Beccles football fan ends 95 years of hurt by finding his club’s lost cup victory

Mark Allen with all the research he has done to discover that Beccles Town won the Suffolk Senior Cu

Mark Allen with all the research he has done to discover that Beccles Town won the Suffolk Senior Cup Final in April 1920, beating Haverhill Rovers. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

It was the club's first great success – the day Beccles Town FC lifted the Suffolk Senior Cup in 1920 at the end of their inaugural season.

The 1920 Beccles FC team which won the Suffolk Senior Cup.

The 1920 Beccles FC team which won the Suffolk Senior Cup. - Credit: Archant

But in the 95 years since, the Wherrymen's victory has been all but airbrushed from history. The Suffolk FA archives do not document the win, and the team's name is not engraved on the trophy.

Now, almost a century on, that omission is being corrected, and the club will be re-presented with the cup – following dogged research from a fan.

Mark Allen stumbled across the story of the 'lost victory', while researching the club's history, and then helped to uncover the proof it had, in fact, happened.

Following an article about his research in EDP sister paper the Beccles and Bungay Journal, he was contacted by Derek Lawrance, the son of Frank Lawrance, who had played in the final. Mr Lawrance still has his father's solid silver cup winner's medal, providing hard evidence of the game.

Derek Lawrance with the Suffolk Senior Cup winners' medal which was presented to his father Frank La

Derek Lawrance with the Suffolk Senior Cup winners' medal which was presented to his father Frank Lawrance in 1920. - Credit: Archant

Mr Allen, webmaster for Beccles Town FC, also tracked down a newspaper report in another sister publication, the East Anglian Daily Times, from April 6, 1920, which stated Beccles beat Haverhill Rovers 5-1 in the final.

He passed his findings on to the Suffolk FA, which started its own investigation. It appointed researcher Richard Wall, who was granted full access to the Suffolk FA vaults at Stowmarket, to get to the bottom of the mystery.

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The research found how, in 1907, there had been a split in the way football in the area was run, with two associations forming – the Suffolk FA and the Amateur Football Alliance, with the AFA taking the then Suffolk Senior Cup trophy with it.

The Suffolk FA was without a trophy until a new one was given by the national FA.

Then in 1914 the two bodies joined as one again – one Suffolk FA with two senior cups. The outbreak of the Great War further complicated matters, and the original trophy was not returned to the FA until after Beccles' victory, when they were presented with the 'new' cup.

Mr Allen said: 'It also explains why the records for the existing trophy show a gap, because that trophy was not played for during the war and until 1921.'

It is now hoped that the re-presentation of the Suffolk Senior Cup will take place later this month.

Have you been involved in an unusual piece of research? Email newsdesk@archant.co.uk