Nearly fifty years ago, I said good-bye to my family and
friends and moved abroad to live. At that time, I would
never have understood that football could play such an
important part in keeping in touch with my father. But
thanks to his enthusiasm for Banstead Athletic Football
Club, we had something to write about in our letters to each
Early in his youth, he had played in local teams on
Tooting Common near his home. Then he volunteered to join
the army in 1914 and after a year or so training, his
regiment was sent to India where they stayed until 1919.
There were plenty of opportunities for sport and he was
soon playing in football matches between companies, between
brigades and occasionally for other "Cup" competitions. Even
when his regiment was stationed on the borders of Kashmir,
with the weather growing colder every day he was out every
afternoon training the team. He was an enthusiastic
footballer and the sport provided him with healthy
occupation to combat the boredom and homesickness from which
Some 35 years later when my parents moved to Nork my
father discovered he was within walking distance of the
Tattenham Way football ground. He supported Banstead
Athletic Football Club, and continued cheering them on when
they moved to Merland Rise.
It is touching to re-read my father's letters today and
realise how his writing to me about the football club was a
way of keeping our relationship alive. At that stage in my
life, football was far from my thoughts as I was still
getting used to a new country, a new language and wholly
engaged in my own family life. However, as I wrote home
regularly, it was a usual topic to ask how the A's were
November 30th 1958, in a letter to me, he wrote:
The A's are doing well in the League. Played 7 won 6
33 goals for - 8 against but Farncombe won the cup
(Surrey Senior) from us last week by 2 goals to 1. We held
it last year.
I have your this year's Supporters' Club membership card in
case you want to use it.We have a grandstand now where we
can sit for ninepence. It is in anticipation of our entry
into a higher League - the Corinthian League -
next year- Only poor accommodation prevented this for this
November 2nd 1959:
Banstead F.C. are in the doldrums. They have lost the
last four games.
February 15 1960:
Now some news for you Wendy, as you are a member of the
B.A.F.C. Supporters' Club. The Club are below halfway in the
League with 37 goals and 43 against. They have won one match
in the last six games - and we are very unhappy. And it
rains or snows or blows a gale every Saturday to make it
worse. We will never get to Wembley at this rate.
Mr. Davis enquired about you.
Since you ask, Wendy, the A's are doing better than for 3
years and now about 1/2 way down in the League but have scored
30 goals with 21 against. And have won 5 out of 6 Cup
matches and will play Redhill in the Surrey Senior Cup 2nd
round in January. If we beat them and we have a chance, we
will play teams like Sutton or Tooting or Mitcham in the
September 8th 1963
So far the A's have won 3 matches and drawn one. A very
good beginning to the season 14 goals to 7. And the team are
showing very good football. I had to miss the game last
Saturday of course [He was at my cousin's wedding that
At last our football season is ended this evening when we
lost the final in the Surrey Senior League Charity Cup to
Feltham 3 - 1 . We have reached 3 cup finals only to
lose each time although scoring 42 goals to 22 against in
Cup competitions. And were 4th in S.S. League having scored
77 goals to 44 against. Which is so much better than last
1964 or 1965
Banstead A's have had bad luck being out of the 2 Cup
competitions after 4 games. Last season we got through over
12 games even to a final before losing a 2 - 1 game.
But we are on top of the Surrey Senior League with 9 games
played, won 7 drawn 2 lost none and 24 goals and 4 against.
So 18 points out of a possible 18 !
I have been helping to build a new brick tea hut on Sunday
mornings and Tuesday evenings & hope to have it ready
for use next week.
As you are a member of the Supporters' Club Wendy, I am
sending you the club badge to wear on appropriate occasions
& adorn the mantlepiece when not.
The A's continue to keep in the top 5 or 6 . Boxing Day
match with the champions who have lost only one match in 14
could only beat us 1 - 0 and the result could easily
have been reversed.
As for the A's they are bottom of the League and I don't
often go to see them play. It makes me unhappy.But some will
be happy as the club has commenced building a club-house
complete with bar. So it is thought we will progress thereby
in some direction and help drown our sorrows.
1969 or 1970
As for our football team, ugh! They have won one game in
the eight this season. They play Uxbridge tomorrow in the
F.A. Cup and if they lose, my mate and I will consider
giving up going. It is too painful to watch.Last year we had
won the first seven games.
The A's are doing better this year. I've not been to all
the matches but have seen them beaten only once. Even so
they can't score goals like the team we had years ago. I
believe they are 4 from the top. Last year 1 from the
bottom! So some improvements evident. We have now a
club-house. Licensed beer and a Saturday dance and booze-up.
And been robbed twice.
December 29 1970
The A's are doing better now and 4th or 5th from the top
and playing Dulwich Hamlet in the Surrey Cup soon, having
beaten 3 teams in the competition.
December 9th ?
About Banstead Football, we have a pretty good team now
and have several wins with goals for 25 and 16 against. We
even had a win 8 - 0 !
And I have sold £3-5-0 worth of Xmas draw tickets to
help the funds.
Thus wrote an enthusiast to the end.