Parkwyddn JFC – The true story of how it all started.
Written by Peter Warburton, one of the four founding members.
In the 1962 – 63 season Peter Warburton applied to join Stretford under 21s league. Although the application was successful, there was a problem, he did not have a name for the team. The four founders held a meeting (in the pub!), the Dutton arms in Barton. Sitting in the back room, throwing different ideas around, no one could agree. George Barmby pulled a book from his pocket, a book about Wales. He opened the book and the page was the name, Parkwyddn. That’s it, Parkwyddn FC! we had it. People will question the name, Park who? The name will attract attention and so, Parkwyddn FC was born, official.
So, we now had the name, next we needed the kit. We had to buy shirts for all players, claret and blue was the colour, the kits were bought from the old sports shop in Eccles. We had also now found our home pitch, tern moss in Stretford. It was a tough debut season, this was our team building year, we finished next to bottom. In the second season myself and George managed the team signing a player named Eric Roberts, we finished 2nd only to Flixton FC receiving our first ever medals at the presentation. We decided to apply to Eccles and district Saturday league, open age. A friend of mine from the Dutton arms, a Mr Jack Smith was on the league committee, he recommended us to the league. At this point we switched home pitches to Cleveleys, we also changed strips moving to green and white shirts, shorts, and socks.
The first few seasons were spent in Division 4, we had 2 managers, Joe Johnson, and Johnny Harper. Unfortunately, both left due to family reasons. Albert Thwaites and his assistant Jed Newsham stepped in signing players Ian Ferario, Dave ‘Spud’ Murphy, Mickey Bates, Jock Robertson, Keith Green and Dave Boden, the squad was complete.
I would personally at this point like to pay special tribute to the late Albert Thwaites.
After hanging up my boots at 30 years of age due to a bad knee ligament injury, Albert and the committee asked me to manage the 2nd team in Eccles league, 3rd division, I agreed. It was Saturday and my first game in charge, a pre-season friendly away to Urmston. Jed came with me to help as it was my first game. We had a young side, a lot of younger players turned up, I only knew Peter Horton who had played a couple of seasons previous. Jed knew a lot of the players, I said, “Jed, you pick the team, and I’ll take it from there!”. We were 10 minutes in when I noticed a young crew cutted blonde lad playing up front, brave, strong, incredible pace, and a great left foot which he wasn’t afraid to use! I asked, “who is that lad”, Des Moffet came the reply. I thought to myself, as soon as the whistle goes, I’m signing him! I asked him if he would like to sign for us and the answer was yes, “Don’t let me down Des, I said”, and he didn’t. There were other players from the same game I also signed. Gary Harwood, a midfielder, good control, accurate passer, very mobile and a great engine. He got on well with the lads, a chirpy character. I thought he would make a good young captain but just didn’t have the experience. Having asked Albert and Jed for advice, “At a later date no problem”, but for now they advised to choose someone with experience, “however, the decision is yours Peter”. I gave the armband to Peter Horton, with two seasons experience.
So, Gary, I don’t think you ever realised what I thought of you after all these years!
The season starts, we won a lot of early games with Des on target, exactly as I expected, however, I had a problem. We never had a recognised goalkeeper. I was plying young Nick West in net, who I thought was a keeper, he told me he wasn’t and to be honest it showed, he did his best. I had used several outfield players for the rest of the season, finishing 4th in the table, so a good season. Considering they were all young lads and no recognised keeper. Des scored 19 goals, exceptionally good for a 16-year-old in his debut season at open age. The Parkwyddn 1st team manager resigned, Albert asked me to take over the premier league team. I agreed so long as we had a few experienced players, it would be too much to bring all the young lads in at once, it will ruin them. I had an idea…
I noted that two teams, regent lads and Salford lads were all late 20’s early 30’s, they were slipping from their mantle. If we could get the top players from the Sunday team to play Saturday as well we would rule the Saturday Premier league for several seasons. Unfortunately, they were all signed to other Saturday teams and didn’t want to play in the premier league. Plan B, I brought back Eric Roberts, in net I signed Neil Elliot, Keith Green, 15-year-old Brian Springthorpe and Mike Downey, amongst others. Albert said, “you can have two seasons”, unfortunately I had to call it a day after the first season after starting a new job with weekend working
Every player who played with or for me during those year, thank you for your commitment to Parkwyddn FC.
Congratulations to Eric ‘the Cat’ Roberts for currently holding the record for playing the most games for Parkwyddn FC, another of my signings whilst in Stretford League, that was my nickname for him. He played well into his forties for the Sunday team and won plenty of trophies. Well done Eric.
I would personally like to say thank you to Parkwyddn Junior Football Club for keeping the good name of the club going in the correct manner as always. I would like to ask you to consider at committee level to start a senior team. You have a great supply of young talent, not many clubs are like that these days, you are in a prime position to do this. Once again, bring some trophies in at senior level…
I would like to pay a special tribute to Albert Thwaites, Jed Newsham and Neil Elliot for there excellent contribution to the club. Thank you, Peter Warburton.
I wish you all good luck in the future.
(One of four founding members of Parkwyddn FC).