1902 to 1914
Rewritten 20 January 2001
Click on the years above to navigate through the history.
The History of Barnet FC is a long and interesting tale of a club that has seen some highs and more than its fair share of lows in its 100 plus years existence. So long, in fact, that this history will be spread out over several pages. This is the second section, charting the story from 1902 to 1914.
We would be grateful to anyone who can add to anything written here. Apart from pointing out any inaccuracies, we would be pleased to receive contributions so that this history can be "fleshed out" even more. For that reason, the details on this page are likely to be changed as more information is unearthed.
Please contact us if there is anything you can help us with.
The following sources were useful for writing this page.
Barnet Avenue FC
In 1903 Barnet Avenue changed their name to Barnet FC (but hereafter referred to as Barnet (Avenue) FC to avoid confusion) and joined the Amateur Football Association. This was a separate association to the FA - the two associations merged after the Great War (or First World War).
However, according to The Sunday Times Illustrated History of Football (Octopus Publishing, 1998, ISBN 0 600 59593 5) the Amateur Football Association was not founded until 1906/07, by the Middlesex, Surrey and London associations. This was over disagreements about having to accept professional sides. So it seems that Barnet (Avenue) FC may not have joined the Amateur Association until this date.
Alston Works FC
Around the same time, Mr Alfred Shilling, General Manager of the Dental Manufacturing Company Ltd, formed a Football and Athletic Club for his staff. The football club went by the name of Alston Works FC.
Playing in what is now called Barnet Lane (It was called Totteridge Lane then - I am trying to find the exact location), they spent a few seasons in the North Middlesex League, and then won election to the London League in 1906. They ceased to be a works club, became a town club and changed their name to Barnet Alston FC.
Their first season (06/07) was a success, winning eleven of their fourteen games, losing none, only conceding seven goals and scoring 45. Needless to say, they were champions and were promoted to the Premier Division of the London League.
On 7 September 1907, Barnet Alston vacated their Barnet (Totteridge) Lane ground and moved to Underhill. Their first match there was against Crystal Palace (don't know the score, I'm afraid). Their first season in the London Premier League was a tough one, as it was a mainly professional league, including the Woolwich Arsenal Reserves.
This reserve side had three full internationals (England, presumably) by the names of J Ashcroft, Tim Coleman and Bert Freeman. The first season (07/08) saw fourteen points from eleven games.
The next season (08/09) saw only eleven points from eleven games. However, they had a good run in the FA Cup and were eventually drawn at Underhill to Exeter City. Exeter tried bribing Barnet Alston to play at Exeter (a practice banned by the FA at a later date) but they declined the offer. Exeter brought a strong side, which featured international players, and they beat Barnet Alston 3-0. Barnet Alston went on to win the Herts Charity Cup that season.
The above two paragraphs were taken from the Diamond Jubilee History, published in 1948. It makes no mention of this next bit.
Other sources, including the history on the official site, say that Barnet FC rejoined the London League in 1905. They merged with Alston Works in 1906 and re-named themselves Barnet Alston FC.
Barnet Alston and Barnet (Avenue) merge
In 1912 Barnet Alston FC merged with Barnet (Avenue) FC and called themselves Barnet and Alston FC.
They were founder members of the Athenian League, which had been set up largely through the efforts of two Barnetonians, Mr Edwin Jones and Mr Harold Chapman. It looked for a while that they would finish as champions, but finished runners-up. They also won the Herts Charity Cup.
In the 1913/14 season they won the Herts Charity Cup again, and finished sixth in the league. It would be five long years before another ball was kicked.
These are just some personal thoughts on this tangled web of the early history. The above has been almost completely rewritten after visiting the museum in Wood Street. I only made copies of a few of the documents they hold there, and intend on visiting again soon. I would just like to say thank you to the volunteers who work there for all their help they gave me during my visit. The main source of the above is the first two chapters of the Diamond Jubilee History, which was published in 1948 - Barnet's 60th anniversary.
I am not sure where the date of 1888 comes from. The club that existed from that date disbanded in 1901, and I can find no reference in these chapters of it being reformed.
The club that took over Underhill in 1907 was Barnet Alston, who had renamed themselves (from Alston Works FC) to underline the fact that they had gone from being a "works" club to a "town" club. This meant they could use players who did not work for the company that had hitherto run it. I presume they also became independent of the company.
This would explain the curious name change when they merged with Barnet (Avenue) FC in 1912. The usual history is that a club called Barnet FC merged with Alston Works FC in 1906, with the resulting club being called Barnet Alston FC. This club later merged with Barnet (Avenue) FC, with the resulting club being called Barnet and Alston FC - which does not include the old Avenue's name at all.
However, if there was no such merger between Barnet FC and Alston Works FC in 1906 (the Barnet Alston name change being explained a couple of paragraphs ago) and Barnet (Avenue) FC were called just Barnet FC (as explained at the top of this page) then there were two clubs - one called Barnet Alston FC, the other called Barnet FC. The resulting name after merging - Barnet and Alston FC, seems to be the most sensible name that the two clubs could have arrived at.
There is not much history of Barnet (Avenue) FC. They were definitely around in 1898, and seem to predate the Alston Works side. The fact that they changed their name to Barnet FC when the original folded in 1901 may have caused some confusion.
One thing is clear. The club has considered 1888 to be its founding date for many decades. The Diamond Jubilee History would not have been called as such in 1948, otherwise. It is about as mysterious as why our capacity is smaller than Dover's!
I intend to look into this further, and would be grateful for any light anyone can shed on this.
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