1949 50 Reserves Roy Dear Frank Adams Charlie Dear Herts Intermediate CupRoy and Charlie Dear either side of Frank Adams with the Herts Intermediate Cup at Stonecross, Hatfield, in April 1950This First & Last feature recounts tales of father and son turning out for the St Albans City First team. There have been 14 cases of junior following in dad’s football boots with the London Colney based Hull family taking star billing. Ken Hull first played for the City in 1953 and was followed by his son Kevin in 1982. With Kevin’s son Kenny making one first team appearance in 2003, they are only family to have had three generations pull on the colours of the first team.


The first father and son duo to play for the Saints were actually a trio, with Fred, the father, and Roy and Charlie Dear, his sons, who made their debuts in August 1923, August 1945 and October 1950 respectively. Born in the latter part of the 1890s, Fred joined St Albans in the summer of 1923 after a high scoring season in the Herts County League with his hometown club Welwyn.

He went straight into the City First team making his debut during a 1-0 defeat to Ilford at Newbury Park. Playing at outside-right, he lined up in a five-man attack that included our record goal scorer Wilfred ‘Billy’ Minter. The game was our first in the Isthmian League following our acceptance into that organisation after leaving the Athenian League at the end of the previous season. Fred played in 24 of our 26 league games during 1923-24 and, despite losing the first three, we went on to be crowned champions with Fred chipping in with seven goals.

1923 24 Fred DearFred played at Clarence Park for three seasons and added three Herts Charity Cup and a Herts Senior Cup winners medal to his collection. He was also a member of the City side that won the Victory Cup in Guernsey in 1926, by this time he had been moved along the front line to inside-right. He played in a number of the biggest games in our history. In February 1926 he played, and scored the opening goal, when Ferryhill Athletic were defeated 4-1 in the quarter final of the Amateur Cup in front of the largest crowd seen at Clarence Park , 9,757. He also featured in the semi-final that season when we lost 2-1 to Stockton in front of 20,380 spectators at Ayresome Park, Middlesbrough.

He had also lined up in the City side that had fallen at the final hurdle of the Amateur Cup the previous season. On that occasion we drew 1-1 with Southall at Watford in front of a crowd numbering 18,797 but lost at Brentford in the replay when 16,670 people were present. During his time at St Albans, he made nine appearances for Hertfordshire, one for the Isthmian League, two for the Football Association, and one for the Amateurs against the Professionals at Highbury when the F.A. experimented with changes to the Offside Law. He also played in an international Trial Match (The South v The North at Middlesbrough) but declined a second invitation due to it clashing with our Amateur Cup semi-final with Southall. He was not selected for another international trial. Fred scored 19 goals during his 86 games for the club.

Fred was on the losing side when he made his City debut in 1923 but it was nothing compared to his eldest son, Roy, who was in the City XI that was crushed 8-0 by Walthamstow Avenue at Green Pond Road in our first Isthmian League game after World War II. It was also the Avenue’s first game at this level. Roy played in five other league games that season during which we picked up two points with draws at home to Ilford and Woking. He also featured in the City side that removed Finchley from the F.A. Cup and his hometown club, Welwyn Garden City, in the County Cup.

Five years after Roy, younger son Charlie broke into the City first team and kept the family tradition going by losing on his debut – 3-0 to Leytonstone at Granleigh Road. Charlie’s nine First team appearances included six wins and two defeats. Neither of the sons scored for the First team but Roy  bagged seven goals in 33 games for the Reserves and Charlie notched four in 69 games. Dad, Fred, also played for the Reserves and scored twice in seven appearances.

 The most recent ‘Last’ case of a son completing a family double of playing for St Albans City came in 2016 when Oran Swales trod the same path of his father Mark. Given that Mark played just two games for the cub and Oran seven, we will drop back a couple of seasons to feature the Wales family as the ‘Last’ double act to represent the club.


Peter Wales, father of Steve, is a lifelong Arsenal supporter who played for the Gunners Youth team before a cartilage injury and operation ended hopes of making the grade at Highbury. After recovering from that blow he played for Finchley, Harrow Borough, Wembley and Edgware, from where he joined City in the summer of 1976. It was a summer of turmoil at Clarence Park . After Peter’s second appearance in a pre-season friendly, a 2-1 win over Hatfield Town, manager Sid Prosser walked out of the club. Assistant manager John Clark was placed in temporary charge and made Peter his regular left-back. We enjoyed a flying start to the Isthmian League Division Two season with three wins and a draw securing Clark the manager’s job on a permanent basis. He celebrated by overseeing an embarrassing F.A. Cup Preliminary Round defeat at Molesey, during which we had the dubious honour of conceding the first goal in the competition that season as Harmon headed the Surrey club in front inside the opening minute.

 After that setback we enjoyed a decent season that included a run of one defeat in 16 games. Defensively City were particularly strong with Peter forging a good partnership with the evergreen Phil Wood and emerging talent of Ian Whitehead. Unfortunately for Clark, the tide turned and the squad was hit by a succession of injuries. Peter joined the injury list on 19th February when he sustained a knee injury early in the second half during a Herts Senior Cup tie at Cheshunt. Paul Mayles also sustained a bad knock that day as they joined Phil Wood , Tony Lock and Nick O’Donoghue on sidelines. For Peter the injury was serious and marked the end of his days at the Park after 40 games. He later attempted a comeback with Finchley and, finally, BROBS Barnet. Since then, he has continued to follow Arsenal and got his golf handicap down.

12b City injuries 1976



 Steve Wales, an England C international, joined City in March 2014 from Chesham United and made a significant contribution to our successful promotion push under joint managers Jimmy Gray and Graham Golds. Steve scored five goals in nine games that included six wins and a draw. The highpoint came in the play off final against his previous club, Chesham, when 2,960 spectators looked on as he swept home our second goal in a 3-1 win (photo by Robert Walkley).

Steve Wales scores v Chesham United

The 2014-15 season saw City back in Conference South after a three year gap. Steve appeared in 41 of our 51 games that season and kicked off the campaign by winning the August Player of the Month award. He signed off by scoring during our final day of the season 3-0 win over Hayes & Yeading United at York Road, Maidenhead. Only City captain Lee Chappell , goalkeeper Joe Welch and top scorer John Frendo appeared in more games.

Steve, a right-sided attacking midfielder, began his career with Broxbourne Borough and spent three years with Cheshunt before moving onto Yeading, AFC Wimbledon, Cambridge City, Hornchurch (loan), Boreham Wood, Hemel Hempstead Town and five years with Chesham prior to switching from The Meadow to Clarence Park . After leaving City he had stints with Dunstable Town, Wingate & Finchley and Enfield Town, he has also turned out for the prestigious Middlesex Wanderers. Earlier this year he captained the Wanderers to a fifth successive victory in the Veterans’ Cup. Back on 15th November 2005 he played for England C (then called ‘National Game XI’) during a 2-0 win over Belgium in Brussels.