Netherthong Football History Part 2 – 1923 to date

The Holmfirth & District AFL meeting in July 1923 confirmed that 13 clubs, including Netherthong, had applied for membership for the season 1923-24. After discussion it was agreed that the radius measure should stay at six miles from Holmfirth Town Hall.

 Although there was no explanation given, it became very clear in September, when the league fixtures were given, that Netherthong was no longer in the  league and the club was effectively in abeyance.

 However a new club was formed called the Netherthong Argyle Association Football Club which joined the Huddersfield District Football League for under 21 teams and fixtures were arranged from September 16 – April 7. Herbert Hoyle was the captain, C.Wood the vice – captain, S.Butterworth president and Lewis Dyson the secretary. Their pitch was in the field situated at Moor Lane on the right-hand side as you leave the village.. See below a photograph of the team.

Argyle Football Club
Argyle Football Club

Results were :  Argyle 4  Golcar 6.  Scorers for Netherthong were A. Sanderson with a hat –trick and A.Roebuck.   Argyle won the return match 2-1. They drew with Flockton Juniors 2-2 at home but lost the return at Flockton by 5-1.

 The home game against Cliffe attracted a large crowd and Argyle ran out 7 -4 winners with R.Hill bagging 4, A. Sanderson 2 and Harry Charlesworth 1. The return at Cliffe was won by the home team 3-1.

 They drew 2-2 at home with Shepley ( L. Charlesworth and R.Hall the scorers) and also drew 1-1 at Shepley with R.Hall scoring but also missing a penalty. R.Hall was in the goals again, scoring 2 in their away loss to Honley United Reserves.

 In the last game of the year, Argyle drew once again, this time 2-2 away to Golcar Reserves. Sanderson and R.Hall scored. In the first game of the New Year, Argyle visited Brockholes and lost 1 -2. The picture was very different when Brockholes came to Netherthong. The home team were 1-0 up at half-time and in the 2nd. half went on a rampage and won 7-0. A. Sanderson and R.Hall both got hat-tricks and the other was scored by H. Charlesworth.

 Argyle were on a roll and when they visited Golcar United they won by 7-1 with the scorers being H.Charlesworth(3), A.Sanderson (2), R.Hall and F.Shaw. They won the return game at home by 9-0 but the scorers names were not given.

 They lost 4-2 at Slaithwaite but drew  2-2  at home. J.Rothery and H.Charlesworth being the scorers.

 In aid of club funds, they organized a dance in January in the United Methodist School, Mr.C.Wood played the dance music on the piano.

 Their next game was home to a strong Honley United team. It was 2-2 up to the last minute, thanks to goals by A.Sanderson and R.Hall, but unfortunately Honley snatched a late winner. When they visited Honley they were soundly beaten 7-1 with R.Hall scoring their only goal. Fortunately they rebounded and beat Brockholes 4-0 at home with A. Sanderson ( 2 ) , F.Shaw and R.Hall scoring. It seemed that the advantage of the home pitch and supporters played an important part – Argyle were trounced 9-0 at Cliffe but won the return game 4-1.

 In the last game of the season they ended in grand style beating Brockholes 9-2. The scorers were H.Hall ( 3 ), E.Swallow ( 2 ), H.Charlesworth (2 ), A.Sanderson and H.Hoyle.

 It is unfortunate that the local paper did not print the final league table.

  Argyle once again entered the Huddersfield Sunday School League and in their first game of the new season they visited Elland to play Elland Congregational and lost 1-2.  Their first home game  against Cliffe resulted in a 1-1 draw with A.Roebuck scoring. Away at the Crosland Moor ground they lost 3-6 to the United Methodist team. At home to Berry Brow Wesleyans they won 3-2, H.Charlesworth(2) and F.Shaw. They drew 2-2 at Lockwood against the Baptists. Scorers A. Sanderson and H. Charlesworth. In October they beat Thurstonland 2-1 at home with A.Sanderson and H.Buckley scoring.

  The club organized a very successful dance at the National School and the report stated “the company  took part in the up-to- date dances “.

 They lost 2-3 against South Street, J.Wilson and C. Dufton being the scorers and were well beaten 1-7 against Netheroyd Hill. A home match against Outlane gave them a 4-1 victory which was the same score they achieved the following week when they played Moldgreen Congregationals. R.Singleton, Wilson, Sanderson and Buckley scoring.

  Continuing with their fund raising activities they organized a whist drive and dance in December.

  They lost the last two games of 1923, 0-4 at Milnsbridge Baptist team and  1-2 at home against Lindley Zion.

  The paper reported that Argyle were mid way up the table.

    For the first game in 1924  they played Golcar at home and won 2-1 with goals by H.Hoyle and R.Buckley. The next game was also at home and they beat Elland Congregational 3-1 , H.Hoyle (2 ) and H. Charlesworth. The paper reported that J.Kingdom played a particularly good game. The next game was also at home and they lost 0-1 to a goal scored in the last minute by Crosland Moor United Methodists. Yet another home game saw them draw 1-1 with Berrybrow Wesleyans. The paper also reported on a game played in the Moor Road pitch by  Netherthong Juniors against Wooldale Juniors which they lost 2-3.

 Argyle were due to meet Elland Congregationalists in the 1st. round of the Town Shield but Elland were unable to fulfill their commitment so Argyle got a pass through to the next round. In February Argyle met Thurstonland for the first time and won 2-0 away with goals by F.Shaw and H.Charlesworth.

  Argyle organized a whist drive and dance at the National School. Supper was provided by the ladies and Mr.H.Preston’s Band provided the music for dancing.

 Argyle lost heavily 0-5 against the South Street Primitive Methodists but when they met the same team in the 2nd. round of the Cup  they put up a much better performance and narrowly lost 1-2 with the goal scored by F.Shaw. In March, the Netheroyd Hill Congregationalists were the visitors and were beaten 6-3. Argyle were at home against Milnsbridge Baptists and won 4-1 , R .Hall ( 2 ) and A.Sanderson ( 2 ).

Unfortunately they next had Honley Primitive Methodists as visitors and lost 1-6. The following week the  Lockwood Baptists visited and Argyle had a good 5-1 victory.

