Old Bromleians Football Club

Club History

The club’s origins are intrinsically linked to Bromley County School, which first opened its doors in 1911, and whilst we know that some football was played outside the school over the subsequent 11 years it is difficult to confirm with any great accuracy. We can confirm, however, that in 1922, what is now Old Bromleians Football Club was formed by former pupils of the school.

Following a brief spell known as Bromley County School Old Boys, the name Old Bromleians Football Club was introduced in season 1927/1928 taking its name from the school magazine, The Bromleian. The name change did not alter the status of the club, in that it was very much an Old Boys (past attendees of Bromley County School) football club. The club and the school, later to become Bromley Grammar School and today, known as The Ravensbourne School (which still stands on the original 1911 site on Hayes Lane) were very much interlinked, with the Headmaster’s of the school, G L Heawood and L J Cheney between them being president’s of Old Bromleians Football Club from 1929 through to as late as 1960.

In the early years, the club played its football at the back of what was the Crooked Billet as well as a ground at South Hill Road, and by the end of the 1920’s were playing their home games at a pitch around Crown Lane, before moving to a facility at Southborough Lane, where the club enjoyed arguably its most successful period, winning the AFA Surrey Senior Cup 5 times (4 of them in a row) in the 1930’s. In recognition of this success the club was given a replica trophy by the AFA as a permanent memento, which the club still retains to this day (well it’s in John Cooper’s bedroom to be exact)!

The club at this point was now a well established AFA club, and whilst another perhaps slightly better-known club may well have had Herbert Chapman north of the river, we had our very own Harry Hunt south of the river!! Harry Hunt, whom we need to give special recognition for his part in driving the club forward during what would have been a difficult time for the country. With the Great Depression arriving in 1929, which hung around for another 6-7 years this period coincided with Harry as club captain between 1928 –1937. He was also club treasurer between 1930 – 1953 and finally club president between 1961 and 1962. A truly remarkable man who was to oversee the move into AFA league in 1928, with the club running a minimum of 3 teams by the mid 1930’s. So not only was he a driving force at the club he was also an excellent footballer and clearly one of life’s winners. A headline from the local newspaper in 1935 describes a typical Harry performance.

“A Captains Game” – Hunt, the captain, was prominent, particularly in the second half, not only for the able way in which he led his side to victory, but also for his fine work as a breaker –up of attacks. It is not a common thing to find a centre-half who plays in glasses-for the position is a very responsible one – but Harry is quite fearless about it and despite his lack of inches he can play – and did on Saturday- a very sound game.

Under Harry’s captaincy we not only had great success in the cups, the club went on an amazing run in the Old Boys League, winning Division 2, Division 1 and then the Premier Division in 3 consecutive seasons, between 1928 and 1931. This was followed by winning the Premier league back in season 1932/1933 and again in 1935/6. This along with the success of other teams in the club, includes the second X1 winning the Junior Division 2 in 1932/1933 followed by Division 1 in 1933/1934 and then again in 1935/1936. The 1920’s saw the introduction of the football club to amateur football in London and the 1930’s clearly saw the rewards of the investment of time and energy by those such as Len Chappell, R B and K J Pearce, Arthur Hawkes, “Mac” McIntosh, Tom Ackhurst, Frankie Day and of course Harry Hunt. This must have been a great time to be involved in the club with success after success, but with the onset of the Second World War, life was about to change for “our lads down the club”.

Club Captains during this period were:

1926-1928 L C Chappell,
1928-1937 H T Hunt,
1937-1939 A A McIntosh

The War Years.

The war years were difficult for the Club but the camaraderie and loyalty to the School shone through in desperately difficult times. It would be fair to say that one man kept the Club going in this period and you have guessed it.....................that was Harry Hunt. Harry kept up a regular supply of ‘War Bulletins’ which were the forerunner of the weekly newsletters which ran for many years right up the turn of this Century (Roy Philpott produced these for very many of those years of course). Harry and his ‘Staff’ sat in the White Hart in Bromley High Street every Saturday from 12 noon onwards throughout the War to greet all the Old Boys who were home on leave. With the information gathered from those who met at the ‘Rendezvous’ as Harry called it and from letters sent to him throughout the War, the readership of his War Bulletins increased from about 20 in the first days of the War to circa 500 by 1946.

