A “POTTED” HISTORY OF THE ASSOCIATION
The Association was formed at a meeting held at St. Luke’s School, Leicester on Saturday 8th October 1921. The first Chairman was Mr. Goodacre of Melton Mowbray with Mr. A. C. Robinson as Secretary.
The first decision was to organise a cup competition for schools whereby “any boy is eligible to the end the term following his 14th birthday and he must be in actual attendance at the school”.
Printing of a Handbook was authorised at a cost of £8 per 1000, to be sold at 2d each.
The Leicestershire FA donated mementoes for the first-ever competition and also made a grant of £10 provided that they had a seat on the Committee.
The first AGM was held on Saturday 24th June 1922 when it was agreed to affiliate to the English Schools FA and to the Northern Counties Schools FA, so that county representative football could be played. However, it was decided to withdraw from Northern Counties in 1926.
The 1924 AGM noted that “boys were finding it difficult to understand the Law relating to offside. It was agreed to send a paper to all schools for issue to their players “for their perusal”.
Financial problems - “in a bad way” - were noted in 1928 with some competitions being abandoned. By 1933, the Association had a total of £4.11s. in the bank. It was decided to affiliate to Midland Counties from 1928.
A County Selection meeting in February 1934 noted that one boy from Loughborough was dismayed at being left out of the County team. This “upset the boy so much that he decided to leave school”
A meeting held at the Leicester YMCA thanked the President, Montague John Rice, for his donation of a silver bowl as the Junior Schools Trophy. (note – the silver cup is still used today!)
The 1939 Annual General Meeting took place at Alderman Newton’s School on 29th June. However, the minutes were not signed until 11th October 1946. It was noted, in 1946, that matches would resume next season but “there may be some clothing difficulties”.
From 1946 it was agreed to run three competitions
(i) A Senior Cup - no age limit
(ii) An intermediate Cup - u14 age group
(iii) A Junior Cup - (“The Rice Bowl”) - under 11 age group.
The minutes of October 1949 thanked Leicester City FC for the donation of 300 match tickets to each home game at the Filbert Street ground.
A party of teachers and schoolchildren attended a schools international match at Wembley in 1951. It was decided that there would be “sufficient funds to run a cheap excursion train”. Unfortunately, on the return trip, three boys became lost at St. Pancras Station and the train had to depart without them. One teacher was asked to remain at the station, find the boys and accompany them on a later train. The teacher was reimbursed his expenses of one pound and eleven shillings.
An association meeting in 1968 recorded “a concern about the deteriorating standards of behaviour on the field of play. There are signs that foul language is creeping insidiously into the game and this must be resolutely eliminated”
The 1960s saw the boundaries of the district associations redrawn. This was felt necessary following the expansion of housing and with many new schools being built.
There was controversy in Market Harborough in November 1972 when it was discovered that a girl had played for her primary school team. The school was “reminded that this action was contrary to rules”
FA Rule 30 (Memorandum for players of school age) was introduced in the 1970s. There was concern that some Head Teachers were over-using their powers and preventing boys from playing for their club team on a Sunday.
Norman Leet (Guthlaxton College) captains the Leicestershire county team and the England Schoolboys team in 1979/80.
Concern was recorded in 1980 that financial aid from the County Council had been stopped. Further it was noted that some schools had started to charge for opening the premises on a Saturday morning for football matches.. It was noted that “the future looks extremely bleak and there exists a great anxiety for the continuation of schools football”. Three years later, the Secretary reported that “the Association is in dire financial straits. Unless a reliable source of money is found then, next season, could bankrupt the Association”. A delegation was authorised to meet the Director of Education. An article was printed in the Leicester Mercury and other regional newspapers. This resulted in several offers of assistance coming in.
Industrial action by teachers in the 1980s resulted in many matches being cancelled, with league programmes being abandoned. The industrial action was blamed for “ a significant rise in touchline misdemeanours from spectators”.
The Association staged two schoolboy internationals. Scotland were the visitors to Filbert Street in April 1982 with Holland coming in 1992.
The Association commenced its first sponsorship agreement with Dominoes Toys of High Street, Leicester in 1998. The sponsorship was for “The Rice Bowl” (a silver cup presented to the Association in 1934). From 1998, the final was staged at Filbert Street and later, the Walkers Stadium.