Football is certainly well and kicking vigorously in Girton – as anybody visiting the Recreation Ground any weekend during the season can vouch. The village has several clubs playing regularly, and the MUGA is much used by footballers throughout the week. The premier club is Girton United, the Girton Colts are the village junior teams, while women’s football is represented by the Cambridge Rangers.
The history of Girton United Football Club dates back to 1907, when it joined the Cambridgeshire County Football Association, to which it still belongs. Vic Watson, the England international and West Ham star of the 1923 Cup Final started as a Girton United player. Its glory days were in the 1950s, especially the 1956-57 season when the club won five competitions including the County Premier League and the County Cup. The captain was Brian Adams who with other team members still lives in the village. The president was renowned Girton resident Freddie Barrett, also president of the County Association and a force in the national Football Association (FA). Girton was a pioneer among amateur local clubs in 1954 having built and installed floodlights at the Recreation Ground through the efforts of player-members, notably Ray Hankin (inside forward and plumber) and Norman West (goalkeeper and instrument maker).
A less distinguished period followed, but in 1988 Paul Clare, himself a Girton lad born and bred and just out of IVC, took over (at the age of 19) as manager and secretary, and built up a village team which swept back in four successive seasons to the County Premier League, and came within a whisker of winning it outright in 1998. Paul subsequently moved away in 2001, but returned to his home village in 2008, taking over as Chairman and trying to help rebuild the club’s fortunes, while insisting that it remains a village club in its ethos, players and management.
Two teams are now fielded in the Cambridgeshire County Football Association leagues. The first team is in the Senior A league (second tier) and the reserves are in Division 2. Both teams have realistic ambitions to progress higher, and enjoy the support of capable officials, managers and trainers. The President is Lew Smith, who has some 58 years of history with the club having joined as secretary in 1954 and still lives in Woody Green.