WIFC – the first games…

Early May 1997… Tony Blair had just been elected Prime Minister, Princess Diana started knocking around with Dodi Fayed, Channel 5 was launched, Radiohead were about to release their seminal ‘OK Computer’ album while no one, ever, had heard of Kasabian, Brexit, Cheryl Cole, Troy Deeney or WIFC. On one count, that was all about to change.

A year previously, a message was sent to the Watford mailing list, still in it’s own infancy, from a team representing QPR. They had taken part in a tournament called EuroNET ‘96, which was held in Nottingham. Graham Kelly, the then chief of the FA, was publicly sceptical about the ability of English football supporters to behave themselves during the Euro96, so through the use of Email lists and other internet based discussion groups, EuroNET had been organised to prove him wrong.

A game against QPR was organised by a Watford fan called Andy Barnard. Among those who volunteered to play were Aidy Spender and Simon Devon.  The game was due to be played at Wormwood Scrubs around Christmas time, but the weather intervened and the game was called off. Before it had even started, WIFC had died on the vine and the trail went dead until a few months later, when another message was sent to WML asking if Watford were interested in entering a team into EuroNET ‘97.

With Andy Barnard having moved to Tibilisi a new volunteer was required. Aidy was working and living in Essex during a year out from Uni, and he decided to take up the request.  “I basically just mailed saying I was up for trying to put a team together and seeing who else was interested” says a modest Spender. From that small acorn, a mighty oak began to grow and a game against Colchester was arranged with the help of Simon Devon, who sorted a pitch at Hatfield Uni, where he was a student.

Simon Devon’s calendar showing the dates that mattered..

Having suffered a postponement first time round, WIFC were now thwarted by the other bete noire of the amateur football team. “So we all met up and Colchester didn’t show” recalls Devon. “It was no real problem, as it at least meant we could meet each other and learn names this time! Among the people there that day were myself, Aidy, Mowen, Miles Jacobson, Julian Carrera, Paul Labbett, Jon Parry, ‘Dr’ Dave Perahia and Ian Lay.” Those players were to form the nucleus of the team that was entered into EuroNET ’97.

With the tournament looming, games were needed and at the third attempt, WIFC finally got off the ground with a visit to Arsenal on Saturday 18th May 1997. The game was played on an astroturf pitch in Caledonian Road, Holloway and ended in a 1-5 reverse against a side that had been together for a few years by then. Julian Carrera had the honour of scoring the first WIFC goal while the team included those already noted, and also saw the WIFC bow of Pete Fincham, despite a car crash on route the venue.

The first home game soon followed, as QPR travelled over to Hatfield on a windy day. Mowen scored a possibly wind-assisted 30 yarder, but QPR ran out 4-1 winners. WIFC finally notched a win against Fincham’s Sunday side, Headstone. Unfortunately, complete records weren’t kept at the time so the scorers in a 7-4 victory are lost in the addled memories of those involved. With preparations complete, the intrepid WIFC trailblazers set of for Middlesbrough, host of EuroNET ’97, in fine spirits.

The first team picture – WIFC’s trail blazers in the Rookery Stand before Euronet 97..


An overview of our results in 2011/12

WIFC 11/12 Pld W D L GS GA GD
League 20 9 1 10 57 55 2
Friendlies 6 4 0 2 32 21 11
Cup Games 12 4 1 7 16 13 3
TOTAL 38 17 2 19 105 89 16
Goals Per Game 2.76 2.34

A full list of results and scorers..

