news_story_hero_image

Newhall United

Group News

It makes perfect sense for Central Joinery Group to join forces with Newhall United as main sponsor, as you couldn’t get more central than Newhall – in fact 1971 it was discovered that the village was the centre of population for the United Kingdom. 

However, central as the village is, it feels more north than south due to its coalmining history, and the majority of the men who resided in the terraces of Oversetts Road and Parliament Street during the late 19th and early 20th centuries worked in the mines or associated industries.  A few were able to escape a life down the pit by virtue of their sporting talent, and the village of Newhall has produced many professional footballers including England internationals.  The most famous was born at the Thorntree Inn on Bretby Lane in May 1879.  Ben Warren went onto to become one of professional football’s earliest superstars, appearing in an FA Cup final for Derby County, before being snapped up by Chelsea in 1908.  He went on to win 22 England caps in total, but a serious knee injury playing for Chelsea threatened his career and led to a nervous breakdown.  Warren never recovered and died in the County Lunatic Asylum of tuberculosis in January 1917, aged just 37.  Another Newhall-born player to play for England was goalkeeper Dan Tremelling.  Born in Alma Road in 1897, he worked as a miner before joining Birmingham City.

The late 19th century saw a number of clubs represent the village, including Newhall Town, Newhall St Johns, Newhall Red Rose, Newhall White Rose, and Newhall Swifts.  The earliest mention of a club bearing the name Newhall United comes from 1896, playing in the Burton Minor League.  They suffered some heavy defeats, and the first successful Newhall United team did not come about for another fifteen years when they won the Burton & District FA’s supplementary First Competition in 1911/12, and the Division Two title the following season.  The pre-war period Newhall United played at the Chesterfield Arms Ground, by Park Gate Farm at the top of Woods Lane, but their success was halted by the outbreak of the First World War. 

It wasn’t until the 1920s that Newhall United re-appeared in the top flight of the Burton & District FA, winning the league 1925/26.  However, 1926 was a tough year for mining communities with the threat of reduced pay and increased hours, and at the end of the season football was far from everyone’s minds as the General Strike in May saw millions of miners down tools, followed by workers in other industries.  The miners maintained a resistance for a few months before being forced by financial necessity to return to work, but rationalisation of the industry meant many would remain unemployed for years.  For the good of the men’s morale, Newhall United were reformed for the 1926/27 season and won the Burton & District FA title, and while a fallow year followed they became league champions again in 1928/29, beating Gresley Colliery on goal difference.  They won the title again in 1929/30 with an unbeaten record and a five point margin over closest rivals Marstons and Gresley Rovers.

A particularly noteworthy Newhall United player of the era was Overseal-born goalkeeper Jack Kirby, who left to join Derby County in April 1929.  In most respects Kirby was a undemonstrative man, and there are contemporary tales of him casually cycling from his Newhall home to the Baseball Ground on matchdays along through Swadlincote, Hartshorne, and out over Swarkestone Bridge, stopping to chat to supporters on the way.  However, his actions on the club’s 1934 summer tour of Germany immortalised him as ‘The Ram who defied Hitler’.  To say Adolf Hitler had a fondness for propaganda is something of an understatement, and swastika flags flew at every match.  The British Government were at pains not to offend Hitler’s regime, ordered the touring footballers to perform the Nazi salute before each match.  In an interview with the Derby Evening Telegraph in later years, Derby County full-back George Collin said, “We told the manager that we didn’t want to do it. He spoke with the directors, but they said that the British ambassador insisted we must. So we did as we were told…….all except our goalkeeper, Jack Kirby, that is. Jack was adamant that he wouldn’t give the salute. When the time came, he just kept his arm down and almost turned his back on the dignitaries. If anyone noticed, they didn’t say anything.”  Unlike today players, 1930s footballers were expected to obey their employers, although he went on to make 173 appearances for the club so it didn’t seem to do Kirby’s career at the Baseball Ground that much harm.

Newhall United lifted the Burton & District FA Challenge Cup in 1930/31, but it wasn’t until the club reformed following World War Two that more silverware was added when the club stormed to the 1946/47 Burton & District FA title.  Playing at Newhall Park, they scored a staggering 160 goals in just 23 matches, over half of those coming courtesy of club legend Arthur ‘Waddy’ Redfern, whose goalscoring prowess attracted the attention of Leeds United scouts.  Redfern felt a professional career had already passed him by, however he recommended a teenage defender from the club’s reserve team.  Grenville Hair would make 474 first team appearances at Elland Road, and went on to manage Bradford City, only to die aged just 36 of a heart attack while taking a training session in March 1968.

