Friday, 30 July 2010

Penzance AFC (England)

PZ AFC are possibly the most southerly and westerly English team on our list, based as they are in Penzance, on the very tip of Cornwall. They formed in 1888 - the same year that the the English Football League began. They played their very first game that same year against the splendidly named Eastern Telegraph Company, based in the even more westerly town of Porthcurno. Interestingly, the ETC went on to become Cable and Wireless - one of the biggest communications companies in the world.

The following year they were one fo the founder members of the Cornwall County Football Association, and went on to win the debut Cornwall Senior Cup in 1893, beating Launceston 5-0 in the final. In the first sixteen years of the contest, they made the final ten times, winning it six times - and playing the aforementioned Launceton five times. But they claim vehemently that there were more than just the two cliubs playing in the area at the time. In 1951 they were founder members of the South Western League, where they stayed until it merged with the Devon County League in 2007 to form the South West Peninsula League - the tenth tier of English football, where they have played ever since.

They play at the 1100 capacity Penlee Park, which was opened in 1952 by the English football legend Sir Stanley Rous. The ground's opening game was a friendly against Luton Town, and that wasn't the only time that some of the big names in football made the long trek down to Cornwall. In their centenary year in 1988 they convinced both Liverpool - the current English champions, and Celtic - the Scottish champions of the time, to make the long trek down for a couple of high-profile friendlies. Both teams rather impolitely beat them 6-0, but a combined gate over the two games of 7000 people made it a worthwhile excercise for the club, whatever the score.

Penzance must also be congratulated on their club crest, possibly one of the most detailed, complex and evocative of their local area in all world football. The local kids must have a hell of a game scrawling that on the wall round the back of the chippy on Penzance High Street.

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