Football & a famous footballer

(Above) Mulbarton Junior Football Team, 1946-7 - Maurice ('Monty') Norman, then aged 13, is the tall lad, standing centre. More below on how he achieved fame.

Mulbarton United were founded in the early years of this (20th) century, but little is known of the early history. The club folded in the '50s on the death of the then secretary but was resurrected again in 1960. This break coincided with the Norwich City cup run when they included among their victims Tottenham Hotspur who included Mulbarton's most famous footballer, Maurice "Monty" Norman (see below) who made his international debut on the same occasion as Bobby Moore. He went on to win 23 England caps and was in the Spurs double side.

From the 'Mulbarton Village Festival Programme, 4th & 5th July' 1992, (Author unknown):
When Mulbarton first sported a football team is now lost in the mists of village history. However, when work was being done a few years ago on one of the old cottages in the village, a newspaper cutting dated 1904 was found with reference to a Mulbarton football side travelling to Yarmouth for a cup game in the rain. Their only means of transport an open horse drawn cart to the train!

James Cole ('cycle maker, morot & electrical engineer') is listed as Hon. Sec. of Mulbarton & District Football Club in the 1908 Kelly's Directory.


(Above) Mulbarton & Swardeston United Football Team, 1913. Back row (L>R): Harry Bobbin; Dr. Nicholls; Reg Burgess; F.Oakley; Bob Loveday; Sam Parfitt; B.Davey; William Lake (Club Sec.) Front row: Harry Bayfield; Ed. Davey; - ? -; John Stowe; Herbert Vincent. Sitting with ball: A. ("Tabs") Oakley. Soon many of these lad would be off to War.... 

Records between the two World Wars are little less sketchy. In those days the Club was known as the Mulbarton & Swardeston Football Club, and although little is known of the Club's achievements during this period, photographs still remain as a permanent reminder of that period in the Club's long history.

(Above) Mulbarton & Swardeston football team, winners of Wymondham & District league cup, 1922 & 1923 Back (L>R): Peter Thomas; Albert Rix; Harry Bayfield. Centre: A. ("Tabs") Oakley; Chris Davey; Fred Waters; Harry Hall; Charlie Alborough. Front row: Berbert Davey; Harry Bobbin; Jack Pettigrew; Arthur King.

A local news report of Nov. 18th 1931 tells us that "With the object of helping the Mulbarton and Swardeston Football Club Fund a fancy dress dance was held in the Mulbarton Parish Room on Wednesday and was well patronised... The dance music was supplied by the Mulbarton Orphic Band."

Like many other villages, the War in 1939 brought an end to village football. Although some football was played in the village in those early years following the War, the real re-formation of Mulbarton football did not occur until around 1960 when the Club was re-formed under the name MULBARTON UNITED FOOTBALL CLUB. The re-formation was in great part due to the efforts of Mr Bryan Tungate, who retired as Club secretary in 1992 after thirty two years.

As they say "Mighty Oaks from Little Acorns Grow". From that humble rebirth in 1960 the Club grew to be one of the most powerful Club sides in the County. In 1987 the Club decided that following many years of playing on the common, the time had come for the Club to have a home pitch of its own and after a £25,000 fund-raising drive, they moved to the Mulberry Park ground in 1990. The Club, now well respected in the Junior football, also aimed to achieve the Senior ranks - which they did in a little over three years.

Some Memories & Minutes:
In 1955, Norwich City Football Club gave Mulbarton & Swardeston F. C a set of red & black quartered shirts and four new footballs from the £18,000 transfer fee they had received for their Mulbarton-born star, Monty Norman. (Quote from Bryan Tungate)

From the Minutes of the Parish Council, 1965:
Request for Sunday League football on the Common - to be referred to a special Parish Meeting. [Agreed 1966]

From Eastern Evening News, 20th May 1968 (Extract from item entitled: Mulbarton Winning Common Battle):
Mulbarton's football pitch - once reputed to be one of the finest local grounds in the area - has been overgrown for years and the village's cricket and football teams have to play at neighbouring Swardeston.... In an attempt to get local sporting events back to the common, the Common Committee has been working hard....[but] the football club will have to wait until the season after next before they can genuinely play at home....
Before visiting teams can be entertained, changing rooms will have to be provided and there is a long-term plan to provide a second pitch for the village youth club which is enthusiastically supported.

Achievements of Mulbarton United:
(Base on Wymondham & Attleborough Mercury, Friday 13th April 1984)
After its re-formation in the early '60s, United entered the Norwich and District League and won the third division at their first attempt and followed this with the second division title. They were then in the first division for 12 years with a championship win in 1969-70 and runners-up position for 1963-64, 1968-69 and 1972-73 to show for their efforts.

