Schools’ Football in Lancashire (first draft 2004; updated each year)
M.J. Duffy – Honorary Secretary LSFA
The history of schools football in the county goes back to the last decade of the 19th century and since that time has always been closely linked to the larger Lancashire County Football Association. In the intervening years there have been numerous changes to organisation due to educational, political and demographic factors, all of which have altered the structure of schools football organisation.
The early days of formal organisation rapidly moved from local associations, primarily in Bolton, Blackburn, Bury, Darwen, Preston, Liverpool, Lancaster and Manchester to the formation in 1904 of the English Schools’ Football Association, celebrating its centenary this year (2004) as Lancashire celebrates 125 years of football. Six of the original twenty one members of the ESFA came from Lancashire – Bolton, Bury, Darwen, Liverpool, Lancaster and Manchester. By the late 1920s almost 300 associations were taking part in the ESFA competition with thirty of these coming from Lancashire. At present there are some 300 associations under the aegis of the national schools’ association with 11 of these coming from the “new” Lancashire, supplemented by 6 primary associations.
The Lancashire SFA handbooks going back to the 1920s remain intact as a valuable primary source for any football historian. A further remarkable source of information is the Lancashire Cup, presented by the LFA in 1920, which remained in the new Lancashire, following government reorganisation in the 1970s. Now over 80 years old it shows its age a little but it does record a continuous tradition of schools football at district representative level. The early domination of the trophy by the cities, Liverpool and Manchester, over some 50 associations in the county, has been replaced by a more localised representation with eleven associations forming the post-1974 Lancashire. Many very small associations, consolidated by the raising of the school age in 1947 and again in 1960, were subsequently made smaller by the developments from elementary to secondary and then secondary to comprehensive education and the formation of larger schools, amalgamated to form more viable institutions over the years.
Promoting the game in schools, the LFA presented a number of trophies in the 1920s to Atherton SFA (1927), Barrow SFA (1920), Hindley SFA (1923), Lancaster SFA (1922), Leigh SFA (1922), Makerfield SFA (1925), Preston SFA (1923) and West Lancashire SFA (1928). Blackburn SFA had already the famous Harry Boyle Cup, presented in 1897, possibly one of the oldest schools trophies still competed for today. Preston also had the 1906 Alderman Ord Cup and this, too, remains a prestigious competition trophy for schools in Preston. The Stanley Cup presented to Liverpool schools in the last decade of the 19th century is an indication of the growing stature of schools football.
The present Lancashire covers eleven districts – moving from East to West, Pendle, Burnley, Hyndburn and the Ribble Valley, Rossendale, Blackburn and Darwen, Preston, South Ribble, Chorley and District, Lancaster and Morecambe, West Lancashire and finally, Blackpool and District. Over 100 secondary schools and colleges and 600 primary schools fall under its jurisdiction. Whilst boundaries may have shrunk from the old Lancashire, the amount of football for pupils and students has definitely increased with LSFA county competitions organised each year for Under11s, 12s, 13s, 14s, 15s, 16s, 19s (boys) and now Under 13s and 16s (girls). In addition to these inter-school competitions, the Lancashire Cup (U15s) and Wrennall Cup (U14s) provide inter-association competition. County representative sides at Under 16s and Under 19s compete in the Northern Counties Competition and the ESFA Premier League National Trophy, whilst an Under 15s squad competes in a shortened season of friendly fixtures in order to prepare for the following year. Within the local districts inter-schools competition provides further football for its students at all age levels. In short, there is probably more football being provided for more Lancashire pupils and students in 2004 than ever before in the past.
It would be impossible to chart all the developments of Lancashire schools’ football in a volume such as this. The highlights, which follow, provide a snapshot, very much panoramic, of nearly 100 years of football at the grass roots level. Many details will naturally be omitted. For this, apologies in advance, but LSFA will appreciate any further pieces of a very complex jigsaw puzzle from the thousands reading this who played a part in the picture. For many, the peak of their soccer career was within the boundaries of schools’ football in Lancashire. Others went on to achieve fame in County sides and on the International field with the English Schools FA, whilst many progressed to the professional ranks and full International honours. The overwhelming fact is that, no matter at what level a player, manager, coach or administrator achieved success, hundreds of thousands have played a part in the development of the game in Lancashire and ultimately in the broader football sphere.
The present association, with probably two of the finest ambassadors for the game as its current patrons, Sir Tom Finney OBE, CBE and Jimmy Armfield OBE, is the product of a long history, in which so many played an integral part. Ironically, neither of the aforementioned gentlemen, though schoolboys in Lancashire, played for the county side, which enables one to end on this inspirational note for any schoolboy footballer feeling that they may have been overlooked – the greatest often develop later in their sporting careers.
The Nineteenth Century and Early Years of the Twentieth Century - Pioneers
Schools’ football was played in Liverpool and probably in other areas of the county in the seventies of this century. Definitive records, however, indicate that Aigburth National School won the senior football competition in 1893. The Harry Boyle Cup, presented by a local business- man in 1897 for Blackburn schools, remains probably the oldest trophy still contested for to this day. The first semi-finals and final were played at Ewood Park. The Alderman Ord Cup, presented to Preston SFA in 1906, is the closest contestant within the present Lancashire and since that date is traditionally played at Deepdale. Both competitions are keenly contested to this day with Blackburn and Preston records showing a fine pedigree of winners.
1889 Manchester Schools’ Athletics Association, primarily a football organisation, was formed at the instigation of Mr. George Sharples.
1904 At the National Union of Teachers’ Conference in Llandudno, a proposal by Thomas P. Thomas for a national schoolboy football competition resulted in the formation of the English Schools’ F.A.
1905 The first draw of the ESFA competition saw the following six Lancashire teams take part , just under half of the total entry of thirteen – Bolton, Bury, Darwen, Lancaster, Liverpool, Manchester, the latter reaching the semi-final, losing to Sheffield, who, in turn, were beaten by London 3-2 in the final at Llandudno. £120, a considerable amount in the 1900s, was paid to the Benevolent and Orphan Fund of the Union by ESFA
1909 W Taylor of St Andrew’s School, Preston captained the ESFA team, whilst no fewer than 23 boys from Lancashire gained International recognition during the first two decades of the century, this given that usually only two internationals were played in a season.
