which consists of the villages of Crich, Fritchley and Whatstandwell

Crich Football Poem 1936–37

The poem below was written at a time when Crich had two football teams, Crich Rangers and Crich United. It was written by the one-legged Ike Woolley, a staunch Rangers fan, who used to look after Crich Stand.

The United were run by Fred (Cheddy) Spendlove and Ron Beresford. They were based at the Jovial Dutchman. In terms of financial backing they were the poor relatives.

The Rangers were run by Herbert and Clarence Hartshorne. They were based at the Bulls Head, sadly no more in existence. This team had more financial backing and, according to common rumour, were not averse to poaching players from their poorer rivals.

Competition between the two teams was fierce to say the least with lots of bitter rivalry. The United played on a field near the Cross. If a stretcher was needed then supporters would rush to the Jovial Dutchman, lift the coal house door off its hinges and use that to bear the injured player off the pitch. Their strip was washed by the Jovial Dutchman’s landlady Mrs Nadin in the bath.


THE United came up to the Rangers ground,
To see if the Medals could be found;
But, alas and alack, they had to go back
with Cheddy and an empty sack.
The game opened out at a very fast pace,
All twenty-two players moved with ease and with grace,
And when Wragg of the Rangers scored the first goal,
United Committee would not speak to a soul.
The cheers to that goal had not died away,
Before the Rangers’ supporters were filled with dismay;
United got going, and Kneebone’s away,
And scoring a goal put them back in the fray.
The score now was level, excitement ran rife,
Some shouted for Blues, some “Come on the Whites";
Play changed to each end, time after time,
Here goes the whistle, one each at half-time.
Now at this stage, each side in high glee,
And supporters were feeling like having a spree;
Jim Nadin to his players did see
Totted rum in their coffee, and sang “heydiddle-dee.”
The second half started as fast as the first,
The players felt better, having quenched their thirst;
The defences were solid, the forwards were fine,
Brothers Wragg in each goal had a troublesome time.
Now United began to tire very fast,
‘The pace that they’d set was too good to last,
And the Rangers began to put on the pressure;
M.Woodward’s next goal was a real treasure.
Rangers now leading by two goals to one,
Had got the United well on the run;
A few moments later had the game in their pocket
When old Pont crashed the ball in the net like a rocket.’
Now tempers wore fraying as everyone knows,
And two rival Committeemen. soon came to blows;
But friends of those two soon had them parted
The trouble was over as soon as it started.
The game now was over, the Rangers had won
By a very good margin of three goals to one;
And every spectator, yes, all who had come,
Were bound to admit that the best team had won.
United defeated had not lost their pluck,
And wished their old rivals the best of good luck
That night drank their health with a glass of good beer,
And hoped that they’d win a medal this year.
Now people of Crich should be full of esteem,
And be proud to own two such sportsmanlike teams;
To help them to keep their players and their station,
And come forward next year with a small donation.


J. P, WOOLLEY (copyright). TWOPENCE Each: In aid of Rangers F.C. Benevolent Fund.

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