It would appear that that was the last game of the season although, once again, the local paper did not print a table so one can only guess how well Argyle performed. There were no reports of a team from 1925 through to 1932 but in September 1932 the Express reported that there had been much interest in the newly formed AFC in the village. 30 names had enrolled as players and the following officials were appointed – Mr.S.Butterworth, president . Mr.J.Walker, treasurer. Mr.A.Bray, League representative. Mr.L.Barnes, treasurer. Mrs.L.Haigh, secretary. The tennis pitch had been secured as the playing area and the Queen’s Arms as the headquarters. The team were to be called Netherthong United, NTU. The first game was a narrow loss to Scissett by 2-1. R.Dyson captained the team and John Roebuck scored the goal. The next result was aloss to Meltham Mills by 6-4 with Allsopp,Bray,Swaine & Taylor scoring. The team continued on their losing streak against Kirkburton Church before getting their first point with a 4-4 draw against Hade Edge Rovers. Allsopp with 2, Sanderson and Kaulton with one apiece. Two further losses followed against Wooldale and Newsome and at that stage , after 7 games,  NTU and Hade Edge were propping up the bottom of the league. A win 5-2 against Brockholes United was their first victory with Sanderson getting a hat-trick and their next game against St.Cuthbert’s Church was another win with Bray scoring a hat-trick .

 In the Wooldale  Football Book it showed that in the 1932-33 season NTU  had come 10th out of 12 teams  playing 22, winning 5, losing 15 and drawing 2 for a total of 12 points. The League was won by Scholes. In their two games against Wooldale they lost the away game 0-2 and the return at home by 2 goals to 5.  Under the heading ” NTU tales of woe “, the Express listed details of five injured players. 1. N.Shaw broke his finger against Wooldale, it became septic and he sunsequently had it removed. 2. P.Smith, the goalkeeper, broke his nose also in a game against Wooldale.  3. A.Allsop received an injury to one of his knees playing against Meltham Mills. 4. Tom Hobson sustained serious injuries to one of his knees against Hade Edge in December 1932. A benefit game was played against Scholes in February 1933 which raised £3 to his benefit fund.. 5. And finally A.Sanderson, their left winger, was committed to Holme Valley Memorial Hospital with rheumatic fever.

The following season, 1933-34, there were 13 teams in the league  and NTU,  in their first game  lost 2-6 against  Hade Edge, but then had a real end-to end game against Clayton West before running out winners by 6-2. Unfortunately they lost the next two games, one of them being a drubbing 9-0 against Scissett. Results continued to be very mixed with a 4-4 draw against Scholes, a loss to Emley by the odd goal, a 5-2 defeat against Sovereign Rangers followed by a 7-1 win against Aspley United with Jackson scoring a hat-trick. The year finished with them drawing with Wooldale Wanderers , losing 2-3 against Scholes and drawing 2-2 with Sovereign Rangers to end in 10th. position. 1934 followed the same pattern but they managed to end the season  with three good wins against Brockholes, Emley and Denby Dale which enabled them  to improve to 8th. position  , playing 22 games with 6 wins and 4 draws and scoring 16 points. The league winners were Scissett.

However in September, because of the change in boundaries that the Football Association implemented , the Express football reporter under his by-line ” Arbiter” said that the decision  had wrecked the Holme Valley League. Two of last seasons teams, Wooldale Wanderers and Sovereign Rangers had joined the Penistone & District League with the remainder of the clubs disbanding.

The Express reported at the beginning of 1938 that Netherthong United were in 3rd. position in the red triangle league for U-18. There were no match reports but in March the final table showed United came 7th. out of 12 teams having played 22 games, winning 10, losing 9 and drawing 3. In October 1938 the paper reported United were no longer in the red triangle league but no reasons were given.

In January 1938,  Deanhouse Mills were playing in the Huddersfield Works League and  were lying the beginning of the year . By April they were still in 5th. position having played 18 with 8 wins, 7 losses and 3 . They remained in Section A of the Huddersfield Works League when the new season started in October.The season ended in May 1939 and Deanhouse Mills finished 4th. after 20 matches with 25 points from 11 wins and 3 draws.

In September war was declared and the football leagues were cancelled.

The Express reported in March 1972 that a Netherthong man, Max Taylor of Broomy Lea Lane, was one of only two players that season to be awarded a full purple by London University FC. He was selected for the squad to go to the British University Sports Federation tournament at Easter. ‘Purples ‘ are colours awarded to players for creditable performances and he had played in the side which beat Oxford University 2-0 and drew with Cambridge University 2-2.

A meeting was held at the Clothier’s Arms in February 1973 with a view to forming a new football club. There clearly had been a positive result as a team, called Netherthong SC ( Social Club ) was entered in Division IX of the Huddersfield & District A.F.L. Results and reports were far and few between in the local paper but in a game against Milnbridge the SC won by 3-2 scoring the winning goal in the last minute with goals by Battye, Sykes and Priestley. In the same month they drew 2-2 away at Park Rangers and the members of the team were listed as : O.Wood, D.Haigh, K.Leak, S.Cappleman, G.Baddeley, A.Dobson, J.Turner, M.Tinker, I. Battye, R.Priestley, P.Stead, T.Kimmage and the reserves A.Hirst and A.Muff. In November they beat Honley Lib. by 4-3 with Dobson, Turner and Priestley ( 2 ) getting the goals. This was followed by a 2-2 draw against Crescent FC with Priestley and Kimmage scoring. In January SC continued their unbeaten run to three matches scoring double figures and making it 31 goals for and one against. They beat Park Rangers 11-1 with  Tinker, Battye and Priestley sharing the spoils. Their goalkeeper , Ashton, had some lucky escapes and their right back, not named, was sent off for an incident.

No final league table was given but Netherthong must have done very well and probably won the league because when the new season started in September 1974 they had been promoted to Div.VIII. Although the paper listed the weekly fixtures for all the local teams they gave no reports or results instead giving any space available to the exploits of the Upperthong teams. However they did record that in April 1975, the Huddersfield District League had asked the SC to try to improve their facilities and provide changing rooms and showers on their ground or risk being expelled from the League.