Competitive football ceased at the outbreak of the War but the Club continued to play a few friendlies against notably, in December 1939, Orpington, West Wickham and Alleyn Old Boys. The School was a big part of the Club and eventually when Club games ceased altogether, regular reports were published of the School cricket and football matches. The war years would have been difficult of all those connected with the club and part of the Old Broms spirit continued with Harry organising food parcels from the Club to all of the Old Boys who were in captivity. In his June 1945 War Bulletin - Harry wrote “Now the first part of your job has been well and truly done it is very difficult for me as a ’civvy type’ to pass any comments.

So much has been said and written in these last few days that repetition may well have the effect of dulling the meaning of those words. However ….I will just say this….if you will recall the best of all the things which have been said and written about you blokes that goes for what we your Old Bromleian friends wish to convey to you” He continued with the War Bulletins for a couple of years afterwards to report on the whereabouts of the Old Boys who were spread far and wide around the world. As London was trying to assemble a sense of order and normality, football recommenced down the club with league football up and running again in 1947.

This also saw the Club move to Hayes Lane (behind Bromley FC), to share with our associates, the Old Bromleians Cricket Club, who in fact are still there to this day. In conclusion, the war years were difficult for everyone, and subsequent years for whole country meant a lot of soul searching, but Harry summed up the mood in his Aug/Sept 1947 newsletter :- “All the time, the Captains and committee are striving to find the ideal balance between efficiency of playing strength and satisfaction to the members of the social feeling of the Club.

The two must never be taken for granted as often they can be poles apart and if that state of affairs is allowed to develop the whole idea of an Old Bromleians Football Club ceases to exist. To keep the members happy to be playing with each other is a major consideration and must never be lost in the more serious quest for league and cup honours”

Some key moments from dispatches: 1940 – Doug Bradshaw – ‘RAF whereabouts unknown’ - Cliff Janes – ‘RAF still up North’ Don Russell – ‘Army Home Counties, now a Corporal -Derek Attwood – ‘2 nd Lt AA posted to Northern Ireland’ 1941 – Doug Bradshaw – now father of a son - Alan Battle – ‘RAF - reported missing, now POW in Germany, slightly wounded’. Cliff Janes – ‘RAF - now a squadron leader’. 1942 – Peter Dupere – ‘Army - on leave, not seen but heard of from Brother at School 1943 – Doug Battle – ‘POW in Italy’ - Jack Dupere – ‘RAF – training in USA’- Derek Attwood – ‘played soccer for the British Army v French Army in North Africa’! 1944 – Don Collins – ‘Fleet Air Arm - reported as being an air mechanic or fitter’ - Jack Dupere – ‘now in India’ - Polly Parratt (Old Boy and subsequent long serving Master at the School) - ‘Army Lt, in intelligence with MEF’ - Bunny Dacey – (Played for the 3’s in his 60’s) - ‘Army training Home Counties’ - John J Cooper – Army, England - Lew Pepper – Army, India 1945 – John Cooper – ‘Army – Toley’s young brother, is in the RA and waiting for news of his WOSB’ - Derrick Attwood – ‘Army – still in Italy’ -Doug ‘Doris’ Bradshaw – ‘RAF – on way to Burma and acclimatizing in India’ - Bill Bassett – ‘Army – stationed in the Far East’

Post War - 1960

The 1950s were a pivotal decade for the Old Bromleian’s with the first half of the decade achievements particularly impressive both on and off the field. The controversy surrounding the Old Broms often found the club dominating the headlines of the local press. The decade started well with footballing success for the first team culminating in them achieving promotion to the 1 st Division of the prestigious Southern Olympian League in Season 1953-54. This followed some near misses in the previous seasons and was due in no small part to the emergence of players such as Jack Dupere and Brian Wallace. Dupere a high-scoring “terrier” of a centre forward who never scored from more than 5 yards out continued to serve the club as president in the 1960’s.

