The very early days
In 1926, a number of 10 years olds formed themselves into a team, having got tired of just kicking a ball about. They played at every available moment, every during schooldays, and almost three times a day when on school holidays. They played on a small field belonging to Dr. J Sangster of ‘Parkfield’, Gravelly Hill. The Doctor, himself, when surgery hours were over, often came down to this field at the back of his house to show the boys the finer points of the game (himself an experienced and keen player, having played for Aberdeen F.C.). The fathers purchased balls and nets for the boys, the first jerseys were bought by the boys at a cost of 1/- each.
In those days the team was called The Paddock F.C. and comprised of:-
S.M.Sangster (Captain), D.W.Ryland, A.S.Fisher, K.Gray, C.Fisher, E.Ryland, J.Holland, A.Austin, N.Twist, L.Hughes, H. Baldwin, L. Baldwin, E.Baldwin, K Philips, A.Philips, A.Tranter, D.Holland (killed in action in N Africa (1940)), J.Stafford, N.Godbyr, P.Clarke, P.Fenner.
The start of competitve games
In 1930, the team split up, some broke away to form the old Yenton Club, and the remainder, as boys will, promptly became fierce rivals. Then was when the club really was born. The name ‘Parkfield’ naturally resolved itself from the name of Dr. Sangster’s house, where the club first started.
The first colours were chocolate, with blue sleeves, and white shorts. The closest the lads could get to their favourite team, Aston Villa's, colours.
On 4th April 1931, Parkfield AFC played its first competitive game against the newly formed Yenton and finished in a 5-3 defeat. The team was:- Machin, Perke, Harrison, N.K.Jones, Field, Gregg, S.Sangster, E Ryland, Reed, D Ryland, K Philips. The Yenton team contained former Paddock FC players, J.Holland, P.Clarke, A.Phillips, and A.S.Fisher. The teams meet subsequently with the results of a 4-3 defeat and a draw.
For the next five seasons the club continued to play just friendlies against local teams. The club was reasonable successful to start with but then really struggled in the 1933-34 season. But then in 1934-35 a re-arranged team with some new players and the use of the controversial tactic of “the centre-forward falling back” saw a great improvement with 20 wins from the 33 games played. This year also saw the change to the clubs colours which would serve us to this day. The story is that J. Clarke, on holiday in Ireland, noticed the striking effect of the sunset’s deep red reflection on a river, flowing between the fields of Irish Emerald green!
The club was now well established and was equally successfully on the pitch in the following year and so decided to apply to join a league.
Joining the Birmingham & District AFA
The club received a letter dated 1st July 1936 from the Secretary of the Birmingham & District Amateur Football Association, Mr R.H. Neale, informing the club had been successfully elected as a member of the Association on the back of our application sponsored by Headlingly FC.
Unfortunately the first league game resulted in a 6-2 defeat away to Wednesbury Amateurs. However the next league match resulted in the clubs first league points with a 10-3 home victory against G.S. Friends. The team went on to win a further five games, with five draws, in their first year in the league finishing a crediatable ninth position in the division of 12 teams.
The following year saw the club struggle, finishing bottom of the 11 team league but the club picked up again in the 1938-39 season to finish fifth in the division. The club was put on hold for the second world war in 1939, but most of the players thankfully returned from the war safely so that the club could resume its position in the Birmingham & District AFA in the 1946-47 season.
Post war era
The club started back up, after the cessation of the second world war, in 1946 and re-joined the Birmingham and District Amateur Football League. The 1st team played in the second division but the reserve team continued to just play friendly matches for that first season back, joining the League in the following 1947-48 season. The home ground became the sports fields of Wylde Green College at Cow Lane off Wylde Green Road (the original ground having suffered war damage for which the club went on to receive £39 War Damage Compensation).
D W Ryland became the first Parkfield player to play for the Birmingham AFA representative team when was selected for the match played against Gloucestershire AFA on 30 October 1948.
At the AGM in May 1949 the club changed its rules such that the club’s name became Parkfield Amateur Football Club. The name it has retained to this day.
The first team got promoted into top division of the League for the 1949-50 season after finishing the previous season in 5th in the second division. This same year saw Football League club Aston Villa enter an amateur side into the League for the first time. Parkfield’s first game against this Aston Villa side was on 15 October 1949 and ended in a 2-2 draw. The return fixture at Parkfield on 15 March 1950 was designated the St John’s Ambulance Brigade Charity match for the year and saw another close and high scoring game. Villa coming out as the victors by four goals to three.
The club started the tradition in 1937 of designating one match each year in aid of the St John’s Ambulance Brigade. This continued well into the 1950’s and raised in excess of £115 over the years. The first of the charity matches was against Headingly and was refereed by the Aston Villa Scottish International player Jimmy Gibson. Other teams that contested these charity matches included Moor Green FC (now Solihull Moors (of the Blue Square North)) and Birmingham (Solihull) Gas.