Date Comp Opposition Score Scorers
27-Aug-11 LGE1/LCGRP Dagenham & Redbridge H W 3-0 Ainsley, Fellas, Soloway
17-Sep-11 LGE2 Barnsley A W 5-2 Nicholls 2, Hannaford, Soloway 2
01-Oct-11 LGE3 Southampton A L 2-5 OG, Prentice
08-Oct-11 LGE4 Oxford H W 4-1 J Davis 2, Prentice 2
15-Oct-11 LGE5/LCGRP Barnet A W 3-2 J Davis 2, Prentice
22-Oct-11 LGE6 MK Dons A L 1-3 Prentice (Pen)
29-Oct-11 FR WIFC Yellows v Reds H W 4-3 Moody 2, Eustice, Nicholls – Myall, Murphy, Prentice
05-Nov-11 LGE7 Brentford Hey Jude A L 1-3 Prentice
26-Nov-11 LGE8/IFAC1 Livingston (Olympic Lion) H L 3-4 J Davis, R Sterry, Spender
03-Dec-11 LGE9 Ipswich A D 2-2 Myall 2
10-Dec-11 FR Belgian Soldiers of Fortune H W 6-3 Pollard 2, Moody, L Wells, Ainsley, D Messenger
14-Jan-12 LGE10 West Ham H L 1-3 Moody
21-Jan-12 LGE11 Oxford A L 3-5 J Davis, Hand, Duncan
28-Jan-12 LGE12/LCGRP AFC Wimbledon B H W 5-0 Nicholls, Dundon 2, OG, Soloway
04-Feb-12 LGE13 Barnsley H L 3-5 Moody, Soloway, Ainsley
18-Feb-12 LGE14 Dulwich Hamlet A L 2-4 Moody (Pen), Nicholls
10-Mar-12 LGE15 West Ham A L 1-6 Holdham
17-Mar-12 LGE16 Coventry H W 6-1 Stone, Dew 2, Soloway, Wenham, Moody
24-Mar-12 LGE17/LCSF AFC Wimbledon H W 5-2 Moody, Holdham, R Sterry 2, Smith
24-Mar-12 LGE18 Ipswich H W 2-1 Myall, J Collins
14-Apr-12 LGE19 Barnet H L 2-3 Myall, Soloway (Pen)
21-Apr-12 LCF West Ham N D 2-2* Harrington, Soloway *lost 6-7 on pens
05-May-12 LGE20 Dagenham & Redbridge A W 3-2 Hinds, Butterick, Wenham
08-May-12 FR WIFC Yellows v Reds H W 6-1 OG, Eustice, Dundon 2, Moody 2 – Wenham
12-May-12 FR Dulwich Hamlet H W 12-4 Soloway, R Sterry 3, Prentice, Flanagan, Harrington 2, Ainsley, Pegram, C Davis 2
08-Jul-12 SDT West Ham N L 0-1
08-Jul-12 SDT Barnet N L 1-2 Soloway
08-Jul-12 SDT London Carlisle N W 3-0 Pegram, R Sterry 2
21-Jul-12 Worldnet A’s Portsmouth N W 3-0 Moody, Soloway, Dew
21-Jul-12 Worldnet A’s AFC Telford United N L 1-2 Dundon
21-Jul-12 Worldnet A’s Coventry N W 2-0 Moody, Dundon
21-Jul-12 Worldnet Vets Leeds N L 0-1
21-Jul-12 Worldnet Vets Airdrie N L 1-2 Fellas (Pen)
21-Jul-12 Worldnet Vets West Ham Vets N W 3-0 Withey, L Wells, Eustice
22-Jul-12 Worldnet Vets Last 16 Oxford Vets N L 0-1
22-Jul-12 Worldnet Last 16 AFC Telford United N L 0-2

And here are the appearances and goals stats for all players to appear in 2011/12

Name 11/12 Apps 11/12 Gls
Joel Moody 28 13
Stuart Nicholls 25 5
Stuart Holdham 21 2
Matt Ainsley 19 4
Dave Soloway 17 11
Alex Prentice 17 8
Andy Myall 16 5
Matt Wells 15
Richard Murphy 15 1
Phil McBride 15
Martin Pollard 15 2
Aidy Spender 15 1
Panos Fellas 14 2
Ed Sterry 14
Dan Willis 13
Jeremy Hinds 13 1
Jamie Parkins 12
Rob Sterry 12 8
Tom Beck 12
Paul Whittenbury 11 3
Rob Stone 11 1
Frank Smith 11 1
Steve Eustice 10 3
Richard Walker 10
Laurence Wells 9 2
Chris Dundon 8 6
Lee Evans 8
Mark Brennan 8
Darren Sear 7
Mat Ball 7
David Morren 7
Maurice Clarke 7
Chris Dew 7 3
Simon Jones 7
Jimmy Davis 6 6
Richard Wenham 6 3
Warren Flanagan 5 1
Martin Owen 5
Tim Down 5
Ben Pegram 5 2
Chris Westcott 5
Leigh Harrington 5 3
Paul Withey 5 3
Dan Butterick 5 1
Dave Messenger 4 1
Andy Lewers 4
Josh Freedman 4
Paul Labbett 4
Jon Parry 4
Jerker Kjellander 3
James Collins 3 1
James Hannaford 3 1
Ben Clarke 3
Ross Tolmie-Thomson 3
Chris Davis 3 2
Harry Tolmie-Thomson 3
Max Walters 3
Paul Karlsen 2
Marc Duffy 2
Ian Grinstead 2
Richard Messenger 2
Fraser Clark 2
Ben Frais 2
Scott Cain 2
Sam Copeland 2
Mark Collins 1
Andy Stocks 1
Scott Mathers 1
Craig Urquhart 1
Richard Betts 1
Alex Malcolm 1
Tony Mehegan 1
Ryan Viduka 1
Richie Duncan 1 1
Rich Evans 1
Luke Hand 1 1
James Tookey 1
James Penny 1
Jack King 1
Dan Norris 1
Andrew Carberry 1
Paul Killick 1


Opposition Competition Result Scorers
Forest Friendly 5-0
Leeds Friendly 4-0
Swindon Friendly 5-4
Forest Friendly 0-5
Derby Friendly 8-1 Labbett 2, Unknown
Luton Friendly 2-3
Colchester Friendly 8-0
Portsmouth Friendly 1-1
Barnet Friendly 7-1
Colchester Friendly 10-0
Southampton Friendly 5-0
Portsmouth Friendly 4-4
Worldnet (Reading)
Arsenal Worldnet 0-2
Ipswich Worldnet 0-1
Doncaster Worldnet 2-1
Colchester Worldnet 2-0
Forest Worldnet 0-1
WIFC 97/98 Pld W D L GS GA GD
Friendlies 12 8 2 2 59 19 40
Cup Games 5 2 0 3 4 5 -1
WIFC 17 10 2 5 63 24 34
Goals Per Game 3.71 1.41
Last 32