Wallace the first team captain of the time was a dynamic midfielder a leader both on and off the field. Other notable achievements were the reserves winning division 2 of the junior section of the SOL with a 2-1 victory over Old Owens. The 4 th X1 won their section of the minor league and all of these achievements were celebrated at the annual dinner held at the Royal Bell Hotel in Bromley. The press reported that the celebrations ran into the early hours……...no change there. Social events remained at the heart of the club and a real sense of community continued to grow. Links with the school remained strong and the Old Broms reversed a 2-goal deficit against the school in the annual game on Christmas Eve 1954. The game was played at Hayes Lane with the “Old Boys” finally securing a 4-2 victory (scorers Dupere 2, D’eath and White).

An Easter tour that season was much talked about with fifteen players, their families and friends embarking on a four-night, three-match tour to the South Coast. The results recorded were two defeats and one victory, but the real winners were the local publicans and ice cream vendors whose takings were significantly boosted. Season 1954-55 could be considered the most significant in the history of the club. Their first season in Division 1 of the SOL coincided with the move to Lower Gravel Road. The move to our own ground was much needed after many years as “guests” in Hayes Lane. Several years of tense negotiation and political manoeuvring by key Old Broms such as John Hassel and Ernie Lane (local Bromley Councillor) culminated in the opening of the new ground and clubhouse on 2nd October 1954.

The opening was attended by a significant crowd who saw the opening ceremony carried out by the secretary of the AFA and unfortunately, first game defeats on the new site were recorded for the first team and reserves. The purchase of the lease and significant effort of the club membership not least the “Cooper clan” (including Kay and her sister) in clearing the site and preparing the pitches was necessary in order to keep the cost down to a significant four-figure sum. This was a heavy burden for the club in austere times, which was achieved by a loan and realising profit in the sale of “rhubarb” crowns cleared from the site and sold locally. Confidence in our young club was high with our very own ground and club house, few knew that the Old Broms biggest fight loomed.

The banner headline of the “West Kent Mercury” on Friday the 6th of May 1955 read; “Footballer’s will fight Bromley’s land grab – Ground to go for housing”. The front page article then described Bromley council’s intention to make a compulsory purchase order on the ground to extend the Coppice Estate with 240 houses. Other newspapers picked up on the news and Ernie Lane describing the decision as “diabolical” outlining the Brom’s intention to start a fighting fund from its 400 members to support the legal battle. A youthful fixture secretary Mr J J Cooper expressed his view in print, “During the war, when the bombs fell and the windows were shattered, the signs “Business as usual” went out.

Our bomb fell last week; our sign is out “Business as usual” Typical fighting talk from a man who has remained the heartbeat of the club ever since. After many weeks of fighting the council reversed its decision with an alternative plan which allowed the club to remain. The decision was described “as very wise” by Ernie Lane one of many truly committed Old Bromleians of the time who ensured football continued at Lower Gravel Road for next 70 years and let’s hope for another 70 years.

Club Captains during this period were: 1946-52 D M Attwood, 1950-52 D.W.Russell 1953-55 B.C Wallace, 1956-57 D.B.Pilkington, 1958-59 T.K.Ainsworth, 1959-60 F.B.Nixon. With special praise afforded to Club President during this time 1937-1960, K J Cheney


Someone once said “if you can remember the 60s’ you were not there”. This next period in the club’s history saw more major changes, having secured our own ground and clubhouse in the previous decade we had a relatively short period in the Southern Olympian League in the 1950’s moving to the Southern Amateur League (SAL) in 1967. This was achieved through the hard work and drive of Don Collins. Through his banking connections he recognised the excellent facilities that awaited our teams at the facilities such as Lloyds Bank, Midland Bank, Barclays, Savings Bank to name but four.

This remained the league that the club would play in for the next 35 years. During this decade the club was reasonably strong throughout and was able to turn out 7 sides on some occasions, with the social side becoming as popular as the football. Three players, John Cowland, John Ing and John Brittan played representative football for SOL and awarded league badges in the early 60’s. This decade will be remembered for the days of wet and snowbound winters where the Gravel Road pitches were frequently unplayable unless you had a tractor to take you up and down the pitch. Rumours have it that some players got lost in the mud never to be seen again. I think it was these conditions that had an impact on our honours list for that period! Relations with Bromley Grammar School continued to be strong during this time and one Headmaster, Mr Anderson, spoke at one of our dinners and several teachers played for us too. The annual match between the club and the school helped cement our happy relationship.