There was no final league table but  once again the SC must have had a very successful season as they were listed as being in Division VII for the new season in September 1975. There was a match report for the game in October against Thongsbridge which was played in atrocious conditions.  The result was 8-3 to the SC with Heap, Alsop and Holmes all scoring twice and Maude and Tinker also netting, The match between SC and Upperthong in the 2nd. round of the Invitation Cup merited a half-page report and photograph. The SC were leading 3-2 until the dying seconds when Upperthong equalised. The match went into extra time with Upperthong snatching the winner. Alsop and Baxter ( pen ) scored for the SC, The team were congratulated on their performance as there was a four division difference between the teams. In March the team beat Meltham Res. 3-2 in the quarter final of the Richardson Cup. Dobson in goal was in great form and Sykes and Alsop ( 2) were the scorers.

I hate to repeat myself but that was the last report for the season and no league table was given but the SC once again must have performed well  because in the new season starting in September 1976, they had  moved up into a higher division, this time Div.VI.  There must have been a change of policy at the paper because more matches were being reported. After two disappointing results, they hit top form against Cartworth Moor winning 4-0 with a hat-trick from Alsop and a goal by Battye. Alsop scored twice  against Paddock but that was not enough to stop his team losing 4-2. They bounced back in the 1st. round of the Sheffield Cup against Wath Sports winning 3-2. Alsop scored his second from a spectacular overhead kick from 20 yards, Dobson in goal was rock steady and Wakefield, Thompson and Lockwood played well in midfield. The winning goal was by from a corner by Brown which was chipped by Thompson over the keeper and into the net. In the second round against Flockton, despite a brace by Alsop, the lost 3-2. They played top of the table, Linthwaite Athletic in October and lost 4-2 – they had gone one up with a goal by Wakefield and Alsop made this 2-0 after 20 minutes but Linthwaite got on top and scored four times. The referee made Alsop man-of-the-match. Their next match was also a defeat by 4-3 to Milnsbridge with Alsop, Parsons ( pen ) and Priestley scoring. The team were obviously finding life in the higher league much more competitive but that didn’t seem to stop Alsop being a deadly striker.

In the first game in the New Year Alsop hit a hat-trick against Lepton but the team still lost 4-5. Heavy snow played havok with the fixtures but at the end of January they beat Cartworth Moor 5-1. Alsop scored the first goal followed by one by Sykes,  Cartworth pulled one back and then the SC captain, Battye, was penalised for a foul but the Cartworth striker shot wide. Alsop scored twice more for his hat-trick bringing his tally for the season to 27. Baxter scored the 5th. goal from a penalty.

The Express were devoting more space to reports on the SC games particulary as the team were fighting hard to avoid relegation. A fluke second half goal robbed brave SC of a point against Paddock, the promotion contenders. They took two valuable points by defeating Kirsteel Wharf 4-3. Baxter scored the first from a penalty, Alsop netted next and Baxter scored direct from a free kick to put the team 3-1 up. They became rather complacent and Kirsteel scored in the 72nd. and 80th. minutes to draw level. With five minutes to go Alsop was clear with only the keeper to beat when he was hacked down from behind for a penalty. The ever reliable   Baxter converted. Their next game against Honley United was an easy 7-1 win with the scorers being, Turner, Parsons, Alsop, Gray,Alsop, Alsop, Alsop. It looked like Alsop was going to bring his goal tally  to five but he was brought down by the keeper. Dobson, the SC keeper, trotted up to take the penalty kick and shot wide. SC after taking a two goal lead thanks to Battye and Turner were unable to keep the advantage and ended up by loosing 4-2 to Linthwaite. The March 14 issue of the Express had a photograph of the team and a full match report with the comment that they had failed to halt the big slide by losing 0-2 to Milnsbridge YMCA. They suffered their third successive defeat by losing 3-5 to Bay Athletic Reserves – Alsop and Parsons  sharing the goals. If that wasn’t traumatic enough for their loyal supporters they suffered a shock 1-0 defeat against fellow strugglers, Linthwaite. In April the headlines were that  ‘Survival was likely for SC’ after they beat Lepton 1-0 way from home  followed by another away victory by  3-2 at Honley which should have ensured another season for them in Div.VI.

SC were still in Div. VI for the new season which started in September 1977. The Express were continuing their policy of giving detailed match reports of their games. After three successive wins in which they had scored 16 goals they gave a disappointing display and surrendered the Division leadership when they lost 1-2 at home to Thorpe Green – Battye scored their goal. In their next match against Oakes they were outplayed and lost 0-3. However SC had developed an attacking formation in training and in their next game ‘hammered’ out a warning to the Div.VI defences when they thrashed Scapegoat Hill Reserves 8-2. The strike force was P.Livesey and the re-juvenated G.Alsop and both of them scored hat tricks. In very blustery conditions SC beat Lepton 5-3 with goals by Sykes(2), Battye and Alsop ( 2). However tempers became frayed and both Battye and MacCatrey were booked.

The good run continued when they crushed Holmbridge in the 2nd. round of The Sheffield Cup. The result was especially cheering because Holmbridge were in Div.III. Sykes scored a hat trick with Condie and Alsop also on the score sheet. In  their next game they cruised into the next round of The Invitation Cup  when they  hammered Storthes Hall 11-1 even with their leading goalscorer, G.Alsop, absent. Sykes with two goals and one by McCaherty who also missed a penalty went  3-0 up. Netherthong looked sluggish and the biggest cheer came when a reporter fell in the water while retrieving the ball. At the stroke of half-time Livesey scored. After a verbal lashing from the coach, A.Kilcoyne, the second half brought more urgency. Condie, Battye with a brace and Livesey  all scored before Sykes got his third for his hat-trick. The goal of the game came in the 75th. minute when Livesey split the defence and his centre was met by Battye with a brilliant diving header for his hat-trick and before the end of the game Battye scored his 4th. The next match against Bay Athletic Res. was a 2-2 draw with Condie and Alsop scoring. The Express commented ‘ what went wrong’ with SC after another disappointing result when they lost 1-2 to Lindley Lib.Res. Battye had put them ahead after 10 minutes but their passing was atrocious and A.Dobson in goal saved them from further embarrassment. 

