You’re booked! Montagu Cup set for 125th anniversary book

Before the final whistle is blown on a spectacular 125th anniversary year, the organisers of the Mexborough Montagu Cup are releasing a special book to commemorate the historic occasion.

The Montagu Cup is a grassroots football competition that has involved teams in the Don and Dearne area since 1897. It’s thought to be the oldest football competition still played at its original venue, Hampden Road in Mexborough.

The cup’s long history has been collated into an A4 book by established football author, Steve Penny, helped by the research of Montagu Cup volunteer, Chris Brook. It includes a record of every cup final result since the first one in 1897, as well as fascinating stories of some of the players who have competed over its 125-year history.

On the day of this year’s final, the traditional Easter Monday fixture, the committee organised a special meet-up for past players and their families to mark the 125th anniversary. Over 100 former Mont finalists from across the decades gathered to meet old pals and reminisce.

The final between Scawthorpe Athletic and Dog Daisy United went down in history as a hotly contested goal fest in front of a bumper crowd that topped 1,700. Dog Daisy had an early blast, netting three goals in ten minutes. But the game wasn’t over. Scawthorpe clawed it back to win 4-3 in extra-time; the first time a team has ever gone from being 3-0 down to win the coveted trophy.

The Montagu Cup continues to support the Montagu Hospital Comforts Fund and this year they have donated a record £5,000.

The anniversary book is £15 and available from 15th December. Anyone who pre-orders a copy can get it for the reduced price of £10. The book can be ordered online or at Pettits in Mexborough.

Since starting the 125-campaign, Chris has had many people come forward with previously untold stories about their connection to the Montagu Cup.

Smith Brothers

Conisbrough brothers Ian, Gary and Trevor have played in ten finals between them. Youngest brother Ian played in four decades between the 1980s and 2010s.

All three brothers were part of the winning side in 1988 as they laced their boots up for underdogs, Denaby and Cadeby Miners Welfare. Ian and Gary each scored to lead their team back from 1-0 to a 2-1 victory over Swinton Athletic.

In 1991, Denaby and Cadeby faced off against Swinton Athletic again, with Gary scoring in yet another 2-1 win that saw Swinton sunk by an own goal. Five years later, Ian claimed his third trophy with Denaby and Cadeby as they triumphed 4-2 over Wath Saracens.

Ian carried on playing well into his 30s for Groves Social who made the final three times in the early ‘00s but couldn’t secure a win. However, they returned in 2010 to bag their first ever win, with Ian being the oldest player on the pitch at 41.

A tale of two Kennys

One was Mexborough’s prolific goal scorer, the other became a fan favourite on the other side of the world. But two young lads called Kenny started their careers in the Montagu Cup.

Kenny King, now 86, was part of the successful Mexborough Tech Old Boys team of the 1950s. He joined after leaving the school aged 16 and became a goal scoring centre-forward. In the 1955-56 season, he scored 68 goals in 34 games, including 14 hat-tricks and one double hat-trick. Seven of those goals were in the Montagu Cup competition.

The following season Mexborough Tech won the cup, with Kenny scoring in the 3-2 win over Hickleton Main. He went on to play semi-professional for Mexborough Town, Denaby United, Worksop Town and Skegness Town. Kenny was a guest at this year’s 125th final where he was reunited with the trophy 65 years later.

Thrybergh lad Kenny Boden played for Denaby United in the 1970 final where he set up an 88th minute winner for Roger Willey to beat Northcliffe WMC 1-0. He then emigrated to Australia where he was voted Australia’s best player in 1978.

Boden played 13 international games for the Socceroos, one of these was in 1980 against an England team that included Glenn Hoddle and Bryan Robson. Before retiring, he played for Newcastle KB United from 1978 to 1984 where he became a crowd favourite.

The Needhams

There are many families who have seen generation after generation have an involvement in the Montagu Cup. But Shaun Needham and his son Tommy have collectively been part of 12 cup finals – so far.

Between 1987 and 2008, Shaun held various roles at Mexborough Main Street FC, from kitman to committee member, and reached the final eight times during that period. He then managed Memories FC who won the 2015 final, where son Tommy was on the scoresheet for Memories’ 4-3 win over Swinton Athletic. Five years later, Tommy was in the starting XI for his previous opponents which saw Swinton Athletic bag their first win since 1989. Tommy is now captain of last year’s finalist, Dog Daisy United, who will return for the 2023 final.