With City’s various cup campaigns for 2023-24 underway the Our First and Our Last feature for the visit of Aveley on 28th October reflected on the Saints first and then most recent lifting of silverware.


St Albans City 2-0 Barnet Alston 5th March 1910

8a Willie Hughes Herts Charity Cup Winners Aveley 28 OctSaturday 5th March 1910 saw St Albans City, in only the 49th game since our formation, compete in our first cup final. The championship of the Herts County League was secured in April and being beaten finalists in the Spartan League play-off final concluded the season, but the Herts Charity Cup saw silverware come into ownership of the club for the first time.

The competition had been launched for the 1900/01 season with the first winners being Cheshunt, albeit in unsatisfactory circumstances. Cheshunt faced our forerunners, St Albans Amateurs, in the final but the two clubs squabbled over the date of the final. The County Football Association intervened but were unable to get the game played and, in mid-July, awarded the pot to Cheshunt.

There were no such problems in 1910 when Barnet Alston rolled into Clarence Park . The game was originally scheduled to have been played at Underhill but was switched, by the County F.A., to Clarence Park in the belief that a larger crowd would attend at St Albans. Barnet Alston were members of both the London League and Middlesex & District League. We had met them for the first time back in October in the 1st Round Qualifying tie of the F.A. Cup.  A 1-1 draw was played out at the Park (Cecil Sharpe for City, Alf Seabrook for B&A) in front of the then record Clarence Park attendance of 1,276. We bowed out of the competition 2-0 in the replay at Underhill.

That attendance was comfortably beaten for the final of the Herts Charity Cup as 2,200 filed into Clarence Park . The Barnet Press was of the opinion that their team would complete a cup double over their neighbours but first half goals by Willy Hughes and George Butcher set the Saints on the path to a 2-0 victory. Hughes scored with a fine shot after a run and beat two players in the build up for Butcher’s goal. Hughes is pictured here with the Herts Charity Cup.

The cup was presented to the City captain Leslie Hosier by the St Albans Member of Parliament Edward Hildred Carlile, who was knighted a year later. The takings from the attendance of 2,200 amounted to £33 2s, that, after £7 2s had been deducted for tax, left £26 to be added to the Herts F.A. Charity Fund. The amount raised was a record for the ten-year-old competition and, in recognition of this, the county association arranged for gold medals to be presented to the winners and silver medals to the runners up. The total amount raised from Charity Cup matches at the Park during the season against Apsley, Welwyn, Harpenden Town, amounted to £38 after taxes.

Butcher’s goal was his 24th for the club in 31 games, it was also his final City appearance as he signed professional forms with Southern League side West Ham United. During his final 11 games for St Albans, inside-forward Butcher scored 17 times. A former lightweight boxing champion, George scored 24 goals in 114 games during ten years with the Hammers but caught the eye in St Albans for a non-football related matter in January 1912. He was seen firing a catapult at a bird and was summoned to appear in St Albans Sessions. Butcher was unable to attend as he was playing for West Ham that day but was found guilty in his absence. The chairman of the court, Alderman H.P. Smith, stated, “It is a dangerous practice. He will be fined 2s.” Whilst with West Ham, in February 1920, he lined up against a Tottenham Hotspur side in the F.A. Cup that included another former Saint in Arthur Grimsdell and future City coach Tom Clay. He finished his career with 26 goals in 129 games for Luton Town.

St Albans City: H.Smith; G,S.Webb, C.C.Patrick; E.Anderson, G.Price, J.Squires; L.G.Hosier, G,Butcher, W.Hughes. T.Knott, A.T.Walker. Barnet Alston: G.W.Carter; T.H.Reynolds, A.Maydell; E.O.Purvis, A.E.Aylott, T.Saggers; A.Seabrook, C,Herbert, E.F.Harris, W.Wright, F.Ridley. Referee: W.Robinson (Watford).