COLNEY HEATH - CLUB HISTORY
"The "Magpies" were founded in 1907 and played their early football in the Hatfield District League and, after the 1st World War, joined the Mid Herts League, where the 3rd team played until recently. Earlier records indicate the winning of a Harcourt Cup but in is believed that this was Junior football some 18 month earlier, 1905-6.
Success was a long time coming - 1935-36, and was disrupted by the 2nd World War. The golden era of football came from 1946 through to 1960 when the club won the Mid Herts Benevolent Shield twice, the Bingham Cox Cup, Division 1 and Premier Division titles.
In 1952 the switch was made from Fuzzen Field to the Recreation Ground and into the Herts County League. Success continued with two Playing Fields Cups, the Aubrey Cup twice, Division 2, Division 1 and Premier titles. This culminated over the Easter weekend in 1960 with the Herts Intermediate Cup and Aubrey Cup double. The Reserve side also completed a double in 1958 winning both Cup and League. Odd trophies were picked up in the 60's 70's and 80's but these were pretty barren years on the field.
Off the field, however, the club fought for permission to use its old clubhouse. This was secured with leases still running today, but in August 1988 while modernising the building, the club burnt down. Without a clubhouse, the Magpies, playing from a portable cabin, gained entry to the Premier Division. A new clubhouse was built in 1989 and an extension added in 1993, along with post and rails. Floodlights were erected in February2000.
The wish to play South Midlands football eluded the club with 3rd, 3rd, 4th, 4th finishes from 1994 Â¬1998, when second place would have been enough. Centenary Trophies back to back and another Aubrey Cup were won but the Herts County title only came in 1999/2000, when coming from 15 points behind in January to win by 10 points from rivals, Wormley.
The club's ambition was to gain Premier Division status and with it FA Cup entry. Finishes of 5th 3rd 5th 6th and 5th were not enough in the initial seasons, despite numerous semi-final appearances and consecutive Charity Cup successes in seasons.(2001/2 and 2002/3) The South Midland Reserve Challenge trophy was collected in 2004/5.The First Division title eventually came in 2005/6. With this came the Premier Division and the FA Cup. We are now in our 4th season and steadily improving although an FA Cup win (or home draw) still eludes us. The facilities continue to be updated with ground improvements to the fore.
THE MANAGERS AND THE PLAYERS
As with all clubs, the Heath - or the Magpies - as they are more commonly known now, had its own breed of characters throughout the years. The pre war sides, would have been drawn from entirely local players. Sides would have featured an Allen, a Franklin, or a Littlechild. In recent times a Whitehead or an Eames. The most well known club man was without doubt the manager around the War Years who later went on to hold positions in The County League and Herts FA whom he served for many loyal years. This was Jesse Saywell.
In the olden days it was eleven players and the manager, where a Committee picked the side. Assisting off the field were Messrs Pickett, Archer, Kiff and Costain. C SKiff 'Charlie'later became Secretary of the club and the Mid Herts League producing the Centenary brochure in 1993. Players of this time included Roy Turner who went on to Barnet and Jimmy Whiting and Dickie Last who went on to St Albans, then both top amateur sides in the Country. Last and Whiting both returned in the 70's. They helped to win the trophies of the 50's.
Many players of the sixties were drawn away to the emerging London Corney and latterly Selby but had their roots and early times for the Magpies of this period. The foes of these years were North Mymms, Redbourn, Markyate and of course London Colney:
During the emergence of Sunday 'factory' football of the sixties the club slipped down the reconstituted County League. Can Patient had a few years at the helm where he had an up and coming star in Ian 'Grumpy' Whitehead. Grumpy went on to captain both 5t Albans and Stevenage and later returned to manage for a year in the early 90's. Another of Con's stars was Tony Chapman, who must have had the longest throw ever. It is alleged that Tony injured himself slipping in the Marble Halls at Highbury when he was with the other Magpies, Newcastle!
Geoff Blundell along with Jim Eames dragged the sides along after this with the assistance for a short period (6 games) of Ronnie Dukes. Ronnie was the famous City manager at the time of the Torquay United FA Cup tie. Torquay complained that they had no soap, so Ronnie took a case along for the replay.
Malcolm Waller a centre forward under Geoff Blundell had a spell leading the side of mainly Hatfield boys during the 80's. Geoff did provide us with the 'legend' who served us well before departing to play for and later manage Hertford. 'Lege is of course Dave Whitehead. Dave scored over 200 goals for Hertford before moving to Potters Bar and then back home, where he continued to score goals until breaking a leg in 2002. Tony Draper then had a spell before the most successful side of the late 80's was managed by Ian Yule, who plucked stars from all over the place. He was a successful Sunday League manager but still ended getting the sack after failing to produce the goods with his aging allÂ¬stars in the Premier Division of the County League.
Laird Budge (Spurs kit man) and Dave Lawrence ex City and Bishops 5tortford skipper in their Trophy days had a spell before the club turned to ex Watford Coventry and Irish International, Pat Morrissey. Pat's first job was to save the club from relegation. He kept the side up on a goal difference of one goal on the last day of the season back in 1993, at then Champions Sandridge, after being 15 points adrift at Xmas after taking over from Frank 'postman' Patrick. Pat was unable to fulfil the promotion dream but did bring Cup success with Centenary Trophies and a Charity Cup. 'Grumpy' had a year then Pat returned from Hemel leaving us with 'S**G' Jeggo. Pat is sadly no longer with us. Darren, to give (S**G) his correct name did not really possess stars, other than Welsh International Malcolm Allen and a talented group of 5tevenage Trainees, but kept us there or thereabouts in a plan to get us further up the ladder, both on and off the field. He introduced the club to 'Sven' O'Vell and since then between them the Aubrey Cup and the Championship, along with successful 3rd and youth teams have provided us with what you have today. Geoff, like Pat gave us Cup successes and got us very close to the position we felt we ought to be in but handed the reins to Craig 'Jonno' Johnstone to pursue the grail.
Craig almost single handedly fulfilled this dream in 2005/6 after an amazing unbeaten run of league 18 games (including 14 straight wins at the start of the season) that has carried us to our first Senior South Midlands title. The title winning season saw us score 106 league goals conceding only 27, with 26 wins, 3 draws and 3 defeats.
We are now into our second Centenary having come a long, long way. The FA Vase is now a regular feature; we are steadily improving our league position over four seasons in the Premier Division (16th, 15th, 12th and 5th) and this season had our first win in the FA Cup. Progress also continues off the field where we continue to upgrade our facilities and have a Grade F ground grading. The managerial pair of ex-Magpie players, Scott Lacey (102 club goals) and Wesley Awad look forward to improving our league placing and adding some silverware in their third year at the helm which we all hope is a long and fruitful relationship. Like previous generations they too wish to make their mark.
It is hoped that when the Saywell's, Kiffs, as well as 'silver fox' Morrissey and the numerous Littlechild's look down on us they approve of what they started and what continues today. After all, it's still only a game!
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