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Who we are

The Chester & Wirral Football League is an open age league established in 1894 and affiliated to the Cheshire County Football Association. Until 2015 the league was known as The Chester & District Football League. Due to the migration of clubs from Wirral it was decided to apply for a name change to the Chester & Wirral Football League to acknowledge the clubs from Wirral and to give the league a feeling of inclusivity. The initial application to Cheshire County FA was turned down but a subsequent appeal to the full FA and a trip to Wembley Stadium secured the new CWFL name. The change of name does not mean a change of direction for the league. Quite the opposite in fact. The league committee have made it very clear that the traditions and values of the CDFL will continue as always and will now be a guiding light for more clubs covering a larger area.

The League originally had twelve teams that included Hoole Rovers, L&NW Novices, and three Sunday School sides from St Oswalds, St Marys and St Johns. Rossett and Buckley Swifts were also members, and teams from North Wales have been regular members of the League until the FA of Wales ( FAW ) decided that Welsh teams must play in Wales.

In the early 1900’s the League nearly folded but after opening a “subscription book” the debts were met, and as we are still here today the rest, as they say, is history. The League operated through two World Wars and with Chester being a Garrison Town there were a number of teams from the Army but for security reasons the teams were called Army A and Army B etc. – and no doubt the players took advantage of the situation when the referee requested a name !

Discipline was a factor even in the “old days” and the records show that the Cheshire County FA collected £ 2 : 4 : 0d from Wharton FC for their suspended players. Also, in 1914 the records show that … “the Queensferry goalkeeper refused to defend his goal at the taking of a penalty kick as he thought it was too dark” .. and the Referee had to abandon the game. Clearly an interesting game as the Referee also reported that several players had been drinking and at least two were worse for wear.

In 1923 a player called Bill Hanmer received a winners medal playing for Brickfield Athletic and fifty years later as a committee member Billy presented the cup to the winners – certainly a case of putting something back into the game. During 1946 the League dealt with its first recorded case of a “ringer”. In a Cup competition Northgate Athletic fielded a professional player called William Ralf Dean – better known as the legendary Dixie Dean. Later, Dixie became well known locally when he ran a pub in Chester ( now called the Dublin Packet ).

Teams have come and gone over the years and currently we have one team, Cestrian Alex, who have been league members for 75 years. Other long time league members with over 35 years membership are Barrow Athletic.

We are now back to four divisions and will continue to play our part in the “pyramid” system brought in by the National Football Association, to provide football at grass roots level for all those who want to enjoy our wonderful national game.

For information about our competitions, teams, structure and general news please visit the relevant pages on our web site.