The 1920s – Grass Roots Rapidly Growing
Without a doubt this must have been one of the most exciting decades in the development of schools’ football. The statistics speak for themselves and the early pioneers of schools’ football have much to be proud of, testified by the following statistics:
Lancashire County Schools’ Association grew remarkably:
1919-20 9 associations
1919-21 16 associations
1919-22 29 associations
1919-23 33 associations
1919-24 43 associations
1919-25 48 associations
1919-26 49 associations
1919 Formation of the Lancashire Elementary Schools FA, at the suggestion of Mr. John Lewis, President of the LFA, with John Twist (Preston) and George Smith (Bolton) appointed as secretary and treasurer respectively. Bolton won the County Cup with the following associations taking part – Barrow, Blackburn, Burnley, Liverpool, Manchester and Preston.
1920 Formation of the Northern Counties Elementary Schools’ Sports Federation.
The Tetley Shield for Northern Counties Competition is instigated.
In the 1920s, this trophy was won by Lancashire on four occasions, with Yorkshire (3), and Durham, Cheshire and Northumberland, once each, following in the wake of the Red Rose.
1920s Lancashire Cup Winners were Manchester (5), Liverpool (2), Bolton (2), with “minnows” in the final being Salford, Barrow, Burnley and Eccles.
County players in the 1920s were presented with gold medals, firstly at the instigation of the LFA, then in 1926 and 1927 by Manchester City and Everton.
in 1923 the Chairman of the Burnley Education Committee, Elijah Keighley, introduced a cup competition for the town's elementary schools. The first final on April 3rd 1923 saw Stoneyholme beat St Mary Magdalene's 2-1 at Turf Moor, the traditional venue for this competition, The Keighley Cup, to the present day.
1924-25 Preston and Blackpool (in its first year in the competition) reached the semi-finals, only to see the might of Manchester prevail over Liverpool, after a replay.
A cartoon in “Punch” supported the appeal for better facilities for playing fields for the developing game. Nothing new here!
1927 The Daily Dispatch Shield was presented for Lancashire Elementary Schools’ competition. This shield is still presented to the Under 16s Lancashire Champion School. The rules for the 1920s stated that any boy under 14 taking on “full-time” work would become ineligible.
1928 Mr. George Smith (Preston SFA and LSFA Treasurer) became Chairman of the ESFA.
1929 R. (Bob) Dewhurst of Preston represented ESFA in the 1929 Internationals against Wales and Scotland. Bob’s photograph with his international cap was used in the 1999 LSFA Handbook and we were delighted to hear that he had received news of this at home in Preston.
In this decade 127 boys represented Lancashire, boys from Liverpool and Manchester were joined by players from Preston, Wigan, Bootle, Burnley, Bolton, Blackburn, Salford, Barrow, Southport, Rochdale , Lancaster, Morecambe, Bury, Eccles, Ashton, Coppull, Whitefield, Blackpool, Nelson, Worsley, Urmston, Droylsden, Liitleborough, Atherton – a sign of the breadth and depth of schools’ football in this golden era for the county.
In the twenties the Northern Counties Schools Sports Federation Championship for the Tetley Shield was won by Lancashire on four occasions, by Yorkshire three times and by Durham, Cheshire and Northumberland once each.
The Thirties – Depression but not in Lancashire Schools’ Football
1930 AJ Hughes (Southport) became the Hon. Treasurer, remaining in this office for 25 years.
The Association had now grown to 54 districts, many of these from quite small towns –an indication of the desire for representative football in all areas. It seems remarkable today that districts such as Coppull, Cartmell, Clitheroe, Haslingden, Leven & Crake, High Furness, North Lonsdale, Nelson, Orrell, Walton-le –Dale could compete, but they did, and contributed significantly
to grass-roots development
George Smith (Bolton) and Joseph Salterthwaite (Barrow) became the first Life-Members of the association. Other gentlemen awarded Life-Membership in this decade included R. Chase (Burnley), John Twist (Preston),
JL Wood (Ashton), T. Smith (Darwen), JL Mercer (Burnley) and H. Bolton (Radcliffe).
The decade began on a familiar note, Liverpool defeating Manchester at Anfield in the County Cup. Liverpool were to be county champions on three occasions in the thirties, eclipsed by Manchester’s four successes, Salford and St. Helens breaking the deadlock in 1934-5 and 1938-39 respectively.
1931-32 Manchester won the English Schools Trophy at Maine Road,
Manchester City’s ground, with a record attendance for a schoolboy football match.
The report for LSFA noted “trade depression” and its effects on gates at schools’ games.
1935 G. Gornall, W. Walshe (both Manchester) and H. Simpson (Liverpool) gained ESFA honours in the three home Internationals
1936 There were 59 competing associations within Lancashire; even depression could not keep football down. The 1937 report to Council spoke of “missionary work” to bring in Harwood, Todmorden and Bacup into inter-association competition.
1936-7 Preston drew with West Ham in the final of the ESFA Trophy. A young Tom Finney was substitute for his home town, kept out of the side by Tommy Hough, who with Mashiter, also from Preston, represented the County. The world-wide recognition, honour and affection that was to come to the young Finney is a lesson for all boys who may not succeed at the first levels.
R. Finch from St Ignatius School won his cap against Ireland.
John Twist (Preston) became Chairman of the ESFA, completing a memorable season for Preston SFA.
1937-8 Manchester completed a double – the Lancashire Schools Cup (7-0 over Liverpool) and the English Schools Cup over Bootle in an all-Lancashire national final.
JC Wright (Liverpool) became Hon. Secretary
L. Dodd (Manchester), Evans (Liverpool) and Lynn (St Helens) gained international recognition.
Sixteen boys from Lancashire gained International honours in a programme curtailed by significant economic and political events.
The Forties – the War Years
Obviously the end of the last decade and the start of this are overshadowed by World War. St Helens success in the Lancashire Cup in 1939 was to be the last final until competition began again in 1945-6, when, true to form Liverpool defeated Manchester in the final.
Nevertheless, just as makeshift league clubs, international sides and forces’ football continued, documented in so many biographies, autobiographies, reports and anecdotes, so schools football soldiered on to win in the end. The documentation for schools’ football in the war years is thin, the reasons fairly obvious.
1945 and appropriately 45 associations returned to competition, followed by 48 affiliations in 1946. The pre-war figures of over 50 would never be repeated, due to reorganisation of new educational divisions and the amalgamation of smaller associations.
1947-48 HR Atherley (Liverpool) became Secretary, following the death of JC Wright.
The raising of the school-leaving age enabled smaller associations to field stronger sides.
Leyland Secondary Modern won the Lancashire Cup.
In the 1947 County Cup Liverpool beat Manchester 4-0 and 2-1, whilst Salford won the ESFA Trophy.
The England v Scotland match was reintroduced, the game at Goodison Park attracting a crowd of 32,229. J. Waring (Blackburn) and C. Hunter (Liverpool) were in the England side with Jones (Liverpool) as reserve. A. Evans (Salford) later won honours against Eire.
