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Gornal Athletic Football Club
Garden Walk Stadium, Garden Walk, Lower Gornal, Dudley.
Gornal Athletic F.C. is a non-league side which has had moderate success over the years.
They have reached the 1st round of the FA Vase six times.
The old pitch was off Gateacre Street (off Temple Street, Redhall), it had a steep elevated grass terrace on the north side, the pitch was down behind where the Catholic Church now stands, it was used as a sports ground as early as 1910.
A newspaper report of August 22, 1910 mentions:
"On Saturday afternoon athletic sports were held on the new cricket and football grounds, Red Hall, Lower Gornal, notwithstanding, the very unfavourable weather, there was a large attendance of spectators."
Principal events were: 220 yards flat handicap; one mile flat handicap; 100 yards flat handicap; 100 yards boys race,; 100 yards novice race.
Competitors entered the events from all over the Black Country.
This old newspaper clipping from December, 1903 mentions  a football ground being near to the Limerick Inn, Summit Place
It is likely that the earlier pitch was situated off Brickkiln Lane/Hopyard Lane behind the Limerick Inn.
Lower Gornal Athletic was first mentioned in newspaper reports between 1912 and 1914, at that time they were playing in the Wolverhampton & District League.
Their first mention was in a match fixture on 7 September 1912 vs Bloxwich Strollers and again in October vs Sedgley Rovers.
In a match on 7 February, 1914 round 4 of the Staffordshire Junior Cup, they lost 2-1 to Bloxwich Strollers, however a replay was enforced after LGA lodged an appeal against Bloxwich having ineligible players.
In this match the LGA fielded their side of Round (G); Evans; Ward; Grice; Corbett; Willings; Davies; Whitehouse; Parks; Dean; Dobbs.
The following week, Gornal lined up: Round (G); Evans; Ward; Grice; Corbett; Willings; Davies; Whitehouse; Woodhall; Jackson; Dean.
Gornal were again defeated, loosing 3-0 and again protested about an ineligible player in the opposing side, some said it was rather unsporting of Gornal, however Bloxwich were disqualified and the match was awarded to LGFC who were then to go on to play Heath Town in the semi-final.
The Birmingham Gazette of 12 February 1914, mentions a left winger called Dabbs [Dobbs] had been signed by Dudley from LGA.
In a match on 2nd May, 1914,  Lower Gornal A., were playing at the 'Red Lion Ground' against Bloxwich. (Walsall Advertiser).
The team line-up in September, 1914 was: Harris (G); Ward; Smith; Jackson; Wellings; Jones; Stuart; Gaunt; Parkes; Stokes; Jackson.
This team played Bloxwich in the Wolverhampton League on 7 Sept, 1914, the match ended in a 3-3 draw.
The club was reformed in 1919 just after the Great War with many local players, and did have some success in their first years.
Although not much was documented about the club in the inter-war years, the following two pictures exist from a successful time in the early 1920s.
Front row, second player right is John 'Jack' Jones, some of the players came from the East Street and West Street area of Red Hall.
Front row, again shows local players Jack Jones (second right), with his brothers, Alf to his left, and Job second player from left.
The senior gentleman on the right of both pictures is their uncle William 'Billy on t'hob' Jones, he was landlord of the Red Lion, the photos were possibly taken at the back of the Old Bulls Head in Red Hall which also doubled as the team headquarters at the time, the gentleman second from right is Isaac 'Ige' Bradley of the Old Bull who managed the team.
The 1920-1921 season was particularly good, with Gornal being top of the Wolverhampton League, the players with four gold medals apiece.
The Herald, February 11, 1922 reports:
In 1921 Lower Gornal Athletic F.C. accomplishments: Wolverhampton & District League Champions, Winners of Dudley Guest Hospital Cup, Bilston Charity Cup and finalists in the Birmingham Junior Cup.

Birmingham Junior Cup final 30 April 1921.
Leamington Town vs Lower Gornal Athletic.
The final was played at Manor Park, Nuneaton, Gornal put on a brave show but were out-played by a superior and more determined side.
Leamington Town vs Lower Gornal of AFC, Birmingham Junior Cup Final, 1921 - grainy pictures of goal-mouth action during the match from an old newspaper cutting.
The Royal Leamington Spa Courier and Warwickshire Standard, May 6.
Early in the second half Gornal were awarded a penalty Moss took the kick but the Leamington goalie saved one of the few chances they had in the match.
Unfortunately for Gornal the match went downhill from then onwards with Leamington Town having a scoring spree, winning by five goals to nil.
LGFC line-up for the match: Deans; Tighe; J. Cooper; L. Hickman; Smith; E. Hckman; L. Cooper; Harper; Woodhall; Jones; Moss.

