Bristol Downs Association Football League

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Bristol Downs Association
Football League
Bristol Downs League.png
Founded 1905
Country England
Divisions 4
Number of teams 54
League cup(s) Norman Hardy Cup (Divisions 1 & 2)
All Saints Cup (Divisions 3 & 4)
Current champions Torpedo
(2015–16)
Website Official Website - TheFA.com

The Bristol Downs Association Football League is an English football league based in the city of Bristol. It is a completely standalone league system which does not feed into the English football league pyramid.[1] The Downs League is unusual in that all matches are played on one site, namely the large open space known as Bristol Downs. The league is affiliated to the Gloucestershire County FA.

History[edit]

Organised football first began to be played in Bristol in the 1880s and football started on the Downs around the same time, helped by the introduction of a tram route from the city centre to the top of Blackboy Hill. The Downs League was formed in 1905 with 30 founder members, all of them teams who were already playing in the city and on the Downs' many pitches. Two of the founder member clubs, St Andrews and Sneyd Park, remain in the league to this day, with Sneyd Park having played in the top division of the league in every season since its foundation. Clifton St Vincents joined the league in its second season and have also clocked up 100 years of membership.

In the 1920s the league's top side was Union Jack FC, who won the league nine times in ten seasons and even managed to beat the much higher-ranked Cheltenham Town 6-3 away in the FA Cup in 1925. Future Arsenal star Eddie Hapgood turned out for Union Jack before going on to Football League and international stardom. Another player with Union Jack was Wally Hammond, a future England cricket captain.

In the 1930s Dockland Settlement won six championships in seven seasons. The years after the Second World War was probably when the league was at its strongest, with many players leaving the league to turn professional.

In the 1950s Clifton St. Vincents won six league titles, but St. Gabriels equalled Union Jack's record of seven successive titles between 1969 and 1975. In recent years Clifton St. Vincents, Torpedo and Sneyd Park have been the dominant sides in the league.

Today the league boasts over 50 teams in four divisions. There are also two knockout cup competitions - the Norman Hardy Cup (for teams from Divisions One and Two) and the All Saints Cup (for teams from Divisions Three and Four). BBC Bristol maintains a keen interest in the league, with news, features and even video highlights (highly unusual for a league at this level).[2][3]

2015–16 honours[edit]

  • Division 1 Champions: Torpedo
  • Division 1 Runner up: Ashley
  • Division 2 Champions: Old Elizabethans
  • Division 2 Runner up: Torpedo Reserves
  • Division 3 Champions: Sneyd Park 'A'
  • Division 3 Runner up: Torpedo 'A'
  • Division 4 Champions: Saints Old Boys 'A'
  • Division 4 Runner up: Old Elizabethans Reserves
  • Norman Hardy Cup: Old Elizabethans
  • All Saints Cup: Sneyd Park 'A'

Member clubs 2015-16 season[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ashdown, John; Gardner, Alan (2010-01-06). "Which football club is the greenest? - guardian.co.uk,". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2011-05-30. 
  2. ^ "Downs League is 100! - BBC Bristol Sport". Retrieved 2011-05-30. 
  3. ^ Ashdown, John; Gardner, Alan (2010-01-06). "Which football club is the greenest? - guardian.co.uk,". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2011-05-30. 

External links[edit]