An 18,000 crowd at Maine Road saw Manchester beat Bolton 2-0 in the 47-48 Lancashire final, the first leg at Bolton also being 2-0.
In the Lancashire squad for the first time was a young player named Dennis Violett (Manchester), one who went on to much greater achievements with Manchester United. Personal details have been kept out of this report, but one significant, in fact my earliest soccer, memory is being taken, aged 5, in 1949 to Turf Moor and told by my father to watch the young Violett.
Eddie Clayton (Preston), later to make his mark with Blackburn Rovers with his brother Ken, was also in the team.
Bryan Douglas was in the Blackburn town team, though he did not make the county side. However, he did go on to make 502 appearances for Blackburn Rovers and make the full England side in a fine career. Another example of the critical year of selection for the county side and, in those days, a sign of the quality of players in a county that covered a wide area with major soccer centres.
On November 10th 1949 the Lancashire v Yorkshire schoolboys match at Turf Moor Burnley was the first schoolboy match to be broadcast live on radio.
Membership reached the 50 level, a sign that Lancashire was back in full operation.
The usual Liverpool – Manchester final for the County Cup resulted in 1-0 and 2-1 wins for the former.
1949-50 Dennis Violett captained the ESFA side in his third successive season at International level. C. Birkett (Newton-le-Willows), P. Taylor (Bolton) and J. Eden (Prescott) completed a Lancashire foursome in the England side.
1949 The Fisher Cup was introduced for North Lancashire Associations at Under 15 level. This was the first in a series of regional competitions within Lancashire to extend inter-association involvement.
The Fifties - Lancashire had never had it so good (the thirties apart)
1950-51 Membership reached an incredible 54 associations.
John Twist became Vice-President of the Lancashire FA
Liverpool and Manchester reached the County Cup Final, defeating Bolton and Burnley respectively. In the two legs at Goodison Park and Maine Road , Manchester won the trophy, though the defeat by Swansea in the ESFA final deprived them of the “double”.
H.Collier (Horwich) played in an England Under 14 side against Ireland at Oldham.
Travel problems in this era are highlighted by an odd comment in the 50-51 report to Council – a “bowler-hatted gentleman making his 18 mile journey home on foot from an evening County game in Bolton”. Who was this man?
1948 The introduction of the Mid-Lancashire Cup covered the areas around Bolton and Wigan.
1953 Wigan/Bolton (jointly)
1955 Wigan/Farnworth (jointly)
1957 Horwich and Westhoughton
1951 The Kay Cup was inaugurated for Association teams at Under 14 level in North-East Lancashire.
Winners were: 1951 Blackburn
1954 Nelson & Colne
1952-53 Brian Miller (Blackburn SFA) represented the County, was overshadowed by a Duncan Edwards (Dudley in the 1952 selections for England), but went on to play 455 games for Burnley, won a First Division Championship medal and represented England in the full International side. He later managed Burnley from 1979-83 and from 1986-89.
1954 Golden Jubilee year of ESFA saw Derek Temple, later to enjoy a fine career with Everton, score twice in a 4-0 victory for Liverpool over Southampton in front of a 20,000 crowd at The Dell and then score twice again in the second leg at Anfield to ensure victory for Liverpool by 8-1. Temple played for the ESFA side
Liverpool was then the largest Association in the country with 170 schools in the area..
1955-56 The Lancashire side included Fred Pickering (Blackburn) who went on to play at Blackburn Rovers and later Everton and England, scoring a hat-trick in his debut against the United States.
1956 The South-West Lancashire Snowden Cup was introduced, winners in the fifties being; 1956 Crosby & Litherland
1957 St Helens
1959 St Helens
1957-58 The Lancashire side included a young Manchester boy, Stiles, who would later make his mark with Manchester United and the England world cup winning team in 1966.
1958 The West Lancashire Trophy for the George Ford Memorial Cup complemented the other regional trophies, Blackpool winning the competition in 1958 and 1959.
1959 The Luther Mercer Cup for Primary Associations was first played for, the winners Blackburn PSFA.
Fisher Cup Winners in the fifties were:
1958 Barrow/Lancaster (jointly)
1958 Bill Alder (Darwen) became Secretary of the Association, remaining in office until County re-organisation in 1974.
David Wilson of Burnley represented England and later made seven Under 23 appearances.
1958-59 Southport defeated Atherton to win the Lancashire Cup, breaking the stranglehold of Liverpool and Manchester, though the following season saw a return to normal service, as Manchester defeated Liverpool in the final.
1959 Chris Lawler (Liverpool) and later with Liverpool FC captained Lancashire SFA and the ESFA. Robert Smith and Ken Fletcher, both of Manchester, appeared in the Internatioinal side.
In the forties and fifties a regular “county” fixture between North Lancashire and Cumbria took place, Lancashire winners on four occasions, Cumberland with seven wins with one match drawn. The tradition of a Lancashire- Cumbria fixture continues with the Joe Humphreys Cup being presented in the memory of a former Lancashire and then Cumbria Chairman.
The Sixties – Lancashire still swinging
1959 Raymond Hewitt (Manchester) played centre-forward for England Schools.
1959 Geoffrey Harcombe and Albert Kinsey (Liverpool) and Alan Ashcroft (Wigan) were selected to play for England.
1960 County matches were played at Crewe Alexandra (v Cheshire 2-3) at West Bromwich Albion (v Birmingham & District 7-4), at Stafford Rangers (v Staffordshire 4-3) at Darlington v Durham 0-6) at Blackpool (v Yorkshire 7-3 and at Oldham Athletic (V Cheshire 0-3)
1961 Liverpool defeated Stretford in the County Cup.
1962 In this season eight Lancashire boys were selected to represent England – Edward Harrop and David Farrar (Manchester), Alan Hignett, Grant McCulloch, Adrian Maher and Gerry Glover, (Liverpool), John Hurst (Blackpool) and John Pearson (Wigan).
In the Lancashire Cup Liverpool with four International players in the side defeated Blackpool with John Hurst in the team – he was later to make nine Under 23 International appearances.
The Woodhead Cup for Lancashire Under 14 Associations was introduced, the first winners being Eccles & Irlam.
1963-4 Eric Curwen of Blackpool captained the England side, William Baker, David Grant and Robert Roach (Liverpool) joining him.
