1937–38 Colchester United F.C. season

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Colchester United
1937–38 season
Chairman Maurice Pye[1]
Manager England Ted Davis
Southern League 6th
Southern League Mid-Week Section 2nd
Southern League Cup Winners
Top goalscorer League:
Alec Cheyne (19)
All:
Alec Cheyne (35)
Highest home attendance 11,000 (Ipswich Town)
Lowest home attendance 3,000 (Folkestone Town)
Average home league attendance 5,204

The 1937–38 season was Colchester United's first ever season after the formation as a professional club from amateur predecessors Colchester Town. United competed in the Southern Football League, finishing sixth and came second in the Mid-Week section. The club did not enter the FA Cup, but did however win the Southern League Cup at the first attempt.

Season Review[edit]

Sceptics argued that a new professional club would not attract the 4,000 spectators deemed as the break-even figure whilst supporters argued that Colchester boasted a population higher than seventeen of the then current Football League clubs. Twelve directors formed the Board and they appointed Ted Davis, former Huddersfield goalkeeper and Bath City manager, to be in charge of team affairs. On July 14, 1937 came the public announcement that the new club would be named Colchester United - a week after Davis' Yorkshire contacts enabled the players to be kitted out in the same blue and white strip as his former club.

After opening trial matches on August 19 and August 26, 1937, United's first-ever Layer Road game was against Davis' old team Bath City on Thursday September 2 in the Southern League Midweek Section. United won 6-1 with Reg Smith registering the club's first-ever hat-trick. United's goalkeeper Ronnie Dunn was a proficient musician with his Army unit and to celebrate the occasion he played 'The Post Horn Gallop' on his bugle to welcome the players on to the field. That entrance tune would stay with the club throughout its Layer Road history. The 'gate' was recorded as £250 rather than in terms of numbers. That amount of cash equated to an attendance of approximately 3,500. Two days later an amazing 11,000 witnessed a thrilling 3-3 Layer Road draw with neighbours Ipswich in the Southern League.

Smith, scorer of that first treble, was sold to Wolves for £250 with full-back Cliff Fairchild joining Arsenal for a similar fee. Davis used his entrepreneurial skills to also arrange for those clubs to contest the Colchester Challenge Cup at Layer Road later in the season. Bill Barraclough became United's first sending off when he questioned the referee's parentage in the November fixture with Norwich City Reserves.

The popularity of the new United team finally spelt the end for Colchester Town. The Oysters, in serious financial difficulty, folded in December 1937, having dropped into the six-club Essex Senior League before briefly re-appearing to complete an Essex Senior Cup tie in January 1938 in order to avoid a hefty fine. This enabled United to enter a reserve side into the Eastern Counties League a month later, with their squad now boosted by Town's redundant amateurs.

With the team doing well in the Southern League under the astute guidance of Davis, it was a blow when a severe gale in January 1938 almost destroyed the newly erected corrugated iron and timber Layer Road End. The roof was torn off damaging adjacent properties and Layer Road itself was closed for two days to clear the debris.

In the return match with Ipswich, 8,000 Colcestrians helped set a new Portman Road ground record at 23,890. United had worn an orange and black strip in a Layer Road friendly with Charlton a week earlier in order to acclimatize themselves to the change strip they would wear in Suffolk.

United, finishing mid-table, reached the Southern League Cup Final. A two-legged affair - they lost 2-1 at Yeovil over Easter 1938 but triumphed 3-1 at Layer Road to win the club's first-ever trophy. The Wolves v Arsenal fixture proved a roaring success with 17,584 crammed into Layer Road to witness a 1-0 win for Wolves.

United had adopted the nickname of 'The U's' to distinguish themselves from 'The Oysters' of Town and their prolific strike force of Alec Cheyne (36 goals), Arthur Pritchard (29) and John Hodge (23) had helped the club net 155 times in all first team competitions. Professional football in Colchester had been an overwhelming success. That was also the case in Ipswich as the Suffolk club were elected to the Football League for 1938–39.[2]

Squad[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
–– England GK Ronnie Dunn
–– England GK Don Youngs
–– Wales DF Jimmy Baker
–– England DF Syd Fieldus
–– England DF Ian Haley
–– England DF George Leslie
–– Scotland DF George Ritchie
–– Wales DF George Smith
No. Position Player
–– United States DF Alexander Wood
–– Wales MF George Crisp
–– Scotland FW Alec Cheyne
–– England FW Jack Hodge
–– England FW Ken Mayes
–– Wales FW Arthur Pritchard
–– England FW Ivan Thacker
–– England FW George Wallis

