Thursday, 13 October 2011


The advent of two up/two down from the Blue Square Premier to The Football League League Two has brought many big name teams into the non-league game such as Luton Town and Grimsby Town. For the 2011/12 season there are a total of 14 out of 24 teams that have played in the Football League -For arguments sake I have included "reformed" clubs Gateshead (1977) and Newport County (1989) in this list.

Some people however won't know that there are a number of clubs plying their trade in the lower reaches (step 5 and below) of the non-league pyramid who have tasted glory before weather it be in the non-league game or as members of the football league.

I don't mean any disrespect in the title 'Fallen Giants' - It just indicates that the clubs (who are still playing today) I have included have some wonderful history in the beautiful game which should be celebrated and remembered. Here is part one of the cold end's list of clubs playing at Step 5 or below who have tasted success at a higher level before. 


The club currently hold the distinction of being one of only two teams to have won both the FA Amateur Cup and the FA Cup. In the 1881 FA Cup final they defeated Old Etonians by a scoreline of 3-0 in front of 4,000 people at Kenington Oval. Just a few years later the Amateur Cup was lifted in 1894 by beating Casuals at the Athletic Ground in Richmond. The club were runners-up a year later to Middlesborough and lifted the famous trophy again in 1897 after beating Stockton 4-1 in a replay at Feethams after a 1-1 draw at Tufnell Park.

Nowadays, the club's first XI play in the Premier Division of the Arthurian League of which they were crowned Champions last season.  They play in the grounds of the Charterhouse School in Godalming, Surrey - the team is formed of former pupils of the school.

The Arthurian League is not part of the Football Pyramid but is affiliated to the Amateur Football Alliance and is described as a competition between teams of alumni of leading British independent schools.

Ironically, 130 years after Old Carthusians lifted the FA Cup they now find themselves in the same league as the team they beat. The OE'S won the FA Cup twice in 1879 and 1882 and were runners up on no less than four occasions in 1875, 1876, 1881 and 1883. They last won the Arthurian League in 2006 and were runners-up to their old rivals last season.

The fixtures for the league are only published about two months in advance so a date has not been set for the renewal of one of football's most historic rivalries.

Incidentally the Artuhrian League has another member club who have lifted the FA Amateur Cup. Old Malvernians defeated Bishop Auckland 5-1 in 1902 and this season will compete in Divison One alongside Old Westminsters and Old Radleians amongst others.

Harwich and Parkeston were formed in 1877 and moved to their current Royal Oak Ground in 1898 - in the same season they reached the final of the FA Amateur Cup losing to Stockton 1-0. The club then waited until 1953 to reach the final again when they were well beaten 6-0 by the famous Pegasus side at Wembley Stadium in front of a crowd of 100,000.

The club also reached the 1st Round of the FA Cup on numerous occasions. In 1934 they lost 3-0 at Bristol Rovers, in 1936 they lost at home to Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic (1-5), 1953 away to Headington United (6-2), 1961 away at Torquay United (1-5), 1963 away at Crystal Palace (2-8) and lastly in 1976 at home versus Enfield (0-3) after a 0-0 draw at Southbury Road.

In 1990/91 they had a glory run in the FA Vase by beating Clarksteel Yaxley (A 0-3), Tilbury (A 4-6), Burnham Ramblers (H 6-1), Sudbury Town (H 2-1 after A 3-3), Purfleet (H 2-1), Cammell Laird (A 0-2) before losing in the Quarter Finals at home to Gresley Rovers 0-2. Rovers went on to be runners up against Guiseley in the final and replay at Wembley Stadium and Brammall Lane.

The club had been members of the Eastern Counties League from 1983 until February 2010 when the club took the difficult decision to resign from the Premier Division due to lack of funds and increased playing/travelling costs. They had been members of the league before sharing the inaugural Championship with Lowestoft Town in 1936 and spent time in the lower reaches of the Isthmian League from 1973 to 1983.

