The Magazine of Lenton Local History Society

Lenton Times Issue 5 - February 1991

Lenton Gregory F.C.

While playing football out on the road near Clayton's Bridge on Gregory Street a number of local lads were approached by Louis King, one of the proprietors of the King's Restaurant on Beastmarket Hill in Nottingham, with the suggestion that they might like to form a proper football team. The lads proved enthusiastic about the idea and the gentleman sought out a nearby field that they could hire for matches. He obtained some football posts and also bought them a leather case ball. For changing facilities the boys were able to use a room in the Red Cow which was very convenient because all they had to do was walk across the road to their pitch which was situated opposite the pub. The name selected for the Club 'Lenton Gregory F.C.' reflected both its geographical location and T.S. Pearson Gregory, on whose land matches were played. In September 1924 Lenton Gregory began playing football in the Boys Realm League.

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Lenton Gregory F.C. 1927
Back Row Joe Byard (Treasurer), Arthur 'Knocker' Brown,
‘Jigger’ Moore, Jim Hopewell (Captain),
John Sawdon (Committee).
Middle Row Tom Wood (Secretary), Arthur Sawdon,
Fred Sills, Bill Lyons, John Attenborough,
Harry Wood (Manager).
Front Row Harry Woolley, Arthur Towle, Bill Dudley,
Jack Dudley, Harry Sawdon.
The Cups were the Notts Realm League
Second Division Champions and the K.O. Cup.

We regret that we are unable to tell you anything about how the team got on in this or the next few seasons. It ought to have been possible to follow their progress in the pages of the Football Post but unfortunately the County Library never acquired copies of the sports paper and so this avenue is closed to us. The Nottingham Evening Post keeps archive copies at Forman Street but doesn't permit outsiders to have access to them. So the only sources available are the local daily papers kept on microfilm at the Local Studies Library on Angel Row. During the football season in its Saturday edition, alongside details of all the day's League matches, the Nottingham Daily Guardian would include a list of the principal amateur fixtures taking place in the locality and the following Monday the paper would provide readers with the results. Evidently the Boys Realm League wasn't thought all that important and only a few fixtures were occasionally mentioned. Not every issue has been examined but it doesn't look as though Lenton Gregory made the pages of the Nottingham Guardian. That is until the 1928-29 season when you find them included in the fixtures of the Intermediate League of the Notts Realm League. Notice there has been a change of name which rather suggests that the League had grown up. In all probability it was now running senior, intermediate and junior divisions.

1928-29 was evidently a successful year, or perhaps the team simply came of age, for the following season found them in the 1st division of the Senior League. The second year in this division was their last in the Notts Realm League and it is reasonable to suppose that Lenton Gregory were league champions. Certainly the team enjoyed some emphatic victories with such scores as 5-0 against Nuthall Amateurs, 7-O both against Netherfield Old Boys and Spray & Burgass, while Cobden Park Rangers were hammered 12-1. The next season, 1932-33, we find Lenton Gregory had gained admittance to division 2 of the Notts Alliance. The Club had one further year in the Alliance and then there was no more. Lenton Gregory F.C. suddenly decided to disband.

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Top end of the field subsequently used by Lenton
Gregory F.C. The photo (courtesy of Nottinghamshire
County Library Services) was taken in 1923 and shows
Lenton Council Schools in the middle distance, part of
Sherwin Road to the left and Hungerton Street on the right.

Quite why this decision was taken is not entirely clear but losing their ground can't have helped matters. When Lenton Gregory had first started playing back in 1924 there had been nothing but fields stretching from that part of Gregory Street across to the railway embankment that carried the Nottingham-Mansfield line. The pitch was positioned close by the river Leen and the footpath that ran alongside it from Gregory Street to Grove Road. This position was a rather fortunate choice because it wasn't long before the other side of the field was sold off to the City Council so that they could construct a new road from Abbey Street across to Castle Boulevard. Work on Abbey Bridge, as it became known, started in 1927 and was completed the following year. The road ran close by one corner of Lenton Gregory's pitch but didn't interfere with play. There were no further developments until 1934 when the City Council decided the land either side of Abbey Bridge was a suitable location for Council housing. The football team would have had to go but no doubt Lenton Gregory could have found somewhere else, however, for one reason or another, the footballers didn't want to and preferred to call it a day.