The Boxing Day matches between the club and John Coopers Plough XI were well attended and usually produced record takings at the bar.................any excuse to avoid another day with the family eating turkey sandwiches! Easter tours were well supported to places like Weymouth, Margate and Grimsby although detailed information from those here today is somewhat vague! The 2nd XI skippered by Dave Tilbury had the reputation of being the social team; every first team player feared being dropped for fear of liver damage! Social nights at the club were very different, a drinking competition out of the President’s (Jack Dupere) very expensive bowler hat, floor swimming on the ‘pristine clean’ floor covered in shoe corrosive liquid. As always Taffy Morris would serve behind the bar.

The great stalwarts of the club continued to be; John Cooper, Don Collins and Doug Bradshaw. Successes during this decade were: Winners SOL 1 st Division 1964, Winners AFA Surrey Senior Cup 1969/1970.

Club Captains during this period were: 1960-61 V Pond, 1961-62 A Cowling, 1962-64 & 1967-68 J Cowland, 1964-65 J Ing, 1965-67 D Tennant, 1968-69 C Luff, 1969-70 R Chase


In the 1970’s it seemed that an Old Brom & s requirement for captaincy was to be a budding alcoholic and to arrange a pub crawl on the way back from such venues as Crouch End. Vampires and EBOGS. In those days drink driving was not what it is today and the after match social scene was all but sober. In the early 1970s the 1 st team was captained by Paul Walton aided and abetted by John ‘slippery’ Spiller. John was later to become 1 st manager after he had learnt the management skills required to be an Old Broms team manager and how to collect the 5 shillings jug whip.

In these heady days of social football we were privileged to have ex-Oxford blues in the 1 st team squad, namely Colin Hawksworth, Sam Hardy and Graham Coates. As the decade progressed younger players like the Edwards brothers, Steve Thompson and the late Alan Farley joined the 1 st team squad. Those were the days when if Alan shouted ‘Alan’s ball’ you dived for cover as anyone in his way was history. As in many other decades budding talent was often to be found lurking in the lower sides being skilfully protected by the captains of the time. There were so many great characters of this decade, but two of our Vets, Fred Price and Les Nelson, stood out.

They were late for a 4th team game in 1977 because they wanted to visit HMS Victory first, perhaps it was for the memories of their time serving on it! Golf was also on the agenda for the Old Bromleians thanks to Don Collins and sponsorship by Barclays Bank for our annual golf day at Woodlands Manor. Social functions were a plenty, with Chop and Chip nights, Summer Fairs, discos, plus of course the end of season stag nights.

Links with the Bromley Grammar School were still strong and many players joined up from school during the 70s. Successes during the 70s included the AFA Surrey Senior Cup in 1969/70, Old Boys Cup in 1970/71 and 1974/5, Old Boys XI Cup in 1971/72. Perhaps not all the successes we would have hoped for, but there was a great spirit in the club and a very active social environment for all members. Additionally, we were able to enjoy the illuminating weekly newsletters courtesy of Roy Philpott which carried on until his passing in 1998.

In 1979 Robin Gonzalez returned to the club after a successful career playing senior amateur football for Croydon and in the following years we were to reap the benefit of his experience and talent.

Club Captains during this period were: 1970-73 P Walton, 1973-74 J Spiller, 1975-76 P Rawlinson, 1976-78 S.Thompson, 1979-80 A Farley


The old culture of ‘win or lose have a booze and if you draw, have some more’ was gradually shifted to one side by Robin Gonzalez, an Old Bromleian, capped by England at schoolboy level (his cap adorns the clubhouse wall today). Robin had enjoyed a semi-professional career at amongst other clubs, Croydon, Sutton and Leatherhead where he was part of the squad that defeated Leicester City in the FA Cup in the 1970’s.