1964-65 Two later to be famous names appeared in the Lancashire side – Roy Evans (Bootle) and Joe Royle (Liverpool). Both went on to play and manage at the highest level, in fact meeting up in the seventies in the Merseyside derby. Evans played in all the international matches for England in this season. Alan Whittle also played in the 1965 team and later was capped at Under23 level
A new Competition was added to the repertoire of Lancashire SFA – the Coldstream Cup for Under 15 school sides, presented by the NE Lancashire branch of the Coldstream Regiment Association, and covering the Calder Valley towns of Colne, Nelson, Brierfield, Burnley and Padiham the first winners being Nelson Grammar School.
Arthur Styles and Alan Whittle (Liverpool) represented England, the latter going on to make the England Under 23 side.
1965-66 Mitchell and Sargeant (Liverpool) represented England along with Hallam (Middleton)
1965 International matches at Under 18 level extended the schools’ programme with games against Scotland (2-2 at Motherwell) and Wales (4-1 at Leeds)
1966-7 George Jones and William Kenny (Liverpool), Cantello and Towers (Manchester) played for England. Len Cantello would play in eight Under 23 Internationals, whilst Tony Towers would add three full International honours to his eight Under 23 appearances.
Martin Dobson appeared for England Under 18s against Wales and Scotland. He would later figure prominently at Burnley and Everton and made five full International appearances for England. His £300,000 transfer to Everton in 1974 was a then British record.
1967-68 Harry Whittaker (Burnley) became Chairman of the Northern Counties and Lancashire obliged by winning the Northern Counties Championship 2-1 over Cumberland.
1968-69 Leslie Ormond (Manchester( captained the England side, with John Smith (Liverpool), Thomas O’Neill (St Helens), and Noel Nickling (Farnworth & Worsley) also in the team.
At Under 18 level Hamill (Crosby) and Orritt (Kirkby) represented England in a 7-1 win over Wales at Reading.
John Richards from the Under 19s side played for England and would go on to enjoy a successful career professionally with Wolverhampton Wanderers as well as England Under 21, Under 23 and full international honours.
1969-70 Lancashire SFA celebrated its Golden Jubilee. In his address to Council J. Wansell (Salford) noted the labours of the pioneers in the twenties, the halcyon days of the thirties when Lancashire teams won the National Trophy in five consecutive seasons and in six years out of seven, the vision of Lancashire FA administrators in the introduction of the Substitute Rule and the growth of schools’ football in the county.
On March 22nd 1969 the Victory Shield International match between England and Scotland was staged at Turf Moor Burnley. A 2-0 win for Scotland.
A jubilee representative match was played at Old Trafford against an English SFA side, admission prices ranging from two to four shillings for adults, with children admitted for one shilling or half a crown for the centre stand. Lancashire won 5-2 in an exciting open match.
The Golden Jubilee year was crowned by a Lancashire victory in the Northern Counties Championship, a 2-1 win over Durham in the final. The following year a 0-0 draw between the same two teams saw the championship shared
John Ferguson and Billy Rodaway (Liverpool) and John Gannon (Manchester) played for the England Under 15s in games against Scotland (twice), Wales, Eire, Northern Ireland, Netherlands and West Germany (twice).
Woodhead Cup 1962 Eccles & Irlam
1966 Farnworth & Worsley
1969 Barrow and Burnley (jointly)
1961 Farnworth & Worsley
1962 Farnworth & Worsley
1964 Farnworth & Worsley
1966 Prestwich, Radcliffe, Whitefield
The Kay Cup (East Lancashire)
1964 Nelson & Colne
1965 Nelson & Colne
The Fisher Cup (North Lancashire)
1961 Barrow/Lancaster & Morecambe
1962 Lancaster & Morecambe
1964 Lancaster & Morecambe
1965 Lancaster & Morecambe
1970 Lancaster & Morecambe.
The George Ford Cup (West Lancashire)
In the sixties Liverpool completed five consecutive Lancashire Cup victories defeating Stretford, Blackpool, Blackburn, Kirkby, Wigan and Middleton in the 1960-65 years. Blackburn won the trophy in 1966-7, Manchester in the following two seasons.
The Seventies – Government Re-organisation and a Shrinking County.
From 1970 through to 1973 the “old” Lancashire still existed but after 55 years of tradition, the “new” and present Lancashire was formed, Cumbria taking the North Lancashire associations, Merseyside and Greater Manchester absorbing associations in their areas.
1970-71 Lancashire drew with Durham 0-0 in the Northern Counties final.
1971 Gordon (Stretford), Marshall (Liverpool) Wardrop (Salford) and Cahill (Crosby) played for England
St Theodore’s Burnley won the Coldstream Cup for the sixth consecutive year.
Manchester defeated Liverpool in the Lancashire Cup.
1972 Players representing England included Ross (Ashton), Pimblett (Huyton) and Corcoran (Ormskirk). For the Under 18s side, G. Cooper won international honours.
England played Scotland at Turf Moor Burnley in the annual international match, the result a 5-2 win for England
Accrington Grammar School finally broke the St Theodore’s grip on the Coldstream Cup, though St Theodore’s were to win it again in 1973.
Bradley and Botham (Manchester) played for England.
Manchester won the last Lancashire Cup final defeating Burnley.
1973-74 This was to be the final season under the old regime of Lancashire. Lancashire would become a much smaller, more compact county without the large metropolitan areas and the amalgamation of smaller district.
Lancashire completed the old regime with a Northern Counties Championship victory, 1-0 over Yorkshire.
The roll of honour for the following competitions, which now ended in 1973, is as follows
Talbot Cup (Mid-Lancashire)
1972 No competition
Kay Cup ((East Lancashire)
Fisher Cup (North Lancashire)
1971-72-73 Barrow/Lancaster & Morecambe (jointly)
Snowden Cup (South Lancashire)
1973 St Helens
George Ford Cup (West Lancashire)
1974 The formation of the new Lancashire county took place at a meeting at Preston Catholic College, D.B. (Bryan) Edwards of Chorley becoming the Secretary, a post he was to hold until 1986. Father Michael Spencer of Preston Catholic College became the first Chairman. The eleven districts seems a far cry away from the 50+ days of the former association; the eleven were
Accrington & District
Blackburn & Darwen
Blackpool & District
Chorley & Leyland
Lancaster & Morecambe * District
Nelson & Colne & District
Preston & District
1974 The new Lancashire captain, Michael Duxbury (Blackburn), was later to achieve success at the highest level with Manchester United.
