The League's history - over 100 years of providing football

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League History

The League is based on the Norwich and District League which was formed just after the turn of the last century in 1905. The current League Championship Cup was commissioned by that League just after the end of World War I. In the years that followed, several senior clubs were in membership of the League including Bungay, Dereham, Diss, Fakenham, Holt, North Walsham, Swaffham and Wymondham. However, the emergence of the Norfolk and Suffolk League around that time led to meetings in 1935 about a possible amalgamation. In the end, the two Leagues could not agree and this led to the Norwich and District League only having five members and unable to organise a competition for season 1935/36.

The League did not reform again until after World War II when it combined with the Catton and District League to form a new Norwich and District League for season 1946/47. The new League was much stronger and started the first year of competition with 48 members. The League continued to grow in strength with four divisions and over 50 members but then started to decline in terms of members in the 1960s. The expansion of the Anglian Combination led to a further decline and by the late 1960s, the League had dropped to 3 Divisions. The 3rd Division was dropped in 1974 and, by 1976, numbers were down to less than 20. History was beginning to repeat itself.

In the following year, an Extraordinary General Meeting was held to consider what could be done to stop the rapid decline in membership. That meeting approved a change in emphasis and a new name for the League, the Norwich and South Norfolk District League. By the start of the next season, the League was down to just 12 members which marked the low point for the League. Within five years, membership was back to over 20 members and the League returned to two Divisions by 1983. During the same period, the financial strength of the League continued to grow after a period of virtual bankruptcy by the mid 1970s.

Membership continued to grow and 1993 saw the return to three Divisions with a membership of nearly 40. In 1996, discussions took place with the Dereham and District League about a possible merger and that merger took place that year in time for the 1996/97 season. The successful assimilation of the Dereham League teams led to further expansion the following season with a fourth Division being added and membership went past the 50 mark in 1998 for the first time in 40 years.

Early in 1999, the League announced a major sponsorship deal with Crown Fire Protection Ltd. of Dereham. That relationship has enabled the League to expand its activities including the launch of the innovative and popular website. The name of the company has now become synonymous with the League.

To recognise the changed geographical emphasis of the League, a Special General Meeting held in November 2001, agreed a change of name to the Central and South Norfolk League, This new name came into effect at the start of the 2002/03 season along with a new logo to depict the rural nature of the League and its association with its main sponsors.

The League now covers an area of over 1500 square miles in central and south Norfolk and north Suffolk. Its area stretches from Melton Constable in the north to Eye in Suffolk in the south and from Methwold in the west to Acle and nearly to Beccles in the east.

During its near 100 year existence, the League has had only five secretaries. Arthur Turner was the first secretary of the League in 1905 and held that position until 1933 when he was succeeded by Mr. W. Sussams. When the League merged with the Catton and District League in 1946, Ben Smith, the secretary of the Catton League, was elected secretary and he held that position until 1959 when Don Alborough was appointed as joint secretary with him. The two held the position of joint secretaries until 1977 when John Turner was appointed secretary, a position which he still holds.

Another example of long service is that of Hector Chambers who was first elected to the Management Committee in 1957. In 1972, he was elected Chairman and he was also elected President of the League in 1993. He is a life member of the League and was presented with a special award at the Annual General Meeting in June 2007 to mark his 50 years of service to the League. Another life member is Reg Parker, the secretary of the Dereham and District League until the merger in 1996. Reg served on the Management Committee until June 2008. Both Hector and Reg received Football Association 50 year service awards in August 2010.

On 2nd May 2005, the centenary of the founding of the Norwich and District League, the forerunner of our present League, was celebrated. As part of the celebrations of the centenary, the League played the Norfolk County F.A. Youth team at Aldiss Park, Dereham. The game ended as a 2-2 draw although the County had to rely on two late goals to peg back the League team. To mark the Centenary, every club in membership for the 2005-06 season was presented with a special commemorative set of "Centenary corner flags".

Season 2007/08 was marked by a number of important issues. At the Annual General Meeting, Hector Chambers, the League President and Chairman, was presented with a silver rose bowl to mark 50 years of service to the League. The largest number of competing clubs in the League's history (55) were constituted into four divisions with Divisions 1, 2 and 4 having a full complement of 14 in each Division. Finally, the new season marked another new development for the League in the establishment of a club support scheme. The first year's support was in the form of a new match ball for each team in membership of the League. At the end of the season, the League played its first inter-League match for many years when it entertained the North East Norfolk League and won 4-2.

In 2010, the League was recognised by the Football Association in terms of being named as runners up in the adult grass roots section of the national Respect and Fair Play awards. In 2013, the League extended its club support scheme by adding another module. The scheme now comprises of a module to reward good disscipinary records and a module to reward loyalty in terms of years of membership of the League.