Brockham Football Team
How it all began
Brockham Badgers' Co-Founder, Bill Songhurst
My two sons played football for Brockham Junior School as did Bob Forester's boys. The boys asked if it would be possible to get a game on Saturdays and as Bob had connections with junior clubs in Ashtead he offered to try and arrange friendly matches. I worked for the family building business at the time so had access to transport. Bob fixed up the games and on Saturday afternoons my wife and I would take the van down to the school, load up with the school team and off we would go to play football. My wife provided the half time oranges etc. and the opposition provided the referee. This arrangement went quite well but, as it became more widely known, more lads turned up to play.
Bob and I talked to other parents and interested adults and we decided to apply for membership of the Football League. Brockham Badgers was accepted into the Shere and District Sunday League for the 1979 season. A small paragraph appeared in the local press saying that the first training session would be held on the Recreation Ground in Middle Street on the 19th July. At that time a gentleman by the name of Ernie Clay lived in the village. He was the owner of Fulham Football Club and took an interest in the formation of the Badgers.
On the first training evening several members of the Fulham squad arrived to support the new club. By the end of the evening, fifty boys had been registered to play. The new club had support from the Brockham senior club who let us have the use of their pitch on the recreation ground and also from Bob Learmond, headmaster of Brockham school, who let us have the use of the school pitches. Support with the running of the club came from Roger Alexander and John Jordan (whose son became the Under 13 goalkeeper) who coached the teams with Ian Longworth who was the sports master at Brockham School.
Bob Forester managed a team and became the first chairman, I managed a team and became the first club secretary, and Vivian Slater became treasurer. I think that in the first season the club put out three teams, at under 12 and under 13 levels. My wife and I took our team out on Sunday mornings, sometimes cramming many into our car when transport was in short supply. My wife continued to provide the half time oranges and took all the kit in for washing.
Local companies were canvassed for support and many contributed towards the start up costs. One parent, Mr. Stocks, donated the first strip, which was in Newcastle colours, black and white stripes, as considered appropriate for the 'Badgers' Fulham football club continued to support the club and invited us to take all the boys to Craven Cottage one Friday. We spent the day with Fulham and the lads had a kick about on the pitch with the Fulham players.
The start was not without some controversy. We had decided to call ourselves 'The Badgers' but this was also the name of the local stool ball team who initially were unhappy about our choice. The matter was settled amicably when the stool-ball players challenged us to a game of stool ball, which we lost!!
The local vicar was also unhappy that we were playing on a Sunday morning and voiced his concern both to me personally and to his congregation. (I suspect that the problem was the fact that our best goalkeeper was also his head chorister)
The Big Field did not exist as a sports field, it was still used for agriculture, so working out home and away fixtures for all the teams when there were only two home pitches available could be quite a feat. All the club secretaries used to meet at Shere on an evening prior to the start of the season and work out all the fixtures.
The club was initially formed for Brockham lads but as its fame spread we were asked to take in boys from Leigh and Chart Downs.