Peter Savill (Rossendale) played for England Under 15s
1975 The strength of the county in its first season against its former colleagues augured well for success: results were
V Merseyside at Turf Moor 1-0 (the first match at Turf Moor under the new £30,000 floodlights)
V Greater Manchester at Mossley FC 0-1
V Cheshire at Griffin Park 3-1
V Durham at Deepdale 0-1
V Cumbria at Barrow 0-0
The Under 19s side had an equally promising start:
V Merseyside at Bury 2-1
V Greater Manchseter at Bury 1-0
V Greater Manchester at Chorley 1-1
V Derbyshire at Chesterfield 1-0
V Durham at Deepdale 1-2
The first new Lancashire champions were as follows:
Lancashire Cup (Under 15s) Blackburn & Darwen
Wrennall Cup (Under 14s) Preston
Lancashire Champion School Leyland Wellfield
Lancashire representative ESFA Under 19s St Mary’s College Blackburn
Lancashire representative ESFA Under 16s St Theodore’s Burnley
Subsequent champions in the seventies were as follows:
Lancashire Champion School
1976 St Theodore’s Burnley
1977 St Thomas More Preston
1978 St Mary’s College Blackburn
1979 St Theodore’s Burnley
ESFA Individual Schools Under 19s Representative
1975 St Mary’s College Blackburn
1976 Runshaw College
1977 Accrington College
1978 St Mary’s College Blackburn
1979 St Theodore’s Burnley
ESFA Individual Schools Under 16s Representative
1975 St Theodore’s Burnley
1976 St Christopher’s Accrington
1977 St John Southworth Preston
1978 St Thomas More and William Temple (both Preston)
1979 St Mary’s College Blackburn/St Thomas More Preston
LSFA Under 16 Open Cup
1976 Wellfield Leyland
1977 St Theodore’s Burnley
1978 St Thomas More Preston
LSFA Primary Schools Cup
1979 Hyndburn and Skelmersdale (jointly)
In 1975 Mike Hodkinson (Blackburn & Darwen) became Treasurer, a post he still holds in 2004, the longest serving officer of Lancashire SFA. He finally retired in 2006 to live in the Dordogne district of France.
1975-76 Lancashire defeated Humberside in the Northern Counties Championship at Deepdale by a score of 4-2. This was an undefeated season for the Under 15s with victories over Clwyd (twice 3-2 and 4-1), Cheshire (twice 5-2 and 3-1), Merseyside 6-1 at Marine FC. Before the final at Preston North End.
1977-78 Lancashire drew 2-2 with Derbyshire to share the Northern Counties Trophy and reached the final the following year, losing 2-3 to Cleveland.
1978-79 The outstanding county player this season came from the smallest association, Pendle: Michael Phelan would go on to play in a successful Manchester United team before later in his career joining Norwich City. He returned to Old Trafford to serve in coaching and management
Keith Tierney (West Lancs) represented England at Under 15 level.
From the Under 19s side Andrew Morley won international caps with the ESFA.
In this decade other international players at Under 18 level included Stephen Adams (1978),Gary Cooper (1973), James Dootson (1977),Edward Green (1978).
1980 Peter Whitttaker (St Theodore’s Burnley) at Under 19 level became the first England player in the new Lancashire regime.
1981 Simon Westwell played in the Under 15s County side and went on to play professionally with Preston North End.
1978-79 Lancashire drew with Derbyshire in the Northern Counties Championship with earlier victories over Cheshire 6-0, Merseyside 1-0, Clwyd 4-0 and Cleveland 3-1.
1979-80 Lancashire again reached the Northern Counties final, but lost narrowly 2-3 to Cleveland.
In the Under 15s County side this season were Simon Farnworth in goal and David Miller, son of Brian from the fifties, both of whom went on to play professionally in the Football League, Simon at Preston North End and Bury, David at Burnley and Carlisle.
In the seventies the Lancashire Cup was won by Blackburn & Darwen in 1975, by Preston in 1976 and 1979, by West Lancashire in 1977 and 1978. The Wrennall Cup was won by Preston in 1975 and 1976, by West Lancashire in 1977, by Blackpool in 1978 and by Blackburn & Darwen and Lancaster & Morecambe jointly in 1979.
The vision of those leading LSFA and LFA established a reciprocal policy for discipline covering schools football and youth teams under the aegis of LFA. This is a model that some counties are still being encouraged to emulate today.
The 1980s - Industrial Unrest but Survival
1980-81 The Lancashire team included Mark Patterson (Blackburn) and Steve Walsh (Preston) both of whom completed long and successful professional careers, the former with Blackburn, the latter with Wigan Athletic and notably Leicester City. Franz Carr (Preston SFA) had a chequered career that began at Blackburn Rovers before Brian Clough took him to Nottingham Forest, from where he went to Sheffield Wednesday, West Ham United, Newcastle United, Sheffield United, Leicester City, Aston Villa, Reggiana, Bolton Wanderers, West Bromwich Albion before playing in the States with Pittsburg Riverhounds.
1981-82 In the county side this season the following boys later went on to professional careers Brian Butler (Blackpool), Mark Brennan(Blackburn) and Gary Kelly (Preston).
1982-83 Nigel Greenwood (South Ribble) went on to sign with Preston North End and Franz Carr (Preston)who played at Under 15 and Under 19 level went on to move from Blackburn Rovers to Nottingham Forest before joining several clubs at home and abroad in a long career.
Bryan Edwards (Chorley) became Chairman of the Northern Counties SFA.
1983-84 David Lee played successfully at Bolton and Southampton and is now youth team coach at Wigan Athletic. He later moved to Bolton Wanderers in the youth department.
1983 Though the Association had become smaller geographically, the amount of football provided in the county was increasing. An Inter-schools Under 14 competition was introduced. Winners in this decade were
1983 St Thomas More Preston
1984 Habergham Burnley
1985 All Hallows Penwortham
1986 Parklands Chorley and St Theodore’s Burnley
1987 Holy Cross Chorley
1988 Parklands Chorley
1989 St Augustine’s Billington
1990 Fleetwood HS
1983-85 Craig Bell (South Ribble) was selected for the England Under 15s side. Steve Macauley (Blackpool) surprisingly did not make selection but did overcome rejection by joining Manchester City before enjoying popular success at Crewe Alexandra, before moving to Macclesfield Town and ending his playing career at Bamber Bridge and Fleetwood Town, the club he joined early on leaving Manchester City. Carl Lancashire (Blackpool) joined his home club Blackpool.
In 1984 the Primary Schools’ provision was increased by running a league and a cup competition. Winners in the eighties were:
Primary Trophy - 1981 and 1982 Blackpool, 1983 Ribble Valley.
The Cup Winners were
1985-86 Lennie Johnrose (Preston) made Under 15 and Under 19 County appearances before playing at Blackburn Rovers, Bury, Burnley and Swansea City.
1986 Bryan Edwards retired from teaching and as secretary of the Association. Michael Duffy (Blackpool & District) took over as Secretary.
