Portsmouth Royal Dockyard Scorpion Football Club


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Memories of the Scorpion Football Club by John Hall

In January 1951 some of our group of Shipwright Apprentices started gathering on Saturdays to play football. During the 1951/52 season it became clear that most of the football pitches were already booked for games by the various Portsmouth leagues of which there were a number. We found it so difficult to find a free pitch and that prompted someone to suggest that we form a team and enter one of the leagues. When we had chosen the name, Scorpion Football Club, Tony Courtney entered the team into Division 3 of the Portsmouth North End League for the 1952/53 season. For our strip we chose the Black & White stripes of Newcastle United and Mr. Hall got the badges made for our shirts.

We used the 5,3,2,1 form of play because that was the convention in the 1950s. Who played in which position for each match depended on who was able to play and was decided at our weekly pre-match meeting when the Secretary told us who, where and when we were playing. The only official appointed by the league for each match was the referee. The teams had to nominate the linesmen.

We played on Council pitches distributed in the various parks and playing fields throughout Portsmouth. We always seemed to be able to field a full team and in those days substitutes were not allowed even if a player was injured. The seasons that the team played were 52/53, 53/54 and 54/55. The team was disbanded in 1955 because we were ending our apprenticeships in January 56 and most of the team would be called up for National Service and we wouldn't be able to complete the season.

Although we didn't win any trophies the team was nominated by the league to play a match at Fratton Park. However, we had to play a better team at the top of our division and unfortunately we lost.