Newhall United made their FA Cup debut in the early 1950s, the best run coming in 1951/52 when Matlock Town and Basford United were defeated before losing to Ilkeston Town in the 3rd Qualifying Round.  The following season saw the club set an FA Cup record when Allan Jackson played in the 2nd Qualifying Round away to Nottingham-based Boots Athletic aged just 14y50d.  Jackson went on to sign for giants Wolverhampton Wanderers, and scored against German champions Schalke 04 in the 1957/58 European Cup.  His career came full circle, as in the late 1960s he returned to Newhall United as player manager. 

The early 1950s also saw the club moved to its current home at The Hawfields Ground. Land was purchased from local dairy farmer Mr Crofts, situated on the north end of Hawfields Farm and accessed via a track from Oversetts Road.  The pitch had a pronounced slope, something for which the Hawfields would become notorious over the years. 

The Derby Senior League title was won in 1958/59, immediately followed by a share of the prestigious Bass Charity Vase after a 0-0 draw with Stapenhill in the 1959 final.  It was the club’s fourth Bass Charity Vase final, having been on the losing side to Derby Corinthians in 1948, and Burton Albion in 1954 and 1957.  Newhall United finally lifted the Bass Charity Vase outright in 1962 with a 6-2 victory over Wilmorton & Alvaston. 

The 1960s saw Newhall United compete alongside Gresley Rovers in the Central Alliance, with many titanic battles between the two clubs.  Newhall United’s halcyon period came in the 1970s however, and in the first year of the decade Burton Albion visited the Hawfields in the 2nd Qualifying round of the FA Cup, the Brewers winning 3-1 in front of a record crowd of 2,000.  Newhall United won the Derbyshire Premier League title twice in the 1970s, and finished runners up four times in the late 70s and early 80s.  The club won the Derbyshire Premier League Cup once during the same spell, and were losing finalists on three more occasions, as well as lifting the Bass Charity Vase twice.

The club’s fortunes declined in the late 80s and early 90s, and it was a return to the Burton & District FA that rejuvenated their fortunes.  A four year spell culminated the league title in 2001/02, and saw them join the Midland Football Combination Division Three before successive promotions saw the club reach Division One for 2004/05.

In an effort to reduce travel costs the club moved to the Leicestershire Senior League for a spell before switching to the Derbyshire-based Midlands Regional Alliance for 2011/12.  The Midlands Regional Alliance had evolved from the Central Alliance in which the club had competed in the 1960s. 

The Hawfields, now renamed the Central Joinery Hawfields Ground, has seen many changes since the club moved in during the early 1950s.  The 1960s saw the hedge on the John Street side removed to open up land for a training pitch, and as the club progressed during the decade two stands were added in order to make the ground more attractive to spectators.  In the early 1990s the training area was sold off for The Gables housing development, allowing the club to build a new clubhouse to replace the rickety 1950s wooden hut.  The mid-2000s also saw the club level the infamous Hawfields slope.  However, the biggest change to the Hawfields has been the disappearance of the open farmland that surrounded the ground when the club, with the site now enveloped by housing developments.  It was this that led to the club being forced from the ground in 2018, when a neighbouring resident complained about stray footballs, with first team folding and the young reserve side forced into a two-year exile at Netherseal Sports Club while funds were raised by a local community group to erect netting.  The ground was also registered as an Asset of Community Value to help secure its future.

The club’s former reserve side, along with managers Mark Adamson and Dan Bishop, were invited to return last summer to become the new Newhall United first team.  It was an obvious move with seventeen of the squad having previous first team experience at Newhall United, covering nearly 300 first team appearances at the Hawfields stretching back over a decade.  With the support of generous sponsorship from local businesses, the most significant investment in two decades has been made in recent months to improve the facility.  The pitch has been decompacted, top-soiled, and seeded, and improvement work carried out in an effort to improve drainage.  The players have mucked in with the efforts to help make the ground a more inviting venue for you to come and enjoy a game of football, and the pitch is now looking the best it has in years.  With continued fundraising, and support from sponsors, it is hoped that Newhall United will be a club the village is proud to call its own.

 

 

Call us today to take advantage of our free site survey and delivery 

01283 212142