The reserves were formed in 1964-65 and a Sunday team in youth football in 1971-72, which graduated to South Norfolk League 1973-74. The club were offered a place in the new Division Four of the Anglian Combination for the 1966-67 season but lack of facilities caused them to miss out on that occasion. They were elected to fill a vacancy for the 1975-76 season and finished seventh in their initial season.

On the hallowed turf of Norwich City Football Ground Mulbarton beat Tottenhill 2 : 1 in the Norfolk Junior Cup Final.
On the hallowed turf of Norwich City Football Ground Mulbarton beat Tottenhill 2 : 1 in the Norfolk Junior Cup Final.

Mulbarton won the Norfolk Junior Cup at Carrow Road and came top of Anglian Combination Division Four in 1983-4 (above).
Anglian Combination Division Three runners-up 1984-5
Anglian Combination Division Two winners 1989-90
Anglian Combination Division One runners-up 1990-91
Anglian Combination Premier Division runners-up 1991-2
Anglian Combination champions 1992-3: "retiring manager Dave Bedson has guided United to the league's ultimate prize - the Sterry Cup"

But in 1992-3 the decision to pay players caused a rift in the club and some long-standing helpers and key players bowed out. Mulbarton United folded - but Mulbarton football was not finished: already Mulbarton Wanderers & Belles were becoming established with truly local teams for youngsters of all ages, including girls and women. Among their many achievements, they were the first ever team to receive a Grass Roots award, which was presented by Kevin Keegan when he was the England manager. Soon, they were playing on the Common and on Mulberry Park and continue to go from strength to strength.

For more information on football today go to the Wanderers & Bells website

Maurice 'Monty' Norman 

Mulbarton's sporting hero

Maurice Norman was born and bred in Mulbarton. His place in the history of football came through his transfer from Norwich City to Tottenham Hotspur who were, at that time, one of Europe's top teams. 'Monty' had been a farmhand on White's farm at Braconash and lived with his Dad Billy, Mum Trixie, and sister Maureen in his young days in a cottage next to the Village Pond. It was rumoured that when he was sent to bed for some misdemeanour that he shinned down the drainpipe to join the rest of us on the Common and joined in for a game of football. 

Photo above of Mulbarton Senior Team 1946-7, standing L>R Maurice ('Monty') Norman; Jimmy Abendroth; Rex Bulcock; Charlie Oakley; Ben Cook; George Parfitt. Front row: Tony Smith; twin (Pat ?) Parfitt; Cliff Allison; Michael Parfitt; twin (Peter?) Parfitt (Photo contributed by Maurice Norman

In the early 1950s the family moved to Birchfield Lane. Maurice had a trial at Norwich City who signed him on. In time he made it into the League team and came under the scrutiny of the bigtime teams. Jimmy Adamson of Spurs was the man who was to arrange Montys transfer. In 1955 he arranged the deal which saw Irishman Johnny Gavin return to Norwich together with a pay­ment in the region of £18000 with Maurice going to Spurs. Within a year Monty had won 3 International caps for England at Under 23 level. Despite continually being mentioned for full International honours it was not until 1962 that the breakthrough came. What a break it was! Monty was picked for the South American tour taking in the 1962 World Cup. His first match was beside another debut maker ‑ the great Bobby Moore against Peru. Throughout 1962, 1963 and in 1964 Monty played 23 times for England.

For Spurs Monty Norman started as a fullback in November 1955 and totalled 357 League matches, scoring 16 goals before his injury left him unable to continue as a footballer. In the F. A. Cup he played 37 games netting twice. Monty played 17 games in European Competit­ions (getting one goal) and also appeared in 42 other matches for Tottenham. In November 1965, just 11 years after joining Spurs, a friendly match was arranged between Tottenham and a Hungarian XI - it was Monty's last match. He broke his left leg and was under treatment for almost two years before it was announced he would never play football again.

Maurice at home with just a few of the caps, medals, plates, etc he won in his distinguished football career.
Maurice at home with just a few of the caps, medals, plates, etc he won in his distinguished football career.

Monty had been a member of the illustrious team who achieved the League and Cup double in 1960/61 and was in the 1961/62 Cup winning team. 1963 he was a player in a 5 ‑ 1 winning Spurs team against Athletico Madrid in the European Cup Winners Cup.

It is interesting to record that in 1955, from the transfer fee of £18,000, Norwich City gave Mulbarton & Swardeston FC a set of red & black quartered shirts and four new footballs. It is also said that the transfer fee paid for floodlighting at the Norwich City ground.
(Written by Bryan Tungate)