Horsforth Fairweather FC

HFFC 1977-80: Early Doors.

Next ... the 1980-81 season.

  There are no photos in existence of this phase of the club's history.

  Although 1980 is generally given as the year the club was formally founded, it actually dates back as far as 1977, the days of punk-rock, Liverpool's first European Cup win, the Callaghan government, and of course the Poly Disco.

  There was no great master-plan to it all; like so many other scratch teams of the day, we were just a group of like-minded lads who got together and started playing an almost interminable series of friendly games. We made our debut on Drighlington Rec on the 17th April 1977, against some local pub team, who were of course a different class to us. But enthusiasm and optimism were not in short supply in those halcyon days, and our team embarked on a long (and largely unrecorded) series of games at various venues, mostly against a local Post Office team who luckily were of a comparable standard to ourselves. Among those prominent in this embryonic organisation were Martin Riley (of Fifteen-to-One fame in later days), Steve Procter, Pete Gable, Ian McGregor, Ray Child, John Field, Les Bailey, Andy Lewis, and your author, Steve Burns. There were heroic last-gasp wins, excruciating defeats, some very dodgy refereeing decisions (generally made by someone who seemed to have a vague connection with the opposition, but you could never be certain) and inevitably and inexorably the football team became an important part of all our lives.

  In those days, the side took the field in a motley collection of shirts of varying shades of white and what might politely be called off-white, this being replaced over time, and thanks to Martin's generosity (?), by the utterly indescribable blue and sort of pale green "Court Jesters" kit. Gradually, more people started to find excuses to turn out for the team, among them Bernie Gilmore, Mark Bickerdike, Paul Kenyon, Howard Churchill, Steve Watson, Rob Phillis, Tony Cole, Pete Trivunovic, Geoff Barker, Ian Clayden, Chris Shenton - and loads of others, impossible to namecheck everybody but you know who you are. Also, the opposition became a touch more varied, as we now took on such notable teams as Negas Computer Dept, the Biochemistry side from Leeds University, Armitage & Norton, and the almost legendary Thackley Thumpers. For ourselves, we'd kind of settled on being called Horsforth something-or-other, but there were probably already in existence a Horsforth Town, a Horsforth United, etc, so, with a bit of inspiration from John Field's dad, we settle on Fairweather as our surname.

  I could go on for pages about the process by which the team got better and better over the years, but it would of course be a pack of lies. I don't think any of us really thought we were any good, but we wanted to give it a go, and that's what we did. By the spring of 1980, at a time when we briefly found we were somehow winning rather more than we lost, the time was judged right for us to see whether we could hack it, by joining an organised league...

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Next ... the 1980-81 season.