Ex-Corinthian, and prominent local G.P, Dr. James Jenkinson Knox started the ‘Hampton Court and East Molesey Association Football Club’ in the Autumn of 1892 (the year the song ‘Daisy Daisy’ came out). The first match was played on Saturday 24th September, when we played hosts to Barnes F.C, winning 14 – 5! The club changed its name to ‘The Molesey Football Club’ in 1896, when, in an interview the good doctor was quoted as saying, “… I looked about me and started the Molesey F.C., and was appointed its first captain. The club is gradually growing and I have great ideas as to its future.” However, after the untimely death on Xmas Day, of the 32-year-old doctor following an illness, interest in the club waned, and the club went through the metamorphosis of Molesey Athletic -> Molesey St. Mary’s before Molesey St. Paul’s emerged as the leading club in Molesey in 1905 playing their Kingston & District League home matches at the Royal Oak Ground owned by one Mr. J. Bourchier.
Molesey lost the first ever Teck Cup Final, 0 – 6 to runaway league leaders, Teddington in 1909/10 (the only football trophy to be donated by royalty, still going strong today!). In 1911/12, Molesey St. Pauls amalgamated with a lower-leagued team, Molesey, to form Molesey & St. Pauls United. 1912/13 saw the reserve side win the Surrey Minor Cup (a trophy donated by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), 2 – 1, Vs Tongham, at Woking F.C., and just before WWI, the Surrey Junior Charity Cup was won, 2 – 1, away Vs Chertsey!
Discarding the ‘St. Paul’s United’ part, Molesey entered the Surrey Junior League for one season in 1920/21, and won group - section 3. This put them into the semi-finals where they hosted and beat Thornville (Croydon), 4 – 0. The visitors reported, “The winners are the finest junior team we have met this season,… a cleaner set of players than the Molesey side (in our opinion) could not be found”. The league was won in a final at Walton, Vs Godalming Federation, 1 – 0. That amazing season also saw the Surrey Junior Cup won on the ground of Summerstown F.C, 3 – 0, Vs Brighton Railway, whilst the Surrey Junior Charity Cup was won again, 7 – 0, at home to Shottermill!
Senior football for Molesey only lasted one season (21/22) when the club entered the Southern Suburban League Division One, where although performing creditably (3rd/10), the cost of travel, often into Kent, persuaded the committee to return to the Kingston & District League and Junior football. The ‘roaring twenties’ would see Molesey win the Teck Cup for the first time in 1923/24 and repeat the process 3 more times. The league was won 4 times, Surrey Junior Charity Cup – three times in a row (27-29), the Chambers Cup twice and the Kingston League Cup, joint with Hampton in 28/29.
During this time, another team, West Molesey Old Boys, was formed and they rose through the divisions. Formed in 1927, they played at the Royal Oak ground where the main club, Molesey had just moved to Hurst Park. The Old Boys won the Teck Junior Cup, 3 – 0, Vs Weston Green Old Boys at Long Ditton in 1929/30, and also won the Kingston Junior League cup the same year, which they repeated in 31/32.
The 1930s saw less silverware as Molesey moved up to the Surrey Intermediate League (Central Division) in 1933/34, a season in which West Molesey Old Boys were Kingston & District Premier Division Champions! 1934/35, and the Old Boys won the Teck Senior Cup, 4 - 2 Vs Cobham, at Kingstonians F.C! Finally in 1936/37, the Old Boys caught Molesey up into Intermediate football. The following season, the Old Boys won the Surrey Intermediate Charity Cup, beating Woking reserves, 4 – 0 away!
In the summer of 1939, Molesey merged with Molesey Athletic (a successful Kingston & District Junior side) to form Molesey United. Though originally planning to field 4 sides, the outbreak of WWII only saw one side take part in a very reduced war-time Kingston & District League which they won in 39/40, and again in 40/41. The last 2 years of the war saw no Molesey side, and during 1945/46, only West Molesey Old Boys played a season of friendlies. For 1946/47, the two clubs, Molesey United and West Molesey Old Boys, merged to form ‘Molesey F.C’ and played over the road on the ‘rec in the Surrey Intermediate League. That year, the league title was won, and the Surrey Intermediate Charity Cup Final was reached, losing 1 – 4 to Farnham Town reserves at Guildford City F.C in a final played at the start of the following season. The Surrey Intermediate Challenge Cup Final was also reached during 50/51, but at Leatherhead F.C., old rivals Ditton Old Boys proved too strong, winning 2 – 0.
With the help of an F.A loan, our present site at 412 Walton Road was purchased for the start of the 1953/54 season. That season would see the Moles play for the first time in black and white (due to the influence of Fulham F.C connections) and enter the Surrey Senior League! Also they enjoyed the visit of Q.P.R in January ’54 – the pro’ side winning 2 – 1. 54/55, saw the clubhouse erected on site, and so enable the club to be allowed to compete in the National F.A. Amateur Cup. A 4 – 1 victory, at Chertsey Town F.C., over Farnham Town (1st team!) in Surrey Senior League Charity Cup Final, saw Molesey’s first Senior honours in 1956/57. The following season (57/58), Molesey won the Surrey Senior League Title (Unfortunately the Moles have not won a league since!)
