Classic programmes: Northern Nomads

Today we welcome back to Wadham Lodge our old friends from Sawbridgeworth Town. Their name always reminds me of Michael Palin’s Ripping Yarns as I do confuse them with Barnstoneworth United.

The last time I recalled, an old programme from 1998/9 season, when we first met in the Eastern Floodlight Competition, a competition which we ultimately won by beating Braintree in the final.

I seemed to recall having to take Sawbo to task over the date of their foundation. Our programme at the time said 1890, but the ‘always’ utterly reliable Wikipedia says 1897.

The Sawbo website thought it might have been yesterday. However, they definitely changed their name by adding Town in 1976, when they joined the Essex Senior League.

A programme I have not mentioned previously is one from 1927, when as plain old Leyton we took on the might of the North, Northern Nomads. The Nomads were founded even before Leyton, way, way back in 1862.

Known as ‘the Corinthians of Manchester’ they had an odd existence, possessing no home ground. Neither did they, I believe, play league games in those far off days. They competed in the Welsh cups and the Amateur Cup. Apart from that really little is known about them. They came to Leyton in the third round of the FA Amateur Cup, as holders.

The previous season they had a couple of close victories over Redhill 7 – 1 in the semi-final, and a record-breaking win over Stockton, also 7 – 1, in the final. But, on the 12th February 1927, they were unable to stop Leyton on what would become our first victory in the final a couple of months later.

The Nomads were wearing their familiar shirts of red, white and black hoops and consisted of a team all of whom, bar one, were county standard. On a greasy pitch, then known as the Army Sports Ground, better known as the County Cricket Ground, Leyton won 2 – 1 with a late goal.

I was interested to read in the programme that the Leyton trainer, Tiny Sangwine, had been selected to represent England against France at wrestling! He had also competed in the 1924 Olympic games and was also a champion at the shot put. If a player got injured Tiny never waited for a stretcher, he just carried them off in the arms. But then Albert Edwin Hawksley Sangwine, or Tiny for short, was almost six foot five in height.

Back to the programme. Leyton then led the London League, which included two clubs from Walthamstow, Walthamstow Borough and Walthamstow Grange. The latter playing at the old Dog Stadium, also used by Leyton, when the Army Sports Ground was being used for war games. I am afraid the programme, like the current writer, is a bit tattered around the edges.

Interested to see the game scheduled to kick-off at 3 pm. Ending around a quarter to five in what I guess was near darkness. You do wonder how modern-day Ref’s would cope, some asking for the lights well before half-time, and that’s in October!

Looking back at the Nomads team that also reminds one of Ripping Yarns, Beswick J, Beswick S, Robertson, Fairbrother and Randle.

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