“Some Sheep are on the Pitch”

I was recently given a book by David Town that celebrated 100 years of the Craven District Football Association, grassroots football at its best.  Photographs and anecdotes abound and tell the story of football played simply for the love of the game.

One of the oldest clubs according to records show that Cononley was formed on December 8th 1905 following a meeting in the Forester’s Hall.  The club experienced great difficulties in finding a suitable football field and used various fields scattered around the village.  They have played on seven different pitches in all and one of the most well-known was Moorfoot Lane where the geese had to be moved prior to every game and taking a corner meant having to open a farm gate.  In 1961 the Cricket and Football Clubs amalgamated to form Cononley Sports Club and both now use the Coulthurst Memorial Ground using dressing rooms built by members of both committees.

Cononley Football Club in 1952

Unfortunately the records of Horton Football Club prior to World War II have gone astray but there is a mention in the Craven Herald of 1901 of a team from Horton losing to Ingleton 0-3.  The club’s “hour of glory” was in season 1948-49 when with a team practically made up of “Hortonians”, there was only one “outsider” amongst them, they won the Division League Cup.  Outsiders were called “ofcumdens”.  The club can also boast having a vicar as their goalkeeper and unfortunately once again there are no records of his comments when two lady supporters were ordered from the field for being abusive and stroppy with the referee.

Horton Football Club 1948-49

The Ardath Tobacco Company was established in 1896 by Sir Albert Levy.  The company did not issue cards until just before the First World War and they were reproductions of famous paintings by Rembrandt (1914), Rubens, Raphael and Velasquez (1915).  Ardath did not produce its first set of football cards until 1934 and these were painted portraits of football stars.  Two teams from the Craven District Football Association featured on these cards, Settle United and Carleton United, and they are pictured in this article. The photographs were contained in packets of Ardath King Cigarettes priced at 10 for sixpence but what an accolade for these two proud clubs.

Carleton United

Back Row (L-R)

Wane (committee), Geldard (secretary), Currie, Sandham, Atkinson, Barrett (assistant trainer), Whitaker, Brown, Beck, Hargreaves (trainer), Preston (committee), Hunn (committee)

Front Row (L-R)

Pilkington, Stott, Barrett, Leigh, Hitch (captain), Reeder

Settle United pictured with the Craven League Cup, Craven Challenge Cup and Craven Knockout Cup

Back Row (L-R)

Parker, Beresford, Sykes, Higgins, Ward, Robinson, McNamara, Bowker

Front Row (L-R)

Pullen, Brayshaw, Webb, Gee, Marklew

Front Row Centre: Rogerson

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Design: David Ainsworth