Player Info[edit]

Pos. Name Place of Birth Date of Birth Previous Club Date Joined Fee
GK England Ronnie Dunn England Southall 24 November 1908 England Crystal Palace 28 August 1937 Free
GK England Don Youngs European Union Unknown Unknown England Royal Air Force 24 February 1938 Free
DF Wales Jimmy Baker Wales Trethomas 5 May 1904 England Bristol City 23 September 1937 Free
DF England Syd Fieldus European Union Unknown 27 May 1909 England Brentford 9 October 1937 Free
DF England Ian Haley European Union Unknown Unknown England Colchester Town 1 January 1938 Free
DF England George Leslie England Slough 7 February 1914 England Guildford City 28 August 1937 Free
DF Scotland George Ritchie Scotland Maryhill 16 January 1904 England Leicester City 28 August 1937 Free
DF Wales George Smith Wales Connah's Quay Unknown England Bath City 30 October 1937 Free
DF United States Alexander Wood Scotland Lochgelly 12 June 1907 England Nottingham Forest 28 August 1937 Free
MF Wales George Crisp Wales Pontypool 3 June 1911 Wales Newport County 28 August 1937 Free
FW Scotland Alec Cheyne Scotland Glasgow 28 April 1907 England Chelsea 28 August 1937 £3,000
FW England Jack Hodge England Plymouth Unknown England Luton Town 28 August 1937 Free
FW England Ken Mayes England Wickford 8 October 1910 England Fulham 2 September 1937 £500
FW Wales Arthur Pritchard European Union Unknown 22 October 1917 England Yeovil & Petters United 28 August 1937 Free
FW England Ivan Thacker England Lowestoft 1 January 1914 England Hoffman's Athletic 3 March 1938 Free
FW England George Wallis England Sawley 11 March 1910 England Bath City 3 March 1938 Free

Transfers[edit]

Transfers in[edit]

Date Pos. Player Name Previous Club Transfer Fee Notes
28 August 1937 GK England Ronnie Dunn England Crystal Palace Free
28 August 1937 DF England Jimmy Collins England West Ham United Free
28 August 1937 DF England Cliff Fairchild Unknown Free
28 August 1937 DF England George Leslie England Guildford City Free
28 August 1937 DF Scotland George Ritchie England Leicester City Free
28 August 1937 DF United States Alexander Wood England Nottingham Forest Free
28 August 1937 MF Wales George Crisp Wales Newport County Undisclosed
28 August 1937 FW Scotland Alec Cheyne England Chelsea £3,000
28 August 1937 FW England Jack Hodge England Luton Town Free
28 August 1937 FW Wales Arthur Pritchard England Yeovil & Petters United Free
28 August 1937 FW England Reg Smith England Bristol City Free
2 September 1937 FW England Ken Mayes England Fulham £500
11 September 1937 FW England Bill Barraclough England Chelsea Free
23 September 1937 DF Wales Jimmy Baker England Bristol City Free
7 October 1937 DF England John Ormesher England Colchester Town Free
9 October 1937 DF England Syd Fieldus England Brentford Free
30 October 1937 DF Wales George Smith England Bath City Free
17 November 1937 FW England Tally Day England Harwich & Parkeston Free
25 November 1937 FW England Albert Bennett Unknown Free
11 December 1937 FW Wales Will Pendergast England Bristol Rovers Free
1 January 1938 DF England Ian Haley England Colchester Town Free
31 January 1938 FW England George Williams[disambiguation needed] Unknown Free
24 February 1938 GK England Don Youngs England Royal Air Force Free
3 March 1938 FW England Ivan Thacker England Hoffman's Athletic Free
3 March 1938 FW England George Wallis England Bath City Free
23 April 1938 FW Sam Simnet Unknown Free

Transfers out[edit]

Date Pos. Player Name New Club Transfer Fee Notes
23 October 1937 DF England John Ormesher Released Free
23 October 1937 FW England Reg Smith England Wolverhampton Wanderers £500
25 November 1937 FW England Albert Bennett Released Free
5 March 1938 FW Wales Will Pendergast England Chester City Free
19 April 1938 FW England Tally Day Released Free
23 April 1938 DF England Jimmy Collins Released Free
23 April 1938 FW England Bill Barraclough England Doncaster Rovers Free
23 April 1938 FW England Sam Simnet Released Free
23 April 1938 FW England George Williams[disambiguation needed] Released Free
30 April 1938 DF England Cliff Fairchild England Arsenal £500

