away until the opening of another season.  The game may be said to be in its infancy in Luton.  Within the last year or two numerous clubs have been formed; they have sprung up like mushrooms, but in many cases only to enjoy as brief an existence.  Of late, however, the youth of the town, aye and not a few of the older stagers, have developed an amazing interest in this manly and bracing, if a trifle dangerous sport; and with the importation of greater solidarity and weight something has been done to place the pastime as it is played among us on a firmer and more permanent basis.  Among the clubs which have been established the Town, the Wanderers, and the Albany are the most important; flourishing combinations are also to be found among the pupils at the different educational institutions in the town; while among the younger generation, who seem to have caught the infection most severely of all, the number of bands of little “kickers” is simply legion.  During the season just ended, most of the local clubs have played several matches on their own ground, and some have occasionally ventured abroad and tried conclusions with competitors elsewhere.  The results of these contests have been such that the football players of Luton have no reason to feel ashamed of themselves.  They have not always carried the colours, it is true: the individual clubs have received some sound “drubbings.”  But this must be the fate of all young and ambitious aspirants in whatever sphere, and without some such wholesome check now and again the spirits of emulation is apt to fade.  Notwithstanding that the Luton clubs are comparatively young, the two leading ones this year took part in the competition for the English Association Challenge Cup, and not altogether without success.  The Town met Great Marlow on the ground of the latter, but had to succumb to a thrashing of 3 goals to 0.  The Wanderers were more fortunate, at least at the outset.  They first played Chesham at Luton, and beat them.  Having thus secured an entry into the second round they were next drawn against the Old Wykehamists, whom they encountered at Kennington Oval.  Winchester training, however, proved too much for the local heroes, and they had to return home with the score standing 10 to 0 against them.  During the season several prominent London clubs have appeared in Luton, and several important matches have been played under the auspices of the East Midland Counties Association to which both the Town Club and Wanderers are affiliated.  

The Northampton Mercury of 8th May 1886, below, reported on a preliminary meeting to discuss the merger of the E.M.C.F. A. and the Northamptonshire and District Association.  Nothing was agreed except to have more talks.

Northampton Mercury 8:5:1886

 

In September 1886, the East Midlands Counties Football Association amalgamated with the Northants and District Association.  A newspaper report dated 9th October entitled;

“Football in Northants and Beds.  Last year, it will be remembered, a somewhat unsatisfactory state of things existed as to Association Football in Northamptonshire.  Two associations – the Northamptonshire and District, and the East Midlands – then flourished, the result being that each, to a certain extent, rivalled and injured the other.  Under the circumstances and amalgamation of the two was considered to be advisable, and several meetings of each Association were convened to discuss the matter.  Ultimately it was practically decided that this should be done, and a few days ago a meeting was held at the Hind Hotel, Wellingborough, for the purpose of electing officers.  It was decided that the newly constituted association should be called the Northants and Beds Association, and that clubs in these counties should be eligible for membership.  It was further resolved that the annual subscription from each club should be 5s.  The following officers were elected:- President, Mr H.E. Platt, Wellingborough Grammar School; vice-presidents Mr J.T. Parker, Wellingborough and Mr E.H. Lomax, Luton: secretary and treasurer, Mr C. Claridge, Rushden: auditors, Mr J.H.E. Fisher, Bedford and Mr J. Hutchins, Kettering”.

Luton Town’s committee vote on the 12th October 1886 to join the Beds and Northants Association.

No football was reported for the last weekend in February 1887.  There was a story about the;

“Northants and Beds Football Association.

It will be remembered that about a year ago the well known East Midland Counties Association was dissolved, and a new Association with the above title, covering only two instead of four counties, was substituted.  Now it is proposed that Bedfordshire should be eliminated, and the name of the association altered to “The Northants Football Association”.  it is also suggested that two challenge cups – senior and junior – should be started for the county.  The argument used in the circular in favour of the proposed change is that “the limited area would be much more manageable”.  Of course this cuts both ways, for football players in this county have for a long time been extremely dissatisfied with the management of the Association.  If the proposal is adopted, there can be no reason why a similar Association should not be formed in Bedfordshire.  There is plenty of enthusiasm amongst the players, and quite sufficient clubs to form a really representative Association.  The question of offering challenge cups for competition might be considered at a subsequent period”.

With Wanderers gone I believe that the Town were the only members of the Association in the town.  With probably only Bedford in addition, the county was outnumbered by the likes of Wellingborough Grammar School and the Revellers, Rushden, Finedon, Newport Pagnell and Kettering.

The proposal for a Northampshire Football Association was approved at a meeting as reported by the Northampton Mercury dated 26th March 1887, below.

Northampton Mercury 26th March 1887

This exclusion of Bedfordshire left the county apparently unrepresented.  The story goes cold until the following clip appeared in the Luton Times on the 23rd December 1892.