As Robin used to say, the beer always tastes better when you have won and he brought a whole new culture to the Club. Quite what Harry Hunt made of it we are not sure but for those involved over those golden years, there were a lifetime of memories and friendships. John Spiller started the revolution in the late 1970’s. The Club was also very fortunate that this era coincided with some very competent footballers coming out of the School and it was tremendous that most of them played and stayed at the Club. Steve Thompson and Malcolm ‘Bupa’ Watson in particular played starring roles and became club stalwarts over very many years. Mention too of other club stalwarts, Alan Farley, Kevin Scoates, Chris Gimson and John ‘Stacker’ Newman. One of the key elements of the Club’s success in the post-Spills era was the decision to go ‘open’ and invite non-Old Boys to play for the Club.

Robin fought long and hard for this and eventually persuaded the Committee and the Club membership that it was the right move. Off the back of that decision, Robin persuaded some top quality former semi-pro’s to join, as well as some experienced and very good quality local amateurs. Training for the upper XI’s became compulsory with the threat of being dropped being enough for most players to attend and as a result fitness level increased beyond all recognition. The 1 st XI got promoted to the 1 st Division of the SAL for the first time in 1981 before being relegated in Robin’s last year as 1 st XI manager in 1984. In the meantime, the 1 st XI won the AFA Surrey Senior Cup in 82/83, 83/84 and 86/87.

In those teams, ‘Bungalow’ Billy Treadgold’s goal-scoring prowess achieved legendary status. The high standards that Robin insisted upon filtered their way down to the rest of the Club. Under a year after stepping down as manager Robin tragically died in an accident at home on Valentine’s Day 1985. He was just 34. His contribution and friendship will never be forgotten. One of the reasons why the club was thriving at this point was as result of each of the sides pushing players forward to the team above and thus improving the standard.

The best example of this can be seen by how successful the two’s were during the 1980’s, skippered in the early years by Paul Rawlinson, whom was followed by Chris Gimson. Winning the AFA Kent Intermediate Cup 3 times, the AFA Intermediate Junior Cup and the Old Boys Junior Cup on two occasions. Other skippers who achieved silver ware in what was one of the most successful periods for the club included Gerry O’Connor 3’s, Tim Chantry, Jerry Stewart and Peter Burke. The Club was very much in safe hands with significant contributions behind the scenes from Don Collins, John Cooper, Bob Spillane, Dennis Ward, Chris Lyons, Maureen and Jim Clayton, Gerry O’Connor, Ian Moody, Barry Clegg, Andy Marsh and John Newman.

The 1980’s also saw the untimely passing of the then Secretary and Club stalwart, Doug Bradshaw who died aged 64. The Old Brom’s had an excellent spirit in this decade, which was forged not only on the pitch but also in the bar. This was reflected by the hectic social calendar that included golf days continuing at Woodlands Manor as well as Club tours to Cheddar, Belgium, Holland and Jersey, with special mention to Jerry “Jerky” Stewart, as event organiser. This also coincided with the Vets starting their team tours to Roosendaal, which continued through to the start of the Millennium. One footnote: Don Smith played his 1000th game for the Old Boys in the early 80’s. A remarkable achievement.

Club Captains during this period were: 1980-84 R Gonzalez, 1984-85 P Rawlinson, 1985-87 M Watson, 1987-90 B Clegg


The 1990s started brightly with the opening of the new clubhouse in 1992. This was a huge project that took 3 years to complete from inception and we must thank the efforts of John Cooper, Bob Spillane and Don Collins without whom this would never have happened. It was so much nicer not to have to jump over that wall in the old clubhouse to get a shower (Martin Weatherall was most grateful as he no longer needed to be lifted over it). The equivalent cost of building the same clubhouse today would equate to a staggering £360,000 which reflects what a fantastic result these custodians of the club managed to achieve.

As for results during this era we were still struggling to match the success of the 80s, but notable exceptions were the Vets with several Lloyds Bank tournament wins and the Old Boys Vets Cup at the first attempt. The 5ths won the Old Boys Cup in 1990/1 and Burkey’s 6 th team managed good results with many secret signings who were eventually discovered and finally promoted to their rightful teams! In the mid to late 1990’s saw an influx of Celts to the first team which saw the team go from strength to strength. Two Scots in particular, one of them; a good looking, funny, intelligent, footballing maestro, the other; ....................a Heart of Midlothian supporter!

