FOR the fourth in a series of articles on post-war soccer in the Warrington area, Gordon Brown looks at l950.

Playing-wise, the 1950s opened on a happy note for me and anyone else who supported Padgate Cottage Homes.

On a rain-soaked Rylands Recreation Ground in Gorsey Lane, on the Easter Monday morning, they completed a Warrington and District Sunday Schools League Under 16s section cup and league double by defeating Oakwood Youth Club 4-1 in the final of the Chapman Cup.

The photograph in the Warrington Guardian the following weekend showed Padgate Cottage Homes captain Harry (Joey) Rudge receiving the trophy from Councillor Horace Gale (later Alderman), the Mayor-elect of Warrington, whose son, Bob, reserve goalkeeper for the Cottage Homes, later married Joey's cousin, Brenda.

Bob was also a useful table tennis player at Warrington Young Men's Christian Association and still enjoys a knock. He is president of Cumbria County Table Tennis Association.

He enjoyed a successful career as a trading standards officer with the former Barrow County Borough Council and Cumbria County Council. He and his wife live in Kendal.

As mentioned in a previous article, Joey scored 60 goals in a season and had a trial with Everton, and he also recalled in a chat the other day being chosen for the league team in a representative match against Chester Junior League on Roodee Race Course.

Cottage Homes had won the league long before the end of the season, winning all 26 league games with 196 goals for and eight against.

Runners-up were village rivals Padgate Church of England, chief organiser of which was Mr Gartland, who always pedal cycled to games with the club football in a net bag dangling from his handle bars. His son, Bill, an all-round sportsman and one of my schoolmates at Culcheth Secondary School, was captain and an excellent centre half.

Woods, on the right wing, was brilliant and they had a fine goalkeeper in Brian Irons, whose family connections were with Warrington firm Irons and Dean. I was so fascinated by Brian's heroic saves that whenever I watched his team I stood behind his goal.

Other teams in the junior section that season were Newton YMCA, Winwick St Oswald's, Oakwood Youth Club, St Alban's, Newton Sea Cadets, whom Cottage Homes had beaten 2-1 on another rainy day at Woolston Wanderers' ground in the Chapman Cup semi final, St Thomas's and Newton Boys' Club.

But, while these lads gave so much joy to onlookers at the start of the 1950s, there was also a sad note.

A promising 19-year-old referee, Jimmy Gray, of Secker Avenue, Latchford, was killed in a road accident while riding his pedal cycle in Warrington.

He officiated in both the Warrington and District and Sunday Schools leagues.

I watched what was probably his last match, Orford Tannery versus Daten, at Orford in the District League and I attended the funeral in Warrington Cemetery along with many local football officials, including Sunday Schools League stalwarts Harold Crowther (chairman) and Jack Kermode (secretary). They all thought Jimmy would have gone on to referee in the Football League.

The town had a leading League referee in Ted Plinston and in more recent times of course, Joe Worrall, who controlled the 1989 FA Cup Final at Wembley when Liverpool defeated Everton 3-2.

Liverpool had reached the final in 1950, losing 2-0 to Arsenal and never having won the Cup at that time.

Left half in their team that day was Bill Jones, who later scouted for the club and discovered Roger Hunt a few years later.

I can't resist jumping the gun in years to relate the story of how I met Bill while reporting on a Warrington and District League match between Stockton Heath Reserves and Runcorn Randal.

Bill saw me with my notebook and asked me for the name of Stockton Heath's number 10. He said he was quite impressed.

Knowing that Bobby Rothwell normally played in a number 10 shirt, and not having had time to look at numbers, I told him it was Bobby.

So he sent for Rothwell to attend a Liverpool training session, only to discover he had got the wrong man. Little did I know that Roger and Bobby had changed numbers in that match, with Roger wearing number 10 and Bobby number eight.

An enquiry with the club got Bill the right man, but by taking things for granted I almost changed the course of football history.

I joked with Bobby's mother about this many times when she served in the Bank Quay station snack bar, and with Roger, who told me a few weeks back he reckons I could write a feature called 10 Things You Did Not Know About Roger Hunt - and Neither Did Roger Hunt!

But, back to 1950 and life at Culcheth Secondary School, where it was not easy to wear my Everton colours.

There were fans of Liverpool, who had beaten Everton 2-0 in the FA Cup semi final and one lad, a prefect called Reynolds from the Risley flat-top houses who supported Portsmouth.

He had a right go at me when they beat Everton 7-0. I only hope he continued supporting the Fratton Park boys as they slipped down the divisions but it is good to see them getting near to former glories now.

A few years later, when Stockton Heath (now Warrington Town) formed, one of Pompey's former players, Freddie Worrall, became the Heath coach.

Freddie was on the right wing in the Portsmouth side that became the last team to win the FA Cup before the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, beating Wolves 4-1 in the final at Wembley.

In 1950 the Warrington and District League roll of honour was: Champions: Runcorn Amateurs. Guardian Cup: ICI Winnington. Depot Cup: Simms Road (Haydock). Starkey Cup: Albion Rovers (Warrington).

Next time I hope to give you some recollections from 1951.