The next match was played in conditions more suited to Sherpa Tensing but SC beat Thongsbridge 8-3 in the Sheffield Junior Cup. Alsop grabbed four, Priestley and Ashton got one apiece and McCaherty with two in the bag missed a penalty for the third time in the season. In the Invitation Cup Tie SC played against Diggle, a Lancashire league side, but were not strong enough to beat them , going down 3-6 with Alsop getting a hat trick. The next report was titled ‘ Netherthong turn on a goal tap’. The coach, A.Kilcoyne, claimed that his team were fantastic when they thrashed Little John Res. away from home.  SC went behind before Condle scored an equaliser but they looked sluggish and went in at half time 2-1 down. A pep talk had a great effect and Sykes levelled the scores followed in quick succession by D.  P.Livesey, J.Lockwood, Sykes again, Alsop and Livesey again. The result kept SC in 4th. place. 

With the team missing many chances they suffered a cup shock when they lost 3-6 to Wath Sports in the Sheffield Junior Cup. Livesey, McCaherty and Kilcoyne scoring the goals. The last game in the year was a cracker when SC played Upperthong Res. and, after the lead changed constantly, it wasn’t until the last five minutes that Upperthong scored the deciding goal. Sykes, Alsop, Condie ( pen), Turner and Battye all got a goal each.

SC started off the new year , 1978, in style beating Britannia Works 4-0. Sykes, Alsop scored two , one of which was a penalty, Ashton ( penalty ) and Livesey was voted man of the match.

Football team
Football team

The team photograph above was taken in December 1977.

The Express gave a short ‘biography’ of some of the players. “Paul Livesey – lives in Netherthong and works at David Brown Tractors and is 5’9″. John Lockwood , 5’10”, also comes from Netherthong, works at Hepworth Iron Company and fish and chips  is his favourite dish. David Sykes, the baby of the team is 18, 5’5″ and lives in the village. He enjoys egg and chips and his ambition is to grow taller. Tony Brown is 31, married with two children and lives in Thongsbridge. John Turner is married, lives in Netherthong and is a keen motor-cyclist.  Brian Gray is 31, married, lives in the village and works at David Brown Tractors. Frank Ashton is 19, 5’10” and  from Dalton. Ian Battye, married with one daughter, lives in Netherthong, works in Honley and hopes that one day he will win the Holmfirth Darts Cup. Alex KIlcoyne, 30, lives in Honley and is a Muppet fan. Alan Dobson, 17, married with two children works at David Brown tractors. Geoff Alsop,24, goal scorer supreme, is a native of Netherthong but lives in Thongsbridge with his wife and two children. He likes scampi and chips “.

In June 1978 a Netherthong cricket team, comprising of many of the football team, played against Upperthong at the annual Upperthong Gala. The photograph is shown below but none of the players were identified.

Netherthong v Upperthong Cricket match June 1978
Netherthong v Upperthong Cricket match June 1978


The next report was headed ” Thongs disaster day”. They lost 2-6 at home to Cartworth Moor in spite of two very good goals by Alsop. In February a depleted side had no answer to the power of the joint League leaders, Oakes, and slumped to a 6-1 defeat with Livesey scoring their only goal. They turned things round in their next match when they beat Little John Res. by 5-1 with Alsop getting yet another hat-trick, Kilkoyne and Condie with a penalty  also getting on the score sheet. They nearly caused a shock against unbeaten league leaders, Thorpe Green WMC, but, having led them 1-0 , they were finally sunk when the visitors scored twice in the last five minutes. After winning mid-week games against Bay Athletic Res, 5-2, and Lepton,3-0, they were back into the promotion race but their dreams turned into nightmares with a defeat against the already relegated Slaithwaite Res. by 4-3.  Daykin, Ashton and Battye scored. In the last match of the season they visited Lindley Lib.Res.  and won 7-0. The scorers were Alsop (2), Sykes, Halton, Ashton, Battye and Day. The reporter in his match report commented ”  he was so disappointed he went car spotting on the nearby M62. It was with some reluctance that he returned for the second half. By this time SC were two goals up, Kilcoyne had been sent off and a stray dog made up the numbers”.

For the new season, which started in September 1978, SC started off with a win by 3-1 against Hade Edge in windy conditions. Alsop 2 and Sykes 1 were the scorers. The Express did not report the next few games but then said that SC had continued its unbeaten run of four games with a narrow victory over Honley Libs by 2-1 with Sykes and Priestley scoring. In October the reporter started his article with ” Oh,what a circus ” sings David Essex which summed up SC’s performance against Vulcan Sports when they suffered their biggest defeat losing 8-1 with Stoker getting the consolation goal. They didn’t do much better in their next game against Upperthong Res. in the Sheffield Shield match going down by 2-5. Holmes and Sykes got on the scoreboard. November started off well with two good wins. The first was against Park Ramgers who they beat 5-1 with goals by Stoker, Battye, Alsop (2) and Livesey who also missed a penalty. In the Groom Cup they defeated Thongsbridge Ath. by 2-0 with goals by Holmes and Livesey. Unfortunately they lost their next game against YMCA Res. by 3-2 , Sykes and Holmes scoring. At a very muddy local derby at Sycamore in December they beat Thongsbridge 3-1 with Sykes, Holmes and Alsop giving them a good win. To round off the year they won their last two games – 4-2 against Park Rangers – Holmes, Sykes, Battye all scored in the first half with Livesey netting a penalty in the second half., and 5-1 against the Town Hall. Livesey (2), Alsop, Baxter and Sykes. The resumption of football in the New Year was seriously affected by the bad weather and heavy snow. There were two references to games being played in April  1979 and, with the team having taken  32 out of 36 points, they  were in with a good chance to win their league- once again no final table was given.

  The village still had a football team playing in the 1980s  and what I hadn’t realised ,until I came across the four photographs below, was that in the 1984-85 season they also had a reserve team.

netherthong Reserves



Team photo march 1985


All the action
March 1985


Further action
March 1985


Football team line-up
January 4 1985

In January 1986, the express printed a photo of Netherthong Juniors FC.

NT Juniors FC
January 1986

Back row from left : Jonathan Liversedge, Chris Gilleard,  Robert Lloyd, Steven Worden, Gareth Gibson, David Part, Matthew Jackson.  Front : Shane Parker, Sean Steepies, Wayne Jessop, Andrew Kilner, Mark Turner ( captain ), Robert Sparks.  (I uploaded this photo in December 2018 so  so the young lads will now be in their forties.) 

