Things have been a little quiet on the web site for several weeks. There’s been little new to catch my eye. It was the same with the other web site which I keep an eye on - the Sutton in Craven web site. That is until this morning when a photograph appeared on the latter page - a photograph of the Crosshills Youth Club Soccer XI taken in 1950 - 51. I recognised several of the players -among them Fred Hudson (Roy), Peter Barsby, Gordon Waring, Alec Shuttleworth, all pupils at Keighley Boys’ Grammar School and all, if my memory serves me correctly, lads who played in one of the schools rugby teams. When it came to ball games, it mattered not whether the ball was a spherical one or an oval one - they were equally at home playing with either shape. Looking at the photograph brought back a memory of an interview that I and Peter Barsby (and several other Sutton youngsters) had with old Nick back in 1946. We were all members of a soccer team which played our matches in Sutton Park on a Saturday morning. We played away matches too in exotic locations like Haworth Park, Silsden Park etc., against team of similarly aged kids. It was pretty well organised ! We called our team, “Sutton Minors”. However, we found we were in trouble one Saturday morning when several of our soccer team were selected to play in House Matches at school on a day we had a soccer match arranged. Conflict of interest! We couldn’t play in both games so we declined the invitation to play in the rugby match citing a prearranged soccer match when we were to play for Sutton Minors as the reason. Obviously upset at losing potential players, the housemaster reported the situation to the headmaster who summoned all the dissenters to his office for interview! We all lined up in the corridor outside his office and we were called in one by one. I remember my interrogation. I was asked the question, “Why can’t you play in the House Match?” “Because i’m playing soccer for Sutton Minors Sir”. In his droll way, the reply came back, “l didn’t know there was a colliery at Sutton”. The opposition crumbled and we all played rugby!
Denis, if memory serves I think someone else has told this story on the website before, or maybe I heard it at a reunion meal. However, I would be very surprised if a young lad in those days used the Americanism "soccer" when talking about Association Football.
So you have heard the story before eh? It could well have been me that told it. I’m afraid that I forget as much as I remember these days. But you could have heard it from several of the Suttoners who were due to play in the same team. Peter Barsby, David Baxter, and Robert Barrett were, I seem to recall, in our team. But you are correct to take me to task re the use of the word ‘soccer’. We called the game ‘football’ in those days. The game played with the oval ball at school was ‘rugger’.