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Lenton Gregory F.C. 1st team 1946-47
Back Row Tom Sissons, George Bott, Ivan Pounder,
Jack Dudley, - Attenborough, Bill MacKetnie, Dick Stafford, ?
Front Row Len Davies, Tommy Austin, - MacKetnie,
Jackie Dudley, — Saxton.

For twelve years Lenton Gregory F.C. remained just a piece of Nottingham's sporting past until 1946, when a number of local men resolved to re-establish the Club. Sufficient players were attracted to enter two teams in the Notts Amateur League, among them several who had played for the original Lenton Gregory. The first team experienced periodic difficulty putting out a full team because many of the squad were employed on shift work which often kept them otherwise engaged on Saturday afternoons. Consequently at the end of the 1948-49 season the decision was taken to withdraw the first team from the League. It must have been quite a difficult decision to take because the team had enjoyed a fair degree of success. The second season ended with them winning the League's Junior Cup and coming runners up in their division. The third and final season found them divisional champions and semi-finalists in the Junior Cup. The second team took over the first team’s title but remained in their own division of the Notts Amateur League. A new second team was subsequently established which was entered in the Nottingham Spartan League; while a third team for youngsters, the 'Colts', operated in the Notts Minor League until 1954.

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Lenton Gregory F.C. 1st & 2nd team squads plus
the Colts. Photograph taken during the 1950-51 season
at the rear of the Red Cow public house. Albert Ellis is
3rd from the left on the back row.

The Club's headquarters were still the Red Cow but initially it didn't have its own ground. The first team played their matches on Highfields while the second team used a pitch near Farnsworth's farm down by the Trent. About 1950 the Club finally managed to acquire a ground of its own situated at the end of University Boulevard immediately to the north of Broadgate. Changing facilities were provided there courtesy of Marshall’s, the Lenton timber firm. But proprietorship of this ground was short lived. In 1952 the City Council took the decision to extend Woodside Avenue through to University Boulevard (renaming it Woodside Road) and unfortunately part of Lenton Gregory's new ground lay on the line of this new stretch of road. So it was back to Highfields et al. until 1957 when Notts County announced they no longer required Lenton United's cricket ground on Derby Road as a winter base for their Colts team. Lenton Gregory quickly stepped in and began to share the ground with the cricket club.

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Nottingham Evening Post
May 6th 1952

On the field of play Lenton Gregory continued to enjoy success. In the 1949-50 season they were champions of the 2nd division of the Amateur League and they also managed to win the League's Senior K.O. Cup. The following year saw them champions of the lst division and once more winners of the Senior Cup. This prompted the Club to apply for membership of the Notts Alliance and the first team entered the 2nd division in the 1951-52 season. The success continued and Lenton Gregory were 2nd division champions for the next four seasons during which time they won the divisional K.O. Cup twice and in 1954-55 also won the Notts Intermediate Cup beating Arnold Rovers 4-2.

A fair sprinkling of supporters came along to watch home matches and even followed them away. For that final of the Intermediate Cup, however, played at the City Ground, the Club had to lay on three coaches from the Red Cow to take along all those who wanted to see the match. No doubt there was plenty of beer flowing at the pub once they all got back. After the 1955-56 season the fans never again had much to get excited about and no further trophies came the Club's way. Enthusiasm also ebbed among the players and in 1958 a large contingent decided to quit reducing the Club to just one team. Then in 1960 it was decided to leave the Alliance League and enter the team in the Nottingham Sunday League. Lenton Gregory played their football on a Sunday for a short while then it was decided once again to wind up the Club. There have been no signs, as yet, of a third revival taking place.

Photographs and much of our information have been supplied by Albert Ellis who was Club Secretary from 1946 to 1958.

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