The local derbies against Upperthong were always eagerly awaited and the game played on 14 March 1985 was termed Match of the Day by the reporter even though it ended in a 0-0 draw.  The toast of Netherthong was the stand-in keeper, Paul Hepplestone, following a spellblinding performance. The team were Paul , Timothy Walker,Neil Thomlinson, Richard Wibberly, David Sykes, Ian Glover, Richard Mallinson, Sean Jessop, David Hardy, John Lindley, Barry Marshall and Glyn Brown.

Football team line-up March 1986

For the new season starting in September 1986,  the club were in Div.111 with a new 1st. team manager, Alan Kelly. He would also be in charge of the newly-formed U-14s. Steve Cappleman remained the manager and Steve Robinson was the U-16 coach.


Netherthong football history : Part 1 from 1887 to 1923


  The earliest records show that the Netherthong men first played rugby football at a time when the scoring system was in a state of flux. As you carry on reading, you will see that they were able to  score goals, tries and minors. The results and other information were entirely down to whether the weekly local paper , the Express, included them as I have been unable to find any other sources of information.. The majority of matches attracted large attendances and betting on games was not unknown.

  The earliest rugby was as played at Rugby School. The only scores came from goals and there were no points value associated with scoring. In 1871 the first Rugby Football Union stated that “ a match shall be decided by a majority of goals only “. Proposals continued to be made and rejected and, prior to 1886, various clubs assigned their own points system. The practice of touching down the ball behind your own goal ?? was awarded a Point, sometimes referred to as the “ Minor Point “ or “ Rouge “.

 In the 1889s and 1890s matches were decided by a majority of points which were given for goals and tries.

Although no clear records exist, there was a period of time when both rugby and football were being played in the village and there are reports that rugby was being played at an irregular frequency right up to 1905 . After that date the men in the village stopped playing rugby and changed completely over to association football. However there does seem to be some confusion over the dates.

        The very first report  in the paper was on Jan 29 1887, although there would have been a league in place  prior to this date.

Netherthong 2nd. v Holmfirth 2nd. Netherthong won by 4 goals, 2 tries and 8 minors to 1 try. The scorers  were  Ben Shore, A. Wimpenny, J.Woodhead, J .Buckley, T.Woodhouse and it was reported that Ben Shore’s try was the result of a splendid run the whole length of the field. He also dropped a goal.

Mar 12. v Thurstonland.  The team was : Back – H. Beaumont : Three- quarters – S.Wimpenny, B.Shore, R.Buckley ; Half-backs –H.Battye,A.Ricketts. Forwards – E.Dyson ( capt ) , J.Hoyle, J.Sykes, E.Jagger, T.Woodhouse, J. Chappell, W. Woodhead, W.Sykes, H.Hellawell. Netherthong were the winners by 2 goals,4 tries and 11 minor points to nil.

May 14.  Mr.G.F.Dearnley’s team ( comprising all the players from Netherthong ) played Cumberworth & District. The match was for the benefit of a Cumberworth player who had broken his arm some time previously.  Netherthong lost.

September 17. The Express published  the list of Netherthong  football club fixtures for the forthcoming season.  Netherthong  would play in blue/white.  First team captain – G.F.Dearnley, Second team captain – Tom Beaumont.  Matches would be played home and away and the other teams were : Milnsbridge, Honley, Huddersfield Trinity , Shelley, Longwood, Cumberworth, Netherton, Milton Church, Huddersfield St. Josephs, Deighton Rangers and Armitage Bridge.

Oct 21.  v Huddersfield Trinity. Played at home and Netherthong won by 2 tries and 5 minors to 1 minor.

Nov 26.  v Cumberworth. The captains, after consultation, decided to dispense with tackling owing to the slippery state of the ground. Later on the Netherthong captain realized that Cumberworth were playing 16 men to their 13. Time was called after 20 minutes e/w. with Netherthong the winners. 

Dec 31. Netherthong Rangers v Holmfirth Juniors. The junior clubs played at Netherthong and Netherthong won the toss and the game.  The junior team were : H.Swallow, J.Hoyle, C.Hoyle ( capt ) , H.Hoyle, Beaumont, Reckitts, H.Wood, Gill, Beaumont, Hobson, F.Gill, H.Gill, Mallinson, Sykes & Buckley

Jan 7 1888.  v Golcar . The ground was as hard as flint, the captains consulted and, as there was a large crowd, it was decided to play a short exhibition of 20 minutes e/w with no tackling and to consider the game a draw regardless of the result.

Jan 21.  Many of the local players attended the Holmfirth Football Club Ball with Mr. Fitton’s band from Netherthong supplying the music.

 A game between a team of under 21s and a team of those over 21 from the village resulted in a hollow victory for the juniors.

Jan 28. Win for Netherthong v Thurstonland. Feb 4.  v Lockwood Rangers. As both clubs had the same colours , Netherthong had to tie a broad strip of red round their jerseys. It was a very eventful game with a dubious second try for Lockwood causing a lot of rancour. The Express reported that it was obvious that a lot of money had been staked on the game which Lockwood won.

Feb 11.  v Crosland Moor. A measure of the popularity of local football  was that a large crowd numbering about 1,000 turned up to watch. It was noted that the referee turned up late.  In the evening the team were entertained to supper at the Queen’s Arms and Joe Sykes brought the house down with the Netherthong Football Song which was his own composition. N.B. I have been unable to find a copy of this song.

Mar 10. Netherthong  Rangers v Scholes was a win for Netherthong.

Mar 17.  The village was still playing the occasional  rugby game and Netherthong played Netherton away in front of 500 spectators. Netherton  won by 2 goals, 2 tries and 4 minors to 3 tries and 2 minors. Netherthong Rangers v New Mill – a big crowd saw Netherthong win.

May 12 1888. The Annual supper and general meeting was held in the headquarters of the club, the Queen’s Arms. An excellent supper was supplied by Mrs. Senior.

Netherthong played in the new season 1888-89 and on the first game of the season on September 15 they lost away to Netherton.

