WE thank Alan Oakley of Amblecote, Stourbridge, for bringing along this fixtures list for Stourbridge FC from the 1908-09 season. The large poster, now framed, currently hangs at the football club but for years it was unceremoniously stuffed up a chimney.
It was discovered around 15 years ago by Alan’s friend Eric Pitts who runs a tile business in the premises of the former Wheatsheaf pub, Wordsley. He told Alan he had discovered something inside one of the chimneys and Alan went along and found the fixture list. The thick card had been used as an aid to the draught or to stop soot falling back down the chimney.
Despite the many decades of such use the poster was in a remarkably good condition and cleaned up well.
The football club began as Stourbridge Standard in 1876 but by the late 1880s it was known simply as Stourbridge FC. The club’s earliest honours appear to be winning the Kidderminster Cup and the Worcester Charity Cup in 1887-88 and the Dudley Guest Hospital Cup in 1891-92. They played in the Birmingham and District League and were runners up in 1901-02 but did not win the league until 1923-24. Stourbridge FC currently play in the Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division.
The poster is a wealth of information about Edwardian Stourbridge and the football club, not least the list of matches. At that time the Birmingham and District League was arguably the best league outside top-flight football and over the 1908-09 season the club would play matches across the Midlands against some big-name teams, including the reserves teams from a number of First Division clubs.
The list is as follows: 1908: Sep 5, Wellington Town (a); Sep 12, Worcester City (h); Sep 14, Stoke (h); Sep 19, Dudley (a); Sep 21, Brierley Hill (a), Sep 26, West Bromwich Albion (h); Oct 3, Birmingham (a); Oct 10, Halesowen (h); Oct 17, Wrexham (a); Oct 24, Shrewsbury Town (h); Oct 31, Walsall (h); Nov 7, Stafford Rangers (a); Nov 14, Wolverhampton Wanderers (h); Nov 21, Burton United (a); Nov 28, Aston Villa (h); Dec 5, Stoke (a); Dec 12, Crewe Alexandra (h); Dec 19, Kidderminster Harriers (a); Dec 26, Brierley Hill (h).
1909: Jan 2, Wellington Town (h); Jan 9, Worcester City (a); Jan 23, Dudley (h); Jan 30, West Bromwich Albion (a); Feb 6, Birmingham (h); Feb 13, Halesowen (a); Feb 20, Wrexham (h); Feb 27, Shrewsbury Town (a); Mar 6, Walsall (a); Mar 13, Stafford Rangers (h), Mar 20, Wolverhampton Wanderers (a); Mar 27, Burton United (h); Apr 3, Aston Villa (a); Apr 17, Crewe Alexandra (a); a date had yet to be set for the home game against Kidderminster Harriers.
The fixture list looked like a tough proposition for the Glassboys, given their form the previous season. Then they played 36, won only 5, drew 3, and lost 28, scoring 31 goals and conceding 95, giving them a goal difference of -64. However, Stourbridge improved, playing 34, they won 9, drew 10, and lost 15, scoring 49 goals and conceding 57.
Nowadays Stourbridge play in red and white but at the time of this poster their strip was claret and white stripes.
The poster gives the club’s headquarters and changing rooms as the Rising Sun Inn, Amblecote. This is one of the lost pubs of Stourbridge and stood to the north of the present day site of the Royal Oak public house.
Before this area was redeveloped in the 1950s there was a pair of cottages at the junction of Vicarage Road and Amblecote High Street, then the original Royal Oak, then a tall building known as High House, which was once the home of Amblecote Training School, and then the Rising Sun, approximately where The Holloway is today.
The fixture list also carries several adverts for local businesses.
There is W.E. Cole, 101 High Street, gents’ and ladies’ hairdresser; Dunham and Co., 121 and 127 High Street, hatters, hosiers, glovers, shirt-makers and stockists of football shirts and waterproof coats and umbrellas; William Marr, Longlands Store, Clifton Street, for groceries and provisions; Skidmore’s, Lower High Street, coal merchants; H. & F. Kelley, proprietors of the Angel Brewery; C.L. Taylor, maltster and corn merchant, with corn stores at 34 and 35 Market Street, Stourbridge and maltings at Vauxhall, Queen Street and Enville Street, Stourbridge, and Furlong Lane, Cradley; T.J. Mason, New Road, plumber, glazer, paper-hanger and house decorator; and well-known shoe chain Freeman, Hardy and Willis, at 143 High Street.
Many of those businesses were features in Stourbridge well into the 20th century and some readers may well remember them.