Blue plaque plans to mark club’s founding

Happy birthday: members of the Football in Halifax Centenary Committee are George Proberts, Johnny Meynell, Kit Walton and Jack Haymer
Happy birthday: members of the Football in Halifax Centenary Committee are George Proberts, Johnny Meynell, Kit Walton and Jack Haymer
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Halifax is this week celebrating a century of football.

It is 100 years since the first meeting at the Saddle Hotel in Halifax, where it was decided by a unanimous vote that there would be a football club in Halifax.

The idea for creating a club in Halifax came from a letter published by Mr A. E. Jones in the Evening Courier.

Mr Jones questioned why the neighbouring towns of Bradford, Leeds and Huddersfield had football teams, but Halifax didn’t, and asked: “Is Halifax ripe for soccer?”

The letter was published on April 20 1911, with the first meeting held on May 23.

During it, 50 men came forward to be guarantors for the club – at the cost of £1 each.

Today the name of the club might be different, but the new club, FC Halifax, is climbing its way through the non-leagues after two successive promotions. To mark the passing of 100 years, Halifax Town Supporters’ Club Centenary Committee plans to erect a blue plaque outside the Saddle Hotel, which was on Market Street and is occupied by JJB sports.

The group of supporters hope to have the plaque in place sometime in the next few weeks.

Club historian Johnny Meynall said that meeting was easily the most significant the club ever had.

“The first public meeting gauged the level of support and the concert hall of the Saddle Hotel was packed and the signs were encouraging.

“Edmund Braginton chaired the meeting, which was attended by a number of prominent people from neighbouring clubs,” said Mr Meynell.

“Clearly, the establishment of the town’s club stemmed from this and much credit must go to those who made it happen, such as Edward Jones, whose original letter suggesting the formation of a town’s club appeared in the Courier on April 20 1911, Braginton, Dr Alan Howie Muir, Sam McClelland and his son Joe, who was then acting secretary of Halifax and District Association Football League, and who would be elected the club’s first secretary-manager,” he said.

A second public meeting followed on June 9, by which time moves had been made to secure the Sandhall Lane ground at Highroad Well, Halifax, and players were being sought. Adverts were placed in the local papers.

Mr Meynell said: “I can only imagine there must have been a great deal excitement attached to the movement, not to mention the enthusiasm for it, though in light of the impending struggles the club endured, those involved in its formation might not have bothered.

“But anyone who has embraced Halifax Town will know that it’s all been worth while,” said