In 1997/8 the 1 st team finally got promoted to the 2 nd division and the following season managed to get promoted to the top division by beating Old Salesians in the last game of the season 1-0. Those 2 years of success were masterminded by Cary Gawley and Raph Speed and a great squad of young players, some of whom went on the play semi-professional, with a few of the older one’s representing the SAL. The spirit of that team was very much akin to a previous generation and perhaps a mix of the Harry Hunt and Robin Gonzalez school of thinking. Having a good mix of youth and experience the mantra of this team was; have a laugh, win playing good football and then get blind drunk!

Scruffy Murphy’s at 8 being the regular roll call. Travelling to away games for the 1 st and 2 nd teams usually involved public transport, so it was not unusual to still be at the away team’s club house long after the opposition had gone home, only for the Old Brom’s lads still to be there when they returned for an evening function. The atmosphere in our own club house was also to create of much laughter, with the weekly ritual of Don Collins standing on top of a chair announcing the winner of a cheap bottle of port for the unlucky raffle prize winner.

Great characters such as Dave “disco” Eastwood often leading the way in bar room games and banter and of course throwing his disused raffle tickets at Mr Collins. Reading an extract from a programme printed for the Old Boys Cup 5 th XI Final on the 6 th April 1991, Dave (as team captain) was described as follows: “This man has been exceptional since Christmas, when he made his debut in Santa’s Grotto at Allders”. In 1998 we celebrated our 75 th anniversary at Oakley House and that year also marked 50 years as match secretary for John Cooper and 30 years as chairman for Don Collins. The evening was a great success, and looking back, reflects the last major coming together of this old club until this evening. The Vets who played in a tournament in Holland every year invited their Vets team friends from Roosendaal to come over to celebrate our 75th anniversary and the following day the Dutch Vets christened our hallowed turf with footballing skills never seen before or since!

Social events continued with in house ‘cabaret’ artists, children’s Xmas parties, quiz nights, ladies nights at the Bromley Court Hotel, discos and golf days at Woodlands Manor all helped to keep the club’s finances in the black. Summer 5-a-side tournaments were regularly held and proved a great success both on the field and in the bar afterwards. Boxing Day matches with a President’s XI vs Chairman’s XI were always well attended and often played in 6 inches of mud which has proven to be a great advantage to OBFC sides when at home. The 1990’s witnessed the passing of the great Harry Hunt in 1992, and towards the end of the decade Roy Philpott also left us in 1998, and you will recall it was Roy who produced our newsletters for over 30 years, which were always great reading. Both sorely missed by all associated with the club.

Club Captains during this period were : 1991-92 W.Treadgold, 1992-93 T.Stoneham, 1993-98 J.Scudder , 1998-2002 N.Tolson

John Cooper Tribute

John Jay Cooper, alias ‘Coops’, was born on 13th October 1926, and lived in the family home in Park End, Bromley, His father was the local blacksmith and his forge was in Walters Yard, Bromley. In 1940 his father took over the Fox and Hounds in New Cross and it was at that early age Coops developed a taste for bitter and was not to know then that one day he would be running a pub himself.

In 1942 his parents took over the Plough Inn on Bromley Common and that’s when it all started. Coops luckily was not evacuated as a young child during the war and was able to live at the Plough with his parents. He went to Raglan Road Primary school and later on went to Bromley Grammar School in Hayes Lane; this is where the link to Old Bromleians Football Club (OBFC) started as he became eligible to play for them. After finishing school he entered the army and became a Staff Sargent with the Royal Artillery, he was an instructor and taught Morse code. While serving in the army he received a letter from OBFC asking him to play for one of the sides, his Major saw this and thought he must be a good footballer and promptly told him he was to trial for the army team, Coops only played one game and was dropped! Coops likes to tell the story of how, during the war, he ‘chased the Hun’ across Salisbury plain and captured them.

