Rochester F.C. was an English association football club from Rochester in Kent.

Full nameRochester Football Club
GroundBorstal Road

History edit

The club was formed in September 1868[1] and played its first game against the Mid-Kent Club in November 1868.[2] Although the club was founded to play under Association laws, in the 1868-69 season it still appeared to be operating under an outdated set of laws, as it is recorded having beaten a Maidstone side by 5 touchdowns to 0, with no goals being scored;[3] the club unaware that the touchdown had been abolished in 1867.

For the club's first seven seasons, its opponents were other Kentish clubs, such as Maidstone and the Royal Engineers, plus the south London clubs the Wanderers and Crystal Palace.

The club did not enter the FA Cup until 1875-76, losing to Herts Rangers in the first round. This is the first reported match the club played north of the River Thames. The following year saw the club go on its best-ever FA Cup run, beating Union in the first round and the Swifts in the second, the latter in front of a crowd of around 150,[4] after a slight controversy regarding the original match ball, which seems to have been more a rugby ball than association ball; "one way it measured the required length but the other was much smaller."[5] The club lost 4-0 to Cambridge University at the Kennington Oval in the third round (that year, the last 10), although the final goal was "palpably off-side".[6]

The club entered the Cup every year until 1892-93, but only once more reached the third round; in 1882-83 (that year a final 25), after receiving a bye in the second. The club's biggest FA Cup win was 6-1 over Reading in 1885-86.

Rochester's last appearance in the competition proper was in 1887-88, when the club was drawn against the Royal Engineers. Although the Sappers won 3-0, the Football Association ordered a replay on the basis that they had fielded two players who had not been registered for the competition. However, two of Rochester's players had been injured in the original match, and the club scratched.[7]

The club's final Cup tie was in the first qualifying round in 1892-93, losing 4-1 at Clapton.[8] It seems that the Kent club had difficulties in raising a team, as not one of the Rochester players listed on the fixture card (a forerunner to the football programme) appeared in the match itself.[9]

Notable players edit

Colours edit

The club's original colours were black & white hoops, plus a black velvet cap with the City of Rochester arms in silver. The cap was dropped from 1870.[11]

Ground edit

The club played on the Borstal Road to the south-west of Rochester, a mile from Rochester Bridge station and with a club house on the Esplanade,[12] although it was apparently not always easy to find, with the Cup tie against the Swifts kicking off late because of the difficulties the visitors had in locating the pitch.[13]

References edit

  1. ^ Alcock, Charles (1869). Football Annual. p. 57.
  2. ^ "Mid-Kent 1-0 Rochester". The Field: 457. 5 December 1868.
  3. ^ "Rochester 5-0 Maidstone". The Field: 501. 19 December 1868.
  4. ^ "Rochester 1-0 Swifts". Sportsman: 4. 20 December 1876.
  5. ^ "report". The Field: 765. 23 December 1876.
  6. ^ "report". The Sportsman: 4. 5 February 1877.
  7. ^ "Royal Engineers v Rochester". Sportsman: 4. 22 October 1887.
  8. ^ "The Football Association Cup". Evening Standard: 8. 17 October 1892.
  9. ^ "Sporting Notes". Acton & Chiswick Gazette: 8. 17 October 1892.
  10. ^ "England v Scotland". Morning Post: 3. 21 November 1870.
  11. ^ Alcock, Charles (1871). Football Annual. p. 61.
  12. ^ Alcock, Charles (1875). Football Annual. p. 141.
  13. ^ "report". The Field: 765. 23 December 1876.