Rushall Rovers FC

11/03/2014 15:51

Following conversations with a fellow Walsall historian, we are now doubtful that Rovers played in what is now Rushall park, at the 'top' end of the village. Certainly Rushall Olympic did in the 1890s, but in the 1875-1881 period, Rushall parish church and Rushall Hall had some fields in front of them all along the Lichfield Road. Ive always been drawn back to the large 11 acre field (still a horse meadow and still owned by QMS school since 1904), but I feel it is far too large, and the terrain is lumpy, bumpy, and basically all over the place. All the Rovers men went through QMS grammar school by the way.

I then noticed the 4 acre field directly in front of St.Michaels church, between the old road leading up to the church, and the even older road leading to the 14th century Rushall Hall. This land is now exclusive bungalows between Harpur Road and Harpur Close. I noticed that on an 1883 map (two years after Rovers folded, but they had continued on as a bicycle club) there was a small building, on the edge, near the middle. I would lay odds tht this was the small pavilion which Rovers built. Almost all the Rovers team-leading Walsall council officials, such as mayor,alderman etc-are buried across the road in the churchyard. Additionally,we know they rented their field from Rushall Manor (Hall), where both their patron, Major Strongitharm, and Walsall FC founder Arthur Greatrex lived. The field is the right size, in the right place, at the right time. I will try to see if I can find out if Rushall Hall or Mellish Estates have any records of leasing out this field.

The town of Walsall ended at Mellish Road, and so I think that this location, albeit only a few hundred yards into Rushall parish, was the 'Rushall' that the Rovers men knew, and not the late Victorian miner's houses part of Rushall at the 5 ways village centre of today, with the shops and pubs. The ground was known as the Rovers Field, and direction in the Walsall Observer simply said 'Lichfield Road' so it must have been easy to find !