The fact is they surrendered without a fight as they were starving! In 1942 he was demobbed and soon after his father died of pneumonia and in those days the Brewery did not like ladies running pubs so Coops worked at the Plough to help his mother. He met Kay in 1945 and funnily enough they used to go to dances at Oakley House. Kay started to work at the Plough so she could see more of him and then the love affair with OBFC really began. He started playing regularly in 1948 and soon became the 3rd team captain and not long after then he became a committee member. Coops and Ernie Lane had an idea to buy the land at Lower Gravel Road from the council and put it to the committee.

The committee did not agree but Coops and Ernie did not give in, subsequently all the committee fell out and resigned, the rest is history. When the ground was first bought in 1953 it was not fit for purpose, so on a Sunday after closing the Plough Coops, Kay and friends went down to LGR and turned over the soil using the tractor, Kay often drove. Everybody walked behind picking up the stones; this went on for months until they had cleared all the stones. In 1948 Coops became the Hon Match Secretary, a job he still does today with great enthusiasm and he became President in 1986, and, you have guessed it, he is our current President. He finally retired as the publican of the Plough in 1988, allowing him to dedicate even more time as “manager” of the OBFC bar, which he has done for some 60 years!

The Plough Inn almost became an extension to the club as meetings were held there for many years and of course many players would take up residency there on a Saturday evening for a drink or two! Coops, not surprisingly, has received awards for his services to football: - FA Commemorative Medallion for services to Football (as did Don Collins) - Keith Busby Memorial award from the FA 1990 - Kent FA Football Workforce Certificate for outstanding service 2004. In 1992 Coops along with Don Collins and Bob Spillane finally saw their pet project, our new clubhouse, handed over. This was the culmination of 4 years hard work with numerous dealings with planning officers and builders. It would have been expected that with a new clubhouse, and an amazing number of teams (9 in all) operating from Lower Gravel Road that the club would have gone on and enjoyed a prosperous future, however, mid way through the first decade of the new millennium the club was struggling, struggling big time.

This seems to coincide with the period following on from the sad death of Don Collins, which is testament to what had contributed to prior to this point. It is fair to say that had it not been for the continued dedication of time and effort of John Cooper and the financial backing of Bob Spillane, we would not be here tonight celebrating the clubs 90 th anniversary dinner. Any tribute to John cannot be made without making special reference to the Cooper family. From the early days of Kay “working the fields” to John’s daughter Jane and his grand- children Fiona, James and Kate all making a huge contribution behind the bar and in the kitchen over the years.

In fact young Kate is carrying on the tradition in 2012 and provides much needed glamour behind the bar every Saturday afternoon during the football season! Well, that is a very brief resume of Coops………….a living legend. His love affair with the Old Bromleians has ensured there is still a strong club there today. Words cannot do justice to what John has contributed to the Old Bromleians over some 65 years. Tonight also provides an opportunity to pay tribute the other half of the dynamic duo, Don Collins, who along with John ran the club as a double act between 1953 until Dons untimely passing in 2003. So it is great that we can welcome the Collins family here this evening and to thank them for what Don gave to the Old Broms.

Chairman’s Message

1922 was a special year as John keeps telling me. The BBC was formed, Queen Mary re-opened Waterloo Station, Readers Digest had its first edition, and the last piece of turf was laid at the football Mecca (no, not the Pig Farm) Wembley. But the biggest event that concerns us was the formation of The Old Bromleians Football Club. I was introduced to the Club playing for Ravensbourne School (Bromley Grammer) 1 st team in 1981 against an Old Bromleians 1st/2nd eleven as a rampaging centre forward. The great Robin Gonzalez obviously recognising my talent brought me down the Club as a goalkeeper!!!

Starting in the 2nds under Alan Farley’s supervision, and after a short while I managed to get into the 1st team. Playing alongside some fantastic players Robin, Malcolm Watson, Tommo, and Taffy to name just a few. At this time a lot of semi young players were coming through the Copice and Turp Mafia - Ozzy, Vinnie, The Scoates, The Treadgolds (we have a Baby Treadgold playing in the 1 st today, and he’s as miserable as his dad Micky) and the best of the lot Neil Boulton. A very successful and enjoyable time playing at the Old Pig Farm, so let me tell the present playing staff........you don’t know how lucky you are!! Upon returning to the Club in 2009 I was asked to take charge of the 1st Team with the help of Nigel Tolson (another great servant to the Old Broms).

