Kenneth Hunt was a magnificent defensive wing-half with muscle, skill and speed who performed without any sort of fear whatsoever.
He was an amateur throughout his career and amongst his clubs were Corinthians (1906-07 and 1920-23), Wolves (occasionally between 1907 and 1920 - 61 appearances), Leyton, Crystal Palace (1913) and Oxford City (1913-15). Between 1907 and 1920 he won 20 caps for the England amateur team, 2 caps for the full England team in 1911 and played for the Football League. He scored for Wolves in the 1908 F.A. Cup final which they won and the in same year for Great Britain when they won the gold medal in the Olympic Games. In 1918 he was a teacher at Highgate School and the reason for his appearing for Eccleshall Comrades was that his father was Vicar of Eccleshall.
The comrades won the Stafford & District Division 2 Championship in 1925-26. A team which include Herbert Ryles. Herbert also played for Stoke St. Peters (youth club) in the 1922-23 season. Herbert was born in 1903 and died in 1995. His medal from that championship season, 1925-26, was kindly donated by his niece Mrs. Edge of Clayton, Newcastle-u-Lyme, in 2009 along with photos of Herbert. Mrs. Edge said that her uncle was very proud of his medal and kept it as a prize possession.
Football in Eccleshall - the early years
With Stafford Rangers being formed in the late 1870’s and Stone Town in 1888 it is probable that football was played in Eccleshall in the last decade of the 19th century although “Victorian Eccleshall” published in 1982 makes no mention of sport. Any early games would, however have been friendlies only as the major local league the Stone, Stafford and District League was not formed until 1903.
By 1908 an Eccleshall Town team was in Division Two of the Stafford and District League but the most successful of the pre-1971 (when the current Eccleshall Football Club was formed) clubs, was Eccleshall Comrades. They were formed in 1918 and were probably based at the Comrades of the Great War Society in Gas Works Lane. Their initial season saw them playing friendlies locally with their first recorded result being a 6-1 win at Gnosall on September 20th 1918. However Gnosall won the return 4-3, one of only two defeats for the Comrades that term. Three games were played over Christmas and in the second ( versus Chance and Hunt at home, drew 2-2) and in the third (versus Chebsey and Norton Bridge at home, won 3-2) the Reverend K.R.G. Hunt appeared.
In February 1919, Stafford Juniors (the only other team to defeat the Comrades) were defeated 8-3 and in April Stone Comrades were beaten 7-1. The results of the 25 games were reported and the final record was won 16, drawn 7 and lost 2, goals for 83 and against 31. Not all the scorers were recorded but the leading scorers were Lowe 14, Jones 13 and Smith 7. On March 27th the first team played the reserves and won 5-1, the scorer for the reserves being G. Kinnersley junior. This was the only reported game for the reserves and this may have been a one off. (Dale Kinnersley - related - was a player with Eccleshall 1993-2006).
An unusual incident occurred when Stone Christ Church were defeated 5-0. The game ended 10 minutes early when first one ball burst, the another and there were no more available.
The final game of the seaon was on April 17th at home to Crewe St Barnabas’s and the line-up was :-
W.Mellor, Jack Kinnersley, F. Yoxall, Gallagher, O. Shenton, F. Clutterham, D. Pronfold, Reg Simkin, Fred Lowe, Rupert Jones, W. Smith.
Simkin scored the only goal of the game. Other teams played that season were Stone Congregational, Woodseaves Institute, Standon, Littleworth St Johns, Royal Field Arillery (Stafford), Crewe Wanderers and Stafford Railway Institute.
reformed in 1971
Eccleshall Football Club was reformed in 1971 and nicknamed the Eagles. The club’s meeting place was the George and Dragon, Eccleshall and whose landlord the late Mr. M. Beale led the first committee. At that time the team was made up of locals and staff from the Eccleshall Secondary School which also provided training and playing facilities. The club was called Eccleshall Old Boys Football Club.
In 1974 the team won their first trophies, the Mid-Staffs 3rd Division Cup and were also runners-up in that division, gaining promotion to Division 2.
In 1976 they won the 2nd Division Cup in the same league. Interest grew and a second team was formed at the end of the 1975-76 season, ready for the following season. Old Boys was dropped from the club’s name.
In 1979 the first team joined the Staffordshire County League (North) and a third team was formed. With this came the problem of pitches to play on.
In 1981 after much hard fund raising and with the help of grants and a loan a four acre field was purchased at Pershall. In the same year the first team moved into the Premier Division. Work began converting it into a football ground.
In 1982 a building was purchased from British Telecom and with lots of hard work during that and the following year on the building, car park and the pitch, the ground was ready. The ground was christened Pershall Park.
In 1983 a small covered area was put up commonly known as ‘The Shed’.
In 1983-84 season the first team won the Staffs County League Premier Division Championship, the Premier Division Cup and the May Bank Cup.
In the 1984-5 and 1985-86 seasons the club reached the Staffs F.A. Vase finals only to be the losing team on both occasions. In the 1984-85 season the Staffordshire Senior League was formed from the Staffs County League Premier Division came the majority of clubs of which Eccleshall was one.
In 1987-88 the third team reached the final of the Mids-Staffs Borough Cup final only to finish on the losing side. The team was disbanded at the end of that season. The second team joined the Staffs County League (North) for the 1987-88 season.
In 1989-90 the club won the Staffs Senior League (now the Springbank Vending Midland League).
In the 1990-91 season the club entered the F.A. Vase for the first time and a small extension was added to the clubhouse.