Results[edit]

Southern League Results Summary[edit]

Pos Club Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
5 Norwich City Reserves 34 15 11 8 77 55 +22 41
6 Colchester United 34 15 8 11 90 58 +32 38
7 Bristol Rovers Reserves 34 14 8 12 63 62 +1 36

Pld = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against; GD = Goals difference; Pts = Points

Southern League Mid-Week Section Results Summary[edit]

Pos Club Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Millwall Reserves 18 13 3 2 59 21 +38 29
2 Colchester United 18 13 1 4 42 23 +19 27
3 Aldershot Reserves 18 11 3 4 38 29 +9 25

Pld = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against; GD = Goals difference; Pts = Points

Southern League Results[edit]

Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Scorers
28/08/1937 Yeovil & Petters United A 0-3 ––
04/09/1937 Ipswich Town H 3-3 11,000 Cheyne, Crisp, Wood
11/09/1937 Yeovil & Petters United H 0-0 ––
18/09/1937 Guildford City H 5-0 –– Crisp, R.Smith, Pritchard (3)
25/09/1937 Aldershot Reserves A 0-0 ––
29/09/1937 Torquay United Reserves A 2-2 –– Baker, R.Smith
09/10/1937 Plymouth Argyle Reserves A 4-5 3,000 R.Smith, O.G., Cheyne, Pritchard
23/10/1937 Cheltenham Town H 3-2 4,500 Crisp, Fieldus, Ritchie
06/11/1937 Newport County Reserves A 2-2 –– G.Smith, Cheyne
13/11/1937 Norwich City Reserves H 2-2 4,000 Crisp, G.Smith
20/11/1937 Folkestone Town A 4-2 –– Cheyne, Fieldus, Hodge (2)
27/11/1937 Aldershot Reserves H 2-0 –– Hodge, Fieldus
04/12/1937 Swindon Town Reserves A 5-1 1,000 Pritchard (4), Hodge
18/12/1937 Folkestone Town H 7-1 3,000 Hodge (2), Day (3), Cheyne, Pritchard
27/12/1937 Exeter City Reserves H 3-1 3,000 Barraclough, Day, Cheyne
01/01/1938 Barry H 6-1 –– Cheyne, Hodge, Pendergast (3), Day
08/01/1938 Cheltenham Town A 2-2 –– Cheyne, Pendergast
15/01/1938 Dartford H 2-0 –– Pendergast, Pritchard
05/02/1938 Ipswich Town A 2-3 23,890 Pritchard, Cheyne
12/02/1938 Barry A 1-2 –– Cheyne
19/02/1938 Dartford A 0-3 ––
24/02/1938 Tunbridge Wells Rangers H 3-1 –– Hodge, Cheyne, Barraclough
26/02/1938 Bristol Rovers Reserves H 1-0 6,238 Pritchard
05/03/1938 Bristol Rovers Reserves A 1-2 –– Wallis
26/03/1938 Torquay United Reserves H 4-0 5,312 Wallis (3), Cheyne
02/04/1938 Guildford City A 2-3 –– Cheyne, Hodge
09/04/1938 Exeter City Reserves A 1-2 –– Hodge
15/04/1938 Bath City A 3-2 –– Day (3)
16/04/1938 Swindon Town Reserves H 7-1 6,782 Day, Hodge, Crisp (3) (pen.), Cheyne (2)
18/04/1938 Bath City H 1-1 3,000 Cheyne
21/04/1938 Norwich City Reserves A 2-5 –– Crisp, Pritchard
23/04/1938 Tunbridge Wells Rangers A 0-3 ––
30/04/1938 Newport County Reserves H 8-0 –– Wallis, Crisp, Cheyne, Pritchard (3), Pendergast, Hodge
07/05/1938 Plymouth Argyle Reserves H 2-3 –– Cheyne (2) (pen.)

