Founded in 1859 and therefore the second oldest surviving Association Football club after Sheffield FC (a club founded by Old Harrovians in 1857), the OHAFC continues to prosper. The Club’s arrival among the elite of Old Boys’ football was confirmed by its winning The Arthur Dunn Cup in 2007. This prestigious trophy has been contested since 1902 by old boys’ teams from such traditional footballing strongholds as Bradfield, Charterhouse, Eton, Forest, Lancing, Malvern, Repton, Shrewsbury, Westminster and Winchester, all of whom along with the Old Harrovians were founder members of the competition. OHAFC’s achievement was just reward for an outstanding team which had developed under the leadership of Quentin Baker (Moretons 1989/3) who held the office of 1st XI Captain for fourteen seasons until 2012.
It is well documented that soccer at Harrow was abolished in 1927 in favour of rugby. This sounded the death knell for the OHAFC which disbanded in 1931 and remained dormant until its re-establishment in 1963. The next four decades attracted loyal membership and witnessed many remarkable victories against strong opposition. The 2nd XI started in 1966, the Veterans XI in 1973 and a 3rd XI operated initially from 1978 to 1986 before its revival in 2006. The Annual Dinner, overseas Easter Tours and The Arthurian League Championship win in 1977/78 provided further evidence of a thriving club, generating a lasting spirit of friendship amongst its members and many supporters. The re-introduction of soccer at Harrow by David Elleray in 1977 was (and perhaps still is) seen as controversial in some quarters, but in truth it represented just another significant milestone in Harrow’s longstanding involvement with the game.
Launched with an exciting tour to South America organised by the Club’s current President, Andrew Butler (The Knoll 1981/3), the 40th year since the Club’s re-establishment heralded the arrival of a new era. In 2003 a meeting of Vice-Presidents and senior officers was held at Stamford Bridge to consider future strategy and Barnaby Lenon announced the School’s intention to expand soccer at Harrow. OHAFC members responded by helping to raise the funds necessary to equip the School with one of the two all-weather pitches on New Fields. The Philathletic Ground became the Club’s venue for home league and cup matches and, in 2003/04, the 1st XI promptly lifted The Arthurian League Premier Division trophy, a feat it was to repeat six years later in 2009/10.
The past ten seasons have seen many talented School leavers lining up in OHAFC colours, the high profile of soccer at Harrow now providing a regular flow of recruits. Success breeds success and a revitalised 2nd XI captained by Arjun Chopra (Newlands 1997/3) gained promotion to Division 4, Division 3 and Division 2 in successive seasons. Prior to this in 2006, it had become the first team ever to win the League Cup from Division 5, defeating opponents from Division 2 along the way. However, the team’s finest hour to date has to be the cup final of 2011 when a very strong Old Carthusians 2nd XI was defeated 3-2.
The 2006/07 season saw the re-establishment of the 3rd XI which continues to enjoy efficient and enthusiastic leadership, and it may not be too long before demand from School leavers leads to the requirement to field four sides regularly on Saturdays. The Veterans XI, Cup Winners in 2012, is celebrating 25 years of Sunday morning home fixtures at the Bank of England Sports Centre in Roehampton, with John Wyn-Evans (The Head Master’s 1975/1) now in his 14th season as Captain.
Off the pitch members enjoy a flourishing social arena with, for many, post match gatherings offering the highlight of the week. Following five successful Dinners at Chelsea FC attracting attendances of 200+ each time, The Hurlingham Club now hosts this event which is held biennially and which wives, partners and girlfriends are encouraged to attend. The overseas Easter tours, in 2015 to Marbella, continue to attract loyal support from those possessing the necessary stamina.
The Club is also fortunate to enjoy excellent Saturday match day facilities. The Charles Alcock Pavilion was supported financially by OHAFC members during its construction and was opened officially in September 2012 with a festival of football (the “FestiPhil”) involving 30 OH’s and 30 current Harrovians. This has become an annual event with four teams competing for the Jubilee Cup. The Alcock and the magnificent Phil pitches it serves are the envy of visiting teams.
Resulting from the considerable efforts of David Lederman (Newlands 1988/3) and Harry Woolley (Moretons 1998/3), the Club boasts one of the finest websites in amateur football – www.ohafc.com. Apart from containing detailed records of years gone by, the website is updated weekly with match reports, selected teams, fixtures, photos etc as well as serving as a valued means of identifying player availability.
In 2009 the Club celebrated the 150th Anniversary of its foundation confident in the knowledge that future generations of Old Harrovians will join its ranks, as those school leavers recorded in the 19th century, “to keep up the practice at all events of the game at which they had shown some considerable aptitude” . (Alcock The Association Game – quoted in Butler The Official Illustrated History of the FA Cup p35).
For further information, visit www.ohafc.com or contact the Hon. Secretary, Harry Woolley on 07725 095 150 or via email on firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are a member of the OHAFC, click on the link in the right hand menu to search the Members Directory.