BY LEE FIELDEN, BARNETBY UNITED
The summer of 1948 saw Don Bradman’s “Invincibles” conquer all before them as Australia retained the Ashes and completed a monumental 34 game tour of England and Scotland undefeated.
The Olympics were held in London, whose skyline still bore the scars of the blitz from some 7 years previous, where the most underrated of English managers, George Raynor lead Sweden to the football Gold Medal. He would go on to be the 1st English manager to lead a team to a World Cup Final, Sweden versus Brazil in 1958 and manage teams such as Juventus, Lazio and Skegness Town!
Also that summer was a small railway village in North Lincolnshire whose side had just been promoted to the 1st division of the Grimsby and District League.
Formed as a Junior side in 1936 the club entered the men’s league in 1945 changing its name from Barnetby Juniors to Barnetby United.
Their 1st season in men’s football saw them finish 3rd bottom of division 2 in the Scunthorpe League. This season also saw them face Brigg Town in a LFA Benelovent Cup match which the Zebras won 7-2.
They changed allegiance to the Grimsby League for 1946-47 and went undefeated in their league campaign to lift the division 3b title though sadly lost 2 cup finals.
The following season saw them win the division 2b title, again undefeated and also lift the Junior War memorial cup as Fred Bradley’s winner sealed a 3-2 victory over Binbrook at Peaks Lane, Grimsby.
Division 1 football had been achieved in their 3rd season in the Grimsby league and only their 4th as an adult side.
Names that feature prominently in this period were Dawson, Bradley, Vessey, Mottram, Day, Evison, Short, Harrison, Snell, Dale, White and Westoby.
1948-49 would also see the inaugural season of the newly formed Lincolnshire Football League with local teams such as Brigg Town, Lysaghts Sports and Appleby Frodingham joining their ranks.
The Grimsby 1st division into which the Railwaymen entered was still strong though. Grimsby Town, whose 1st team had just suffered relegation from the top flight of English football had an “A” side in there along with Laceby and New Waltham who both played in that seasons FA Cup.
The Railwaymen lost their opening game to Keelby United which prove vital at the seasons end. They would miss out on the title by 1 point, despite defeating Keelby in the last week of the season.
The club would unfortunately lose out in 3 cup semi finals but their best cup exploits were saved for the Junior County Cup. They reached the quarterfinals, having knocked out Lincs League side Lysaghts Sports, and were drawn away to Alford Town, who would be crowned the 1st Champions of the Lincolnshire League.
Reputedly 7 bus loads of supporters travelled to Alford that day but sadly the Railwaymen went down 4-2.
Luckily the newspaper coverage at the time was outstanding, and through pictures passed on to the club and in the case of Jesse Dawson’s runner's up trophy, donated, the club has been able to piece this story together.