The Community of Brize Norton

Brize Norton Village Local Football

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Fred Bellinger writes


Local Football 1940-Late 1960's


Made from leather & covered your ankles with leather laces similar to hob-nail working boots.  Studs were laminated leather about 10mm in diameter, 12mm tall nailed to the sole of boot with 4 nails ror” or "luxury/’ rubber studs fixed with 6 shorter nails.   Sooner or later the nails would work through the soles making life very painful.


Made from leather stitched oblong or tee shaped panels with a leather laced opening where the rubber bladder was inserted.  Very heavy when wet & painful if you headed the laced area.  To inflate you had to blow the inserted bladder up to the correct pressure & tie it then lace up the ball ( Very tedious by today's standard where you just poke the adapter into the ball & inflate) & ,woe betide you if the ref wasn't satisfied because you would have to go through the rigmarole again


Thick cotton shirts & shorts, woollen socks all very uncomfortable & heavy when wet (no numbers or logo), pity the goalkeeper who usually had an uncomfortable woollen roll-neck top to wear.  Players usually provided their own shorts 8i socks & washed their own but the club would provide Bi wash the shirts in most cases.

Changing Facilities

At a pub if you were lucky, in a car or some grotty barn or cowshed, a tin bath of water was usually provided, sometimes hot, mostly not.   You were sometimes better off going home dirty & cleaning up at home (if you had better facilities) or if you were desperate to go out, wash your hands & face put your trousers on over your muddy (but now dry) legs & sort them out later when you got home.


In the 40's & early 50's not many had cars so Len Hughes from Bampton would provide one of his coaches (which was also handy to change in ), what it cost the club I don't know but they obviously had some deal.


Those that had cars (when the coach wasn't available) were guaranteed a place in the team   In fact when selecting the away team you had to be aware of getting to the venue so enough players with cars would be selected first.  If it wasn't too far you would cycle


Goals were wooden square posts with an oblong crossbar, hooks were screwed on for net fixing (taboo now) & pitches were marked out at the start of the season with creosote (also taboo now) so they were easy to follow with the white marker (usually lime another taboo object)  The grass was rarely cut and could be quite long making playing decent football difficult.


No substitutes were allowed so if someone was injured you played on with a depleted side  You may well ask if conditions & kit were so awful why did we bother (Good Question??)


Well we all loved playing the game, representing the village against all the other local village teams and the camaraderie & life long friendships formed with friends & foe over the years


From the mid 6O's playing conditions, changing accommodation & kit improved to today's standard & substitutes were gradually introduced in increasing numbers.


Fred Bellenger 2020






Phil Holmes  Updated on Tuesday 17 June 2016