Friday, 6 February 2015

Helmshore Methodist Football Club

(all the following photos and information has been kindly supplied by Jack Pilling)

Sion Methodist Church, Helmshore
  (Please click over to enlarge)

Helmshore Methodists first football team was formed in 1955. It ran until 1959 once winning Division 3 of the Accrington and District Football league and reaching the semi-final of the league’s Townley Cup. In 1959 they amalgamated with Helmshore United.

In 1965 three players from the original team together with several sons of the same, who were playing for Haslingden Youth Club, got together and decided to reform. Leading lights in this reformation were Joe Haworth, who served on the Committee of the original team and Aquila Ashworth a devoted fan of local amateur football.
The Accrington Combination in 1965/66 consisted of four divisions plus a Junior Division, a total of 58 teams. The Methodists were put into Division 2 which included Haslingden St James, Poplar United and Cambridge Street Methodists whose team included prolific scorer Eddie Robinson and then Lancashire cricketer David Lloyd who was also a fine footballer. The Meths. First secretary was Joan Jenkinson, who was the only girl official in the Combination. The battles with Cambridge Street were highlights of the season but the best result they had was in the Colonel Bolton cup when drawn against a powerful S S Stotts team including ex Blackburn Rovers player Eric Corbridge, and against all the odds defeated them 3 -1.

The next season they were to meet Stotts in the final of the same cup but were beaten 2-1 on St James’s Prinny Hill pitch in front of a large crowd, reminiscent of the crowds who used to view the Haslingden Cup and Medals on neighbouring St Mary’s. That same season they achieved promotion to Division 1 and had the honour of being runners up in the Accrington League Sportsmanship cup. The highlight of their one season in Division 1 was the defeat of Helmshore United who were top of the league at the time. The team disbanded in 1978 by which time all the original players had retired although Aquilla Ashworth who was still involved asked Jack Pilling to play. He is still trying to recover from the experience which however resulted in a 4 goals to nothing win.

Aquilla liked to tag some players with nicknames. Examples were:-
Frank Ashworth – Oddjob (After the James Bond character)
Alan Isherwood – Clogger ( wholehearted tackling)
Brian  Haworth – Little Ben (The youngest of 3 brothers) Bonanza.
Martin Nuttall - Sidney (Martins Uncle Sidney was well known Chip Shop owner)

Members of the Committee from left
Fred Wadsworth, Joe Haworth, Aquilla Ashworth, Fred Barlow Snr.

These are the names of players who played for the team. Apologies to any missed out.
Frank Ashworth, David Haworth, Alan Isherwood, Malcolm Isherwood,  Brian Haworth, Colin Mitchell, Jack Pilling, John Wadsworth, Ken Riding, Keith Riding, Fred Barlow, Robert Haworth, Ronnie Wolfenden, Geoffrey Wolfenden, Ian Jefferson, David Smith, Peter Kelly, Joe Fox, Bernard O’Connell, Walter Maudsley, Fred Garrard, Peter Watson, Billy Staines, Terry Byrne, David Atherton, Chris Chaplow, Fred Teese, Dennis Hill,  Brian Lees,  Sherwood, Alan Jepson, Gordon Bright, David Peddie,  Hardman, Jack Hayhurst, David Malvern, Kershaw, Kenny Gregory, Neil Hulton, Martin Nuttall, Ronnie Greenwood, Laurence Barlow, Stewart Molloy, Michael Ingham, Philip Davies, Peter Wharton, Raymond Clegg, Raymond Barlow,  Derek Sowerby, Tom Egan, John Wylie, George Ashworth.    
Helmshore Methodist Football Club
(Back row from L): Ref, Ken Riding, R Haworth, A Isherwood, F Ashworth, R Wolfenden, F Barlow.
(Front row from L): D Haworth, J Wadsworth, Keith Riding, C Mitchell, J Pilling
Photo: kindly supplied by Jack Pilling and sent in on 6th Feb 2015.

1967 Cup Finalist
Notebooks showing officers of the club - Please click over to enlarge

1968 Team photo

 1969 Team Photo

                                                                               1970 Team Photo

                                                Helmshore Methodist Football Club

Methodist are playing here in the blue shirts, in action on Houghton Road in the days before the Sports Centre was built. (Click over photo to enlarge)

                                          A team photo published in the Haslingden Observer. 

Helmshore Methodist Football team doing some indoor training in the school room of the old Sion Methodist Church.  (Photo: Haslingden Observer - Garth Dawson)

This photo depicts the goalkeeper Frank Ashworth in action against Cambridge Street and being played on Prinny Hill ground (you can just make out Lamberts factory in the background).