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"...one of the oldest in the Country".
150 years 1870 - 2020
published here 3 July 2020, written by Michael Eagleton
The Marlow team in 1881/2 displaying their losers’ medals for the F.A.Cup Semi-Final
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It is very unfortunate that the present circumstances will delay proper celebrations for the 150th anniversary of our local football club who have had a spectacular history.
Marlow Football Club is one of the oldest in Britain being founded in 1870, following a meeting held at The Compleat Angler Hotel, and has the distinction of being one of the original 15 entrants and contributors to the first F.A. Cup Competition the following year. Also, they are the only team in the Country to have entered every F.A. Cup Competition since that date, although one year they “entered” but did not compete due to lack of funds. In 1882 they reached the semi-final of the F.A. Cup, losing out to the eventual winners, Old Etonians, at the Kennington Oval.
In the early days of the game Marlow were rated as amongst the top teams in the land: two Amateur Cup semi-finals and a succession of Berks & Bucks Cup wins. There were some fine achievements in this golden period up to the beginning of the 20th Century. These included a 1-0 victory over the professionals of Preston North End. In 1894 the Club turned down an offer to join the Southern League, wishing to retain their amateur status and Tottenham Hotspur were elected in their place.
Up to 1918 they played on Crown Meadow (now Riley Park)) using the Crown Hotel for changing. There was a 300 seater wooden grandstand, but not the huge structure pictured by the late Jock Cairns in one of his books! Although Edward Riley did many good things for Marlow he was obviously not a football fan, since having purchased the Meadow from the Crown he evicted the football club. After the war the enforced move to Star Meadow (now Spring Gardens) meant demotion as this ground was unfenced, but Hon. Secretary Alfred Davis, who appears in many early pictures, was instrumental
in starting fundraising to purchase Council land in Oak Tree Road, although he sadly died before the first game was played on this new ground, but it was named in his memory.
Alfred had national as well as local fame and managed the England team who competed in the 1908 Olympic Games at White City.
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