SEFTON RUGBY UNION FOOTBALL CLUB
CONDENSED HISTORY 1907 - 2018
In 1870 education became universal and compulsory and a year later Liverpool had 47 Church of England schools, 16 Roman Catholic, and 16 undenomonational. The school board was distinguished almost from the beginning by the attention which it gave to the training of teachers. As early as 1875 a Pupil Teachers' College was established in two houses in Shaw Street.
In 1907 a group of Liverpool schoolmasters decided to form a new Rugby club. At the inaugural meeting it was discovered that, of all those present, not one was Liverpool born. Some wag suggested that the club should be called "The Aliens", and the name was adopted.
In the first season every game was played on the ground of their opponents, and out of eighteen games played, seven were won, ten were lost and one was drawn. Economy was strictly observed and the total expenditure for the season amounted to three pounds, nineteen shillings and two pence halfpenny. The assets at the end of the season consisted of one ball and two jerseys.
The first ground, occupied in 1908-09, was that of the old Clubmoor Cricket Club. In the following season the restriction of membership was removed and the club moved to a larger ground in Townsend Lane, where it remained, until the outbreak of the 1914-18 war. During this period steady progress was made under the auspices of chairman R.L.Knipe. The ‘Aliens XV’s’ of all the local senior clubs were played, the 1st XV’s of many well known Lancashire and Cheshire Clubs, and in 1912-13 and 1913-14 Birkenhead Park granted first team fixtures. World War 1 led to the club being suspended as most of the members volunteered for active service. The Great War claimed the lives of at least sixteen members but the Aliens accumulated an astonishing array of honours:-
two Commander of the British
a Order of St Michael and St George(CMG),
a Distinguished Service Order(DSO),
three Military Cross and bar,
six Military Cross,
one Distinguished Flying Cross(DFC),
one Air Force Cross(AFC),
one Distinguished Conduct Medal(DCM),
one Military Medal(MM) and bar,
three Military Medals,
two Meritorious Service Medals(MSM),
a King George Medal for Courage and a Polish Gold Cross of Merit.
In 1919, several of the old playing members decided to reform the club, and although only eight were available, fixtures were arranged for 1919-20 season. Proposals to change the club name to ‘Tuebrook’ and ‘Mersey’ were rejected and on August 31st 1920 a motion was passed to rename the club ‘Sefton’ after their first landlord Lord Sefton. In 1922 F.Outhwaite became its first Life Member. The membership grew rapidly and, after one or two moves, the club secured a ground in Meadow Lane, West Derby, with changing facilities in The Hare and Hounds Hotel, where it remained until 1929, when it acquired its present ground. This was made possible by the enthusiasm of the numerous playing and honorary members in those years, whose activities built up a substantial ground fund. With the help of loans from the Rugby Union and the Lancashire County Rugby Union the club was able to purchase this ground.
Once again the club was progressing steadily, but the outbreak of war in 1939 again caused its suspension of activities. The ground was requisitioned as a heavy anti-aircraft gun-site and it remained requisitioned until long after the war.
After the war ended, enough space was secured for one playing pitch and a number of pre-war players worked hard to make it fit for play in the 1946-47 season. Despite the handicap of a poor ground and the invasion of the pavillion by ‘squatters’, the efforts of both old and new players helped to keep the club alive.
After prolonged negotiations with the War Department work on restoring the ground and pavillion was started in September 1948, and by December 1952 the ground was re-opened on the thirteenth of that month by Councillor Hedley A. Williams (deputising for the Lord Mayor of the City, Alderman A. Morrow), a game being played against Davenport R.U.F.C. (now Stockport RUFC) to mark the occasion. The club facilities in this period were possibly better than most Merseyside Rugby Football Clubs, but very modest by today's standards.
Two years later saw the building of the stand, this built to specifications drawn up by Messrs O.G.Thomas, Liverpool Architects, the building work for this project being undertaken by the club members themselves. The wooden cladding has long since gone, but still it does afford some protection on wetter days.
Throughout the fifties and sixties the club regularly fielded four sides each week, with regular fixtures against Orrell, Leigh, Widnes, Winnington Park and West Park. These clubs are now playing in leagues well above ourselves at present, however, history, they say, does repeat itself; well maybe!
1967 was well celebrated, this being the club’s Diamond Jubilee, a club dinner being held at the Strand Hotel in Liverpool. The function was attended by many well known rugby personalities of the period. Throughout the sixties dinner dances were held at the ‘Mecca Rooms Sefton House’ in Liverpool, and for the less well off ‘Dance Hops’ held at the very popular ‘NUR Club’ on Dean Road, Liverpool.
During season 1969, plans were drawn up for what is now the present changing rooms and bath area and after many deliberations 1973 season brought the grand opening. This coincided with a new bar (not the present one). This was situated in the vicinity of the emergency exit. Our present bar, known as the ‘Tom Donnelly Bar’ from which members now derive their pleasure was bought from West Derby Conservative Club in 1975. Further club improvements were made in the 1979-80 season when the front extension was built. This has greatly enhanced the aesthetic values of the club, and even more so since, in recent years, with the interior decorations.
In the early 1970's Sefton hosted the St Margarets Baseball Team, the diamond being situated on the top two pitches.
Season 1983-84, Sefton won the ‘Liverpool Cup’ a hard fought match against Merseyside Police. The venue was the former Liverpool R.U.F.C’s ground at Aigburth. The score-line was Sefton 26 Merseyside Police 3. The competition unfortunately has gone out of existence.
Radical changes were made to most clubs fixture lists in the 1986-87 season. This was brought about by the formation of the leagues.
In the early nineties Sefton hosted two summer seasons of Aussie Rules Football, the ‘Liverpool Blues’ formed up of local antipodeans and rugby lads trying to keep fit. They played teams from as far as London, Birmingham and Bristol.
Season 2012-13 sees Sefton maintaining a place in the South Lancashire - Cheshire League 2. Over the years Sefton's Committees have been both diligent and calculable in their efforts to make the club facilities to what they are today, and they are to be commended for their accomplishments. However we now at Sefton are reaping the rewards of our forebears both on and off the pitch.
What of the future? Sefton Rugby Club has a lot to offer, we have to explore the possibilities of expanding our facilities to cater for our ancillary sporting sections, namely youth rugby, cycling and aerobics
On a final note Sefton's management team, players and members will continue to welcome not only seasoned rugby players, but potential players to share and enjoy our facilities here at Sefton.
In 2007 the club celebrated 100 years