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History & Honours

History

club history

The earliest record of Long Melford Football Club is 14th January 1868 on the Church Green in the village against Ipswich Rangers, with Melford winning 5-1 a great start to an illustrious history.

Not a selection of balls to choose from! In the early days it was an animal bladder covered in hessian. The village launched a "Penny a Week" campaign and eventually a leather ball was purchased.  In those starting days the Church was interlinked to the football club with the Rectory being heavily involved.

The team moved to various ground locations in the village. The team became very successful and the 1887/88 season was particularly successful. The total running expenses for the club in that season amounted to £30 with a deficit arising of 10shillings and 10 pennies which members met from their own pockets.  Just to think, in season 2016/17, expenses for three officials at a match came to over £300!

Melford won the Suffolk Senior Cup in 1887 beating Woodbridge Town 1-0 in a replay after beating Ipswich Town in the semi final. In 1863 one of the Melford players William Neville Cobbald was capped by England in the period 1883 to 1888. In 1895 they again won the Suffolk Senior Cup.

The third victory in the Suffolk senior Cup came in 1908/09. Melford continued to thrive throughout both war periods playing at different venues throughout the village. There was always great rivalry between Sudbury and Long Melford and some of the games would attract in excess of 2000 spectators.

Lurching from success to almost extinction Melford survived some dramatic years and eventually purchased through public subscription their present ground 'Stoneylands' in the late 1940's.

Over the years Melford have had the "benefits" of having several talented professionals turn out and against at the club.  In the late 1940's Alf Chalkley ex West Ham fall back who kept the Black Lion PH was appointed player coach.

Soon after this Bert Barlow ex Barnsley/Wolves, Leicester player became player-coach. Barlow won an FA Cup winners medal with Portsmouth in 1939 when he scored two goals in the 4:1 victory over wolves. Three years on Long Melford won the Suffolk Senior Cup in the early 1950's.

Until 1959 The Cock & Bell PH was used as head quarters and changing rooms for the club, with all players having to walk down the Village Street for the games at Stoneylands! After this changing rooms were built at Stoneylands by voluntary labour and exist to this day.

In recent times Melford despite being a Village Club, with very limited resources, have progressed to step FIVE of the football pyramid and currently play in the Premier Division of the Thurlow Nunn League.  Much hard work, by some very loyal stalwarts has been the foundation for that success.  Long Melford now has a first team, reserve team, 2 under 18s, 8 youth teams and two teams for young ladies.

With costs escalating, it is only through good sponsorship and hard work by a few that this club still exists after 150 years.


Selected Club Honours

  •  Eastern Counties First Division (1)
  •  Eastern Counties League Challenge Cup (1)
  •  Suffolk Senior Cup (8)
  •  Essex & Suffolk Border League (5)
  •  Essex & Suffolk Border League Cup (3)

 

 

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