February 4th, 1922 Birmingham Junior Cup; LGA vs Tamworth Colliery, win 2-0.
18th December, 1926 Birmingham Junior Cup, Churchfield vs LGA.
1927 match between Netherton Liberals and LGA.
The above photo was taken in the yard of the Old Bulls Head in Redhall Road, the 'Bull was used as team headquarters, the room at the top of the brick stairway on the left behind the group doubled as the changing room.
The rooftops of shops in Zoar Street can be seen in the background with nr.25 that would later become Bill Davies's carpet shop the most visible.
1967/1968 Season Program.
CDM Collection
LGFC joined the Worcestershire Combination in 1951, and in 1962 moved to the West Midlands Regional League.
The Club moved to a new ground only a short distance away - just a little further down the bank on the Garden Walk, this new pitch was built in 1949.
The grounds were officially opened on Saturday, 25th November, 1950 when they played a match against Wednesfield.
Team line-up for the 6th round of the Staffordshire County Cup 1952: Garrett; Smalley; Chilton; Hughes; Everitt; Rose; Nicholls; Halford; Beech; Allen; McRobe.
Their star striker who had scored 32 goals in 17 games - Rowmanowski was injured at that time.
This was a coal mining area during the 19th century, and at least two shafts sunk nearby, the pitch was laid over part of the old Graveyard Colliery.
A typical team line-up in 1963:
Hunt (G); Greenaway(2); M.Oliver(3); J.Oliver(4); Smith(5); Johnson(6); Edwards(7); Sansom(8); Robertson(9); B.Perry(10); Kendrick(11).
The strip: amber trimmmed emerald jerseys & emerald shorts.
A typical team line-up in the mid-sixties:
Hackett (G); Babb; Clark; Johnson; Smith; Davis; McGrath; Holmes; Darby; Duffield; Cornfield.
The strip at this time was amber jerseys & black shorts.
The club's name was shortened to 'Gornal Athletic Football Club' in 1972.
Nicknamed 'The Peacocks' and a Peacock features on the club emblem.
During 1998-1999 the old pitch site was re-developed into a small housing estate and now Winrush Close is built over it.
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Gornal Wood Excelsior Football Club
LOWER GORNAL EXCELSIOR v. BRIERLEY HILL AND DISTRICT. —This match was played on Saturday last, on the ground of the former, at Cooper's Bank, in the presence of a numerous company of spectators. The home team winning the toss, chose to play with the wind. The visitors, having a scratch team, thought they had matters in their own hands, but the Excelsior showed such a passing game that their opponents little thought of witnessing. As soon as the ball was started the visitors were bent on playing a very fast and pressing game. Several corners fell to the visitors, but the Excelsior goal keeper was well up to his work, and succeeded in putting them out. The back division of the home team played a grand game throughout. Eight minutes from the start the home team scored the first goal from a long and splendid shot by A. Norton, which was headed through by D. Jones (captain.) Just before half-time, from a bit of splendid passing by the forwards, another goal was scored. making two goals to nil at half-time. Immediately after half-time, with the wind in their favour, the chances of the visitors looked brighter, and on resuming they took possession of the leather, and made a sharp run up the field and secured a goal from a low shot. This, however did not daunt the home team, who played up well with each other till time end of the game. For immediately after the home team got a kick from the centre, and Clark, running the ball past the whole of the visitors, secured the third goal for the Excelsiors. The visitors then played a very defensive game, and although pressed hard, the home team obtained another goal. The third and fourth goals were made in rapid succession. Southall, Bennett, and Hood then made some good runs, but their efforts were fruitless, the home team ultimately winning by 4 goals to 1. The Excelsiors, are to be congratulated on their success, as this was a very strong team for such a young club, who have been fortunate enough not to lose a match this season.

Dudley and District News, 15 November, 1884.

An earlier local team 'Gornal Wood Excelsior' was formed in 1884 and their pitch was possibly near the Limerick Inn or Coopers Bank, Gornal Wood, very little is known about this side or its achievements.
Noted as playing in the Brierley Hill Cup First Round in January 1900, and Brierley Hill & District League.
Team line-up; November 1884:
Goal: Hale. Backs: Evans, J Marsh. Half-backs: Flavell, Tennant, E Marsh. Forwards: Clarke, A. Norton, D. Jones (capt.), Holden, Tonkiss.
In 1884, the team was described as a strong team for such a new club and enjoying some local success.
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Upper Gornal Wanderers
'Upper Gornal Wanderers' played in the Brierley Hill and District League in 1900, some (all?) games were played on the Sedgley Rovers Ground.
A team - Upper Gornal 'Athletic' were mentioned in 1905.
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Arthur Marsh.
Arthur was born in Lower gornal in 1947.
His league career started with Bolton Wanderers with 73 appearances between 1966-1971 as a central defender, he went on to to play for Rochdale and Darlington.
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