The Years after the War

At the end of the war, the team was reformed (1946). At the time, there were no changing facilities on the Recreation Ground. However, a pavilion did exist on the other side of the crossroads, up near Chevening Church. This had previously been used by the cricket club but, unfortunately, the cricket pitch had been ploughed up during the war. With a bit of enterprise and hard graft, the pavilion was moved down to the far corner of the Recreation Ground, to where the existing cricket shed and football containers are currently sited. This was a very basic building with neither lighting, running water nor drainage. Times were hard in the old days!

As far as maintenance of the pitch was concerned, the grass would be cut once and maybe, if you were lucky, twice a year by a farmer from Ide Hill. The grass cutter was pulled along by a horse and the hay collected and taken away by the farmer. A closer cut within the penalty areas was achieved by volunteers from Chipstead Old Boys using hand scythes.

The team kit comprised the old black and red striped shirts worn by the team in pre-War days.

In season 1946/47 the Sevenoaks and District League was re-started.

In those days, the standard of local football was very high, with many players having just come out of the Forces, where they had competed against players of a professional level. A local derby used to attract crowds of 200/300, while 2000 spectators would turn up to watch a cup final. There was very little in the way of motorised transport, so people would either bike or walk miles to support their favourite team.

Although Chipstead Old Boys had a good team, they weren’t quite as strong as some of the other local sides. In season 1947/48, Chipstead Old Boys upset all the odds to defeat the favourites Brasted to reach the final of the Smith’s Senior Cup. However, bad luck in the week of the match saw them lose one player through injury and another on the morning of the match with flu. A spirited performance was not quite good enough as they narrowly lost out to neighbours Dunton Green.

Around that time, Chipstead Old Boys had a very enterprising Secretary in Percy Bashford. By collecting war coupons from all and sundry, Percy was able to purchase a new set of shirts (red with white sleeves) and socks for the team.

The early 50’s also saw a number of the better teams move into the Kent League. Chipstead Old Boys remained in the Sevenoaks and District League.

A fundraising event held within the village round about 1950 resulted in each villager who spent time in the Services being given £5. A balance remained, which was considered putting towards a new sports pavilion on the Recreation Ground. Concerns were, however, raised as this would only be of benefit to the football club. Thereupon, the cricket club was reformed by the football club and a new pavilion erected for the benefit of both clubs. The design of pavilion was based on a similar structure over at Crockham Hill, whilst the concrete base was laid by Walter Smith’s, a local company who used to dredge the lake for sand at the time.

In those days, Bert Chapman was the Club Chairman and his brother Frank the Vice Chairman. The club was highly thought of with the poet John Pudney (formerly of Bank House) as its President. Committee meetings took place in the kitchen of the then Crown Pub, just off the village square.

Prominent players of the time included Peter Mulheron of Sevenoaks Town, who went on to play for Crystal Palace and Malcolm McDonald who played against Chipstead Reserves on the Recreation Ground.

On the celebrity front, a certain APT Ratcliffe (known affectionately as the man in white), who was recognised throughout the country as the man who led the community singing at Wembley Stadium, resided in one of the bungalows opposite the George and Dragon Pub.