Bere Regis Football Club History

Football in Dorset a brief History

Dorset could hardly be considered a hotbed of football; it cannot be talked about in quite the same breath as Manchester, Merseyside or Tyneside perhaps, but wherever the game is played in the county it is played with a passion and besides, Dorset has certainly had its moments.

It is difficult to trace the origins of football in Dorset for there are so few references any further back than Victorian times. One that we do have is to the Shrove Tuesday football ceremony of the Purbeck Marblers in Corfe Castle, which dates back some 700 years and involves a custom of kicking a football around the boundary of the village on the day that new apprentices are admitted to the Company of Marblers and Stonecutters of Purbeck. The ball is never touched by hand and is just trundled along in a ceremony, which is not at all reflective of any football ‘match’. Another mention of football (but sadly a gruesome one) comes in the 17th century in Dorchester when, just prior to the English Civil War, Hugh Green, a Catholic chaplain was executed there. Afterwards the Puritans were alleged to have played ‘football’ with his head.

The game of football that we know today really began in Victorian times though and the oldest of all football teams in Dorset is claimed to be Gillingham Town in the north of the county; not to be confused of course with the Kentish version (just plain Gillingham with a soft G), Gillingham Town were formed as long ago as 1879.

That claim to be Dorset’s oldest is complicated, however, by the county reorganisation that occurred in 1974, which led to towns like Bournemouth and Christchurch entering Dorset. Bournemouth FC (or the ‘Poppies’) can trace their ancestry back to 1875 when they were formed as Bournemouth Rovers, making them not only the oldest club in Bournemouth, but also one of the oldest in southern England. In 1890 they moved into their current ground, Victoria Park in Winton and also took up their current name.

Bournemouth’s more famous neighbour, AFC Bournemouth, did not start up until 1899 and were known originally as Boscombe to distinguish them from the Poppies. As Boscombe flourished, to make its name more reflective of the district in which it played, it changed its name to Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic Football Club, for many years the longest name of any club in the Football League. The more streamlined AFC Bournemouth came into being in 1972. The club is known as the ‘Cherries’.

Source of the above article: http://www.dorsetlife.co.uk/2012/12/the-beautiful-game-in-gods-own-county/

Bere Regis Football Club

Established prior to 1885 and steeped in history and tradition, Bere Regis Football Club (BRFC) can claim to be one of the oldest clubs in the world.  When professional football was legalised in Britain on July 20 1885, Bere Regis Football Club was founded, and we were inaugural members of the South Hants and Dorset football association from which the Dorset County FA (DCFA) was subsequently formed in 1887.

In those early days, the Club was known as 'The Arabs'.

February 1887

February 1887

Mr Gregory was the captain and treasurer whilst Mr W House was the secretary.  Played 3 won two against Affpuddle and lost one to the Volunteers.

March 1887

March 1887

I assume Bere were the home team and beat the Isle of Purbeck Ramblers 1 - 0. 

April 1887

April 1887

Bere once again beat the Isle of Purbeck Ramblers by 2 - 1.  Some well known local names in the team such as House, Shave, Phillips, Burt, and Hewitt to name a few.

May 1887

May 1887

On Easter Monday the football club held a grand fete and atheletic sports in a field.  The Lytchett Minster Brass Band played.  The football club took on the choir at football.  The match ended in a tie 1 - 1.  The money rasied was shared between the reading room and the cricket club.

The club held an end of season dinner in the boys' school room.  The catering was supplied by Mr Arnold of the Drax Arms  The final results for the season were 8 matches had been played: 4 wins, 2 draws and 2 loses.  Not bad for their first year.

December 1887

December 1887

Results so far this season were lost one and won 2.  But Bere let in 9 with no reply against the 'Warehamites'.  A most odd use of wording in this extract whereby Stoborough ended in a draw in favour of Bere one goal (disputed) to nil.    

November 1888

November 1888

The Bere Regis Arabs beat Puddletown Moorhens 3 - nil but lose to the Purbeck Rambles by 1 - nil.  The House family are the goal scorers.

March 1889

March 1889

The Football club laid on a dance and concert.

May 1889

May 1889

In 1889 once again Bere Regis beat Puudletown 3 - 0.  

April 1890

April 1890

Not a good time for The Arabs.  Whilst football is becoming popular in Dorset, The Arabs struggle to get a team and had not been able to practice.  As a result they lost 6 , drew 4 and only won 1 game.  Their home pitch is at Culeaze.  P.S.  I think Gladstone was the Prime Minister at that time.