1958/59 saw Molesey apply for, and succeed in their application to join the Spartan League, pay off their F.A. loan, and begin work on a new clubhouse; and lose the final of the Surrey Senior League Challenge Cup to Malden Town, in a replay at K’s, 3 – 1
Molesey’s first season in the Spartan League was arguably their most successful in their 14-year stay there. They finished second the league to Staines Town, after leading it for most of the year, reached the second round of the Surrey Senior Cup, where a record attendance (which stands to this day) of 1,553 saw the Moles lose 0 – 6 to top amateur side, Tooting & Mitcham, who, in 58/59, took eventual F.A. cup-winners Nottm Forest to a replay at the City Ground. The Spartan League Cup Final was reached, when Molesey, known as the ‘nearly team’ that year, hosted Met. Police, but lost 2 – 3.
Sir Stanley Rous opened the new clubhouse and bar in 1960, where the architect won an award for the ‘butterfly roof’ design – unfortunately as Gary Mayne points out, “It didn't keep the rain out!” Around this time, the pitch was rotated 90 degrees to its current position. The Spartan League Cup was won, 3 – 2 Vs Crown & Manor, at Ruislip Manor F.C in 1961/62 despite the Moles finishing third from bottom! Easter tours to Germany were organized by Jack Anders after the end of each season from 65/66 to 69/70 and provided much joy and interest for players and supporters alike. The pavilion was completed in 1967. New floodlights were installed for 72/73 when a West Ham XI were invited down for its opening, Molesey won 2 – 0, and secretary Roy Dew said of the lights, ”It lit up the whole ground by itself. It was incredible”.
Playing in the Athenian League Division Two for four seasons between 1973-77, one Mr. Cyrille Regis (one of England’s first black international players) played for the Moles during 75/76, during which they won Section D of the Premier Midweek Floodlit League with a record points haul, reached the final of the Surrey Senior Shield, losing 1 – 2 to Woking, at Stompond Lane and also reached the Vase 5th round losing down in Bristol
The club were elected into a newly formed Division Two of the Isthmian League for the start of 1977/78 when for the first 2 seasons, the club narrowly missed promotion. The 1981/82 season saw Molesey’s furthest run in the F.A. Vase, the quarter-finals, where, under a crowd of 604 in Molesey, the Notts Alliance side, Rainworth Miners Welfare cruelly ended Molesey’s dreams, 1 – 0. The close season following 1985/86, saw Gary Mayne head the members in refusing the relocation of the football club proposed by the then committee, due to mounting debts. The result was that part of the club was sold off. The rebuilding under Gary reaped rewards when, under Martin Eede, the club won promotion to the Isthmian League Division One in 1989/90 and won the Southern Combination Cup, 3 – 2 Vs Feltham at Walton Road the year after. The 1992/93 season saw the club promoted to the Premier, and reach the final of the Isthmian League Cup at Aldershot Town where they lost 1 – 2 to Marlow. In 1993/94, the club reached the F.A. Cup First Round Proper stage, losing 0 – 4 at home to Conference side, Bath City. The league’s refusal to again grant the club an ‘A’ grading for their Walton Road ground mid-way through 95/96, condemned the club to their first ever relegation.
This started a bleek period in the club’s history when the club slowly but surely slipped down the Isthmian leagues, hastened by off field dramas instigated by a former chairman and later, a ‘legal secretary’. Yet there were one or two bright spots. One such getting featured in a documentary ‘under the moon’ in the late 90s; and also being player-manager Clive Walker’s time at Walton Road during 2000/01 when, due to his connections, he took a Molesey side out to Hong Kong to take part in a six-a-side tournament, one of their opponents were – Glasgow Celtic!! (the Moles lost 0 – 1).
Staines Town won the Southern Combination Cup back from Molesey (who beat them in the 93/94 final with mostly their reserves) in 2005/06 – when it was Staines turn to field mostly reserve and youth players and win! In 2007/08 the Moles went out the Isthmian League and didn’t win at home all season! Since then, we have consolidated our Combined Counties status, even reaching the Surrey Senior Cup Semi Final in 2010/11 for only the third time in our history! Last season (12/13), the Moles won the Southern Combination Cup on a penalty shoot-out, 5 – 4, against Spelthorne Sports following a 1 – 1 draw after extra time – watched by a crowd of 246 at home. The club is going through a legal process to sell a part of the ground to Rushmon Homes at the moment despite having already gained planning permission from the council. The committee are fighting very hard, under good guidance and are confident of a successful outcome. Also the management team of Steve Webb, Peter Lelliott and Alan Maynard enter their seventh consecutive term in charge - appointing a new coach, Dan Carroll and look to be competitive again in this season’s Combined Counties League