Their last full season in the Eastern Counties League saw them finish 2nd from bottom of the Premier Division with 9 wins in 40 league games with an average crowd of 107.

The club now play in the Premier Division of the Essex and Suffolk Border League Premier Division. Saturday 14th August 2010 saw them play their first home match in their new league against Alresford Colne Rangers. Goals from Joseph Andre, Luke Good and James Helyard saw them make a great start winning 3-0. They finished 12th of 18 clubs in the 2010/11 season playing against clubs such as Tiptree Jobserve, Gas Recreation and Wormingford Wanderers to name a few.

SOUTH LIVERPOOL FC - Formed 1935 reformed 1991

I wonder how many people making a journey through Liverpool South Parkway railway station know that they are where the much loved Holly Park football stadium stood. It was the home of South Liverpool FC from the mid 1930s through to the late 1980s when the club moved out and effectively became defunct in 1991.

The first incarnation of South Liverpool were formed in the 1890s but folded in 1921. The club reformed in 1935 and just four years later lifted the Welsh Cup. Many people may not also know that South Liverpool FC were one of the many English teams to win the Welsh Cup at this time. It's actually a fact that between Swansea Town lifting the trophy in 1932 and Lovell's Athletic in 1948 no Welsh club won the competition -


1934 - Bristol City beat Tranmere Rovers 3-0 after 1-1 draw 
1935 - Tranmere Rovers beat Chester City 1-0 
1936 - Crewe Alexandra beat Chester City 2-0 
1937 - Crewe Alexandra beat Rhyl Athletic 3-1 after 1-1 draw 
1938 - Shrewsbury Town beat Swansea Town 2-1 after 2-2 draw 
1939 - South Liverpool beat Cardiff City 2-1 
1947 - Chester City beat Merthyr Tydfil 5-1 after 0-0 draw 
1948 - Lovell's Athletic beat Shrewsbury Town 3-0

South Liverpool were one of the most successful Northern Non-League teams and as such joined the newly formed Northern Premier League in 1968 where they stayed until their demise in 1991. During this time players such as future Liverpool stars Jimmy Case and John Aldridge turned out at Holly Park and the club applied for election to the football league a total of ten times. Their top finish was in 1983/84 when they came 3rd behind Champions Barrow and runner's up Matlock Town. In their last season in 1990/91 the club finished third from bottom of the Northern Premier League with only Gainsborough Trinity (one of the many ex football league sides in non-league football) and Shepshed Charterhouse finishing below.

The club committee carried on the club's name from the defunct Limited Company in 1991/92 by fielding only a junior team in the West Derby Junior league.

From 1992 the club merged with local side Cheshire Lines to form "Cheshire Lines South Liverpool" and played in the Second Division of the Liverpool County Combination (LCC), gaining promotion in their first season. After just one season in the First Division, the clubs took the decision to split.

Back under its own sole name South Liverpool re-joined the Second Division of the LCC in 1995 and gained promotion at the first attempt. Up until the end of the 2005/06 season the club stayed in the LCC and lifted the coveted Liverpool Junior Cup in 1997 along with the LCC League Cup in 2002.

In the summer of 2006, the LCC merged with the I Zingari League to create the Liverpool County Premier League whereby the club were placed in Division One which they duly won at the first attempt.

After four seasons in the Premier Division (Step 7 of the Pyramid) South Liverpool moved and subsequently dropped down two levels to the West Cheshire League this summer. There manager Martin Ryman has been in charge for over a decade with assistant Kenny Deakin a former player for the club in the Northern Premier League.

Up against them in the West Cheshire League Division Three (Step 9 of the non-league Pyramid)  this season are teams such as Merseyside Police, New Brighton Reserves and Chester Nomads Reserves.

The New Brighton first team play in Division Two of the WCL. They are a effectively a new club formed in 1993 by a group of local footballers who wanted to restore the historic name to the football world. The old New Brighton played in the Football League from 1923 to 1951 when they were replaced by Workington who now play in the Blue Square North Division.


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