CROYDON COMMON FOOTBALL CLUB
Croydon Common's ground, The Nest, was on land leased from the London Brighton and South Coast Railway Company but owned by the Church Commissioners. As a result of the terms of the lease, imposed by the Church Commissioners, the club was the only one in the Southern League that was prohibited from staging home games on Good Friday, Christmas Day or Boxing Day. Therefore, the club missed out on the income from the traditionally good gates on these days.
The title page of the lease appears here. Click on the thumbnail to see a larger image.
On Wednesday 26 August 1908, before the 1908-09 season got under way, the club's first team squad played a cricket match against a team representing the Croydon Empire Palace Theatre. Click on the thumbnail to see the match report in the Croydon Chronicle newspaper on the following Saturday.
A number of players from the Croydon Common's amateur years played for the Croydon Empire football team, which was a moderately successful local club.
On 9 September 1910, inside forward Sam Bacon scored three penalties for Croydon Common in one match against Fulham Reserves. This rare occurrence was all the more remarkable given that all three penalties were given away by the same Fulham player, George Malcolm; two for violent fouls and one for handball.
Bacon scored 10 of his 23 goals from the spot that season.
During the 1913-1914 season, when Croydon Common won the championship of Division 2 of the Southern League, 12 of the 16 clubs in the division were based in Wales. Along with the Robins, only Luton Town, Brentford and Stoke (hardly a Southern club) were from England. The previous season, 10 of the 13 clubs in the division were Welsh, with only Croydon Common, Luton Town and Southend United the exceptions. This caused excessive travelling costs for the English clubs and so the Southern League reputedly met a share of their expenses, with each club receiving £100 per season plus £15 per month.
Each home match during the 1913-1914 season was recorded by a George A. Philpot cartoon in the Croydon Advertiser. This one records the 5-0 home win over Welsh club Ton Pentre on Saturday 8 November 1913. Click on the thumbnail to see a larger image.
During the calendar year 1907, thirteen players with surnames begining with "H" appeared for the Croydon Common first team; Hammond (picured left), Hathaway, Hawkins, Hayward, Hearn, Hibbert, Hicks, Hodge, Hodges, Holgate, Hollidge, Hubbard and Hunter. However, the year was unusual in that it spanned two squads, the amateur and the professional, with there being only a minimal overlap between the two.
Robert Thomson played at centre forward for the club during the 1910-1911 season and scored a total of 51 goals. This was despite only having one eye, as the other was lost in a firework accident when he was 7 years old. He used to say "I shut the other one and play from memory". The missing eye was the reason why most photographs of him were taken from the right hand side.
He later moved to Chelsea and played in the 1915 F.A. Cup final.
Tommy Leigh had a nightmare second half on Wednesday 20 March 1912, when Croydon Common went down 0-1 at home to Pontypridd in the Southern League. Leigh put through his own goal for the only score, then missed a penalty and finally went off injured.
Known as "Ginger", Leigh joined the Robins from Queens Park Rangers after spells with Oldham Athletic and Fulham. Sadly, he committed suicide at the age of 27. The text of the Manchester Evening News report of the Coroner's hearing can be seen by clicking HERE
Jack Cock, who appeared once as a guest player for Croydon Common during WW1, scored one of England's fastest ever goals. He scored within 30 seconds of his international debut against Ireland on 25 October 1919.
He also appeared in two feature films; as himself in The Winning Goal in 1920 and as an actor in The Great Game in 1930.