ASWE were – cup finals at Fratton Park

ASWE as we were. Cup final time at Fratton park circa 1960. PPP-141230-103056001
ASWE as we were. Cup final time at Fratton park circa 1960. PPP-141230-103056001
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I love team photographs like this. To many people it might be any old football team, but to me it shows everything that was to change in the game in the following five years.

Apart from the fact that it is a local team playing an end-of-season cup final at Fratton Park about 1960, we can also see the style of kit from the time.

To think that just five years or so after this photograph was taken, England won the World Cup at Wembley with lightweight boots and lightweight or no shinguards at all.

Gordon Banks the England goalkeeper wore a cotton shirt rather then a woollen jumper.

The hard toe-capped boots the ASWE team are wearing in this picture could give the ball a good punt (there’s an old-fashioned word for you) upfield and many goalkeeper was winded after taking the ball in the midriff.

If an opposing player went over the top very little harm would have been done with the protection of the shinpads.

Look behind the players, to the Milton End of Fratton Park and there appears to be no floodlight pylon in the south-east corner.

As we know, Fratton Park held the first floodlit football match on February 22, 1956, when Pompey played Newcastle United. New floodlight towers were put up in 1962 so perhaps this photo was taken just before they were built.

The picture of the ASWE team was sent to me by Trevor Rees who tells me it was found in his late sister’s belongings. Coral Braycotton (née Rees), late of Portchester, emigrated to Australia in 1968 with her husband Mike and he forwarded it to Trevor for me to use.

Mike remembers ASWE won the game and it might have been the Purcell Cup. I am hoping there might be surviving members of the team (and the game) who can enlighten me.

Mike is in the back row second from the right.

Trevor tells me his late father Harry managed the team.

Their home pitch was at Portsdown West where, when it blew a gale, it took an age to retrieve the ball for a throw-in or goal kick.

Local football does not seem as popular as it once was. I can remember playing on Farlington Marshes, King George V and Alexandra Park on Saturday afternoons and every pitch being in use. It does not seem to be the case these days.

There were also many leagues in local football some being the Dockyard League, North End League and Portsmouth League. On a Sunday there was the Meon Valley League and the Havant Industrial League.

Playing in the Meon Valley League meant getting out to villages over the hill like Soberton, Droxford and Meonstoke. On arrival the team might be confronted by cows grazing on the dung-covered pitch. Happy days.

It is such a pity cup finals are not allowed to be played at Fratton Park, the local Wembley, any longer.