In additional to these St John’s Ambulance Charity matches, during the period 1947 to 1951 the club played an annual match against Warwickshire County Cricket Club in aid of the Birmingham Mail Christmas Tree Fund. The Warwickshire team included England Test Match players H.E. (Tom) Dollery and Eric Hollies. Unfortunately over the four years Parkfield never came out on top in the matches, losing three and drawing one but over £150 was raised for the Christmas Tree Fund.
1949 also saw the tea pavilion at the Wylde Green Sports Grounds unfortunately burnt down due to an act of vandalism by local hooligans. The club had to raised £18.10.0 to build a new all-metal shed.
Although the club’s first season in the top flight of the Birmingham AFA saw the club relegated straight back down to division two after finishing 15th the club did see silverware in the year. The club was awarded the Birmingham Referee’s Jubilee Cup for its sportsmanship (the club had been runners-up in 1938-39).
The start of the 1950-51 season saw a team named Sutton United (who had been formed three years earlier) join us at the Wylde Green College Sports ground. The first recorded matches between the two clubs were on 26 August 1950. The 1st team won their match 2-0 and the 2nds beat Sutton’s second string 5-1. It took until the 1956-57 season before the 1st team played in the top division again. However in the intervening years the club was awarded the Birmingham Referees’ Jubilee Cup in 1954-55 for the 2nd time (Silhill are the only other Birmingham AFA club to have been awarded the Cup) and the 3rd team reached the Minor Cup final losing 5-3 to Walsall Pheonix on 5 March 1955. The following year the 3rd team entered the league full time.
It should be noted that in 1950’s Birmingham AFA players were not allowed to also play Sunday football. A far cry from football today.
From 1956-57 the club remained in the top flight of the Birmingham AFA until 1970-71 when the Premier division was formed with the best ever league finish being in 1958-59 when the 1st team were runners-up of division one behind Aston Villa Amateurs.
Coleshill Road Ground
After 20 years at Wylde Green College Sports Ground the club finally found new dedicated grounds in 1966 securing a 21 year lease of 1.59 hectares of land on the western side of Coleshill Road. However, within two years of relocating, to what was the home of Parkfield for 50 years, the club had to vacate the site for a season for the construction of storm drains in the north-west corner of the ground. Changing room and showering facilities were built on the site and then these were expanded in 1996 to include a small clubhouse bar area.
The club’s fortunes fluctuated in the 1970’s. The 1st team did reach the Senior cup final in 1971-72 and 1979-80, losing on both occassions, but it was not until the 1980’s that the 1st team established themselves in the Premier Division, finishing 4th in 1983-84. The following season saw the club win their first silverware by winning the Senior Cup defeating Welwyn 4-0. The cup was retained in the 1985-86 with a 2-1 victory over local rivals Sutton United. The club dropped out of the Premier division at the end of the 1996-97 season and the first team has played in division one or two until the 2014-15 when they once again graced the top division.
Parkfield formed an over 35’s veterans team in 2002-03 playing on a Sunday in the Central Warwickshire over 35’s league where they won the Division Three knock-out cup. The club retained a veterns team until 2010-11 when it disbanded and merged with Whittington.
More recently, in 2007 the club formed a junior team, playing in the Central Warwickshire Youth league, and a year later Parkfield Amateur Football Club gained Charter Standard Status with a second junior team joining the club. These two teams continued until they reached u16 age group finishing in 2012 and 2013 respectively.
In 2009 the club was awarded a £30,000 grant from Sutton Municipal Charities to build new changing rooms and extend the clubhouse into the existing changing room area.
The first team won their first silverware for 25 years when they beat Sutton United first team 2-0 in the Fazeley Cup final after beating Midlands Combination division one sides Burntwood and Coton Green on the way to the final. For the 2011-12 season the senior teams re-instated a third team which remained until the 2014-15 season.
The first team were promoted back to the Premier Division for the first team in 17 years at the end of 2013-14 season after finishing fourth (Sutton United being Ineligible for promotion). To meet the pitch requirements for the Premier Division the first team had to move to playing their home games at Hollyfields Sports and Social Club (Gas Ground). So for the 2014-15 season the third team joined the second team playing at Coleshill Road.
In 2014-15 the second team reached the Bill Hill Cup Final, losing 3-2 to Old Wulfunians 2nds at Sutton United on 18 April 2015.
At the start of the 2016-17 season, after 50 years, the club decided to leave its ground at Coleshill Road due to lack of resources, financial constraints and the difficulties the poor drainage on the site was causing. The club negotiated for Sutton United to take over the remaining element of the lease.
Celebrating its 90th anniversary, the club made Hollyfields Sports and Social Club its home ground for the 2016-17 season with the teams competing in division one
and four of the Birmingham & District Football League. However, unfortunately, neither team was able to complete their season and the club had to withdraw from the Birmingham & District
Football League after 80 years of membership.