Arlesey Town Football Club History Part2


Relative Mark Dear signalman and former arlesey player born 1892-1966

Went on and played for  Luton.

mark's team

Mark Dear second left

early team

Mark Dear middle front row approx 1902

Hi Clive,
I Saw your post about Arlesey football club, and thought you might be interested in two of the attached photos which I believe are both of Arlesey teams. The one that looks like a boys team must have been taken in the early years of last century as my grandfather (Mark Emanuel Dear) is sitting in the middle of the front row and he was born in 1891. Not many around who could recognise the other players!
I believe the other is also an Arlesey team photo, probably from the 1920’s (Grandad is seated second from left) although there were rumours that he trialled and may have actually played for Luton Town but the only evidence I have for this is a newspaper cutting – more on this in a minute.
Mark was an avid football fan all his life and he moved from Arlesey to 74 Beech Road, Luton where he lived just 20 yards from the Bobbers Supporters Club entrance at the back of the football ground. I have some newspaper cuttings from the Luton News in the mid 1930’s of a lively correspondence he maintained with “Crusader” who I believe was the sports editor. In one of these, Crusader speaks of his enjoyment watching Mark play but unfortunately does not reveal who he was playing for.
Mark worked on the railways all his working life (52 years!) much of it as a signalman in Luton West signal box. He died in 1966 aged 75.

untitled-1All the games were local derbies so losing was NOT AN OPTION . All the players were Arlesey men and you at least knew them or were  related . If you saw one getting hurt , the situation sometimes got explosive.
On Arlesey’s first game the opposition Biggleswade complained that the cow dung had not been removed from the pitch in 1892 ,even though they won 4-1 .I believe Long meadow was the Brickyard meadow

The games were played in Long Meadow , Lamb Meadow , and the Common . Bowskill who was playing well forward , scored a goal ,one of our own players shouted “handball” and the referee disallowed it.
Playing on a Common means you are unable to charge a gate.
The first win was a 5-0 victory over Shefford.
Archie Williams was appointed headmaster of Arlesey School in 1897 and was heavy involved in the club . He coached his school boys into very successful local schoolboy teams.
ATFC team played in long trousers and their working boots , a few of the wealthier players bought themselves a proper football shirt. There were no proper pitch markings , these weren’t introduced until 1904.
I see City Field farmer’s boy Rawlings played , and scored a goal.
4 good old Arlesey names in the team as well a Kitchener , Page , Devereux and Fossey.
The next season Arlesey’s stroppiness started coming out. A penalty was awarded against them , and the whole team walked off the pitch. , but they were already losing 6-0 to St Neots away.
In 1894 The Bury Meadow became the main location for Arlesey Teams until after the World War ii . The owners Mr Waterton’s and  then Mr H Goodwin’s sons later played for the Arlesey.  The teams changed in Bury Hall and the team meeting were at the White Horse.
After the War London Brick owned Bury Meadow and wanted it for their own Social Recreation activities. A bowling green was created. I remember George Crawley , Mick Murphy and Alec Whyte played there. Tea served in the White Horse after the games.
In 1900 the Asylum Football club was more established and better than Arlesey. Some of the Asylum players would play for Arlesey as well if they were free. If they worked at the Asylum that is where their loyalties lay  after all , they paid their wages.Some got good jobs at the asylum just because they were good at Football , Cricket , or played an instrument.
In one match the referee had to stop the game to caution one of the Arlesey spectators.The beginning of Football Hooligans. Arlesey was known as a rough place to visit , maybe due to all the heavy industry , and the associated heavy drinking. After all there were a lot more jobs than people living in Arlesey.
In 1902/3 season the first motor car arrived at Lamb Meadow Arlesey bringing MP Lord Alwyne Compton ,but he came to support fierce rivals Biggleswade. In another game against Potton in 1904 , Albon of Arlesey walked off with the ball ,after a penalty being awarded against us . They scored then the linesmen was ordered off, but he refused to go and carried on officiating.
Arlesey won the Biggleswade and District league in 1906/7. They used to travel by train , and Arlesey Brass Band played and met them at The Three Counties Station on their return.
In 1910 away to Potton , one of their players was sent off , the ball was kicked into the river and their fans invaded the pitch .The referee had no option but to abandon the game.
Arlesey were getting good gates 500 recorded for a Good Friday game against Kempston.A player from each side was sent off , the crowd invaded the pitch and the game was abandoned again.
One of Arlesey players was suspended to the end of the year and another for 2 months . So you can see aggressive behaviour from players caused rival supporters to start fighting again.
Players from the Asylum team played to strengthened Arlesey when they didn’t have a game for the Asylum.
1912 the landlord of the Lamb Inn told the football club they could no longer play on Lamb Meadow due to crowd trouble and the players preferring True Briton Ale to his .Mr Waterton had moved into the Bury and he allowed Arlesey to use his Meadow for games. Mr Waterton also allowed the players use of The Bury Hall to change , and the servants provided a healthy tea after the game for players and officials. Arlesey were due meet Biggleswade in the final of North Beds Charity Cup , but after protests from the other teams for fielding Asylum and Hitchin players in important games they were disqualified. They was an enquiry , and it was decided no rules had been broken. The team ended up League Champions anyway in the last season before World War 1
After the war Arlesey Bury was still the home of the football team. Even though two of Mr Waterton’s sons had fallen John and Jos Waterton. The village had lost 87 young men in total.
I liked some of the players nicknames “Cuddler Worbey” , “ToT” Templeman and Frank “Jammy” Rainbow.
Crowd trouble reared its ugly head again and Arlesey were banned from playing any games at home at THE BURY for the rest of the 1920-21 season.

But the team was still very successful , maybe another reason why the opposition were always putting in complaints against Arlesey.
Arlesey defeated a much fancied Chatteris side and the local supporters gave the referee an early bath by throwing him in a nearby ditch. The Arlesey supporters mad a quick exit to the nearby railway station.,before they got thrown in. Who would want to be a referee??
A record gate of 2,679 saw Arlesey saw the Blues defeat Meppershall in the North Beds Charity Cup .In 1923 Arlesey defeated Biggleswade 1-0 and they complained we played a Fulham professional Reg Albon
In 1928 at a home game against Luton Amateurs we got into serious trouble after an incident which resulted in the Chairman C King , secretary Joe Sharp (of Sharps High St Shop)and captain Jimmy Sell being banned from the rest of the season. That is how seriously we took our Football in Arlesey.
Despite warning notices being put up around the pitch , sixteen year old Gwen Monk asked a Kempston player to play the game after some rough play .He then offered Gwen some advice of a sexual nature which offended her older sister Dora. Gwen and Dora approached the player after the game and he hit Dora. Dora grabbed a nearby horse whip and struck him across the face. Dora was then banned from all Bedfordshire grounds for a year , and Arlesey were banned from playing any more games in Arlesey for 3 months!!!

photos and info courtesy  ARLESEY TOWN FOOTBALL CLUB


Donald Jordan was the sponge man in the Steve Evans era and H.Goodwin the owner of the Bury.



The end of the line for Lamb Meadow now Howberry Estate


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