Source: 1937-38 Season Colchester United Results - coludata.co.uk

Southern League Mid-Week Section Results[edit]

Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Scorers
02/09/1937 Bath City H 6-1 –– R.Smith (3), Pritchard (2), Hodge
23/09/1937 Folkestone Town H 1-0 –– Baker
02/10/1937 Bath City A 4-3 –– Crisp (pen.), Pritchard, Hodge (2)
07/10/1937 Tunbridge Wells Rangers H 1-2 –– R.Smith
20/10/1937 Portsmouth 'A' A 4-3 –– Pritchard, Cheyne (2), R.Smith
30/10/1937 Dartford A 2-1 –– Cheyne, Pritchard
17/11/1937 Aldershot Reserves A 1-3 –– Crisp
25/11/1937 Norwich City Reserves A 1-2 4,000 Barraclough
11/12/1937 Aldershot Reserves H 1-0 –– Cheyne
29/01/1938 Portsmouth 'A' H 2-1 –– Cheyne, Prendergast
31/01/1938 Millwall Reserves A 0-2 ––
03/03/1938 Dartford H 1-0 –– Barraclough
10/03/1938 Guildford City H 5-0 –– Cheyne, Day (2), Hodge, Wallis
12/03/1938 Folkestone Town H 2-2 –– Unknown Scorer (2)
19/03/1938 Norwich City Reserves H 3-0 –– Thacker, Cheyne, Hodge
23/03/1938 Tunbridge Wells Rangers A 1-0 –– Hodge
02/05/1938 Guildford City A 4-1 –– Crisp, Pritchard (2), Hodge
05/05/1938 Millwall Reserves H 3-2 –– Cheyne, Pritchard, Wallis

Source: 1937-38 Season Colchester United Results - coludata.co.uk

Southern League Cup[edit]

Date Round Opponent Venue Result Attendance Scorers
16/09/1937 R1 Norwich City Reserves H 7-3 2,500 Cheyne (2), R.Smith (2), Pritchard (2), Hodge
16/12/1937 R2 Guildford City H 2-0 –– Cheyne (2)
30/03/1938 SF (L1) Dartford A 2-0 1,000 Hodge, Day
07/04/1938 SF (L2) Dartford H 8-1 –– Cheyne (2), Crisp, Day (3), Hodge (2)
19/04/1938 F (L1) Yeovil & Petters United A 1-2 –– Cheyne
27/04/1938 F (L2) Yeovil & Petters United H 3-1 7,500 Cheyne, Pritchard (2)

Source: 1937-38 Season Colchester United Results - coludata.co.uk

Squad statistics[edit]

[3]

No. Nat. Pos. Name Total Southern League Southern League Mid-Week Section Southern League Cup
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
–– England GK Ronnie Dunn 51 0 31 0 15 0 5 0
–– England GK Don Youngs 7 0 3 0 3 0 1 0
–– Wales DF Jimmy Baker 31 2 17 1 10 1 4 0
–– England DF Jimmy Collins 3 0 3 0 0 0 0 0
–– England DF Cliff Fairchild 52 0 30 0 16 0 6 0
–– England DF Syd Fieldus 19 3 13 3 4 0 2 0
–– England DF Ian Haley 9 0 5 0 4 0 0 0
–– England DF George Leslie 43 0 24 0 16 0 3 0
–– England DF John Ormesher 2 0 1 0 1 0 0 0
–– Scotland DF George Ritchie 29 1 20 1 7 0 2 0
–– Wales DF George Smith 26 2 15 2 9 0 2 0
–– United States DF Alexander Wood 54 1 32 1 16 0 6 0
–– Wales MF George Crisp 39 13 19 9 15 3 5 1
–– England FW Bill Barraclough 26 4 19 2 6 2 1 0
–– England FW Albert Bennett 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
–– Scotland FW Alec Cheyne 54 35 32 19 16 8 6 8
–– England FW Tally Day 15 15 7 9 4 2 4 4
–– England FW Jack Hodge 51 23 30 12 15 7 6 4
–– England FW Ken Mayes 38 0 19 0 12 0 7 0
–– Wales FW Will Pendergast 11 7 8 6 3 1 0 0
–– Wales FW Arthur Pritchard 36 28 22 16 11 8 3 4
–– England FW Sam Simnet 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
–– England FW Reg Smith 14 10 8 3 5 5 1 2
–– England FW Ivan Thacker 4 1 2 0 2 1 0 0
–– England FW George Wallis 18 7 10 5 6 2 2 0
–– England FW George Williams[disambiguation needed] 4 0 3 0 1 0 0 0

Scorers[edit]

[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Whitehead, Jeff; Drury, Kevin (2008). The Who's Who of Colchester United: The Layer Road Years. Derby: Breedon Books. p. 278. ISBN 978-1-85983-629-3. 
  2. ^ "The U's History: The 30s & 40s". Colchester United F.C. Retrieved 30 May 2011. 
  3. ^ "1937–38 Season Appearance Data". coludata.co.uk. Retrieved 30 May 2011. 
  4. ^ "1937–38 Season Goalscorers Data". coludata.co.uk. Retrieved 30 May 2011.