After a short time I was given the position of Chairman of the Old Bromleians, a fantastic honour and a privilege. It’s only when you get given these positions that you realise how much work John does for the Club and has given for more than SIXTY years. When I was a player you didn’t do much apart from turn up to train and play, but all the work that goes on behind the scenes to make this possible is unbelievable, and John is at the heart of it all. The Club today is a very different place from my playing days. For starters The Club House being replaced, this was down to the efforts of the late Don Collins, John and Bob Spillane and it was he, when the Club found itself in financial difficulties came to its rescue. The playing sides today has also moved on, we run four Saturday sides.

The 1 st team play in the Kent County League with the 2nd & 3rd teams & Vets playing in the South London Alliance. On Sundays we have a Ladies side and a men’s side in the Bromley & District League. We also have an extensive Junior section with 15 sides, very successfully run by Steve Tingey and his team of managers following a merger with a nomadic side called Junior Sports in 2010. It is this side of the club that will be the life blood of the Old Brom’s going forward so I extend a special thank you to junior Brom’s, not only for their support tonight but for injecting much needed energy in our great club.

We have also gained Chartered Standard Development Status thanks to the fantastic efforts of Kirk Stoneham, Steve Tingey, and our treasurer Andy Stanford. I would like to say thanks to those responsible putting on this fantastic event, the 90 th Anniversary Committee; Rob MacKenzie (Chairman), Steve Baxter, Andy Marsh, Barry Clegg and James Petley.

Youth Section

The first Junior sides were formed at the club in 1979, known as Bromleians Youth and founded by Sally Stoneham and Mick Rolfe, both of whom now have grand-children playing at the club. Three successful teams ran for almost a decade, though the years to follow produced a number of other who came and went, which was the case until the recent merger and formation of the New Junior Bromleians.

Junior Bromleians FC was formed two and a half years ago as a result of the merger between Bromleians Youth and Junior Sports. The latter was founded in 1999 by Pete and Debbie Biggenden and had 12 teams, but no real home. Bromleians Youth however had fantastic facilities, but were struggling to attract enough players to form more teams. The merger created 14 junior sides, with over 200 boys and girls registered to the club. All age groups, with the exception of one are represented from under 8s through to under 18s.

Additional pitches were required to fulfill our home fixtures each week, so links were re- established with The Ravensbourne School, resulting in us using their excellent facilities on a Sunday at a very competitive cost. We also make use of their newly laid 3G artificial football pitch for training every Wednesday and Thursday night during October to April. The past 2 seasons have been very much a consolidation of the new club, however, behind the scenes we have been working very hard to achieve the FA Charter Standard. It should not be under-estimated the amount of time and effort this has taken.

It was with great pride and satisfaction that we found out at the end of last season that we had been awarded Development status (this is the second tier of three of the Charter, and very unusual to attain straight away). Equally rewarding was the news that the AFA had recognised our achievements by awarding Bromleians their Development Club of the Year award. Whilst the club has made a fantastic start, it is only the start.

Nights like tonight are crucial in making the funds that are required to move the club further and develop the facilities we already have, which are the envy of most amateur clubs. Over the next 3 years, our aims are to;

- Continue to expand the junior section, whilst remaining one of the cheapest clubs to join in the area
- Be known as & The Club & to play for in the Bromley borough
- Run at least one Girls team in the Junior section
- this a pre-requisite of the highest level of the FA Charter Standard
- Oversee the & transfer & of the majority of players coming to the end of their & junior career & into the Adults section.

It is the final point above which will see the two sections of the club work hand in hand going forward and therefore securing the future for our children playing sport as well providing them with easy access into adult football resulting in them enjoying the same experiences that we have done over the years.

Steve Tingey, Chairman, Junior Bromleians

Get in Touch

Celebrating 100 years of Bromleians

The John Cooper Ground
Scrubs Farm, Lower Gravel Road
Chislehurst School for Girls
Beaverwood Road
Chislehurst, Kent
The Ravensbourne School
Hayes Lane
Bishop Justus School
Magpie Hall Lane