As well as providing a unique football environment for over over 1,000 veteran players, the Bristol Casuals League is keen to use this to help local charities
Henleaze Corinthians, one of the league's founder members (a group of parents of children at Henleaze School) put out an appeal to play a fund raising game for Red Nose Day in 1993. The Golden Bottle at Lockleaze came forward.
The game turned out to be an eventful game (for all the wrong reasons!!) and the Lockleaze Bottle Boys proved to be too “hard” for the gents from Henleaze. Other more friendly friendlies followed against combined teacters/parents teams and against Chris Carter's Red Star Bedminster - another founder member.
The boredom of two games in a row against the same opposition, and a few lunchtime pints, set Harry Mottram (Henleaze) and Chris Carter (Red Star) thinking about finding a few other teams to form a mini-league.
A small advertisement placed in The Venue led to a few more teams making contact and in May 1995 the first official tournament took place at Henleaze School. This tournament was won by Woodland Road Wanderers. They never went on to join the Casuals league as they realised they were too good and should have been playing in a proper league all along!! The tournament had been a great success and confirmed the demand was there to form a Casual League.
Amidst a mass of publicity at a packed Highbury Vaults Tavern on 29 August 1995 the press packs got the announcement they were waiting for. The league was to go ahead and fixtures would commence in September. Founder members in order of final league position were
The Cup final that year was between Poetic Champions, who had a 100% league record, and fourth placed Farmers (who became Hewlett Packard Farmers). The final took place at the same time as a mini tournament at the Imperial Ground. Woodland Road Wanderers came back to grab some more glory and won the mini -tournament.
Poetic Champions were odds on favourites to win the cup and the double ? but as we all know - anything can happen in the cup. Ross Burnham's Farmers reversed their earlier league defeat and ran out 3-1 winners in a fiercely competitive battle.
Year on year, more and more thirty, forty and fifty-somethings have realised that the Casuals League offers a (fairly) safe haven, for competitive - yet corinthian - football. The League now boasts some sixty clubs playing across five divisions, with a new Over 45's Division started in the 2014/15 season.
In the last two years, the League has raised several thousand pounds for a range of local charities - more about that here.