Sep 22. They beat Hall Bower in the 2nd. round of the Holliday Charity Cup Competition. Oct 13. Netherthong were away to Deighton Rangers  and won and the Express Newspaper reported that everyone travelled by waggonette,

Oct 27.  played Deighton at home and won. Nov 3. The second teams of Netherthong  and Netherton played at Netherton and the result was a draw.

Dec 1. The Local Rugby Derby v Honley. There was a big crowd but as there was a strong breeze it was agreed that 2 x 15min. play should take place each way. Result was Netherthong 1 try and 6 minors to Honley’s 7 minors.

Dec 8.  More rugby. Netherthong – 1 goal and 3 minors played Longwood – 1 dropped goal and 3 minors.

Dec 15. Netherthong v Netherton. The newspaper reporter got carried away with his own rhetoric and reported . “ Harry Hellawell was brilliant. By Jove Pickering is a champion at the handling –off game. What think you Battye? Did you enjoy it when he tippled you over once?” He was so excited he omitted to give the score.

In the December 24 issue of the Holmfirth Express there was the following large advert .


Grand Football Match To-day

At Netherthong

Lockwood v Netherthong

Kick off at 3 prompt.

 There was no match report or score and there was no more reference to a Netherthong football team from 1888 until 1903. They  were playing in the 1903-4 season but there was very little information in the Express. It did report that, in March 1904, Netherthong  were  5th but omitted to give the final table. However Netherthong entered the league again for the 1904- 5 season and the first report in December said that in the No.2 competition  Netherthong were 12th. out of 14. Their record was :

P 11 W 1 L 8 D 1 Points 5. Goals for 24, against 77 and  by January 1905 they  had climbed up the table to 8th.position with 10 points.

The following are four photographs of various football teams – I’ve been able to date them but haven’t been able to identify the players and officials.


Netherthong A.F.C. 1900s


Netherthong A.F.C. 1911
Netherthong AFC

Netherthon A.F.C.1930s ?

As I mentioned earlier it would appear that in 1905 Netherthong were still playing both football and rugby but reports were few and far between.

In March they played Lightcliffe Road Juniors in the 1st. round of  the Huddersfield & District Cup. There was a very good attendance, the game was reported in detail and Netherthong  scored 26 points made up of 4 goals and 6 tries, Lightcliffe could only respond with 1 goal and 1 try for 5 points.  The  team was : Back – N.Haigh. 3/4s – S.Haworth,W.Marshall, J.Turton, F.Dawson. 1/2s – L.Green and W.Bray. Forwards – J.Eastwood, T.Child, S.Hobson, J. Russell, J.Ashton, A.Battye, W.Brook and C.French. The referee was W.Grange.

 In May 1906 the Netherthong Association Football Club held a well attended AGM in the Working Men’s Clubhouse. The business was to discuss prospects for the next season,  the possibility of securing a more convenient ground and a review of the past season. It was decided to apply for admission to one of the Huddersfield District Leagues. The club had had a successful season both financially and otherwise and had a small balance in hand. They had had three more wins than losses and the prospects looked good. At the AGM of the Huddersfield & District Football League, Netherthong were confirmed as being in Group 2 of the second division along with Holmfirth, Hepworth, New Mill, Brockholes, Parish Church, Scholes Old Boys, Lockwood, Thornton Lodge, Emley and Crossland Hill.

 They had been admitted to the 3rd. Division and by October were in 2nd. place after 6 games with only one loss.

In 1907 Netherthong  had been promoted to the  Huddersfield & District League First Division A group  and the season kicked off in October.. By the end of November, Netherthong  were firmly anchored at the bottom of the league of 12 teams as they had played 9 and lost them all. In December there was a match report of the game against Underbank, played at home , which Netherthong won 4-2. By April 1908 Netherthong were still bottom of the league having played 22 games, winning 3, drawing 1 and losing the rest.

 Presumably, as a result of the previous  season’s results, Netherthong  did not re-join the Huddersfield League but instead opted to join  the Holmfirth & District League Association of 14 local teams. The Association resolved that all clubs must be within a radius of 5 miles from Holmfirth : that all players must reside or work within a 6 mile radius and that no players were allowed to receive any moneys above their travelling expenses. 

 In one of the first games against Underbank, the referee, J.Rowsell, after allowing a goal, stopped the game and refused to restart until an “ undesirable “ Netherthong spectator, who had used some fluent language to him, was removed from the field. By October they were 9th. and had won 2 games out of 7 played but  moved up to 7th. in November. By January 1909 they had played 17 and won 9 and with 20 points were laying 6th. In the same month the West Yorks Commission for reported players, suspended D.Sykes for fighting. The next month they were still 6th. after 22 games and in the report of a game against Scholes which Netherthong  won 3-1  it said that W. Haigh, C.Ramsden, Farrar, Hobson and Child all played well but the best man was H.Cartwright at centre-half. The teams in the league were New Mill Reserves, Hepworth Reserves, Underbank, Hade Edge, Holmbridge, Crow Edge United, Dunford Bridge, Honley Reserves, Holmfirth Wesleyans, Brockhole Reserves, Scholes Reserves, Holmfirth SJ, Thurstonland and Netherthong.

The Football Club held a very successful garden party in September and 240 sat down for an excellent tea served in the United Methodist Church School. Afterwards a gala was held in Mr. Lockwood’s field at Deanhouse. Games were played and the Philharmonic Band  provided the music for dancing.

The league re-started the same month with 14 teams and some new faces including Wooldale United and Holmfirth Territorials..   Early results were : Netherthong 0 v Crow Edge 3  : Wooldale 2 v Netherthong 4 ; Hepworth United 3 Netherthong 0.  After 8 games they  were 6th.  with 4 wins and by February 1910  had moved to 5th. but suffered a major defeat against Dunford Bridge by 7goals to nil. Unfortunately once again there were no further football reports for the season and no final table.

If you are interested in a detailed football history of a local village team , you should try to get hold of a book titled ” Bonnie Oodle “. It celebrated 75 years of Wooldale Wanderers A.F.C. from 1919 to 1994 and for many years the team played in the same leagues as Netherthong. It was researched, compiled and written by Simon Paul Berry and is a magnificent piece of work. It includes lots of team photographs, league tables, sketches and other ephemera. I have taken details of some final league tables from it which were not reported by the Express.

