First Years, 1884-1939

The oldest action photograph of an Eagles match of which I'm aware shows Bedford's centre-forward Harry Mardle (centre) and two opponents in an unknown fixture before the Great War, Mardle himself lent it to the Bedfordshire Times for a feature celebrating the club's 50th anniversary in 1958. For more on this period, click on the Seasons on the Field, 1908-39 link below


"When I look back to the time when I was Chairman, I can only say how sorry I am that we forgot to take the trouble to record year by year our activities for future "Eagle" enthusiasts to read"-John T Hobkirk, Chairman of Bedford Town FC, 1911-14, writing in 1952

These pages replace the earlier very brief treatment of the history of Bedford Town before World War 2, and represent my latest research.

Click on the links below to see the new material:

Read about not just one but two earlier Bedford Town clubs-and where they may have played-together with details of their known results,

    • ( April 2020 update) Read about M D Nicholson-the Bedford Town player who won a FA Cup winners' medal and helped to spread the game in Europe
    • Player List, 1908-39
      • Details of nearly 450 players who appeared for the first team between 1908 and 1939
    • Results and Teams, 1908-39
      • All first team competitive results for the club founded in 1908, up to the outbreak of World War 2, with lineups as far as known, and league tables (also includes 1939/40)
    • Seasons on the Field, 1908-39
      • The detailed story of the pre-war seasons, with lots of photographs
    • Various topics, 1908-39-exploring the background to this period
      • Finance, Wages, Attendances and Similar Stuff: Troubles on the Field: Travelling Tales: Bedford Town Grounds, 1908-39: Twenty Key Players: Key Characters off the Field: Odds and Ends

My original objective was simply to establish all the match results for this period-I was unprepared for the mass of additional information that proved to be available on top of that. My thanks are due to those who helped to make it accessible and then interpret it: first to the Bedfordshire Times and Citizen Group for permission to reproduce material from the Bedfordshire Times, Bedford Record and Bedfordshire Mercury (all photographs and original reports on these pages are reproduced by their kind permission unless otherwise credited): to the Northants Telegraph group for permission to reproduce photographs from their much-loved Saturday evening sports paper, the Pink ‘Un [which is preserved for this period-though sadly not for the post-1945 years-at the British Newspaper Library]: to Roger Hopkin for the Northants League/UCL tables, and Richard Laurance for the Beds County and East Midland League tables, that appear on the Results and Teams pages: to Barry Stephenson and Peter Jennings, historians of the current Bedford Town, for help and suggestions: to Jeremy Biggs, historian of Stamford FC, for help with lineups and other matters: to Brian Webb, historian of the origins of Luton Town, for insights into the very early years of the pre-1908 clubs; to English Heritage for the use of part of their Aerofilms collection: and to the staff at Bedford and Kettering Libraries, the Beds and Luton Archive Service, and at the British Newspaper Library in London.