A Beautifully Simple Act of Defiance (Volume 1)
What’s in name? Tom Brodrick tells why in 1892 the answer was, a lot.
On a fine afternoon on Saturday, 2 April 1892, eleven players calling themselves Watford Rovers defeated a spirited, yet defensively clumsy Hoddesdon side 5-2, to win the Herts County Cup. As holders, the Rovers players had knocked out local rivals Watford St. Mary’s and St. Albans en route to the final. Only, it wasn’t Watford Rovers who lifted the cup, at least officially… that honour went instead to West Herts F.C.
It had been a mere eleven years since, in 1881, Watford Rovers had been formed as a band of lads, organised by Henry Grover, with permission from the Earl of Essex to kick a ball around in Cassiobury Park. Rovers were, by 1890, being hosted at the West Herts Club and Ground, of which the same Earl was the President, on Cassio Road. A condition of this arrangement, however, was that the team would have to play under the banner of West Herts F.C.
A sizeable proportion of the men from Watford who were graciously handed the cup by the Hoddesdon captain that afternoon were bitter at the fact that they accepted it under what they considered an imposed name. In an act of defiance against their landlords, they agreed amongst themselves to have their own commemorative medals struck, each bearing the respective player’s name below the phrase “Won by Watford Rovers”.
Amongst that number was 24 year-old half-back Charlie (C.H.) Peacock, who, despite a “game leg”, showed a “great tendency for forward play” in the final. Peacock, whose medal is pictured, would have had an attachment to the Watford Rovers name, having been a founder member (as one of the lads in Cassiobury Park in 1881), and having helped Rovers win their first silverware, the same County Cup, in 1889. He would later achieve local prominence as the long-time proprietor of the Watford Observer as well as, from 1900-02, Chairman of Watford Football Club.
This article is from Volume 1 of The Watford Treasury, to purchase this publication in all its visual glory, please follow the link below: