COLESHILL TOWN FOOTBALL CLUB HISTORY – PART 4.
In the early 60’s Coleshill Town FC were struggling in the league and sometimes found it difficult to field a team. Secretary Bernie Knight was the mainstay of the club and if not for his hard work they may well have folded. The Coleshill Chronicle wrote, “If Bernard’s never say die spirit can find its way through to his players, then the gloom over the club should be short lived.” On the other hand Town’s nearest and dearest rivals, Coleshill Hall Hospital had won the Mercian league and moved up to the Worcester Combination, (now the Midland Combination). Hall had the team but didn’t have the backing! Town had Bernie Knight but a poor team! In 1966 Hall folded and the cream of their team joined Town and immediately the club’s fortunes took a turn for the better! The 1966/67 season was one of the most successful in the clubs history. Coleshill finished runners up in the Mercian League, won the Aston Villa Shield (at Villa Park), the Queens Hospital Cup and the Coleshill Charity Cup. (Picture 1) Players such as Oscar Deeming, Roy Sanders, Frankie Baird, Tony Seddon, Butch Bradley and Bernard Dicken made a huge difference to the team but back room staff John Clayton and Lew Wathen pushed the club forward. Bernie Knight was not there to see the progress as he sadly past away during that year! Coleshill were promoted to the Worcester Combination Division 2 and Tim Rawlings joined the club. Tim played professionally for Port Vale, Walsall and West Bromwich and remains to this day the only person born in Coleshill to play in the Football League. Another successful season followed as Coleshill finished runners up in the league, were finalists in the Presidents Cup and retained the Coleshill Charity Cup. 1968/69 saw Coleshill win the Charity Cup for the third year running, reach the final of the Presidents Cup again and finished 5th in the league. The following year 1969/70 Coleshill were crowned Champions of the Worcester Combination Division 2 and finally won the Presidents Cup at the third attempt. It was clear that Coleshill were going places but the facilities at the Memorial Park were holding them back! Percy Hastings was desperately hunting high and low for a piece of land that the club could call their own and put in place the facilities that would be needed for the league above. It was another four years before Coleshill played their first game at their new home “Pack Meadow” where they still play today. That season, 1974/75, they finished runners up in Division 2 but due to the move and better facilities they were promoted to the top division in the Worcester Combination. Town found it difficult at this new level but they did boast the introduction of a European Cup Winner in the team. Danny Hagan (Picture 2) played for Wolverhampton Wanderers in the 1972 UEFA Cup Final. He had scored a goal against Juventus in the quarter final but the Wolves lost in the Final to Tottenham Hotspur. Hagan was also an International for Northern Ireland (7 caps) and played in a 1-0 win over England at Wembley (1972). The remainder of the decade was an uphill struggle as Coleshill finished bottom of the league twice but both times they escaped relegation, the first time due to no-one from the league below having the facilities to gain promotion and then the league was extended from 20 teams to 22.
The Coleshill Charity Cup remained very popular during the 60,s with the Final on a Bank Holiday Monday a very important date in the town’s calendar. In 1961 Coleshill Hall beat Coleshill Town in the Final but Town complained that Hall had played an illegal player. The game was replayed but Hall still won. (Picture 3) Bruce Gascoigne presented the Trophy and the picture includes Dave Wilson who still attends Coleshill’s games to this day and is an important member of the Supporters Club. Winners in the 60’s included Tamworth WMC, Sutton Town, Royal George and Kingsbury Youth Club but after Coleshill Town won the cup for three consecutive years, 67, 68 and 69, Town decided to withdraw from the competition due to the level of football they were then playing and “It would not be in the spirit of the competition to continue”. Although the competition continued through the 70’s, the Cup had lost its sparkle and petered out by the end of the decade. It has been played for since in other formats, including 5 a side competitions and has twice been played for against an Aston Villa All Star team, all for charity. There has been some talk of bringing it back in some form or other! Watch This Space! The cup is currently securely locked away as it is worth approximately £3000, not bad for a trophy that cost 50 Guineas back in 1908. (Picture of cup)
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