1987 Chris Halstead (Barden HS, Burnley) was chosen for England.
Sid Green, ESFA Divisional member, promoted the Under 14s Granada Cup for the North-West area. With Granada television coverage and prime grounds it was a tremendous success. Winners in the eighties were
1987 Sefton at Old Trafford
1988 Salford at Anfield
1989 Blackpool at Goodison Park
1990 Blackpool at Deepdale
1986 Mike McDonough (West Lancs) made nine England appearances this season and scored four goals.
In the Northern Counties Cup Final Lancashire defeated South Yorkshire 4-0 at Ewood Park. Ray Hall, later to become Director of the successful Everton Academy was the manager.
In the middle of this decade there was a period of industrial action nationally and in teaching with the loss of the goodwill of previous generations. A number of valuable servants of schools' football were lost in this period of unrest and this tool some time to be repalced. However, ironically this was a great time for Lancashire schools' football.
1989-90 In this period Lancashire produced several fine players. David Unsworth played at Under 14, Under 15 and Under 19 level for the county before embarking on his long and continuing career with Everton, broken by short spells at West Ham United and Aston Villa. Later after his second spell at Everton he played at Portsmouth, on loan at Ipswich and then Sheffield United before returning closer to home with Burnley in 2007.
Blackpool produced three Internationals in the one season. Dave Clough’s side provided Kevin Sharp, Jamie Forrester and Neil Mitchell for the ESFA Under 15s side managed by Dave Bushell.. Kevin and Jamie made history by joining French club Auxerre, before both transferring to Leeds United. Their careers split when Jamie began his travels with Southen, Grimsby, Scunthorpe, Utrect, Walsall, Northampton Town, Hull City and Bristol Rovers, whilst Kevin moved to Wigan Athletic, Wrexham, Huddersfield Town, Scunthorpe, Hamilton Academicals with loan spells at Walsall and Southend. Both continued their careers, Kevin at Shrewsbury Town, Jamie at Lincoln City. Neil left professional football early after spells at Blackpool and Macclesfield before joining Morecambe and finally Chorley.
Other Blackpool players in this decade going on to make a mark in professional football were Jamie Murphy with Blackpool, Doncaster Rovers, Cambridge Town and Halifax before returning closer to home with Morecambe and Lancaster City, and Chris Beech with Blackpool, Hartlepool United, Rochdale, Doncaster Rovers, Huddersfield Townand Carlisle United before joining in a coaching capacity another ex-Lancashire boy Chris Casper at Bury. He is currently (2007) in charge of reserve team coaching youth development at Rochdale.
Lancashire Cup Winners Wrennall Cup Winners
1980 Preston Blackpool
1981 Blackpool Hyndburn
1982 South Ribble Blackburn
1983 Hyndburn Blackpool
1984 Blackpool/Blackburn Burnley
1985 South Ribble South Ribble
1986 No competition No competition (the teachers' unions industrial action)
1987 Blackpool Blackpool
1988 Blackpool Blackburn
1989 Chorley Blackpool
1990 Blackpool Blackpool
The provision of County competitions for schools and colleges at all levels was to further increase in the next decades: the winners of these competitions are noted in the appendix at the end of this section.
The appointment of Mr Fred Southern as liaison officer between LFA and LSFA proved beneficial in many ways and still in 2004 preserves links between the two bodies to the benefit of both.
The Nineties and into the 21st Century
1990 The ESFA Under 19s Festival moved from its base in Skegness to Morecambe with the local association, the LFA, local clubs and referees societies contributing to a successful transition.
In this season Neil Mitchell (Blackpool) scored in eight of the nine Under 15 county matches, the only game being a 0-0 draw. The ESFA School of Excellence at Lilleshall was now in operation, Forrester and Sharp having played County football as Under 14s now no longer available for Blackpool or Lancashire selection.
1991 Blackburn & Darwen won the Granada Trophy at Griffin Park, Blackburn.
Rossendale achieved its moment of glory in winning the Lancashire Cup for the first time, a great reward for Kevin Higgins' devoted service to a small association.
1992 In this season the Under 19s played an incredible 22 games against our usual Northern Counties divisional opponents, Merseyside, Cheshire and Greater Manchester but also against the Isle of Man, South and West Yorkshire, Cumbria, Warwickshire, Derbyshire, Shropshire, West Midlands, Staffordshire, Kent, Leinster, Dumfries and Galloway, Suffolk and the English Independent Schools. Over thirty boys were given the chance to represent the county.
The Under 15 England v Wales Scholboy international at Turf Moor resulted in a 2-2 draw.
The Under 15s reached the Northern Counties final only to lose narrowly 1-2 against Cheshire.
Iain Brunskill (West Lancs) played for the ESFA side in seven internationals before joining Liverpool and playing at Bury and Leek Town before returning to Liverpool FC as community coach.
1992-93 Twins Scott and David McNiven appeared in the County side, later joining Oldham Athletic.
1992 M. Hodkinson (Blackburn and Darwen) took over from S.H. Green (St Helens) as Area 3 member on the ESFA Council.
1993-4 M. Duffy (Blackpool) became Chairman of the Northern Counties SFA.
1994 The Northern Counties and the ESFA Inter County Championship became an Under 16 competition.
The Under 12s 7-a-side competition was introduced, the Lancashire FA sponsoring the trophy.
1995 From the County Under 16s side the following boys went on to play professionally – David Dunn (Hyndburn andRibble Valley) with Blackburn Rovers and Birmingham City and also England, Gareth Stewart (South Ribble) signing for Blackburn Rovers and moving to Bournemouth, Clarke Carlisle (South Ribble)with Blackpool, Queens Park Rangers and Burnley, Jamie Milligan (Blackpool) with Everton and then Blackpool. Gareth Stewart won international honours with the ESFA.
Preston College won the Under 19s Colleges national title at Ipswich with a victory over Northgate HS Ipswich (Suffolk).
The LSFA Open Cup for Under 13 school teams was started and the Under 12s 7-a-side competition for the LFA Shield also started in this season. This meant that every age group from Under 11 through to Under 19 was covered by a County competition. The growth of the Association in terms of participation at all levels was now virtually complete.
1996 The first Lancashire Schoolgirls’ Competition was introduced at Under 16 level.
The first in a series of games in January by Lancashire against the full England Under 15s side took place at Lytham, organised by Ian Bonney (Blackpool). The first match was lost by a 0-1 score.
