As we approach our Armistice Fixture against Grimsby Town this Saturday, we’ve been reflecting on the connection between Army Football in Aldershot since the Second World War.
In the Second World War, so many professional footballers were drafted into the Army Physical Training Corps and trained in Aldershot, that the local teams could field players of a remarkably high calibre.
This applied not just to the Army teams, but Aldershot FC also enjoyed a sprinkling of these top professionals.
At one point, Stan Cullis, Cliff Britton and Joe Mercer were all together at the Army School of Physical Training, so Aldershot FC fielded the entire England half-back line as guest players.
After the war, National Service meant that the Army continued to have high quality professionals in its ranks and it’s a history that the club continues to be proud of.
To mark the centenary of the Army in Aldershot there was a celebratory match between the Army and Aldershot FC, which the Army won largely through the quality of its National Service players.
In the modern day, football remains the most popular sport in the Army, with inter-unit competitions for both men’s and women’s teams. The connection to Aldershot is as strong as ever.
The Aldershot Military Stadium remains the home of Army football and the venue for the Challenge Cup and Minor Units Cup finals, played during the “Festival of Football”.
The Army Football Association is based in the headquarters of the RAPTC in Fox Lines, and the new Football Development Centre was opened in Aldershot in 2013.
The proud history of Army football continues to be written in Aldershot, the Army’s centre of sporting excellence.
For a full history of Army Football in Aldershot ahead of this Saturday’s Remembrance fixture v Grimsby Town, including Aldershot FC during the Second World War, head to the Friends of the Aldershot Military Museum website HERE.