 The season restarted again in September 1910  and the fixture lists for the season 1910-1911 were given in the paper. Their  first game gave the village  a 1-0 win against Wooldale United and by the middle of November Netherthong had played 9, won 5 and had 10 points. At the end of the year they had climbed to the dizzy heights of  3rd. with 20 points and by the end of January had moved into second place  with 13 wins out of 17 games played. They drew with Honley 0-0 and beat Upper Cumberworth 3-0 with two goals for J.Harrison and one for J.Batley. At the end of February a large crowd watched  the much awaited top of the table clash between Netherthong  and New Mill . The result was a draw but the game was spoilt by strong winds. The top of the table was very close , Netherthong were on 31 points just 1 point behind New Mill but level with Honley and Hepworth Wesleyans. Unfortunately once again for reasons only known to the editor, the Express did not carry any further reports so the final results were  not published  but at the club presentation, see later, it was announced that Netherthong had come second to New Mill. The Wooldale book confirmed that Netherthong had come 2nd. to New Mill having played 26 games, winning 17, losing 5 and drawing 4.

 The Express did however report that Netherthong  AFC had won medals in the Meltham AFC medal competition and that the team had received a big reception in the village when they returned.

 The presentation of medals for the 1910/11 season was held in the National School in May. Mr.G. Ricketts presided and the medals were presented by Cllr. J.Jackson who had been the president of the club since it was formed 9 years ago. Jackson said that he thought it the first time that any Netherthong team, football or cricket, had covered themselves with glory. Along with their gold medals at Meltham  they had also been runners – up in the Holmfirth League Championships. Medals were presented to : A. Heeley ; L. Haigh ; W. Haigh ; A. Bray ; H. Taylor ; S. Scholfield ; W. Charlesworth ; J. Batley ; J. Harrison ; P. Hobson ; A. Wrathall;  H. Sykes ; T. Eastwood  and N.Moorhouse. The evening continued with music and dancing.

September 9 1911 saw the start of the new football season. The first game was at home to Holmfirth Territorials and Netherthong drew 1-1  but they lost their next game 0-4 to Hepworth United. In the third game against Shepley Corinthians the match was not finished due to a dispute with the Shepley players which resulted in them leaving the field before the end of the game.

Other results were New Mill 3 – Netherthong 2 : Netherthong 3 – Hinchliffe Mill Territorials 1:They drew 0-0 with Honley, beat Victoria United 3-2 and also beat Hepworth Wesleyans  by 3-1 and by the end of November they  were 4th. in the league.

In the Cup game they beat Lockwood Wesleyans by 3 to 1. However in the league they lost again to New Mill, the League leaders, by 2 goals to 1. Unfortunately due to space pressure in the local paper, it did not always carry the weekly results.

In December they played in the 1st. round of the Medal Competition and drew with Hepworth 1-1. In January 1912, they  were still 4th. in the league having played 11 games, won 5, lost 3 and drawn 5. Their goal difference was 18-17. The results from the next few matches were a 2-0 win against Holmfirth Territorials. a good 5-0 win over Upper Cumberworth . a loss by  0-2 to Shepley Corinthians before rebounding to beat Hinchliffe Mill 2-1.

Once again  there were no more match reports or the final league table.

As there were no reports in the Express  at the start of the new season it  appeared that the league had been disbanded and this was somewhat confirmed in June 1913. The Holmfirth & District Association Football league held a meeting with Mr.W. Haigh in the chair to discuss re-organising and it was decided that the League be re-constructed and that the Secretary advertise for clubs ( within a radius of 6 miles ) and players ( within a radius of 7 miles ) to join. However I cannot find any report that this league actually started up.

In March 1918 there was a large attendance at a dance in the Church schoolrooms promoted by the football club. During the interval a portrait of the 1917-18 team was presented to the WMC  and Mr. Jackson accepted the portrait and congratulated the club on its record for the season  to date of 11 wins and 2 draws out of 21 matches played. It was reported that over £6 had been given to the Patriotic Fund and credit to the club’s success was given to Harold Wimpenny, the secretary. What is most puzzling about this report is that the Express did not carry any reports on any of the local football matches.!

  It was not until September 1919 that the Express reported that , after its suspension because of the war, the League would re-start on October 4 and gave the complete fixture list right through to March 27 1920. The teams were Scholes, Hepworth United, Hade Edge, Wooldale, Brockholes, Hepworth Wesleyans, St. John’s Inst. , New Mill, Holme Bridge and Holmfirth Sec. Schools OBs and Netherthong.

 In the first game of the season Netherthong  beat Wooldale 3-0 with Norman Bailey and C.Gill prominent. To celebrate the return to league football, the club held a dance in the National School. A large number attended and C.R.Wood and W. Marsden were MCs. The music was provided by C.A.Wood ( piano ) and F.Walker ( violin ).

More results were : A loss to Brockholes by 1-2, followed by another loss this time to St. Johns by 2-3 with S.Bailey and F.Beardsell scoring for Netherthong.

Netherthong   ( N.Bailey, Sykes, Turner and Harrison scoring ) beat Holmfirth SB 1 but lost a closely fought game against Scholes by 3 – 4 with Sykes 2 and Bailey scoring. The next game they were thrashed 7-0 by Hade Edge and at the start of 1920 Netherthong  were 8th. having played 10 and won 3.

Their first game of 1920 was a win 4-1 against Wooldale and they followed this with a good 5-2 defeat of Hepworth Wesleyans with C.Wood 2, E.Sykes,F.Beardsell and W.Shore scoring the goals. 

The next game was  a very thrilling Cup game against Honley in January and at full time the teams were drawn 4-4. Unfortuntely Honley scored in extra time. F.Beardsell, V. Messenger, E.Sykes and J.Messenger scored.

Netherthong  1 Brockholes 0 was the last game reported by the Express and the  final table showed Netherthong came 10th out of 12 teams, winning 5 but losing 12.