1997 In the Under 16s County side this year the following boys went on to play with professional clubs – Leon Osman West Lancashire) with Everton, Michael Bingham (South Ribble) moving from Blackburn to Mansfield. Paul Robinson and Phil Thompson both with Blackpool SFA and signing for Blackpool. Michael Bingham became the second international goalkeeper from South Ribble SFA in three years. Ian Armstrong (West Lancs) and Stephen Warnock (West Lancs) also won international caps, whilst Stephen went on to play for Liverpool. Leon Osman scored goals in the 1-1 draw with Switzerland in Ebikon, and in the 2-1 win over West Germany at Wembley, Stephen Warnock getting the second.
The international match against a Republic of Ireland side which included Manchester United's John O'Shea was staged at Ewood Park resulting in a 3-2 victory. Another player for England this season going on to win honours on the professional game was Joe Cole, Chjelsea and England.
Montgomery HS Blackpool won the ESFA Under 16s Girls’ Championship at Bloomfield Road defeating a West Midlands side 2-1.
Newman College Preston became the second Preston and Lancashire national champions this year, this time at Under 19 level, defeating Colchester College 1-0 at West Bromwich Albion.
Lancashire defeated England Under 15s 2-1 at Lytham in the second ESFA selection weekend.
Douggie Leonard (Blackburn) represented England at Under 18 level before playing on scholarship at the University of North Florida and Hartwick College USA.
In 1997 Lancashire Under 19s played against the RAF Under 25s team at Cosford in what was to become an annual fixture. The first game ended 0-0.
1997-98 Lancashire lost in the final of the Northern Counties Trophy to Greater Manchester. However, a run in the national competition saw the team reach the final with victories over Merseyside, Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, West Midlands and Staffordshire. The final at Ewood Park resulted in a 2-1 victory over Berkshire to claim the ESFA Premier League Trophy.
The Under 19s fixture against the RAF ended again in a draw, but this time 5-5, Chris Ward scoring four goals and being named man of the match. Chris signed for Lancaster City and was transferred to Birmingham City in 2002. He later played for Nuneaton Borough, Leigh RMI and Bamber Bridge.
1998 The ESFA Under 15s administration was now under the FA plan for development of football and the International side fell under FA control.
1999 The increasing demands on talented young players by professional clubs running Academies and Centres of Excellence meant that some players were not available for district and county selection, though a number managed to remain loyal to schools and club football.
St Theodore’s Burnley reached the final of the ESFA Trophy, losing narrowly to Barking Abbey School (Essex).
1999-2000 For the first time since its inception the Lancashire handbook was not produced due to the collapse of the printing firm.
Andrew Lonergan ( St Cecilia's HS, Longridge,PrestonSFA) played for the England Under 15s and Under 16s side and went on to make his first appearance in goal for Preston North End, becoming regular first team choice in time.
The Jim Hayhurst Memorial Cup in memory of a great schoolboy football man from the Blackburn & Darwen SFA, was presented for the first time as the Under 15s competition was extended to an Open Cup. The open cup entries average some 70 schools per competition each season, an indication of the number of players taking part in Lancashire competitions.
Lancaster & Morecambe College reached the final of the ESFA Colleges Trophy, losing to Cirencester College (Gloucestershire).
Nick Coyle (Lancaster & Morecambe) captained the ESFA Under 18s side and David Schofield (Preston) also gained his international cap with Kevan Ford (Lancaster and Morecambe) completing the hat-trick.
Many boys, whilst playing in Lancashire competitions and also representing their districts, did not actually play for the county side, but went on to develop into professional players, whilst others who matured at Under 15 or Under 16 level did not pursue professional careers. In this decade notable “Lancashire” boys included Gavin McCann (Carr Hill HS, Blackpool & District) Everton, Sunderland, Aston Villa and Bolton, Kevin Kilbane ( Corpus Christi,Preston) Preston, West Bromwich Albion, Sunderland, Everton and Wigan Athletic, David Lucas (Preston) Preston North End, James Beattie ( QEGS,Blackburn & Darwen) Blackburn Rovers, Southampton, Everton and Sheffield United). McCann and Beattie have won international caps for England, whilst Kilbane is a regular in the Eire team. Many players, too numerous to mention in a brief history, have played professionally in long careers in the lower divisions – an appropriate example is Graham Lancashire (St George's HS, Blackpool & District), who, true to his name, played for Burnley, Preston North End, Wigan, Bury, Rochdale, with spells outside of Lancashire at Chester and Halifax.
Honours in the 1990s were as follows:
Under 11s League Champions
1990 Wyre 1991 Skelmersdale 1992 Blackburn
1993 Chorley 1994 Wyre 1995 Skelmersdale
1996 Preston 1997 Skelmersdale 1998 Preston
1999 Morecambe 2000 Skelmersdale 2001 Morecambe
Luther Mercer Cup for Primary Associations
1990 Wyre 1991 Skelmersdale 1992 Lancaster
1993 Skelmersdale 1994 Wyre 1995 Skelmersdale
1996 Preston 1997 Skelmersdale 1998 Preston
1999 Morecambe 2000 Skelmersdale 2001 Morecambe
Lancashire Under 12s 7-a-side Trophy (the LFA Shield)
1995 Fleetwood HS 1996 St Augustine’s Billington
1997 Mount Carmel Accrington 1998 St Bede’s Blackburn
1999 Carr Hill Kirkham 2000 St Bede’s Blakburn
Lancashire Under 13s Open Cup for the Jim Tolson Trophy
1995 St Wilfrid’s Blackburn 1996 St Bede’s Ormskirk
1997 St Theodore’s Burnley 1998 Our Lady Preston/Mount Carmel
1999 St Bede’s Blackburn 2000 St Bede’s Lytham
2001 Mount Carmel
Lancashire Under 14s Open Cup for the Kay Cup
1990 St Bede’s Ormskirk 1991 Corpus Christi Preston
1992 Lytham St Annes 1993 Mansfield/Cardinal Allen Fleetwood
1994 St Bede’s Lytham 1995 Corpus Christi Preston
1996 Thornton Millfield 1997 Ivy Bank Burnley
1998 Warbreck Blackpool 1999 Mount Carmel Accrington
2000 St Bede’s Blackburn 2001 St Bede’s Blackburn
Lancashire Under 15s Open Cup for the Jim Tolson trophy (to 1999)Jim Hayhurst Trophy (first year
1990 Habergham Burnley 1991 Fleetwood
1992 Habergham Burnley 1993 Lytham St Annes
1993 Warbreck Blackpool
From 1994 to 1999 this competition was not held to alleviate the overplay problem at this age level. It was restored in 2000, as the Jim Hayhurst Trophy, since the overplay problem had disappeared. First winners were:
