GENERAL HISTORY OF THE LEAGUE, HOW IT CAME TO BE AND THE FAMOUS CHARACTERS
With thanks to Keith Woodfield, Life President, for sending us this information and to Neil Seager for pulling it together.
This is a cracking read and there’s sure to be something in here you didn’t know about the League!
The League originally was a Saturday Football League known as The North Worcestershire League, however in the early 1980s with just six teams left in the league it was deemed unable to continue. The Committee containing Peter Townsend, Peter Durrans and Keith Woodfield, met regularly met to try and find a resolution to the lack of interest. The committee decided two major changes had to be made:
- Name was changed from The North Worcestershire League to The Bromsgrove League to regain its original identity.
- The day was changed from a Saturday to a Sunday.
The Change of the day was inspired by Kidderminster, Worcester and Redditch all operating successful leagues on a Sunday.
Once the decision had been made to run as a Sunday league the committee set about promoting the new Bromsgrove Sunday League. Adverts were printed in the press and posters were put in pubs and social clubs in the Bromsgrove local area with the message “Your Local Bromsgrove Sunday Football League Wants You”.
The Response to this campaign was very encouraging and in a short space the League was thriving
The Rest Is History!
History of The Gordon Bridgwater Memorial Cup
The Cup was created after Gordon Bridgwater whose father Wilf was a Member of the Bromsgrove League Committee lost his life in Enemy Action while serving in the Far East. Wilf Bridgwater created the Cup in Memory of his Son. To this day the Cup is still presented by one of the Bridgwater family.
History of League Referees
The Following are Referees who served their “Apprenticeship” on the Bromsgrove League and have gone on to reach the Pinnacle of their careers on the Football League.
Forty years ago, John was a top first division referee, refereeing big matches like the Manchester and London Derbies. John never forgot his roots and when he was free he came back and did the occasional game in the Bromsgrove League, Old Trafford one week and Charford Rec the next now you can get more diverse than that. Today John is in his 80s and still an active President of the Bromsgrove Referees Association.
George was a Football League linesman and when he came off the football league became the Referees Appointments Secretary for the Bromsgrove League.
Arthur is an inspiration to us all after overcoming a violent assault in his early days as a referee to grow to be a Football League Referee and to run the line in the FA Cup Final at Wembley. Arthur is a well respected member of the football fraternity and we are proud to have Arthur as our League President. To this day Arthur is not only inspirational to young referees but us all.
Peter was a tireless worker for the Bromsgrove League and was the real driving force behind the rebirth of the Bromsgrove League.
Kevin was a Football League Linesman for more than 10 years; one of his top appointments was the FA Youth Cup Final.
When Adam joined the league he had a bad record with his Red and Yellow cards, with help and guidance from Peter Townsend, he rapidly climbed the ladder to reach the Premier League Line. Adam also ran the line in a F A Cup Final at Wembley.
Ian made it to the Football League to run the line however his career was cut short due to injury.
Keith Woodfield – Former Bromsgrove League President
Keith first played in the Bromsgrove League in 1959 for a team in Rubery and again in the mid 60’s for a team from the Austin Factory.
He took up refereeing in 1973, one of his first appointments was to run the line for our now President Arthur Smith at Oldswinford Stourbridge on Boxing Moring 1973 and has gone on to receive his 40 years service award to football in 2013.
Keith was involved with the League for over 20 years, as a referee, committee member and president. On Keith’s retirement as president, the role was passed to Arthur Smith. Unfortunately, Keith passed away in late 2018 and will be sorely missed.