Local football historian Terry Ainsworth looks back at Newton Rovers during the 1960s.
At the end of season 1963-64 Newton Rovers tendered their resignation from the North Lancashire & District Football League. They had finished in 8th place in a 13 club Division II that was won by Lancaster Moor Hospital.
At the league’s annual general meeting in July 1964 Newton Rovers withdrew their resignation and were admitted to Division III as simply Newton and this was the beginning of a remarkable resurgence in the club’s fortunes. At this same meeting a proposal that clubs should provide nets for games was defeated but one that proposed the home team changing their strip when there was a clash of colours was carried. This “new” club would comprise many players who worked at the Storey Brothers warehouse on the White Lund Estate, Morecambe, including Jimmy Fagan, Jimmy Atkinson, Joe O’Connor and Harry Draper. Joe Sherrington recalls that the warehouse was on the site of a former ammunitions factory and one of the managers was well known local race-walker, Joe Barraclough. Ian Rowan kindly supplied a copy of the 1964-65 balance sheet as well as minutes from the 1st annual general meeting and also full results up to the end of season 1968-69, a quite remarkable record from a man who devoted time and energy to the sport that he loved. Brian Gardner was the first captain and the team colours of Claret & Blue were chosen because Brian Metcalfe, an outstanding local footballer, was a supporter of Burnley although in the 3rd game of the season at Williamsons the new strip had obviously not arrived as the rare colour photograph will testify.
When they defeated Hest Bank Reserves 6-2 in the final of the Parkinson Collegian Cup on Williamsons ground on April 28 1965 it culminated a quite outstanding “double” season
They scored a total of 275 goals in all competitions with George Atkinson contributing 104, Jimmy Fagan 61, Brian Metcalfe 33, Joe O’Connor 21 and Dave Rigby 17.
By season 1966-67 they had reached the dizzy heights of Division I of the North Lancs League following two very successful years and a third place finish behind champions Milnthorpe Corinthians augured well for the future.