A very successful whist drive and dance promoted by members of the club was held in the Church schoolroom in November 1920. There were 26 tables and Norman Bayley, captain of the club, presented the prizes to the winning players. At the dance a programme of twenty dances, all up to -date, were rendered by C.A.Wood on piano and F.Walker on violin.

 In August 1921 the Holmfirth & District Association Football League agreed to 16 teams for the new season and the season kicked off on September 4 with  six new clubs having  joined. The sports writer said that Netherthong seemed to be relying on their own players for the season and that the loss of Rollinson , between the sticks, would be a great loss

 Early results were :  A win against  Scholes by 4-3 was followed by a loss to Burnlee by 1-3 ( C.Gill scorer )  . Netherthong lost again to Burnlee by 1-2 ( H.Wade scored) but they got back to their winning ways by defeating Hepworth Wesleyans 2-0.

 The Express started to give more coverage to local  football and there was a five line report on each of the Saturday games of all the teams in the league. The style of  writing was rather archaic – “ Netherthong have made a decent show lately. Lets hope they keep it up.”

 The fixtures had been arranged that in general the same teams would meet  each other home and away on consecutive weeks.  Netherthong drew away to Victoria United 1-1 ( scorer J.Harker ) and won the return at home  by 5-1. The match report went ” Football is on fete at Netherthong just now and is just the ticket for encouraging their supporters “

Netherthong  beat Millhouse 3-2 at home  ( J.Healey, N.Kaye, W.Shore ) but got thrashed 6-0 away to the same team.

 The rules of the league were explicit about the maximum distance players had to live from their club and was normally about 6 miles. However transfers between clubs were permitted and two  that were approved  were G. Renshaw from Brockholes to Netherthong  and J.Rollinson from Wooldale to Netherthong.

Netherthong beat New Mill at home by 1-0 ( scorer G.Harrison ) but lost the return by 2-4 with J.Shore scoring both goals. C.P.Gill was transferred to New Mill.

Netherthong beat  Wooldale 3-1  but the next match at home to Brockholes was a very significant result as they lost 0-2 making it  Netherthong’s first home defeat of the season.

By the end of 1921 Netherthong were in 9th. position having played 15, winning 7 and drawing 1 for a total of 15 points. The first game of the new year was a 2-2 draw at Hade Edge. The return  fixture at Netherthong  saw another home loss   by 2-1. Netherthong did the double over St. Johns Institute winning 1-0 away and 2-0 at home.

8 of the team’s  players were also members of Netherthong  WMC and they were : J.Hobson, H.Swallow, L.Scholfield, A.Preston, F.Harper, J.Shore, W.Mallinson and C.Gill.

 A loss to Hepworth United away by 3-0 was followed by a 2-2 draw at home ( R.Wood and N.Kaye scorers ). Netherthong 2 ( R.Hoyle) drew with HolmeBridge but lost the return at Holme bridge by 0-3. They put 6 away against Farnley Tyas with  J.Harrison, G.Henshaw, A.Wimpenny  and A. Charlesworth scoring..

 Netherthong 3 ( N.Bailey, G.Harrison, W.Harker ) beat Dunford Bridge who only played with 8 men as the rest didn’t turn up. In the return match with Dunford fielding a full team they avenged their defeat winning 3-1.

The last two games of the season were against Birdsedge. Netherthong drew the first game at home 2-2 with N.Kaye and G.Renshaw scoring but lost the return at Birdsedge by 2-1 , L.Harrison being the scorer.

In the final table Netherthong finished 11th. out of 16 teams  having played 30 games, winning 11, losing 13 and drawing 6 for a total of 28 points. 

In August 1922, the Holmfirth & District AFC confirmed that there would be 15 teams in the league with each club playing 28 games and the season would start on September 3rd. and finish on March 4th. 1923. The general format was that the teams would play each other twice home and away on consecutive weeks. The Express had many column inches devoted to the start of the football season and its reporter gave his forecasts on the results of the opening games. He had Netherthong to beat Dunford Bridge which they duly did by winning 3 goals to 1, Goldthorpe, Kaye and Mills were the scorers. They drew the return at Dunford 2-2 with N.Kaye and A.Mills again scoring.

Netherthong 4 ( Hinchliffe, F.Hunter, N.Kaye and A.Mills ) beat Birdsedge YMCA and also won the return game 2-1 with Hunter and Kaye scoring. In the two games against Farnley Tyas, Netherthong did the double  by winning the first 2-0 with N.Kaye and A.Mills scoring and the return 3-0 with J.Renshaw ( 2) and F.Hinchliffe making their mark.

   At this stage of the season after 6 games, Netherthong were unbeaten and in 2nd. place unfortunately this run did not continue as they lost both their games against New Mill by 3-2 and 2-0.

 In October the Netherthong  AFC held a successful whist drive and dance in the National School. The prizes for the whist were presented by C.S.Floyd, the president of the Club. Supper followed and then dancing until 11.30pm.

 At the meeting of the Holmfirth & District League of club representatives, many of the items on the agenda concerned the quality etc of the referees. The  Netherthong club wrote complaining about the inefficiency of a referee in a recent game but as the official concerned was not present, the committee agreed it was not fair to deal with the matter. The punishment  of players who had committed various offenses  in the  field was dealt with at the monthly meetings of the West Riding Reported Players’ Commission. M.Kaye of Netherthong was suspended for 4 weeks and fined 2s 6d for kicking.

 Scholes beat Netherthong 1 – 0 and  also won the away game 3-2 with R.Hodgson and J.Coldwell scoring. J.Hinchliffe was transferred  to Meltham United. 

Netherthong 3 ( F.Hunter, N. Bailey , A.Mills) Burnlee 0 . Next was a 2-2 draw against Hade Edge ( F.Hunter, A.Wimpenny )  followed by a 3-0 victory over St.Johns Institute .

The intrepid reporter commented “ Netherthong are showing fine form just now. Others beware”

Much to the concern of the Holmfirth League, the local clubs had little option but to be in the Huddersfield Groom Cup which played havoc with the fixtures. In the first round  of this cup, Netherthong beat SSOB by 3-0 with Hunter, Kayes and Mills scoring and also beat Buxton Road 4-0 in another cup match.

Back in the league Netherthong had a goal less draw with Holme Bridge. W.Green transferred  from Wooldale Wanderers.