Supporting and Developing Football in Hertfordshire Since 1885…
Few County Football Associations in England enjoy such a rich heritage as Hertfordshire, and it all began, quite unintentionally, in a pub in Holborn in 1885
In the early 1880's there were already 20 clubs operating Hertfordshire and with interest continuing to grow, the Secretary of St Albans FC, Mr. R. Cook called a meeting of the county’s clubs.
The meeting was to have been held at The Football Association's headquarters, then at 51 High Holborn but on arrival the club officials found the offices closed.
The gentleman decided to take matters in their own hands, and found a nearby public house, The Farringdon, to hold their meeting. It was here that the Hertfordshire Football Association was founded.
In its first season 20 clubs affiliated and numbers substantially increased year on year. Today more than 3,000 teams affiliate to play football in Hertfordshire.
Brief timeline: Hertfordshire Football Association
Association formed with 20 member clubs
Under the guidance of Mr. H.W. English, a master at Hitchin Grammar School and Secretary of the Association from 1894 to 1898, a scheme to control the Association's affairs by a council was introduced.
This initial scheme, albeit developed and improved still forms the basis on which the administration of The Hertfordshire FA is conducted today.
The Association was facing difficulties until a man of the moment, George Wagstaffe Simmons stepped in. During Wagstaffe Simmons 18 years as Secretary the Association's fortunes were transformed.
When he took over there were less than 40 clubs, with funds available under £20. When he handed over to his successor the membership had grown to over 200 clubs affiliated and the Association had assets of £500, an enormous sum on money in those days, coming at the end of The Great War.
Wagstaffe Simmons appointed Chairman of The Hertfordshire FA Council and also represented Th Hertfordshire FA on the Council of The Football Association, positions he held until 1951.
During his time with The FA he became Chairman of the International Selection Committee and established reputation, not only as an eloquent speaker on all subjects relating to the game, but as authority on its laws and admissions.
County Association reaches its Golden Anniversary with a Jubilee Banquet and Concert held at the Holborn Restaurant. During the evening Mr. Wagstaffe Simmons was able to say 'I do not suggest that the Hertfordshire FA Council is perfect, but it’s not far off'.
Proposing the toast to the Hertfordshire FA was Stanley Rous, Secretary of The Football Association, who ten years prior to his appointment to football's top job was a member of The Hertfordshire FA Council.
During this period Hertfordshire's population increased by 34% which caused huge problems in relation to playing fields and recreational facilities. The Association applied to The FA for financial aid, without which the necessary work could not be undertaken.
The Association celebrated its 75th Anniversary and at the Dinner Stanley Rous, now a knight of the Realm, proposed the toast to Hertfordshire FA. In 1985 Sir Stanley completed an amazing treble when he was guest of honour at our Centenary Celebrations held at Watford Town Hall.
Sunday Football was brought under the Control of The Hertfordshire FA and its rapid expansion introduced many new players to the game by hundreds.
Hertfordshire County Youth FA. becomes part of The Hertfordshire FA.
Hertfordshire FA becomes a Limited Company, one of the first counties in England to take this step.
Former Managing Director, Ron Kibble, then announced that our nomadic existence was finally over as we bought the lease of Letchworth Football Club Ground through the hard work of Mr Kibble, Eric Hand and Cecil Hudson. As a result, new County FA Headquarters opened in Letchworth the same year.
Hertfordshire is lucky that many people served their County year after year to progress the Association, some being Ernest Scott, W.R. Watson, George Wagstaffe Simmons, Percy Poulter and Arthur Aldridge. These names may mean little to players of today but if it was not for them the Hertfordshire FA would not have been able to progress to where it stands today.
Given such humble beginnings, their legacy is a substantial one, for it earned the Association an enviable reputation as one of the best-managed governing bodies of our national sport, a reputation that has continued into more demanding arena of the 21st Century.