In 1991-92 the club reached the F.A. Vase 2nd round, having gone through all the preliminary stages but lost at home to Wisbech Town 2-0 in front of a record crowd of 368. A few mediocre seasons followed regarding performances on the pitch. A steady improvement from the mid 90’s in both the first and second teams led to a fairly successful seasons without winning any silverware. The first team have faired well in the league since the mid 90’s finishing 3rd (97-98), 6th (98-99), 2nd (99-00) and 3rd (00-01). Planning permission has been granted for both floodlights and a covered seated stand and the club are in the process of applying for grants and fund raising.
Eccleshall reserves win the Staffs County League (North) in 1999-2000. The reserves moving to the West Midlands (Regional) Division One (North) for the start of the following season. In 2001-2002 season Eccleshall first team won the Springbank Vending Midland League Championship.
The reserve team resigned from the West Midland (Regional) League and rejoined the Staffordshire County League (the word north being dropped from the leagues name) for the 2002-2003 season with what is hoped will be a team based on young players.
2002-2003 work was completed to allow the club to apply to the North West Counties should the team finish in the top two of the league. The Staffordshire F.A. Vase was won for the first time in the club’s history and the championship retained and promotion granted. The reserves won the Staffordshire County League and were beaten finalists in the Leek Cup, being defeated by Alsager Town reserves from the higher Midland League.
When an application to the Midland League for 2003-2004 was turned down and the reserves have rejoined the West Midland (Regional League) under the name of Eccleshall AFC. A third team was reformed, after 16 years, to play in the Staffordshire County League in 2003-2004, based on youth players from the club’s Sunday sides. This only lasted for the one season due to inability of the club to find a good management team to run the youngsters. On the pitch 2003-2004 brought no rewards but the club’s application to the Football Foundation for £87,500 for funding floodlights and levelling the pitch, was granted. Work on both projects started during the closed season.
2004-2005 was disappointing; hopes were high after a year of consolidation but performances faltered after Christmas and the team finished in mid-table. Manager Bob Askey decided to stand down at the end of 2004-2005 and hand the reigns to brother Mark, who had been running the reserves. Ian Banks, former player with Newcastle Town taking over the reserves who changed their name to Eccleshall AFC and with a separate affiliation became a senior club in their own right. This allowed them to move back to the Staffs County Senior League Premier Division for the start of 2005-2006. During this season the club reached the Staffs F.A. Vase final only to lose by the odd goal. The club entered the F.A. Cup for the first time in it’s history during this season and the club’s record attendance was shattered when they hosted FC United of Manchester, in a NWCFL Division 2 game, with a gate of 2,011.
2006-2007 promised much but league form took a nose dive after Christmas (a familiar story at the club) and the club finished in mid table after holding a promotion spot in the first half of the season. Bob Askey took charge of the reserves following Ian Banks’s resignation.
2007-2008 held hopes of a more consitant season but things started badly and only improved towards the end.
A new management team in Dave Dale and Gary Worthington took over prior to the start of the 2008-2009 season, when Mark Askey resigned due to lack of time to commit to the job in hand. The new management team had spent the season before coaching the first team squad under Mark Askey. Bob Askey managing the Staffs County Senior League side. After a promising start the team failed to finish in the top half, although this was a big improvement on the previous season.
2009-2010 the second team was managed by Liam James who took over the reigns when Bob Askey left the club.
In the NWCFL a mid table finish was acheived with the highest points total since the club joined the league. Gary Worthgington left the club to take up a post with Stoke City.
In 2010-2011 Dave Dale handed in his resignation midway through the season with the club lying 3rd from bottom. Peter Hall and his assistant Kieron Hammett were quickly installed as replacements, initially until the end of the season. The team performances improved and a mid table finish was achieved.
2011-2012 Peter Hall decided not to take up the manager's job for the forthcoming season and Kieron Hammett was offered the opportunity to take the job, which he accepted. Kieron had previously been involved with Nantwich Town Youth team and also spent time at Colchester United.
2012-13 saw the completion of 10 years in the NWCFL and during that time steady progress was made until that 10th anniversary season when disaster struck with the then manager Kieron Hammett deciding to quit with nearly all the players leaving before the start of the new season.
For the start of 2012-13 season Dave Porter was appointed as manager with Kevin Reeves as his assistant. Dave Porter and Kevin Reeves both resigned at the end of September following a heavy Staffs FA Vase defeat (7-0 at Redgate Clayton) and after a poor start in the league.
Reserve team manager Liam James took over the job and steadied the ship and in February 2013a new management team of Dean Sibson and John Mayer. Unfortunately the side lingered near the foot of the table. John was unable to commit time for the 2013-14 season.
Dean was left in sole charge but unfortunately results didn’t improve November 2013 Dean left the club, by mutual consent. The club offered Shaun Hollinshead the chance to take charge of the team which he agreed to. He appointed Dave Johnson and Phil Bath as his assistants.
2014-2015 Shaun, Dave and Phil made good progress with the team but a run of very poor results led to all three resigning after a heavy 6-0 home defeat against Widnes.
Reserve team manager Liam James took over until new manager Steve Lloyd and coach Mike Alcock were appointed in December 2014 with the hope of improving the stability of the team after several seasons of inconsistency.
Season 2016/17 New managers Jimmy Leech and Dan Dawson took charge with great ambitions but after a very hard start to the campaign left the club around November time and recruitment started again. Jamie Cullerton come in from Leek Town and had a really tough challenge ahead to keep Eccleshall in the NWCFL. He bought Paul Snape into the 1st team as Assistant manager. the season ending with Eccleshall in the relegation zone.
2017-2018 Season, Jamie Cullerton has gone back to Leek Town and Eccleshall after an FA hearing have been reprieved in the NWCFL and Paul Snape and Pete Griffiths have been made up as Joint Managers, along side them Dave Dale and Nick Farrington as 1st team coaches.