2000 Mount Carmel, Accrington
2001 St Bede’s Blackburn
2002 Beacon Hill Blackpool
2003 Lostock Hall HS
2004 Our Lady’s Skelmersdale
2005 Queen Elizabeth’s GS Blackburn
2006 Montgomery Blackpool
Lancashire Under 16s Open Cup for the Daily Dispatch Shield
1990 St Theodore’s Burnley 1991 St Theodore’s Burnley
1992 Fleetwood 1993 Corpus Christi Preston
1994 St Theodore’s Burnley 1995 St Mary’s Brownedge
1996 St Bede’s Lytham 1997 All Hallows Penwortham
1998 St Michael’s Chorley 1999 Broughton, Preston
2000 Tulketh Preston 2001 Mount Carmel Accrington
2002 Beacon Hill Blackpool 2003 Mount Carmel Accrington
2004 Montgomery Blackpool 2005 Broughton HS
2006 St Theodore’s Burnley
Lancashire Under 19s Open Cup
1990 Preston/Lytham St Annes 1991 Preston College
1992 St Mary’s Blackburn 1993 Preston College
1994 Newman, Preston 1995 Runshaw, Leyland
1996 Newman, Preston 1997 Preston College
1998 1999 Lancaster & Morecambe
2000 Accrington/Rossendale 2001 Preston College
Lancashire Cup (Under 15s Inter-Association)
1990 Blackpool 1991 Rossendale
1992 Preston 1993 Blackburn & Darwen
1994 Blackpool/Blackburn 1995 Blackpool
1996 Hyndburn 1997 Rossendale
1998 Blackpool/West Lancs 1999 Preston
Wrennall Cup (Under 14s Inter-Association)
1990 Blackpool 1991 Prseton
1992 Blackpool 1993 Blackburn & Darwen
1994 Blackpool 1995 Blackpool/Hyndburn
1996 Blackpool 1997 Blackpool
1998 Blackpool/Preston 1999 Preston
The Coca-Cola Cup for Under 13s extended the season for our Under 13s championship, though the winners needed to be decided by January so that national rounds could be completed. With a now 70+ entry this is no mean feat on the part of M. Timberlake, the Competitions Secretary.
The Milennium – the First Decade
2000-01 Lancashire Under 16s defeated Merseyside 3-0 in the Northern Counties final at the County Ground Leyland. This was a particularly satisfying win and an object lesson in endeavour, as Lancashire had lost 2-0 in the league programme and on penalties 4-5 after a 1-1 draw in the semi-final of the English County Trophy against Merseyside.
Alex Porter (Lancaster & Morecambe) was selected for the England Under 18s team.
2001-02 The RAF game was lost by a 3-1 scoreline.
The Coca Cola group extended its sponsorship nationally with an Under 13s schoolgirls competition. Lancashire ran its first county qualifier for this cup competition. In 2006 the sponsorship changed to Minute Maid, a product of the Coca Cola company.
Winners in the first competition were:
2003 Archbishop Temple Preston
2004 Ivy Bank Burnley
2005 Park Colne
2006 Ormskirk School
2007 Ormskirk School
2008 Ormskirk School
At Under 18 level Kieron Hall and John Cunliffe (both Preston College) gained international honours, John captaining the side.
Lancashire restored equilibrium by defeating the RAF Under 25s 5-4 on penalties after a 3-3 draw in the annual fixture at Cosford.
2001 English Schools’ FA decided to lower the age limit to 18 for senior football, though many of the Northern associations, Lancashire, Merseyside and Greater Manchester opposed this.
2001 Adam Cook, from Albany HS Chorley and Preston College, represented England at Under 18 level and played in the Centenary International match at Villa Park against the Rest of the World XI.
As the LFA celebrates 125 years of achievement in 2004, LSFA enters into its 85th year, though several district associations in Lancashire have already celebrated their centenaries.
2002-03 In 2002 Mike Timberlake presented the Timberlake Trophy to the league winners in the Inter-Association Lancashire Cup. First winners were Preston.
2003-04 The Under 19s Open Cup Competition became two separate competitions , the one for colleges, the other for schools with VI Forms, in an attempt to create fairer competition for the smaller establishments.
2004-05 Mike Timberlake (Pendle SFA), representing Lancashire, became Chairmanof the Northern Counties Schools F.A.
This was an excellent year for the senior county representative squad. The Lancashire Under 18s side became Northern Counties Champions, defeating Merseyside 4-2 in the final at Netherton, Everton F.C’s Academy. The side reached the National Semi-Finals, losing only after a 2-2 tie against Merseyside at Nelson F.C. which resulted in a penalty shoot-out – an unbelievable and unfortunate 9-10 reverse left Lancashire to rue what might have been especially in the light of the subsequent Northern Counties Final victory. The RAF fixture resulted in a 1-0 victory.
The excellent record of Under 18 International honours was maintained once again with Phil Brierley (Lancaster & Morecambe College) and Kyle Ingham (Preston College) selected for the ESFA Under 18s side. Ironically and absurdly Kyle was too old to play for the Under 18 County side under the new rule passed by ESFA.
In the absence of others prepared to take on responsibilities as officers, Mike Duffy became Secretary of the Lancashire Schools’ Sports Federation, the body through which funding is allocated to the associations.
2005-06 Lancashire Under 16s won through to the National Final with a 100% record of victories over Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Cheshire, West Yorkshire, Cleveland, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire. In the ESFA at Ewood Park Lancashire lost narrowly to Devon 1-2, a major factor being that three boys were called on to play for their club the night before. In the Northern Counties Final at Darwen FC, Lancashire drew 1-1 after extra time against Greater Manchester. After an excellent season Andy Buckingham resigned as team manager. His 13 years of service was recognised in a presentation. The Under 18s, after a splendid season the year before, lost several players and struggled with a young squad, failing to qualify for later stages of competition and losing the annual RAF game. Ben Lavelle took over as Under 16s Manager.
A memorable event in 2006 was the ESFA 40 year award to Roy Blacktop at Elland Road, Leeds United. His service included over 40 years at Gawthorpe HS and Clitheroe RGS and with the Hyndburn & Ribble Valley Association in its various formats, managership of the County Under 19s team and a founder member of Council of LSFA. In 2006 he became Chairman of LSFA for the third time over four decades - remarkable service.
Mike Hodkinson, having bought a house in France, stepped down as Treasurer after 31 years in office. His sterling service to Blackburn & Darwen, Lancashire and ESFA was acknowledged in a presentation at County Hall and Life membership of the association at a ceremony with friends and family at Great Harwood Cricket Club. Bob Brownlee (Blackburn with Darwen SFA) was appointed Treasurer.