Sunday, February 27, 2011

Part the XIII: A Short History of Work's Football

Went to another Bath City football match yesterday.  They beat Southport 2-1!  I spent some time talking to an older fellow on the terrace about non-league football and we got talking about the two leagues below the Blue Square Premier (or Conference National) that city plays in.  They are Conference North and Conference South (or Blue Square North and South for sponsorship reasons).  South was the level Bath City won a playoff from last year to earn their promotion to the Premier.  Our conversation turned to a team in the North Conference.  Vauxhall Motors F.C.
A lot of our grandparents may mention the factory softball or bowling teams.  Here in the UK, factories often had football teams that would take part in the multiple, lower Sunday Leagues throughout the UK.  But some of these "Work's Teams" as they were called we actually quite good.  So good, in fact, that they would earn promotion to the semi-pro leagues.  Some would even go to the Premiership although they would then hire professionals to stay there (examples include Manchester United, which originated as a team of railway workers).  In this regard they became much like the Green Bay Packers back home.  Vauxhall Motors is interesting.  Founded in the sixties, while they have become semi-pro, at least one player on the team is still a full-time worker in the factory where the team is based.  

And it's not just them.  Airbus UK and Cammell Laird F.C. also play and the teams nicknames still show what many of the men are known for other than football.
Vauxhall Motors F.C.-Nicknamed the Motormen
Airbus UK- The Wing Makers
Cammell Laird F.C.- The Shipyarders

The best part is, these teams can play for the FA Cup.  So in any draw, one of these teams can play Chelsea or Man U.  Thats like your granddad's softball team going against the Yankees!  Often the results are predictable but every now and then, one of these little teams plays David to these Goliaths of the pitch.  As it is, many of these teams still exist in the lower Sunday Leagues carrying on the strong tradition of Work's Football.  


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