Monday, 21 March 2011


This programme really is a classic as it's over 55 years old and relates to the Isthmian League local derby game played on Tuesday 27th December 1955 between two giants of the old Amateur game in Leytonstone and Walthamstow Avenue.

The 1955/56 table was topped at the time by Bromley followed by Corinthian Casuals and had a real East London feel to it as along with the two sides playing it also included Clapton, Ilford and Barking.

The Isthmian League standings as of the 27th December 1955
Whoever brought the programme and witnessed the game was good enough to note down the team changes, the score which finished 1-3 to the Avenue and also the attendance which states 2,000 people watched. Oh for an attendance like that now for one of the current East London non-league clubs!!

Back in the 50's it was a regular occurrence to see games played on Boxing Day and the day after, as this one was. The two rival teams had faced each other at Green Pond Road just 24 hours prior which was also won by the Avenue by a scoreline of 4-1.
Leytonstone's results for the 1955/56 season up to the Christmas Derby games.
The programme has a player's "who's who" section which highlights outside left Leon Joseph who was celebrating 20 years service to Leytonstone. Leon was 36 years old at the time and during his career had gathered numerous honours including 11 Amateur International caps and an FA Amateur Cup winners medal amongst others as well as representing the Isthmian League representative side many times. Leon played for the club prior to the outbreak of War in 1939 in which he served with the Royal Fusiliers where he was twice badly wounded in action in Italy.

As far as the cold end can make out the line ups with the changes stated were as follows -

Leytonstone            Walthamstow Avenue 

1. D.GRIFFIN           1. R.GROVES                
2. W.KENNARD           2. D.CLARK
3. J.KAVANAGH          3. T.FARRER
4. R.ABRAHAMS          4. E.HARPER
5. M.BULL              5. S.PRINCE
6. V.BIRD              6. D.HALL
7. P.CORTHINE          7. J.NOTTAGE 
8. P.DONOVAN           8. B.BARBER (1 GOAL)
9. J.FARMER            9. S.ANDERSON
10.K.BURKS (1 GOAL)    10.R.BEEVER (1 GOAL)
11.L.JOSEPH            11.R.GROVES (1 GOAL)

The line ups with team changes in the programme
Tom Farrer was the Avenue captain at the time and after his retirement it was Stan Prince, who was also playing in this game, who took over that honour going onto represent Avenue in the 1961 Amateur cup final against West Auckland Town at Wembley Stadium. In the programme for the Wembley final Stan is described as one of the best pivots in the Amateur game and short for a centre half but rarely beaten in the air. He played in the Olympic games and represented the Isthmian League, Essex, London and the Athenian FA's representative sides during his career.

The two players named Groves in goal and at number 11 for Avenue were part of the famous Grove's football family. Vic Groves, who had played with both Leytonstone and Walthamstow Avenue prior to turning professional with Leyton Orient in 1954, went on to play for Arsenal 185 times and score 31 goals. The Gunner's legend that is Perry Groves who was born in nearby Bow in 1965 and is Vic's Nephew.

The final league table for the 1955/56 shows that Wycombe Wanderers won the title by twelve points from second placed Bromley. Despite being beaten in both of these local derby games Leytonstone went on to finish third with Avenue back in seventh place. St Albans City who were without a win at the time only managed two wins throughout the season and finished propping up the table. Corinthian Casuals who were in second place with 7 wins in 15 games dropped down the table to twelfth place winning only a further two of their remaining 13 games.

                    P  W  D L  GF GA Pts
1 Wycombe Wanderers 28 19 5 4  82 36 43
2 Bromley           28 12 7 9  54 43 31
3 Leytonstone       28 12 7 9  50 44 31
4 Woking            28 14 3 11 62 60 31
5 Barking           28 12 7 9  41 45 31
6 Kingstonian       28 12 6 10 67 64 30
7 Walthamstow Ave   28 13 3 12 61 45 29
8 Ilford            28 10 8 10 44 52 28
9 Oxford City       28 10 7 11 48 55 27
10 Clapton          28 9  8 11 45 48 26
11 Wimbledon        28 12 2 14 51 62 26
12 Corinthian Cas   28 9  7 12 56 56 25
13 Dulwich Hamlet   28 9  6 13 55 67 24
14 Romford          28 9  6 13 42 55 24
15 St Albans City   28 2 10 16 36 62 14

The Leytonstone FC club crest
 Click on any picture to enlarge which will make reading much easier.

The cold end highly recommends the excellent HISTORY OF WALTHAMSTOW AVENUE website which has many articles and pictures about the former giants of the Amateur game.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post a Comment