July 28 2016 22:13:20.
By Keith Long
- Beechy Archive 1977-1980
A gentleman named David Kelly has supplied some very important information regarding the launch of Beechfield FC.
The team was officially founded by David and his friend Paul Southwell in April 1977 and along with thirteen other boys (aged approx 12 yrs old) who all lived on the Beechfield Road estate just off Folly Lane Swinton, a meeting was held and it was decided to call themselves Beechfield Road FC.
Friendly matches were organised against other local teams and any home games were played at the end of Second Avenue on a pitch the players made themselves. The boys contacted City of Salford Council and asked if they could mark out a proper pitch and provide them with some goalposts. The council kindly obliged but the boys were told that they would have to take the posts down after every game to avoid them being stolen. Several other meetings were held and it was agreed that the boys would try and get newspaper delivery jobs and the money earned would go towards buying footballs, nets, kits and football boots for the team members who could not afford them. They also decided to collect tins of food or fruit from each players family to make hampers and sold raffle tickets every Saturday on the estate to help raise extra money which went towards the running of the team. In June 1977 there were several street parties held to celebrate the Queens Jubilee and at one of these parties David met a man called Dennis Borg who lived on Second Avenue who was a referee and had plenty of experience in football. He offered to be the Manager of the team but his time in the role was brief and he was replaced by Les Hodgkiss who after about six months was forced to quit due to health problems.
Fortunately both Ted Sharples and Bill Critchley offered to take over the running of the team and they made a hut for the players to use as a changing facility and organised for their picture to be taken which was featured in the local newspaper. Eventually the team was allocated a place in a league (unknown) but David is able to remember the name of some of the teams they played. Barr Hill, Winnick FC, Junior Blues, Boundary Park plus a team from Rossendale were stronger and more talented than Beechfield Road but the result didn't matter it was the enjoyment of being able to take part.
Beechfield 1980Beechfield - 1980
Towards the end of 1979 David Kelly realised that he was too old to play for the then Under 15s team and around the same time Karl Colehouse became the new team Manager. But due to work committments Karl's stay with the team was a brief one and he was replaced by (name not known) early in 1980. David reports that he was involved in a serious road accident and was in hospital for about four months. After his time in hospital he was visited at home by Karl Colehouse who told David that the team were now members of the Worsley and District League and had also changed their name to Beechfield United FC. David was not happy regarding the name change but Karl explained that initally the team was named Beechfield FC because all the players came from the Beechfield Road estate but at the time in 1980 the players came from all areas so it was felt appropriate to change the name so it was not just associated with the housing estate.
Edward Sharples the son of Ted Sharples gave a brief account of his time as a player for Beechfield FC. Home games were played on a pitch off Folly Lane Swinton and the boys used to train indoors with Salford Lads Club on a 5-a-side pitch. Edward is still in contact with most of his team mates and clearly remembers the majority of the games he played in. On one occasion Beechy were in action against Junior Blues,the match was played under floodlights on a plastic pitch. Another team from Oldham were Boundary Park who included in their line-up David Platt who during his professional career played for Crewe Alexandra, Aston Villa, Bari, Juventus, Sampdoria, Arsenal & Nottingham Forest, plus 62 full international appearances for England. Edward said we all enjoyed the match but our oppponents were better than us and it was clearly visible that David Platt was a special player and destined for stardom.