The foundation of the OPFC

The early history of the Old Pauline Football Club years had been forgotten but Edmund Lowe, a percipient Club Chairman of 1953-58, delving amongst old numbers of the School magazine, discovered a report of a speech by the first Hon. Secretary of the Club, Frank Safford at the Golden Anniversary of the parent Society in October 1922:

“In November, 1871, a few old Paulines, who had but recently attained that dignity, gathered together in a small top room of the Cathedral Hotel in St. Paul’s Churchyard to consider the possibility of starting an Old Pauline Football Club. One of them, impressed by the fact that a friend, especially an old school friend, is one of the best things in life, argued that opportunities for meeting together other than in the football season ought to be considered and that, in time, one was likely to become too old for football or rowing and only fit dine. His eloquence was shortly concluded by being told to see to it – and see to it I did.

With the High Master’s consent and the Governors’ permission a meeting was held at the School. The Bishop of Llandaff was elected President, a committee was appointed, and I was named as Captain and Secretary, with Townsend as Treasurer. A ground was obtained in Battersea Park, and on December 16, 1871, the first match was played. Fixtures with leading clubs rapidly followed.

Such was the inception of the Old Pauline Football Club.”

This started a hunt into the origins of the Club.

RFU records show that the OPFC paid its entrance fee and first ever subscription (a total of ten shillings, =50p) on 3rd October 1872 and became only the 32nd club to pay its subscription. Other RFU records, taken with contemporary press reports provide additional evidence.

Apparently the OP colours were “chocolate and magenta”- an unlikely combination given the red, white and black of our current kit, which adopts the colours of the arms of the School’s 1509 founder, John Colet, Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral.

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